Internet in Rural areas

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UKinChile
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Internet in Rural areas

Post by UKinChile » Fri Jun 05, 2020 6:26 pm

Hello,

I am looking for some advice on internet access in the south. I have a parcela in an area with very little phone signal and people living in the area say their internet is patchy. Does anyone know if/how it is possible to get decent access?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers!

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tiagoabner
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Re: Internet in Rural areas

Post by tiagoabner » Fri Jun 05, 2020 7:02 pm

It depends mostly on where exactly you are living. If you're too far out in the bush to the point where you can't even get a cell phone signal, it's likely that there won't be cable or fiber in the area. There are a bunch of companies that offer satellite internet in Chile, with different prices. I'm not linking any of them here, as I'm not affiliated with them, but you can search for "internet satelital chile" on Google to get multiple options.

It looks like monthly prices start at about 50.000 Chilean pesos for somewhere close to civilization, and I've seen up to $250.000 quoted for places far out in the bush. You'll most likely also need to pay a set-up fee.
I'm NOT your lawyer, accountant or financial planner. All information at this post should be considered for your entertainment only. Consult a professional before making a decision regarding whatever topic was mentioned in this post.

Kel
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Re: Internet in Rural areas

Post by Kel » Fri Jun 05, 2020 7:06 pm

We live on a lake with no road or internet. Between us and internet, there are some low mountains over a distance over 10 miles.

How we solved the problem was to put in a series of repeaters from town, where there is fiber-optic internet, to where we live. We have three repeaters. The third is solar powered. The other two are hardwired to power. We are providing free internet and paying our "friends" in exchange for letting us put small towers on their land. This gives us very fast internet which we are sharing with other friends on the lake. The installation has more than paid for itself because I am able to work from this remote location.

Satellite internet is also available but was too slow and expensive for our needs.

In a year or two, you might be able to get StarLink internet.

If you have a weak cell signal, it is possible to get a large cell antenna and an Amplifier. That was our initial solution but it wasn't fast enough for work. We still have it, though, and it is a good back up when our primary internet goes down. We used a Wilson Amplifier.
Taking aim from the grassy knoll...

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tiagoabner
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Re: Internet in Rural areas

Post by tiagoabner » Fri Jun 05, 2020 7:24 pm

Kel wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 7:06 pm
We live on a lake with no road or internet. Between us and internet, there are some low mountains over a distance over 10 miles.

How we solved the problem was to put in a series of repeaters from town, where there is fiber-optic internet, to where we live. We have three repeaters. The third is solar powered. The other two are hardwired to power. We are providing free internet and paying our "friends" in exchange for letting us put small towers on their land. This gives us very fast internet which we are sharing with other friends on the lake. The installation has more than paid for itself because I am able to work from this remote location.

Satellite internet is also available but was too slow and expensive for our needs.

In a year or two, you might be able to get StarLink internet.

If you have a weak cell signal, it is possible to get a large cell antenna and an Amplifier. That was our initial solution but it wasn't fast enough for work. We still have it, though, and it is a good back up when our primary internet goes down. We used a Wilson Amplifier.
Can you please tell us more about how much your solution cost? I'm really interested in learning more about it. Any resources to read more are also appreciated.
I'm NOT your lawyer, accountant or financial planner. All information at this post should be considered for your entertainment only. Consult a professional before making a decision regarding whatever topic was mentioned in this post.

mem
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Re: Internet in Rural areas

Post by mem » Fri Jun 05, 2020 8:59 pm

UKinChile wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 6:26 pm
Hello,

I am looking for some advice on internet access in the south. I have a parcela in an area with very little phone signal and people living in the area say their internet is patchy. Does anyone know if/how it is possible to get decent access?

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Cheers!
In the south campo, cellular internet is going to be the best bet if you can get it working.

