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Old 06-06-2010, 08:27 AM   #1
tronayne
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Recommendations for Network Access


I'm relocating from the Detroit area (where high-speed internet access is more a less a commodity -- DSL, cable, you name it) to "the country" in northeastern Michigan (where high-speed is more a less non-existent). 'Round here, the choice is (1) dial-up, (2) satellite, (3) a wi-fi USB stick; no cable, no DSL, no broadband (well, maybe someday if the stimulus package broadband initiative ever actually happens).

The two satellite providers (HughesNet and WildBlue) are known to work just fine; buy the equipment, hook up to a router, viola happy camper. Downside is the monthly cost (and, of course, the initial equipment cost) but the upside is solid, dependable service roughly equivalent to "copper" DSL (about 150K - 200K or so, orders of magnitude greater than dial-up, eh?).

The unknown (at least to me) is the wi-fi USB stick things. Obviously, no hooking up to a router (at least not conveniently) and zero experience with the things. I mean, they're basically cell phone gadgets and you're at the mercy of the guys that own and operate the towers. Also, I have no clue what to do with one of the things to get it talking nicely with Slackware (don't give a hoot about chatting with Windows and that's the software provided with 'em but I kind of think that they'll talk via KPPP or something similar?).

Anyway, I'd appreciate any insight to satellite vs. USB sticks, experience with vendors (good and bad) and any recommendations for a particular provider's service (works reliably with least hassle is a Good Thing).

My sincere thanks for any help.
 
Old 06-06-2010, 08:55 AM   #2
kbp
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Mobile internet seems to be fairly well supported in current distros so that would be my choice, the only issue I've seen is when the usb modem doesn't detect correctly but that's easily fixed with usb_modeswitch

hth
 
Old 06-06-2010, 08:58 AM   #3
H_TeXMeX_H
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Well I've had to use a USB CDMA modem before, still have it, it's a Huawei even tho it says something else on it. It actually worked fine with Slackware, it just uses a PPP interface, so kppp or other such programs can easily configure it. I'm not sure that all such USB modems are like this, but many Huawei models do work, search the forum.

Problems with it:
1 - had to write a script to generate traffic when I wasn't doing it, because the damn thing would turn itself off if there was no traffic for a while, then it was a PITA to get it to turn back on. It didn't really turn itself off, but it just stopped responding ... it was strange.

2 - the thing is just a modem, not a router, so I had to connect it to one computer, then use that one as a router for the next computer, and if you have more than 2 computers that need internet, you'll need at least 2 ethernet ports or a wifi card and antenna.

3 - it overheated often, i.e. we had to put an old heat sink on it to keep it running properly, sometimes even those packs of blue cooling agent you put in the freezer.

4 - it only worked in one room of the house, because the CDMA tower was just around a hill, and the other rooms were just at the wrong angle and it just didn't get a signal there.

5 - upload speed was bad, download speed was better than dial-up, but pretty crappy

6 - connection is lossy, much like dial-up, packets are dropped, malformed, etc., especially during bad weather. (however, my satellite connection goes out during heavy rain as well, but I did see on TV that there exists a cover for the dish that may solve this, mainly because the rain hitting the dish or getting between the dish and receiver is the problem, not the rain from the dish to the satellite, theoretically anyway).

7 - ping / latency is high, but the same is true and maybe more so for satellite. Gaming is a problem.

Last edited by H_TeXMeX_H; 06-06-2010 at 08:59 AM.
 
Old 06-06-2010, 09:17 AM   #4
Chuck56
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The Sprint Mi-Fi device is a cellular broadband router that has a built-in Wi-Fi. You would use standard wireless to access the Mi-Fi. The downside is that these cellular services have bandwidth usage limits that can easily be exceeded if you aren't careful.
 
Old 06-06-2010, 01:44 PM   #5
disturbed1
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Depends on your usage habits.

