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Skybeam.net page on DSLReports
Six Month Rating Unavailable
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bullet 73 reviews (7 good) (60 bad)
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Review by toddy71 See Profile

  • Location: Elizabeth,Elbert,CO
  • Cost: $45 per month
Good "Good when I started with MesaNetworks in 2003"
Bad "Service has gotten spotty, long wait times, poor tech support"
Overall "Now that I have other options in my neighborhood, I will change"
Pre Sales Information:
Install process:
Connection reliability:
Tech Support:
Services:
Value for money:
(ratings match consensus)

I started out with Mesa Networks in 2003 since they were the only option in my rural Elizabeth, CO home. Service was great until about 2006-2007. Speeds got slower, there were intermittent outages, I would get "connection reset by peer" messages constantly. Upon calling support, they were able to try to help, but ultimately couldn't find any issues.

In 2009 I noticed that service prices had dropped and I was still paying my original price for slower services. I called billing, and had them move me to the 5mbps plan at the correct price. I should have checked my service speeds then. Recently I took my speeds at several times a day and only ended up with 1.5mbps at best. Upon calling, I get a 'too bad, that's the way things go' spiel.

Last week we had a very close thunder strike, and service has been out since then. Upon calling support, they say they can see the radio fine, and basically leave the ball in my court instead of helping. Here's the letter I sent to both their "Customer Care" and Corporate email this morning, still no response:

I've been out of internet service now for 6 days. It was last useable on Sunday morning 7/10.

I called tech support on Monday 7/11 and left a callback number around 5:30pm and never got a call back.

I called tech support on Tuesday 7/12 and waited on hold for 56 minutes, and got Ryan. He was very nice and stayed on the phone with me for about a half hour. He tried lots of things, but in the end thought it was the little plug in device in the house. We thought we were maybe struck by lightning and that got zapped. He sent me a new one and we received it on Thursday, 7/14. Upon plugging it in, and rebooting my computer, I still didn't have internet.

I called tech support on Thursday 7/13 and waited on hold for 1 hour and 37 minutes! I got Chris who stayed on with me maybe 10 minutes before dismissing the problem and saying he really didn't know what it was, but if it wasn't working in an hour, call back. It, of course, is still not working.

I've been with you guys since 2003, but for the first time am seriously considering cancelling your service. I need a technician to come out immediately and help determine why the connection isn't working. Yes, the technicians all tell me everything looks good on their side, but it's not good on mine, and for Chris to basically dismiss this as being my problem is unacceptable. Please send a technician immediately.

I've even gone as far as connecting directly to the radio before the grounding cable, just to make sure it wasn't any of the cabling in the walls at my home.

I work from home, and it's really affected me not having internet all week! Please help immediately! Thank you.

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Update as of 7/20/2011
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It seems that my email to corporate (the one that is posted by Skybeam in many of the comments here) made the rounds quickly, and within 4 hours, I had the head of Colorado support (Aaron Clarke) calling me personally. First he left a voice mail with his direct email, then I talked to him personally.

He told me that he had already talked to the field team and there was a technician injure that morning, so they were already down one installer, and that it would be the last week of July before anyone could get out to me. Though he did try and expedite a service call for me and could come as early as this week. (Nothing yet)

I told him I couldn't troubleshoot at that moment, but that I would be home in an hour. He said he would call back in an hour to an hour and a half, depending on what other call he may be on at the time. He called back in just over an hour and a half.

Let me say, Aaron was very nice! He's unlike any other tech support staff I've encountered at Skybeam. He was professional, thorough, and really wanted to get the problem fixed! We tried many things to diagnose my connection, but he explained everytime my computer, or router tried to connect, he was seeing different MAC addresses every time. I told him I had even gone as far as trying to connect on the radio side of the ground that morning to no effect. He asked if I could do that, and he gave me 15 minutes to go get it set up before calling back.

Outside, on the other side of the ground, we were able, with him rebooting some computer on his side, able to see the internet. He tried many things including slowing the speed to my radio to see if speed was an issue. Eventually we came to the conclusion that it appears the wiring somewhere between the radio and my router got fried and the punch down of the wires at each part of the connection was more than likely the issue. He kept my service call in so I could get re-cabling done.

In the days since, I've taken a 50 foot Ethernet cable and plugged it on the other side of the ground and run that direct to my UPS, then to the router. I wish I could say things are all better, but they aren't. Every morning when I wake up, and every night when I get home from work, the connection is gone again. The only way it seems to get fixed is by rebooting my router. I even got a brand new router!

