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Boris19

join:2006-07-10
K1A2A2

Will rural Ottawa broadband options ever improve?

We live in Cumberland county just east of Ottawa. The best of a very limited set of options is Xplornet. We're fortunate to live right beside a tower so the connection is stable, and we have an old cap-free installation, but that's the best thing I can say about it. It's extremely slow compared to even the low end options available in the city.

I used to think the major players would eventually expand their systems out our way, but with the advent of 3g networks they seem to be content to offer those worthless sticks. The connection on those is terrible here and the data cap is tiny. Even if they improve on the connection side, there doesn't seem to be any intent to offer a decent amount of data. Bell and Rogers seem to believe that all people do in the country is occasionally load a webpage and update their Facebook profiles. Forget about Netflix or anything like that.

Does anyone know if there's reason to hope for improvement out this way? It's depressing to be stuck on a connection that's much worse than the DSL I had when I first moved to Ottawa in 1997.


MaynardKrebs
Premium
join:2009-06-17
kudos:4

But you have fresh air, no public transit, and the ever present threat of drinking e-coli contaminated water.
Is that really worth giving up to get a faster internet connection?



ChuckcZar

@teksavvy.com
reply to Boris19

Your only hope is to move away from Ottawa not closer to it.


bt

join:2009-02-26
canada
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Start Communicat..
reply to Boris19

said by Boris19:

Bell and Rogers seem to believe that all people do in the country is occasionally load a webpage and update their Facebook profiles.

No, they believe your only other option is dialup, so charge according to that belief.


Guspaz
Guspaz
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-05
Montreal, QC
kudos:22
reply to Boris19

ISDN?

I've been of the opinion for a while that somebody should design a hybrid solution that takes advantage of a low throughput low latency connection like ISDN or dial up, and a high throughput high latency connection like satellite, and combine them to produce a connection that would seem to be low-latency high-throughput for most applications. Dynamically route packets over the appropriate connection at different stages.

For example, during an HTTP request, you would do the request over ISDN, and the first few packets would come in over it too, then as soon as the satellite starts feeding back data half a second later, that takes over for the rest of the transfer. Pipelining helps too, obviously.
--
Developer: Tomato/MLPPP, Linux/MLPPP, etc »fixppp.org



mlerner
Premium
join:2000-11-25
Nepean, ON
kudos:5

Bell no longer offers ISDN to new customers.

As far as broadband in general, the incumbents aren't willing to take the financial risk to roll out rural broadband equivalent to urban service. It doesn't seem too profitable to do unless customers are willing to pay $200+ per month.

As far as I've seen in the past few years, there has been indie providers that have tried and so far almost all of them that serviced rural Ottawa were bought out or went bankrupt.



Guspaz
Guspaz
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-05
Montreal, QC
kudos:22

Well, MLPPP does work for dial up too... If you really are willing to pay $200 per month, that's going to get you almost 0.4 Mbps at much lower latency than satellite. Unlimited too. Enough for standard def Netflix probably. Of course in practice the modems won't sync at 56k, so that speed would probably be more like 0.3 Mbps.
--
Developer: Tomato/MLPPP, Linux/MLPPP, etc »fixppp.org


b_p_smith

join:2002-02-13
Merrickville, ON
Reviews:
·RipNet
reply to Boris19

Xplornet is rolling out 4G WiMAX. It's possible it's already available on your tower (I assume you're on Canopy now).
That may leave you with the possibility of upgrading (likely with some install cost and a renewed contract), or maybe if you wait long enough, lots of other Canopy users on your tower will switch, making yours not as over-subscribed and your speeds will improve for "free".

I'm south of the city, and just switched from RipNet (which is going away) to Xplornet WiMAX. I'm still having some technical issues with my install (likely line-of-sight problems), so I'm not getting the speeds I should be, but I've seen others with good speeds on the same system so I know it's technically feasible.

Supposedly there's a lot of hope pinned on this new ViaSat-1 system that's being upgraded this year. I've heard some interesting claims about speeds for that, but I know from experience there will be other limitations with satellite.

Brad.
--
Xplornet WiMAX -} Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH running DD-WRT -} about 13 machines running everything you can think of.


