dslreports logo
site
 
    All Forums Hot Topics Gallery
spc

spacer




how-to block ads


Search Topic:
uniqs
3120
share rss forum feed

goney

join:2014-05-05
USA

Rural Fiber connection questions

Hello,
I am trying to get better internet to my family's farm. We currently use a company that provides full-time wireless (4G, I think) to a modem provided by them that has a card from Sprint. When it works, it is okay (around 1.5 mb/s), but it only works for 10 minutes, then disconnects for 1-2 minutes, works for 10 min, disconnects for 1-2, etc. In short, it isn't much better than dialup.

We live too far for cable - around 4 miles away at the nearest. The nearest DSL DSLAM is about 4 miles away (we are about 1000 feet beyond the necessary range), and we have been on a waiting list with CenturyLink for about 10 years, and they refuse to extend it, even if we offer to pay for it. T1 rates we have been quoted start at around $600/mo for 1.5 mb/s.

However, we have a cell phone tower about a quarter mile away, and it is supplied with a fiber connection by a middle-mile provider. I contacted them and explained our problem, and they agreed to supply me with something called "fiber ethernet" with 3 mb/s for around $500. It seemed like a T1, but my contact says it is similar, but different. They would be running a fiber line directly to our office.

My questions are:

1. Is this type of connection (fiber ethernet) good enough to run SIP lines? (The reason I ask is that converting our company's phone system from analog lines to SIP would save money and help partially offset the high cost of the new internet connection. Even though we live in the sticks, we own a pretty advanced office phone system that can handle not just analog, but also PRI and SIP lines).

2. Would this connection be fast enough for HD video streaming?

3. How is the latency of this type of connection?

uniden9

join:2009-08-04
Birmingham, AL
Sounds like a metro ethernet type of connection. I have never seen one that low before, usually they want 10mbps minimum. The speed should have the same latency of a ethernet connection. 150ms. You get huge delays for the two parties can hear what was said. On the HD streaming, you might be able to do one, but this too will play havoc with sip. Netflix recommend 5mbps for HD streaming. »help.netflix.com/en/node/306 . HD stream requirements can vary from device to device. We have a bunch of HD ip security cameras across our company and you can watch one over a T1. Its not that big of deal because the image basically doesn't change that much, so its highly compressed and not the highest bit stream to begin with.

You will have to do QOS on your edge router, inbound and outbound, and it will help a lot, with regards to sip. But you will still get inrushes from time to time, before the qos kicks in, and it will effect the latency momentarily. Sip is extremely sensitive to latency and packets are received in order. It doesn't use much bandwidth, 8-10k per call using G729. Most of your business sip providers use mpls network to deliver the sip, and its running qos on both end of the circuit, since the 3mbps circuit is the limiting media. This prevents inrush problems. 500 dollars seems pretty good for a 3mb service, especially given where you are located. I have 1Gbps fiber ethernet bridge connection to our holding company, across town and it runs around $7000/mo and 100mbps metro ethernet internet service which runs around $1200/mo, both are on rings. I am in large city, and do have the luxury of having the fiber already terminated in the building by AT&T and TW Telecom. $500/mo with fiber construction/build out sound like a good deal.


goney

join:2014-05-05
USA
Thanks for the info. It sounds like I need to find out more about the latency before I move forward. Although $500/mo is fine with me, it took a lot of effort to get the family to agree, and they are likely to balk if I cannot accounting for some savings from converting to SIP.

Interestingly, one of the T1 providers I previously turned down just contacted me today offering a 1.5 mb/s T1 for $350/mo. I may have to reconsider the fiber since I know the low-latency T1 can handle SIP as I had a similar setup at an office I worked for, and if I cannot stream HD video, then I'm not sure I can justify the extra $150/mo price tag.

Essentially, here is how I am calculating the math for the monthly costs that I am considering:

CURRENT: Wireless internet @ 1.5 mb/s intermittent ($90) + analog lines (4 @ $40) + long distance (~$100) = $250

FIBER: Fiber ethernet @ 3.0 mb/s good ($500) + sip lines with unlimited LD (4 @ $25) = $600

T1: T1 line @ 1.5 mb/s great ($350) + sip lines with unlimited LD (4 @ $25) = $450

danielholt

join:2013-04-22
Wake Forest, NC
reply to goney
I think the price is crazy for 3mbps, who is the provider? They should be offering 10mbps at a minimal for $500-600/mo.

