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Premium
join:2011-01-26
canada

[DSL] MLPPP in Rural Ontario - Sugestions for equipment & Setup

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Sorry for the long post, but I will break it up in sections so people can respond to areas they are familiar with.

On a good day, we enjoy blazing internet speeds of 1.5 Mb down and 640K up; wireless is sporadic and not an option.

We have 2 land lines with Bell: the first is our main home phone and the other is a secondary phone. This second line currently has a single line (slppp) dsl service with TSI and a voip phone using voip.ms.

We’ve decided to keep our current dsl line strictly for voip and order a new 3-line mlppp service on dry loop through TSI to get more functional internet. Currently voip is not reliable.

I’m currently using a Thompson ST546 v.6 modem and a Linksys WRT54GL v.1.1 router flashed with Tomato. Lately, we are having to reboot this router often, and it probably needs to be replaced.

QUESTIONS and ISSUES:

1. Reliable modems for the new service:I may not live long enough to see an improvement to the service in our area but, should future-proofing be a concern? Would a cheaper modem be sufficient or should I invest in quality modems?

2. Router: Probably overkill, but I’m thinking of going with a Asus RT-N66U; is it compatible with mlppp?

3. Wiring: The telcom wire coming into the Corning NID is marked 3x22. There are 2 modules for the existing lines on the customer side of the NID. I should have 1 more pair available and will need 2 more pairs of wires for the new 3-line service. Are there different options available for the physical wiring and is there a preferred way to do it, as regards cost or service?

Thanks for the suggestions and advice.


Guspaz
Guspaz
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join:2001-11-05
Montreal, QC
kudos:23

Re: [DSL] MLPPP in Rural Ontario - Sugestions for equipment & Se

Errm, it sounds like you're talking about getting a total of five phone lines (home phone, DSL for VoIP, and three other DSL for MLPPP)... If you want three-line MLPPP you might be more successful building it out of your home phone line, your existing DSL line, and adding only one extra line.

There are limits to how many phone lines and dry loops Bell is willing to install to residential addresses, and five is probably beyond that number.

For the modems, if you only qualify for ADSL1, then some cheap tp-link modem or something will do. It'll do ADSL1 or ADSL2+, but you can't currently buy anything that will be guaranteed to work for VDSL2 or fiber (Bell sells it directly), so might as well just save the money and get a cheap but decent modem.

For the router, for such low speeds (of 1.5 Mbps times three), you can probably make do with your existing WRT54GL. There is some vlan stuff you need to do to get it working with a third line, and I've never done it myself, but you're still talking about pretty low aggregate speeds.
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Esc
Premium
join:2011-01-26
canada
Thanks for the feedback Guspaz. I've heard of some people having 4-8 lines but perhaps they have a business use of some sort. I'm hoping I can get at least 4; I would need that just to get a 6Mb service. Anyone out there manage to get more than 3?

I can get several tp-link modems for the price of the thompson I currently use. If there's no advantage to a more expensive one I'll probably go that route. I think I bought the thompson because it was recommended by TSI.

I'm having to reboot the linksys router 2-3 times a day some days lately, just to reconnect. Since it's probably time to replace it, I was thinking of buying an upgraded router for a faster processor and future proofing. And, if I can ever get to stream netflix... well, I'm probably dreaming a bit now, old boy scout habits I guess.


DKS
Damn Kidney Stones
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Owen Sound, ON
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reply to Esc
You might find a cellular repeater, which also picks up wireless hub frequencies cheaper and faster. Here is my installation. »Cellular Repeater Installation
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themisa

join:2012-05-22
reply to Esc
where exactly is this?

are you 100% 1.5/640 is the best you can get?
even 2/640 would make a difference, probably worth checking with neighbors and getting a bell guy over

have you looked into wireless further? probably easier and cheaper
a dedicated outdoor antenna would do wonders for speed and reliability

Esc
Premium
join:2011-01-26
canada
The drive to the CO is just under 4 km, but the signal travels 7 kms to reach my house. We've had bell out many times over the years and 1.5/640 is the best they can do.

We are also in that 5% of Ontario where cellular coverage is poor. We often have to walk to the end of the driveway to make/receive calls and the phone is constantly searching for a signal. We are in a low lying area near the lake and would need a reeeally long pole to get a better signal.

Recently, a new company has come into the area with point to point. However, they insist on a 3 year contract for about $100/month for a 3Mb service, and they have very low caps. Even if the service was faster, I hate contracts.

DKS: what kind of service/price are you getting with your setup?


Guspaz
Guspaz
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reply to Esc
Is there any cable internet service there?