I'd advise you to honestly take satellite as your last choice. Sat providers have a FRAP policy, and gaming is pretty much out of the question because of the common 600-999ms+ ping times. Complaint numbers are pretty high for both major sat outfits. Initial out of pocket expense is up there as well. Don't forget about the weather you have up there

When we lived out in the sticks, we went with ISDN. This was before WISPs (Wireless Internet Service Providers) were around. Bought an ISDN router used for ~$60. Downloading large files was slow, but the connection was 100% stable with ping times in the low 20ms range. The low ping times, and usage of adblock, made regular internet surfing quite enjoyable. We didn't notice a huge difference in day to day use compared to the 6mbit connection we left behind. Downloading anything over 10MiB tends to wear on your patience though. Today, I'm not sure which I'd choose, a WISP, or ISDN again. It would depend on the quality, distance, and bandwidth bucket of WISP.

I'd look at DSL reports. The goto place for broad band providers and users. http://www.dslreports.com/forums/all
 
Old 06-06-2010, 03:10 PM   #6
TSquaredF
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tronayne View Post
I'm relocating from the Detroit area (where high-speed internet access is more a less a commodity -- DSL, cable, you name it) to "the country" in northeastern Michigan (where high-speed is more a less non-existent). 'Round here, the choice is (1) dial-up, (2) satellite, (3) a wi-fi USB stick; no cable, no DSL, no broadband (well, maybe someday if the stimulus package broadband initiative ever actually happens).

The two satellite providers (HughesNet and WildBlue) are known to work just fine; buy the equipment, hook up to a router, viola happy camper. Downside is the monthly cost (and, of course, the initial equipment cost) but the upside is solid, dependable service roughly equivalent to "copper" DSL (about 150K - 200K or so, orders of magnitude greater than dial-up, eh?).

The unknown (at least to me) is the wi-fi USB stick things. Obviously, no hooking up to a router (at least not conveniently) and zero experience with the things. I mean, they're basically cell phone gadgets and you're at the mercy of the guys that own and operate the towers. Also, I have no clue what to do with one of the things to get it talking nicely with Slackware (don't give a hoot about chatting with Windows and that's the software provided with 'em but I kind of think that they'll talk via KPPP or something similar?).

Anyway, I'd appreciate any insight to satellite vs. USB sticks, experience with vendors (good and bad) and any recommendations for a particular provider's service (works reliably with least hassle is a Good Thing).

My sincere thanks for any help.
I'm in the same situation you will be in. I live about 15 miles from the nearest town. No DSL, no cable. I have never been able to use a dial-up modem to it's full capabilities because of noise on the phone lines. I used WildBlue for quite a while & it worked well for my wife & I, but about two years ago, my daughter & two granddaughters moved in with us & suddenly even the maximum bandwidth of the satellite was not enough! We have moved over to the unlimited plan with this company. It's not inexpensive, but it allows my daughter to play WOW, me to download all the software I want, & the granddaughters to stream movies, without worrying about any limits. Oh, we are in a poor reception area for the cellular network that serves us, so my complete system has a high gain outdoor antenna, a cell phone amplifier, the USB Modem, plugged into a wireless router, which takes care of the daughter & girls & is also plugged into a switch for my three computers, a printer, etc.
I'd rather have DSL or cable, but have been mostly pleased with how this lashup works.
Regards (& good luck),
Bill
 
Old 06-06-2010, 03:37 PM   #7
damgar
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Wild Blue and Hughes Net would be my last options. It's expensive, subject to fair-use shutdowns that you have to pay to get restored after 24 hours, slow, HIGH-latency etc, etc. Look into WISPS. There's a good chance you'll need to talk to your neighbors since it's generally unregulated and splintered. I work for a WISP around/outside Dallas, Tx and we don't advertise beyond a website, a referral system for existing customers and the occasional roadside sign or flyers. I would be a little surprised to find out that there isn't something similar working in the area.
 
Old 06-07-2010, 04:33 PM   #8
tronayne
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OK, everybody convinced me -- went to the Verizon store (15 miles away), and got a USB760 3G (which I'm pretty sure is a Novatel). Now all I have to do is figure out how to get the thing to work (following a couple of posts that talk about these peculiar beasts, no joy so far, but hey, it's early daze).

Thanks to all for the suggestions.
 
  


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