Boris19

join:2006-07-10
K1A2A2
reply to Boris19

I called Rogers and apparently our address is in range of their 4G network. The cap is a measly 15 gigs but they're topping out the surcharge at $50 for exceeding it. That means I wouldn't exceed $150 a month, which is outrageous but still not as bad as the alternatives. They also give you 15 days to try it with a full return guarantee, so I might as well give it a shot.

Xplornet also offers a 4g service but it would mean switching to a 30 gig cap, and the price is $120 a month without a $50 maximum on going over the cap. It's also considerably slower than Rogers.

That's life in the country, I guess, especially after you show everyone in the family how convenient it is to watch Netflix on their own televisions.


b_p_smith

join:2002-02-13
Merrickville, ON
Reviews:
·RipNet

Where are you getting the Rogers package prices from? The "Lite" package is 15Gig/month, but only $36. "Express" is $49/month but gets you 80Gig/month (and way faster).

I find Rogers' speed quotes a bit suspicious (for 4G), but I'm wondering if your numbers are based on your exact location (ie. you're too far for the faster speeds), or if somebody gave you bum information.

I'm having "issues" with my new Xplornet install, that I'm hopeful to get resolved soon. I wish there was an easy (and free) way to get physically tested for Rogers service where I am, other than going by a color blotch on a web page. Then I'd know if I have a fallback.

Brad.
--
Xplornet WiMAX -} Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH running DD-WRT -} about 13 machines running everything you can think of.


b_p_smith

join:2002-02-13
Merrickville, ON
Reviews:
·RipNet
reply to Boris19

Hmm, reading further on Rogers' site, they seem to be mixing the wired & wireless packages together. Very confusing. :-(
--
Xplornet WiMAX -} Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH running DD-WRT -} about 13 machines running everything you can think of.


bt

join:2009-02-26
canada
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Start Communicat..
reply to Boris19

said by Boris19:

I called Rogers and apparently our address is in range of their 4G network. The cap is a measly 15 gigs but they're topping out the surcharge at $50 for exceeding it.

I find that exceedingly hard to believe. No mention of an extra usage price cap on the Rogers website.

I strongly suspect you've been lied to.

Boris19

join:2006-07-10
K1A2A2

said by bt:

said by Boris19:

I called Rogers and apparently our address is in range of their 4G network. The cap is a measly 15 gigs but they're topping out the surcharge at $50 for exceeding it.

I find that exceedingly hard to believe. No mention of an extra usage price cap on the Rogers website.

I strongly suspect you've been lied to.

I know it existed last year, because I hit it on the Extreme plan at my old address. I went more than 100 gigs over my plan rebuilding my Steam gaming collection, and only had to pay an extra $50. I asked the guy at the store today about it too and he confirmed that it applies.

I'm going to try it out when I get home, hopefully the connection is solid and strong. If not, back it goes.

bt

join:2009-02-26
canada
kudos:1
Reviews:
·Start Communicat..

said by Boris19:

said by bt:

I find that exceedingly hard to believe. No mention of an extra usage price cap on the Rogers website.

I strongly suspect you've been lied to.

I know it existed last year, because I hit it on the Extreme plan at my old address. I went more than 100 gigs over my plan rebuilding my Steam gaming collection, and only had to pay an extra $50.

That was wired, this is wireless.

I've never, ever heard of Rogers capping the overage charges on wireless internet usage.


nitzguy
Premium
join:2002-07-11
Sudbury, ON
reply to Guspaz

said by Guspaz:

ISDN?

I've been of the opinion for a while that somebody should design a hybrid solution that takes advantage of a low throughput low latency connection like ISDN or dial up, and a high throughput high latency connection like satellite, and combine them to produce a connection that would seem to be low-latency high-throughput for most applications. Dynamically route packets over the appropriate connection at different stages.

For example, during an HTTP request, you would do the request over ISDN, and the first few packets would come in over it too, then as soon as the satellite starts feeding back data half a second later, that takes over for the rest of the transfer. Pipelining helps too, obviously.

Back in the day....there was a 1-way cable connection, send out packets over dial-up, receive packets over cable connection....not in the bigger areas, but smaller areas....it has limitations because you could only have 1 computer setup, and had a PCI card in your computer and the card cost I believe about $2-300 dollars...