MLPPP won't be cheap, but it would definitely have the potential to get you somewhat more modern speeds, and much bigger caps than anything wireless. Microtik routers might be the best shot for doing many-line MLPPP these days. The MLPPP stuff that we worked on hasn't been updated in years, and derivative work like OpenWRT/MLPPP also seems abandoned. MicroTik supports it, although configuration might be somewhat involved. I believe many of the people around here still doing many-line MLPPP are using it, so perhaps one of them might be able to offer some advice there.

It may also be worth asking TekSavvy if they have a recommended solution for doing more than two lines.
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DKS
Damn Kidney Stones
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reply to Esc
I am using my cell phone data plan with a cap of 6 Gb. 1.5 meg down .06 up. My option is no service. A wireless modem might have a different plan. Capital investment was $700 all included. No further costs after that.
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Guspaz
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But he already has DSL that fast, with 50x the cap... Why would he spend so much for at best the same speed and an almost non-existent cap?
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Esc
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reply to Esc
Unfortunately no cable Guspaz. As expensive as the mlppp option is, it's the most sensible one for me at this time, speed and caps wise.

The microtik option is appealing since I would only have to buy one modem, but I don't know how difficult it would be to implement. I've found Tomato to be so very easy (thank you Guspaz ).

BTW, does tomato handle 3 lines or is it limited to only 2?

I've been posting in the direct forum for a couple of days now but I don't think many of the techs are informed when it comes to mlppp - it's not something they deal with every day.

I'll look into the microtik option and hopefully some of the people using it will provide some insight. It might be worth investing time in.


Guspaz
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reply to Esc
You would still need multiple modems, the MicroTick routerboard only replaces the router. The advantage is that they have a variety of models (some pretty powerful), and support many-line MLPPP.

Tomato can handle 3+ lines, but it requires some manual tweaking. You have to reconfigure the VLANs via the command-line and then add the extra interfaces to the list on one of the UI tabs. I've never set it up myself, but I know some people around here have. You will probably continue to suffer from that issue forcing you to reboot, though (or perhaps reconnect). I used to experience something similar. We never figured out if the problem was on our side or Juniper's side, but this situation kept happening where the connection would be dead (wouldn't route any traffic), but the LCP pings (low-level PPPoE stuff) would keep working, so the router had no good way to realize the link was dead.
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DKS
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reply to Guspaz
Good. Fast. Cheap. Choose any two. Also unrealistic expectations on the part of the OP.
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Guspaz
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reply to Esc
Right, but you're advocating a solution that will cost a great deal more than OP's current setup, will have a uselessly small cap compared to the OP's current setup, and will offer (based on your own experience) roughly the same speed as the OP's current setup.

I don't understand why you think that wireless would be a desirable option for the OP. Paying a ton of money to go from a 300GB cap to a 6GB cap for the same speed is silly.
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clarknova

join:2010-02-23
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reply to Esc
I've done 3x 6/1 on an ASUS WL520gu running Tomato/MLPPP 1.27 alpha3-ND-"majorly hacked together" firmware. The CPU was running close to max with full bandwidth, but no complaints. There is a straighforward how-to for setting up the third line somewhere in these forums.

I have 8x 6/1 MLPPP at another location and using Pfsense to route it. With that many interfaces it makes more sense to use a vlan switch to connect all the modems to the router. Pfsense also does multi-WAN multi-LAN, so you can policy route your voip through a dedicated modem if you choose. It also has extensive QoS built in, so you could just do 4xMLPPP and prioritise your voip if you wanted.

If you can get line of sight to a neighbour who has better internet you might also consider setting up a private wireless PtP.
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Esc
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reply to Guspaz
Thanks for clearing that up Guspaz; I confused modems with routers there.

I'll look into the tweaking for more than 2 lines and see what I come up with. I've just read a post suggesting that 3 lines might be a bit too much for the WRT54GL - I'm not sure if that would apply with my low line speeds.

DKS, what unrealistic expectations?

Esc
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reply to clarknova
"I've done 3x 6/1 on an ASUS WL520gu running Tomato/MLPPP 1.27 alpha3-ND-"majorly hacked together" firmware. The CPU was running close to max with full bandwidth, but no complaints. There is a straighforward how-to for setting up the third line somewhere in these forums."

A couple of questions:

If I understand that correctly, that modem would be fine with 3x 1.5/640 actual throughput?

You're also saying that you've have more than 3 lines at another location; are those residential or business lines?

I've been looking at pfsense. It would appear to be the best solutions once you go beyond 4 lines. I'll probably stick with the tomato options while I get up to speed on pfsense and then have the tomato option for backup, in case I run into problems.

Unfortunaly, all my neighbours suffer with the exact same service.


clarknova

join:2010-02-23
Grande Prairie, AB
kudos:7
Reviews:
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All of my installs were residential Alberta. Telus has never given me a problem about installing copious amounts of copper.