With all the rural broadband stimulus money going around, I would shop around. Sometimes cell towers have mutliple fiber providers... see if your telco has a fiber there.

At the very least, I would negotiate with that fiber provider and see if they would do 10mbps for the 500 a mo... remember that business lines are often never set in stone, there is ALWAYS room for added value or lower pricing.

goney

join:2014-05-05
USA
I agree that the price is crazy. Unfortunately, the only options available to me are the ones I listed. I contacted about a dozen T1 providers, and only 1 was less than $900 a month for a $1.5 mb/s connection. Some were $2-3K per month. I'm guessing that the fiber provider (Sho Me Technologies) priced out T1 connections in the area and are offering service at a slight discount to those. Their original quote was a 1.5 mb/s fiber connection for $450, about $150 less that the lowest T1 available to me (until yesterday). It is tough to negotiate when the other side already knows that they are cheaper that the alternatives.

The new $350/mo T1 option is offered by CenturyLink, the same company that won't run a DSL to our road.

Interesting that you bring up the stimulus. The fiber connection to the nearby cell tower was likely paid for by stimulus money, as Sho-Me Technologies participated in the stimulus to build out a fiber network to serve cell towers in SW Missouri. I actually consider myself somewhat lucky to have a fiber connection nearby.

Unfortunately for those of us who live in rural areas, the politicians who allocated stimulus funds have been convinced by providers that wireless = wired in terms of quality of connection, and that is where the money was spent. Thus, the carriers are not really bringing broadband to rural areas - they are just expanding mobile coverage networks, and offering us rural customers the ability to connect to an unreliable wireless data network while calling it broadband. How unreliable? it took me 20 minutes to type this reply because I lost the connection twice, and the tower is a quarter mile away in a direct line of sight.

mj3431

join:2003-04-21
STL, MO
Reviews:
·Charter

1 edit
I have two PTP circuits provided by Sho-Me and have been with them for nearly a decade. Ethernet over fiber is pretty common and you should see much lower than 150ms latency with Sho-Me. One of my loops is ~50 miles to a hand off in STL and the other is nearly 100 miles and is usually 3-5ms.

Are they providing you DIA (Direct Internet Access) or just transport to a carrier hotel where you can get cheap bandwidth? They'll likely peer your connection in Springfield or they could route you through STL depending on your exact location in the network. We have no issues with SIP on their connections and have over 40 phones at one of the connected locations.

At 3mbps you'll want to stay away from HD video and be sure to implement proper QoS but I think you'd be happy getting services from them. While I can't talk specific pricing, I would bet when push came to shove you can do better on the speed for the price you were quoted. I wouldn't think 10-20mbps is
out of line, especially on a multi-year contract. That being said, nobody has ever touched them on pricing in my dealings with them over the years, and they do need to cover construction costs. You might consider a base multi-year contract with bandwidth upgrade options spelled out up front. This enables them to cover the construction costs and ensures you have an upgrade path.

Good luck!

goney

join:2014-05-05
USA
mj3431,
Thank you for the endorsement on Sho-Me. It's nice to hear from someone who already has service with them. It sounds like my fears about their latency may have been overstated. My rep with them also told me they have a lot of clients using SIP, but you probably know how salesmen are when it comes to reliable info.

I'll ask about their intentions toward using third party carriers. I had their engineer out to our farm to evaluate the installation a few days ago. It hadn't occurred to me to check if power lines came directly to our office. They don't - they are buried for the last 500 feet from the road. This means they will need to dig a trench (about 30 inches deep per the engineer). I don't think this was considered in the quote I got earlier, so they may (or may not) be asking me to ante up $$$ for the install. If they do, that may push me to the T1 from the telco.

As it stands, I intend to renegotiate, to see if I can get a bump, up to perhaps 5-10 mb/s in the connection for the same price. If they stand pat, I'll likely choose the T1 anyway, as the more I've thought about it, I cannot justify the extra $150/mo just to go from 1.5 to 3.0 mb/s.

mj3431

join:2003-04-21
STL, MO
Reviews:
·Charter
If most of the digging is on your property they may allow you to open the trench for them. It could save you a fair amount of labor.