We'll see what the re-cabling does, but I still may be dropping service soon. I did have my doubts about the 5mb/s service they say they offer as Speedtest.net usually shows 1.5mb/s or less. Last night I ran a test and got 4.5mb/s. It's the first time I've ever seen that speed. However, running it a few minutes later resulted in the normal 1.5mb/s.

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Update as of 7/27/2011
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Two nights ago I got a call from Skybeam Tech Support, but I didn't get to the phone in time, and they didn't leave a message. I didn't want to wait an hour or longer in the queue to see what they wanted, so I ignored it.

Today I get a call at 10:30am from dispatch, they tell me the tech is running late for my appointment (what appointment?!) and will be at the house at 12:30-1pm. Since it takes forever to get an appointment, I cancelled all my work meetings and drove home. I waited around until 1:45 pm and then called dispatch. She was nice and said she'd try and contact the tech and see where he was. She couldn't reach him, so told me she'd call me back as soon as she could.

At 2pm she called back and said she had bad news, he was now running really far behind and couldn't be at my house until 4:30-5pm! I told her I had to get back to work and couldn't wait around all day. She was very apologetic asking if there was anyone that could come and stay there, and there isn't. So, she put me on "the flex list" whatever that is, and also rescheduled me for August 11th! Sheesh.

I wrote an email to Aaron Clarke, who was very gracious last time and told him of my woes, and he said there wasn't much he could do from his end, but he'd keep up with dispatch.

Also, the service has been spotty at best. I am not sure if it's the remaining cable between the radio and ground that hasn't been removed from my equation, but usually in the morning when I wake up, and when I get home from work, the internet isn't working. I can reset my router (I bought a brand new one to take it out of the equation) and sometimes that works, sometimes it doesn't.

Looks like I might move to Qwest as it's the only other option in my neighborhood. Man I hate this.

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Update as of 8/9/2011
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Two days until supposed service call...I wonder if they'll show this time!

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Update as of 8/11/2011
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The tech just left my house. All I can say is, wow. Not a good wow either.

I called yesterday to see if I was still on the schedule and they informed me I was and that the tech would be at my house between 1-5pm. Nice long window! Dispatch called just past 1pm and said he would be 15-30 minutes, and he was. Wow, something that went right!

I told him the story about what happened and that I was working with high level tech support, and they told me it probably needed to be recabled since the lightning probably fried some of the connections. He said something about how they always think that's what it is, and it isn't.

He said my grounding box wasn't actually grounded as the wire wasn't even attached to anything, and that a ground must be within 20 feet of a water pipe. There are none of course.

He said the connection from the radio to the ground box was good, so he decided to run new wire from the grounding box, into the house, and then down to my router. Since it would be a pain for him to run it through the house, he said we could just pull as much cable as I wanted into the house (since he only crimps male connectors and I could run it however I wanted later. That was fine with me as long as I got the maximum amount of cable, and he pulled 75 feet into the house! That's awesome.

We connect it all up to my router and wait for my computer to be recognized on their network. It is. He asks me to run the speed test on the Skybeam site, and we do. It comes up around 1mbps. He asks what plan I am on, and I tell him the 5mbps and he goes on to the next subject! No regard for the poor speed!

We originally thought some of the remaining outages I was getting were due to some trees, but when he got up to the radio, he said surprisingly there weren't any issues and had a clear line of sight. But that sometime, the radio should be moved where there would surely be no obstructions. He said if it was really windy and the trees blew and blocked the signal, even for a moment, it can take hours for it to come back. I am not sure I agree with that, but okay.

When I asked about the grounding of the system, he stated again about the 20 feet thing and it was too far. But if there is an issue again, call and they'll move the radio away from the trees and get it properly grounded. And then he said this: "I would do that, but there are thunderstorms moving in and I have five more calls today."

So yeah, I have internet, not at the advertised (or near advertised) speed, with the possibility of another lightning strike taking out my network again. Thanks, Skybeam.

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Update as of 8/11/2011 #2
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I sent the review to Aaron Clarke and he called me back within minutes of my email. I had included a SpeedTest.net screensnap showing .75mbps...