Problem is that developing such a solution would not be practical...just not enough people and not enough of a market ....those who live in the country should be happy that a high speed option is available...does that mean being limited? Sure but you weigh that vs. the property taxes you pay, and perhaps the lack of paying for ongoing monthly water bills and you perhaps funnel that savings into your internet service should it be needed....and that's the tradeoffs....

Boris19

join:2006-07-10
K1A2A2
reply to bt

said by bt:

said by Boris19:

said by bt:

I find that exceedingly hard to believe. No mention of an extra usage price cap on the Rogers website.

I strongly suspect you've been lied to.

I know it existed last year, because I hit it on the Extreme plan at my old address. I went more than 100 gigs over my plan rebuilding my Steam gaming collection, and only had to pay an extra $50.

That was wired, this is wireless.

I've never, ever heard of Rogers capping the overage charges on wireless internet usage.

Well, then both the person on their phone line and the guy at the store were wrong, because I asked repeatedly about the surcharge limit and they both said it would apply. I wouldn't have picked it up otherwise, as my costs would soar into the stratosphere without it.

Of course, they did goof the SIM card installation on the hub and when I called Rogers technical support they told me they're having technical difficulties themselves and to call back later. Not a very encouraging start, heh.

bt

join:2009-02-26
canada
kudos:1

Honestly, I'd check to see that you have that somewhere in writing. I simply do NOT trust them to hold to that.


freejazz_RdJ

join:2009-03-10
kudos:1
reply to Boris19

You should see if you are covered by EORN/EOWC. They are building out broadand all over eastern ontario. If you are within city limits though, it may not be much help. If you were in the United Counties of Prescott-Russell, for sure you'd be covered. But maybe not in Cumberland.



grayfox

join:2007-12-10
Whitby, ON
reply to Boris19

Call Storm.ca

There non-compete agreement in some area's with Xplornet ends soon.

You will see new fast good broadband options in your area soon as well thanks to EORN. Many providers are building out vdsl networks or advanced wireless technologies capable of delivering up to 10 megabits per second of speed.


Boris19

join:2006-07-10
K1A2A2
reply to Boris19

I'll definitely be checking that out when it becomes available. For now, it turns out that the hub that Rogers gave me was defective. I took it back this morning and got them to check the new one in the store, and this time it worked. Tonight I'll be able to see if this is a viable option.

I did some research on the Rogers $50 data cap surcharge limit and found more people who claim it's not on paper anywhere but it does in fact apply to rocket hub users. Hopefully they won't change their minds about it after I cancel Xplornet, heh.



Guspaz
Guspaz
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-05
Montreal, QC
kudos:22
reply to nitzguy

said by nitzguy:

Back in the day....there was a 1-way cable connection, send out packets over dial-up, receive packets over cable connection....not in the bigger areas, but smaller areas....it has limitations because you could only have 1 computer setup, and had a PCI card in your computer and the card cost I believe about $2-300 dollars...

That was done for satellite broadband too, and it was because they didn't have a return-path, so had to use dialup for that. I'm not talking about that sort of thing, but using both connections in both directions, and dynamically sending packets over one or the other based on need. Think of it like taking QoS and load balancing, merging them together, and putting them on steroids. Dialup is slow, but can do relatively good latency (I saw 150ms pings when I was on dialup). Satellite is fast, but has terrible latency (500ms+). Combine the two and you can get a significantly improved user experience. You'd also want some sort of proxying solution for web stuff, though, to bundle up data before it comes down the pipe.
--
Developer: Tomato/MLPPP, Linux/MLPPP, etc »fixppp.org


nitzguy
Premium
join:2002-07-11
Sudbury, ON

said by Guspaz:

said by nitzguy:

Back in the day....there was a 1-way cable connection, send out packets over dial-up, receive packets over cable connection....not in the bigger areas, but smaller areas....it has limitations because you could only have 1 computer setup, and had a PCI card in your computer and the card cost I believe about $2-300 dollars...

That was done for satellite broadband too, and it was because they didn't have a return-path, so had to use dialup for that. I'm not talking about that sort of thing, but using both connections in both directions, and dynamically sending packets over one or the other based on need. Think of it like taking QoS and load balancing, merging them together, and putting them on steroids. Dialup is slow, but can do relatively good latency (I saw 150ms pings when I was on dialup). Satellite is fast, but has terrible latency (500ms+). Combine the two and you can get a significantly improved user experience. You'd also want some sort of proxying solution for web stuff, though, to bundle up data before it comes down the pipe.