The CPU in the WL-520gu is clocked slightly higher than the Linksys, but I can't imagine you'll have a problem with 3x1.5/640 unless you're trying to do vpn.

Pfsense is a great option but for less than 4 lines I would recommend sticking with Tomato if it has the features you need. Unfortunately it hasn't been updated for any newer hardware.

If I were you I would try a thorough reset on the Linksys to see if that clears up the problems you've been having. If not, the WL-520gu is the fastest hardware to my knowledge that will do Tomato/MLPPP. If you get one, be sure to only flash it with the -ND Tomato variants.
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Esc
Premium
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canada
I don't think I would have a problem with 3 lines here; 2 active lines and another one available at the NID. Guspaz mentioned that Bell might not run another wire to the house, so I might be limited to 3... time will tell.

No plans for vpn right now, just qos for voip if I bond all the lines. I'd like to get voip running 100%, so I'm considering keeping one dsl line just for voip.. of course that would be overkill if I can get qos working properly.

I've done both quick and thorough resets on the linksys and the problem persists. It's something that has just cropped up past few weeks though, so it could be related to intermittent service being experienced due to storms etc.. only way to tell for sure is to buy a new modem.

I might pick up a WL-520gu and see.. if nothing else it will be a backup.


Guspaz
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reply to Esc
If MLPPP isn't your cup of tea, there are some other options that may be easier to use. There are load balancing solutions like Connectify Dispatch (aggregate speed is improved, but individual connections are limited to the speed of a single DSL line), and tunnel-based bonding solutions like Connectify Switchboard (equivalent to MLPPP in effect, but doesn't rely on ISP-level support).
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DKS
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Owen Sound, ON
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reply to Guspaz
said by Guspaz:

Right, but you're advocating a solution that will cost a great deal more than OP's current setup, will have a uselessly small cap compared to the OP's current setup, and will offer (based on your own experience) roughly the same speed as the OP's current setup.

I don't understand why you think that wireless would be a desirable option for the OP. Paying a ton of money to go from a 300GB cap to a 6GB cap for the same speed is silly.

Much lower monthly fees. I pay $57/mo for my cell phone with all whistles and bells; talk,text and data. No phone lines, no multiple modems and no headaches. Proved technology to the point of almost being plug and play. The phone is a wireless hotspot. I can go anywhere on my property and use it. No, streaming video would be nuts, but there are always trade offs.
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DKS
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reply to Esc
said by Esc:

DKS, what unrealistic expectations?

Expecting really good speed in a rural area.
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Esc
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canada
reply to Guspaz
Not familiar with those but I'll have a look. I'm obviously not nearly as familiar with mlppp as I need to be but I'll get there. And yes, I may have the odd seniors moment but, what can I say, it comes with age .

DKS: If I were expecting 3 line service for $50/mth, I would agree with you. Mlppp does work though and I am willing to pay for it. True, it's not plug and play, but it's not all that complicated.


Guspaz
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1 edit
reply to DKS
said by DKS:

Much lower monthly fees. I pay $57/mo for my cell phone with all whistles and bells; talk,text and data. No phone lines, no multiple modems and no headaches. Proved technology to the point of almost being plug and play. The phone is a wireless hotspot. I can go anywhere on my property and use it. No, streaming video would be nuts, but there are always trade offs.

Say what now? You pay $57 per month for 1.5 megabit speed and a 6GB cap. OP likely pays $30 for 1.5 megabit speed (possibly a $5 dry loop fee) and a 300GB cap. Please explain how paying more for less saves money...

You're doing a terrible job explaining why the OP should pay twice as much to downgrade from DSL and give up streaming video because of the massive cap reduction.

Esc: I've never used any of Connectify's stuff myself, just throwing options out there. There are also some dual-wan consumer routers that can do the same thing as Dispatch (load balance between multiple lines) without needing any software, but you probably won't find consumer stuff that does more than 2 lines, and it won't help with stuff that needs a single faster connection like Netflix.

That said, Netflix should work fine on a 1.5 Mbps line. You won't do HD, but Netflix has a bunch of different bitrates that it automatically switches between based on available bandwidth. Your connection should be fast enough for the second-highest standard-def bitrates. If you had two-line MLPPP (or other bonding), you'd be able to do somewhere between SD and HD. Three or four line would be enough for 720p HD. Five or six lines for 1080p HD. That gets ridiculously expensive, though.
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DKS
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He's looking for solutions. I am offering a simple one. He can jump all over technical complications, play around with it all he wants or go simple. Good. Fast Cheap. Choose any TWO. The other thing is that expectations change in rural Ontario. The speeds he has are typical for rural DSL. Folks in urban areas just don't get it. This is a land of a great internet divide, only to be crossed at huge expense. There ARE limitations on rural internet, believe it or not.
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Guspaz
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Yeah, but you're not offering a solution, because there is no aspect of what you propose that is in any way an improvement over what he already has today. You don't seem to understand that part of the problem. Compared to what he ALREADY has, you propose:

Price: Double ($30 -> $57)
Speed: Same, perhaps (1.5 Mbps)
Latency: Much higher (20ms -> 150ms?)
Cap: Much smaller (300GB -> 6GB)
Investment: Infinitely larger ($0 -> $700)
Complexity: Infinitely higher (Do nothing -> complex install)

How could you consider that a "simple solution"? Your cure is worse than the disease.