I really don't think you can compare a T-1 to the potential of fiber. Once it is in the ground bandwidth upgrades are just a phone call away, and the price will fall as they recover the construction costs. My contracts have consistently been lower, for more bandwidth each time around. I wouldn't be concerned with SIP necessarily, but choosing a provider with a good route from you may make a difference in the experience.

danielholt

join:2013-04-22
Wake Forest, NC
said by mj3431:

If most of the digging is on your property they may allow you to open the trench for them. It could save you a fair amount of labor.

I really don't think you can compare a T-1 to the potential of fiber. Once it is in the ground bandwidth upgrades are just a phone call away, and the price will fall as they recover the construction costs. My contracts have consistently been lower, for more bandwidth each time around. I wouldn't be concerned with SIP necessarily, but choosing a provider with a good route from you may make a difference in the experience.

I agree with this, I would negotiate the fiber connection, and skip the copper. Do it right the first time, just remember in 10 years that copper line will be worth more in scrap metal, than in the ground.

danielholt

join:2013-04-22
Wake Forest, NC
reply to goney
updates, please

toyotabedrok

join:2014-05-28
us
reply to goney
Are they charging you for a speed capped connection or based on usage like they do at a data center. When you host a server 3mbps would be 960GB in each direction.

At the prices you are talking about I would approach one of the people who lives near the DSLAM and pay them to let you setup a long range wifi connection.

Homedepot lets you rent trench diggers btw. They are easy to use.

goney

join:2014-05-05
USA
reply to danielholt
There isn't much yet to update. Sho-Me is VERY slow to get back to me. They had an engineer come out to look at our ranch a couple of weeks ago. We had a problem in that the power lines go underground about 500 feet from our office. He said they need to dig a trench for the fiber over that distance, and they would get back to me.

After a couple of weeks of waiting, my rep contacted me to say the quote went up to $1500 per month, but she wasn't clear whether the difference was just the new trench or if it also includes more work on the poles than they originally intended. I suspect they misquoted the original, since $1K per month for a 3-year contract is $36K, an enormous estimate for burying fiber about 500 feet over open ground that we own completely.

I asked if we could go back to the original quote if I dug the trench (we own both a full-size backhoe and a trencher at our ranch), and we paid for and installed the conduit and fiber from the pole to my office (they would splice into it), if that would get back to the original quoted price. She said she would find out, but has not yet gotten back to me.

Regardless of the advantages of fiber over T1, there is absolutely no way I would be willing or able to pay more than $500 a month for the connection.

goney

join:2014-05-05
USA

1 edit
reply to toyotabedrok
Click for full size
said by toyotabedrok:

Are they charging you for a speed capped connection or based on usage like they do at a data center. When you host a server 3mbps would be 960GB in each direction

I believe it is a speed capped connection. My rep told me they have no monthly bandwidth cap on the connection.

Wifi to the DSLAM is impossible. This is a very mountainous area, with two mountains between me and the nearest DSLAM. A better possiblity is for me to do Wifi to the cell tower, as it is maybe a quarter to half mile away in a direct line of site. I don't know who owns it, but I know it isn't Sho-me. They just provide fiber to it. The picture shows the tower as seen from our office building.

goney

join:2014-05-05
USA
I actually went out and counted the poles from the tower to where it would start underground (assuming the plan was to string it on the same poles as the power lines, which already exist on the property). There are 5 poles between the cell tower and the underground location, with the following distances between them:

Pole 1: 300 feet
Pole 2: 321 feet
Pole 3: 215 feet
Pole 4: 347 feet
Pole 5: 438 feet

Total Distance: 1621 feet

I'm not sure what fiber cost to run over that distance, but it shouldn't be too much as I have been pricing fiber to run between houses on our property, with an estimate for 2000 feet of armored fiber (just the fiber, not installation) costing less than $1k. I don't know what it costs to string it along the poles, but it can't be too much.


Killa200
Premium
join:2005-12-02
Southeast TN
Reviews:
·Charter
said by goney:

I don't know what it costs to string it along the poles, but it can't be too much.

For 1600 ft of fiber and strand, materials and labor is about $4500 plus pole space MRC.

CornCobb

join:2013-09-06

1 edit
reply to goney
FWIW, I had something similar done in December. My post is somewhere on this board. I think it sounds fairly expensive too at 3Mbps for $500, and $1500 is just plain crazy. I was able to get 100Mbps at just under $1k to a barn around 1/3mi from the fiber plant running down the road nearby. Been great for the family and business. Speeds are entirely dependend on where you're connecting. But from Ohio to our SIP provider in Colorado, 4-5ms is average. 10ms when things get slow. Good luck.

goney

join:2014-05-05
USA
Well, back to the drawing board. Sho-me is officially not going to work out for me.