The trick is to figure out where the towers are and who owns the towers. You can use an open signal app to map towers.
The main providers in Chile are

Entel
Movistar
Claro

One of those most likely is the "best" one depending on your specific location. If someone says they have "bad phone signal" you gotta qualify which network they have and are on

There are tier two virtual providers like WOM but they actually use the movistar network and towers (called an MVNO) so you need to focus on the tier 1 network operators

If you can find someone that has an entel 4g stick or a movistar 4g router you can ask them to borrow it...take it the place and plug it in and connect up with a laptop to see how it is. Chances are either entel or movistar will give the best speed...but if they dont then likely claro will be better there.
Another thing I have seen is people put up a tower and use an external antenna on their 4g router...like 30-50ft up. That can help a lot and make cellular viable

If all three are dead then man you must really be remote like Puerto Natales remote

If you can't get any cellular to work...then satellite is a possibility but the latency will be so so bad by design. Ok for email but not much else. People dont understand how important latency is versus bandwidth. It may not even be worth the cost/hassle

For us we had to turn down lots and lots of places becasue of internet. When we looked at places I was right there with my 4g routers and checking signal strength per carrier, considering router placement, etc

Another challenge is getting a 4g internet plan as a temporary resident. You may be stuck with overpriced prepaid unless you can find a Chilean buddy or 3 to each get you a data contract on entel, movistar, and claro.

If more than one works it's worth it. When there is a storm and the entel tower got hit by a tree likely thr movistar tower is still rolling and vice versa. If you have kids or a wife that wants to stream media all day while you are trying to work it's nice to put them on 1 4g router and you use a different one on a different network, etc

If you are already locked into a specific location then options are limited, but if you still have flexibility to choose your campo location you definitely want to prioritize internet access just as much as grid or water availabilty

Rhodolite
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Re: Internet in Rural areas

Post by Rhodolite » Sat Jun 06, 2020 12:08 am

Geonet in Talca provides excellent internet service. I don't know their coverage area. Geonet has competition, a company called HughesNet. I have no experience with HughesNet.

Kel
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Re: Internet in Rural areas

Post by Kel » Wed Jun 10, 2020 10:58 am

tiagoabner wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 7:24 pm
Can you please tell us more about how much your solution cost? I'm really interested in learning more about it. Any resources to read more are also appreciated.
We used Ubiquity Wi-Fi radios such as this: https://www.ui.com/airmax/powerbeam-ac-gen2/ They aren't that expensive. Each one costs about $110 US on Amazon. You can also get them in Santiago for a bit more. What radio you use depends on the distance you need, interference from trees and speed you need.

( https://www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-PowerBe ... 177&sr=8-3).

To make a relay, they must be connected through a switch. For a simple relay station, we used the Ubiquity Edge router: https://www.ui.com/edgemax/edgerouter-x/ You can get this on Amazon for $60 US

The basic idea is that the relay has two antennas. One for downrange and one for up range and they are connected through a switch. The switch provides power and routes the signal. The antennas at a relay station can be separated by about 200 feet, if needed. The distance you can send a wi-fy signal seems only to be limited by the curvature of the earth and obstructions such as mountains. Our long run between two antennas is about 5 miles.

There are three layers to a relay:
1) The radio connection layer (Pointing the antennas at each other and aligning them and getting them to talk)
2) The networking layer (Setting up the wi-fi networking parameters)
3) The power supply (Solar, if no other power source is available) That is another discussion all in itself.

The cost will obviously depend on how many relay stations you use and what kind of power supply you need. Doing all the work ourselves, the initial system, including 8 ubiquity radios, 2 solar panels, 4 deep cycle batteries and 4 switches cost about $2500. We have upgraded it considerably since then. For example, we found that in the winter, 2 solar panels were not enough and occasionally we would have days with no internet. So this summer, we upgraded to 4 solar panels and 8 deep cycle batteries. We will see how that works this winter. So far, it hasn't gone down. These are 5 * 4 foot solar panels, by the way.

Its easy to put two antennas up and point them at each other, align them and get them talking. If you struggle with the radio connection layer or the networking layer, you can probably find someone who can remote into your computer connected to the Ubiquity device and have them set it up for you. Part of this should be done before you set them up and have a good internet connection.

