Internet .... at last!

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susiedillon
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Internet .... at last!

Post by susiedillon » Sat Nov 14, 2009 3:20 pm

I felt that I should post this since it may be of help to someone else who suffers the same Internet withdrawal that we have been suffering out here in the 'campo'.

When I last posted I mentioned that I had no Internet connection at home here in the foothills of the Andes, nor do we have phone service. This has made our first couple of years here a little more complicated than they might have been. BUT (and it is a big "but") we have finally cracked the code. This week we purchased a Banda Ancha Movil USB thingy (I think it is technically known as a 'dongle') Since we have a very weak cellphone signal at the end of out garden, we rigged up an old satellite dish in that location and pointed it more or less in the direction from which we believe the signals come. Next we attached the dongle to the arm of the dish. Apparently this amplifies the weak signal somewhat and directs it back at the dongle. And then we attached the dongle to the laptop with a 4 foot long USB extension cable (this may be harder to get in Chile - I had one from home) . Et voila! We have a reliable (so far) signal ... This is a huge step for us, even though we have to drape ourselves with old curtains to be able to see the screen clearly outdoors and no doubt are a great source of amusement to our Chilean neighbours, the bottom line is that we are connected now. Have not tried to Skype yet, but ever the optimist, I have hopes that it will work with the signal we have. The internet connection is not lightening fast but it is a lot faster than many Internet cafes that we have used.

The Banda Ancha Movil that we purchased was a pre-pago version (we do not yet have our Permanencia Definitiva so can not sign up for a contract which would, of course, be a much cheaper way to go) and as someone else has mentioned in this forum, the prepago version is harder to find - we got ours at Ripley, but apparently it is available in La Polar, Corona, and ABCDin - perhaps others too. Movistar do not sell the prepago version in their stores but said that once we have our Permanencia, we can convert to a reasonably priced contract that is available for as little as a six-month period. This apparently is because we already "own" the equipment and so the contract can be shorter. This I will believe when it happens!!! But for now we have Banda Ancha illimitada for about 35,000 pesos per month. Around $2 per day ... worth every penny, I'd say.

Anyway, I hope this is of some help to someone. Cheers... its good to be back in Chile, and good to be in touch with the outside world.

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RuneTheChookcha
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Re: Internet .... at last!

Post by RuneTheChookcha » Sat Nov 14, 2009 4:03 pm

Ja-ja-ja, that's great!.. :alien:
susiedillon wrote:And then we attached the dongle to the laptop with a 4 foot long USB extension cable (this may be harder to get in Chile - I had one from home) .
You know what, I use two USB extension cables (about 3.5 meters -- together) to connect my cell phone, that I use as a modem, for I need to fix the phone just under the roof (about 2.5 m above the floor) to get a cell signal. :)

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allegro
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Re: Internet .... at last!

Post by allegro » Sat Nov 14, 2009 4:36 pm

Are you in the central region? We are also out in the campo if you will and use Entel BAM. The connection is pretty decent most of the time, although it's not 3G (yet?? I hope!) and on weekends it's incredibly slow since we are next to a big touristy destination. I keep hoping to find a way to get some sort of line in here but I imagine it costs a fortune :-/ I recently ordered Vonage and whenever my jack arrives I am going to see how it runs on this, although I suspect I'll have to keep it in the city for now. FWIW, Entel 3G in the city is pretty much as fast and reliable as our VTR connection. More reliable, really.

Tombi
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Re: Internet .... at last!

Post by Tombi » Sat Nov 14, 2009 5:23 pm

That was so fun to read! Reminds me of my time in Botswana when we had Bushmail (An email system that worked with High Frequency Radio signals that was bounced off the ionosphere). The instruction manual (was a hilarious read in itself) solemnly explained that you need a tall palm tree (the wild variety that grows in the Okavango) to attach the reception dish to and when the emails doesn't work, the most likely issue after bad weather is that an elephant probably rubbed up on your palm tree and the dish moved or worse, the elephant pushed your tree over and the dish is on the ground. With what to do to remedy the situation following! :lol:

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T_ROBO
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Re: Internet .... at last!

Post by T_ROBO » Sat Nov 14, 2009 6:01 pm

Well, at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston, there is this famous large satellite dish in front of a communication building with a rectangular trash can attached to the center of the dish and pointing upward. Legends were that an engineer was frustrated with the bad reception and started to experiment to imrprove it, and eventually found this trash-can solution that significantly improved the reception :D .
TP

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zer0nz
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Re: Internet .... at last!

Post by zer0nz » Sat Nov 14, 2009 6:07 pm

No longer relevant

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RuneTheChookcha
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Re: Internet .... at last!

Post by RuneTheChookcha » Sat Nov 14, 2009 7:53 pm

Tombi wrote:you need a tall palm tree
Ja-ja-ja! I used a tall bamboo pole (I posted earlier about that) initially, so I was sitting outdoors with my laptop, but then the rain season started.. The rains in the IX region, you know.. :alien:

Well, if you don't know -- this is water. From the sky. Much water, really. All becomes wet.. :)

So, I was forced to move inside, and eventually found a location for my phone. That was funny.

susiedillon
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Re: Internet .... at last!

Post by susiedillon » Sun Nov 15, 2009 4:02 pm

48 hours later...
Yes, we have tested it and Skype and VOIPStunt both work well with this system ( by the way, we are located in the Central Valley about 30 kms east of Curico towards the mountains). Our neighbours, who had almost no cell phone signal at all, have tried our system and it works for them too. They, like us , are super-happy to be on-line at last. So now all we have to do is somehow extend the USB cable to about 25 metres, so we can have the Internet in our house ... but that may be too much to hope for. And there is probably going to be too much signal loss for it to be a success but if anyone has any recommendations, I am all ears, as they say !!!

As for the garbage can and the Pringles can ... maybe we will give those a try ... tho' I can't say that I have seen Pringles here but Jumbo is full of surprises.

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zer0nz
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Re: Internet .... at last!

Post by zer0nz » Sun Nov 15, 2009 5:34 pm

No longer relevant

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zer0nz
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Re: Internet .... at last!

Post by zer0nz » Sun Nov 15, 2009 6:32 pm

No longer relevant

susiedillon
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Re: Internet .... at last!

Post by susiedillon » Mon Nov 16, 2009 4:16 pm

Thanks, ZerOnz! One of these two options might just be the answer to our prayers. Will try to make a trip to Santiago to go in to see Blackbox in person. Just to be sure that all the elements work together. But the wireless router sounds like an excellent idea too. I will post when I have succeeded in "moving my Internet cafe from the river bank to the comfort of my study" ... note the confidence that I have in the calibre of your expertise ! Thanks again for your suggestions.

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