I understand what you're saying now....sounds technically complicated lol. It could be, but again, I figure it comes down to economics and is there enough of a market for it....I'm not sure.


Guspaz
Guspaz
Premium,MVM
join:2001-11-05
Montreal, QC
kudos:22
reply to Boris19

Oh, I'm sure there's no market for it, although it could be done as an opensource project without any ISP support. You could do it over VPNs too.
--
Developer: Tomato/MLPPP, Linux/MLPPP, etc »fixppp.org


sturbain

join:2012-03-05
Niagara Falls, ON
reply to Boris19

Have you called Xplornet to see what options they have for you. Through much of southern Ontario either Xplornet is building a fixed wireless 4G network, or you can get the new 4G satellite service. I know they are transitioning customers, but maybe call them to get an ETA...


Boris19

join:2006-07-10
K1A2A2
reply to Boris19

So after all that, the Rogers was essentially unusable. I could barely connect at all, and only at speeds much worse than Xplornet. I took it back but they screwed up the cancellation, so I have to go back into the shop tomorrow.

Xplornet mailed me a pamphlet telling me I'm eligible for a 4g fixed-wireless upgrade. Their "ultimate" package has been adjusted apparently, it's now 60 gigs for $89.99, with speeds up to 10 Mbps. I know it won't be anywhere near that, but 60 gigs is much better than either Rogers or Bell, and I already know my location is good for their current fixed-wireless.



grayfox

join:2007-12-10
Whitby, ON

said by Boris19:

So after all that, the Rogers was essentially unusable. I could barely connect at all, and only at speeds much worse than Xplornet. I took it back but they screwed up the cancellation, so I have to go back into the shop tomorrow.

Xplornet mailed me a pamphlet telling me I'm eligible for a 4g fixed-wireless upgrade. Their "ultimate" package has been adjusted apparently, it's now 60 gigs for $89.99, with speeds up to 10 Mbps. I know it won't be anywhere near that, but 60 gigs is much better than either Rogers or Bell, and I already know my location is good for their current fixed-wireless.

I strongly reccomend you call storm before you even consider Xplornet.

b_p_smith

join:2002-02-13
Merrickville, ON
Reviews:
·RipNet
reply to Boris19

Ask about "Ultimate Plus". It's unadvertised, but gets you up to 10Mbps with a 100Gig limit for $10 more.

There's also talk of Xplornet soon offering bandwidth "upgrades" for those people who can't get the higher speeds (distance, line of sight, etc) but still want the higher monthly limits. However, I've also heard that this "talk" has been going on for a long time, so maybe don't hold your breath.

My own Xplornet experience is still an adventure (last night, my static IP suddenly decided to become invalid, meaning no connection at all for 3 hours). And because of my distance to the tower, my speeds are less than satisfactory, but still overall more reliable than RipNet was.

Brad.
--
Xplornet WiMAX -} Buffalo WZR-HP-G300NH running DD-WRT -} about 13 machines running everything you can think of.


Boris19

join:2006-07-10
K1A2A2
reply to Boris19

I'm extremely lucky in that the tower is less than a kilometre away from the dish (I can see it out the window). As a result, the signal is solid but unspectacular. I can live with that, but it should also mean that the 4G signal would also be solid since it'd be sharing the same tower. I will call them about it and ask about the ultimate plus deal, thanks.

Storm is not available out this way, btw. Their coverage map seems to be exclusively to the west and south of Ottawa.



Jethro86

join:2005-05-27
Winchester, ON
reply to Boris19

And Xplornet bought out Storm anyway did they not? There is no other wireless competitors left in Eastern Ontario as Xplodenet bought them all.



grayfox

join:2007-12-10
Whitby, ON

said by Jethro86:

And Xplornet bought out Storm anyway did they not? There is no other wireless competitors left in Eastern Ontario as Xplodenet bought them all.

That is not entirely accurate.

Xplornet bought some of storms market share and they signed a non-compete agreement when a previous CEO was in charge. They have a new CEO now who from what I understand does not intend to renew it.

The Xplornet installers spread inaccurate and incorrect information that trickled down its way to other people when they were doing the conversions from storm to Xplornet.