They only came down in price to $1200/mo if I dug the trench. I asked about the cost if I arranged a wifi connection with the tower company, thus effectively ZERO build-out costs to Sho-Me since they already provided fiber to the tower. She said the price would still be $1100/mo, even with zero buildout.

I asked her to reconcile that with the original $500/mo quote, and the conversation just started going in circles. She said they need to recover buildout - I reminded her that there is no buildout - she started throwing out generic terms like "last mile" costs, etc. I finally gave up, as it seemed evident to me that she either didn't know or she lost interest when it was clear that I wouldn't be willing to pay the $1000+/mo price.

From the company's reputation here on the board that I have read about, I assume that ShoMe offers competitive pricing on a high bandwidth (100 mb or greater) connection, but they are simply unaffordable for a modest internet connection as I was considering.

Or perhaps they just determined that they don't want to bother with my situation and threw out a high price to drive me away. Given that taxpayers footed the bill for a lot of their fiber buildout in the area, the whole situation is very frustrating.

mj3431

join:2003-04-21
STL, MO
Reviews:
·Charter

1 recommendation

I hate to break it to you but providing internet access to private customers was never a goal of the project.

"The project will connect approximately 100 community anchor institutions, including schools, libraries, government facilities, healthcare providers and higher learning institutions."

"Who are the anchor institutions?
The NTIA has described Community Anchor Institutions (CAI) as consisting of schools, libraries, medical and healthcare providers, public safety entities, community colleges, and other institutions of higher education and other community support organizations and entities."
Link: »www.shometech.com/sho-me-mo/faqs/

Perhaps it is frustrating that they're not able to connect you at a rate you deem affordable, but don't forget that without this build it wouldn't even be an option. With other providers being 4 miles from you it is still certainly cheaper than other comparable options.

Perhaps it is time to think about a wireless link to somewhere with a faster connection...

goney

join:2014-05-05
USA
I think you misunderstand. I'm not upset with Sho-Me specifically - I don't feel they have any special obligation to cater to my needs.

However, your quote about the Sho-Me/NTIA project grant is misleading. Connecting Anchor Institution was not the primary goal of the grant. The main goal was to connect rural communities, and only a part of that was connecting 'Anchor institutions'. Another part of that main goal was to improve internet access to private individual households and businesses:

»www2.ntia.doc.gov/grantee/sho-me···gies-llc
Once completed, the network could provide affordable and accessible broadband service for up to 260,000 households and 66,000 businesses by enabling local Internet service providers to utilize the project’s open network to extend and improve their offerings.

Granted, supplying individual households and businesses, as the site quotes, was intended to be a task of third-party ISPs working with Sho-Me, not Sho-Me directly working with customers. Hence, that is why I am not frustrated with Sho-Me. They tried to help, but it didn't work out. Indeed, I'll be the first to admit that they made more of an effort to help than the other providers I have talked to.

I'm just expressing frustration in general. It's tough to see a fiber connection a few hundred yards from our property, paid for mostly with taxpayer funds, and we cannot get reasonably priced internet even if we pay thousands of dollars out of pocket to complete the connection to our property.

mj3431

join:2003-04-21
STL, MO
Reviews:
·Charter
You might consider posting over in Wireless Service Providers or Wireless Users forum to see if there's a local wireless provider on that tower that can provide a better service than what you're currently getting. For what you're willing to pay you may even be able to convince one to put gear there to expand an existing footprint if they can immediately gain your service. I'd certainly ask for 10/10 or higher bandwidth though for $500/mo. If configured properly it will be just as reliable as a T1 and faster to boot.

I've had multiple buildings connected via wireless for over a decade and it can be very reliable if properly configured and installed. Even my own home is connected via a wireless link and I stream video and use VoIP as my primary phone.

goney

join:2014-05-05
USA
Thanks for the advice, but given my experiences with multiple wireless services, there is no way I would consider committing to a wireless service at a price anywhere near $500/mo. In that price range, it's wired or nothing at all.

I've already made up my mind to go with the T1 I mentioned earlier. It's a terrible value and much more than I want to pay, but I at least know that I'll get a reliable connection with it, and it will buy me a couple of years to see if I can lobby for a more economical connection in the area.