So, he moved me to another tower, whatever that means, with fewer people. He also made sure I didn't use SpeedTest.net directly, but the mini app on Skybeam's website. He said that someone purchased SpeedTest.net recently, so the speeds in the tests aren't very accurate anymore.

On the new tower I was able to get speeds from 2.5-3.5 mbps at the time we were testing. He said he generally likes to see about 3.25. And on the uploads I was getting 1.75 and he likes to see above 1.5. (Since I got off the phone with him, I've seen as low as 2mbps)

He connected me over to billing and explained what's been going on. They ended up giving me 1 month free, plus 6 months of $20 off. So they are compensating for all the hassle. Now let's hope things stay good. (In fact, waiting for billing the connection dropped. We power cycled my router and everything came back.)

I hope this is the last of my updates for a long time! Let's hope the speeds continue.

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Update as of 8/22/2011
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Let's see, 11 days since my last posting...right after I hung up with support, connection went to 1.5/1, about a half hour after my last update, the connection dropped. I started keeping a log of all the times the connection dropped.

It's pretty sad. Nearly every day I had a dropped connection. Sometimes it was like clockwork...everyday at 5:30-5:45pm. Then again at 6pm until 7pm, 8pm, sometimes it didn't come back until the next morning.

Sometimes resetting the router works, sometimes it doesn't.

A few days after my service call, I had a follow up call from Skybeam asking how my tech did when he was at the house. When I said I wasn't happy, the guy on the phone seemed taken aback, like he never heard of anything bad happening at a service call before. He put me into the support queue that evening. A half hour later I got a call back. It was a really nice tech, and he told me some very interesting information. Apparently the tower I was on Den-Hilltop, was one of the worst in the Denver metro area and they have been having issues for quite some time. He said that Aaron had left my connection on that new access point that had less people, and left a backup access point (my old one) open in case the new one failed, I could fall back to the old one. He said the problem with this is that sometimes the connection could get caught in limbo. He turned off the old access point, and did some other things to my settings on his side. We did speed tests, which once again were awesome while on the phone, and then degraded once off the phone.

Last night I got home from a few days of being away to discover the connection was down yet again. Frustrated, I called up and was going to put myself in the queue to just get a call back. I couldn't believe it! My call was immediately picked up. First time ever! The techs get really quiet when they read my support history. He tried a few things, but thought my router was probably the issue, even though he was able to "switch the wires from the radio to my router" whatever that meant, to get my connection back.

Within a half hour of that call, the connection was down again. Considering the what the tech told me, I took out my old router and hooked it up, and sure enough, we had a connection. Was my new Netgear router to really blame? After 2 hours of streaming Hulu, the connection died and hasn't come back.

I shouldn't have to keep restarting my router. I am sick and tired of having to call Skybeam. I am weighing the two other options in my neighborhood now. I am seriously considering going with an option that has much slower advertised speeds as long as it has no connection issues. Good bye, Skybeam. Too bad you decided to give me a discount on service NOW.

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Update as of 9/20/2011
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I have had more outages than I've had connected internet since I posted last. I've ordered internet from a company that just started (supposedly) offering 12mbps connections in my neighborhood. It will be installed on Friday. I only hope it works out well, so I can cancel Skybeam as SOON AS POSSIBLE!

466 hours this month so far, down for 153.25 hours, 33% outage time, usually the hours I am home and want to use the internet...

Here's how my connection has gone for the month of September so far:
Sept 1 - On all day
Sept 2 - Out at 8:30pm
Sept 3 - On at 3:00am
Sept 4 - Out at 6:45pm, On at midnight
Sept 5 - On all day
Sept 6 - On all day
Sept 7 - On all day
Sept 8 - Out at 7:15pm, On at 10:45pm
Sept 9 - On all day
Sept 10 - Out at 7:30am, On at 7:15pm, Out at 9:15pm, On at 11:00pm
Sept 11 - Out at 1:00pm, On at 3:30pm
Sept 12 - Out 8:30am, On at 11:00am, Out at 3:30pm
Sept 13 - Out all day
Sept 14 - On at 2:00pm, Out at 7:00pm
Sept 15 - On at 7:30am, Out at 8:30am
Sept 16 - Out all day
Sept 17 - On at 5:30am, Out at 8:30pm
Sept 18 - Out all day
Sept 19 - Out all day
Sept 20 - Out all day so far.

member for 13.7 years, 41 visits, last login: 2.8 years ago
updated 2.9 years ago

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