Today, the OP has a single 1.5 megabit DSL line with a 300 gig cap. Doing nothing is way simpler than your solution.
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Esc
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reply to Esc
Here's the math I'm using. TSI charges $26.99 + $5 dry loop fee = $31.99 for 75GB

If I get 3 lines that totals $95.97 + tax and 4 lines would be $127.96 +

If I could get 720p, I would probably divert $50 of the $90 I currently spend on satellite tv and use netflix for movies.

Admittedly, that's not cheap, but it would be functional. Acceptable tv & functional internet for about $50-$60 more a month than I'm spending right now.

fxs

join:2011-10-19
l3r
reply to Guspaz
said by Guspaz:

said by DKS:

Much lower monthly fees. I pay $57/mo for my cell phone with all whistles and bells; talk,text and data. No phone lines, no multiple modems and no headaches. Proved technology to the point of almost being plug and play. The phone is a wireless hotspot. I can go anywhere on my property and use it. No, streaming video would be nuts, but there are always trade offs.

Say what now? You pay $57 per month for 1.5 megabit speed and a 6GB cap. OP likely pays $30 for 1.5 megabit speed (possibly a $5 dry loop fee) and a 300GB cap. Please explain how paying more for less saves money...

You're doing a terrible job explaining why the OP should pay twice as much to downgrade from DSL and give up streaming video because of the massive cap reduction.

Stay chill -- he was just offering an alternative and graciously sharing his experience.

And yes, if the OP is also paying for a cell phone plan with data, he would pay less by dropping DSL and maybe his analog based home phone line too. Having said that, this (comparing DSL with/without MLPPP vs Cell Data/booster/hotspot) is apples vs oranges. DSL (if available) wins hands down. Using 3G Cell data is poor substitute to proper broadband internet. I have a Linksys wifi AP/router (cottage "hotspot") with an internet stick connected to a wilson trucker antenna mounted on poll at my cottage located where cell service is OK (about 50ft from the dwelling). Does the job when we're there and it was fun getting it to work. Runs a hacked version of ddwrt. While I sometimes get 2-3MB/s up/down out of it, the latency and cap and general stability is poor compared with DSL. This is a similar "architecture" to DKS but much lower capital cost ( $75).

DKS's solution or other 3G roll your own internet is sensible if you don't have DSL available which is the case for many areas even today, I think. If you have DSL, then cell data (maybe excluding LTE) makes no sense as a full time internet access solution. DKS's setup maybe justified in that it provides better cell coverage indoors for cell calling and backup internet for those times your primary provider is down.

fxs

join:2011-10-19
l3r
reply to Esc
said by Esc:

Here's the math I'm using. TSI charges $26.99 + $5 dry loop fee = $31.99 for 75GB

If I get 3 lines that totals $95.97 + tax and 4 lines would be $127.96 +

If I could get 720p, I would probably divert $50 of the $90 I currently spend on satellite tv and use netflix for movies.

Admittedly, that's not cheap, but it would be functional. Acceptable tv & functional internet for about $50-$60 more a month than I'm spending right now.

My recommendation would be to try it using the two lines you have now before going "all in". The WRT54GL with tomato/mlppp should be fine to push 3MB/s via MLPPP so the only additional piece of equipment you would need to try this would be a cheap DSL modem ($15 or so).

I used tomato/mlppp on a WRT54GL for years and it was simple to setup and use (this was a couple of years ago now though).


Guspaz
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reply to Esc
I think he only has one DSL line at the moment now, though. So rather than trying to schedule multiple Bell tech visits and installs, it makes sense to pick the number first and then order them all.
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Esc
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That's my view, especially since TSI has a deal on the setup if I order before the end of the month. I think it's $30 off per line, so, if order 3 lines the $90 I save will pay for most of the hardware. I'm not sure if there will be any savings on the bell side, but I would hope so.

If nothing else, there's less risk of messing up the install each and every time.

Any recommendations for the tp-link modems for this setup?

And to make sure I understand the state of tomato firmware, you're saying that none of the N routers will work for mlppp?