Good luck! Its worth it!
Taking aim from the grassy knoll...

Kel
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Re: Internet in Rural areas

Post by Kel » Wed Jun 10, 2020 11:00 am

Kel wrote:
Wed Jun 10, 2020 10:58 am
tiagoabner wrote:
Fri Jun 05, 2020 7:24 pm
Can you please tell us more about how much your solution cost? I'm really interested in learning more about it. Any resources to read more are also appreciated.
We used Ubiquity Wi-Fi radios such as this: https://www.ui.com/airmax/powerbeam-ac-gen2/ They aren't that expensive. Each one costs about $110 US on Amazon. You can also get them in Santiago for a bit more. What radio you use depends on the distance you need, interference from trees and speed you need.

( https://www.amazon.com/Ubiquiti-PowerBe ... 177&sr=8-3).

To make a relay, they must be connected through a switch. For a simple relay station, we used the Ubiquity Edge router: https://www.ui.com/edgemax/edgerouter-x/ You can get this on Amazon for $60 US

The basic idea is that the relay has two antennas. One for downrange and one for up range and they are connected through a switch. The switch provides power and routes the signal. The antennas at a relay station can be separated by about 200 feet, if needed. The distance you can send a wi-fy signal seems only to be limited by the curvature of the earth (I'm not kidding) and obstructions such as mountains. Our long run between two antennas is about 5 miles but you could do 10 if you needed or even more if you were really careful.

There are three layers to a relay:
1) The radio connection layer (Pointing the antennas at each other and aligning them and getting them to talk)
2) The networking layer (Setting up the wi-fi networking parameters)
3) The power supply (Solar, if no other power source is available) That is another discussion all in itself.

The cost will obviously depend on how many relay stations you use and what kind of power supply you need. Doing all the work ourselves, the initial system, including 8 ubiquity radios, 2 solar panels, 4 deep cycle batteries and 4 switches cost about $2500. We have upgraded it considerably since then. For example, we found that in the winter, 2 solar panels were not enough and occasionally we would have days with no internet. So this summer, we upgraded to 4 solar panels and 8 deep cycle batteries. We will see how that works this winter. So far, it hasn't gone down. These are 5 * 4 foot solar panels, by the way.

Its easy to put two antennas up and point them at each other, align them and get them talking. If you struggle with the radio connection layer or the networking layer, you can probably find someone who can remote into your computer connected to the Ubiquity device and have them set it up for you. Part of this should be done before you set them up and have a good internet connection.

Good luck! Its worth it!
Taking aim from the grassy knoll...

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FrankPintor
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Re: Internet in Rural areas

Post by FrankPintor » Thu Jun 25, 2020 5:21 pm

Finally catching up with this topic :-) Mem had excellent information, I agree that if you have mobile 4G service that's the way to go. You can use pretty much any mobile to check service at the location, on Android the application G-NetTrack Lite will tell you about the mobile environment, and on iPhone the field test mode (dial *3001#12345#*) also gives basic information on the frequencies and signal levels (works for Intel-based iPhones, for QC-based iPhones it's hit and miss).

Speedtest is popular for checking latency and uplink / downlink speeds, but it may not give results relevant to the real world since operators tend to have a Speedtest server in the mobile network to give optimal results. A better choice might be nPerf, which uses a bunch of real-world applications to give an evaluation of the network. OpenSignal is another useful application with coverage maps. You can swap SIM cards to check all of the operators.

Looking to the future, there's the prospect of using normal 4G mobile phones with a satellite network (https://www.wired.com/story/your-phone- ... from-space).

Once you decide which operator to use, you should get the very latest possible 4G/5G WiFi router, so you will have the possibility to aggregate bands, use higher-order modulation and MIMO to increase throughput. Fritz, HTC and NetGear have Snapdragon based equipment, and Huawei have some advanced 4G/5G CPEs for example.
Caracas es Caracas. Lo demás es monte y culebra!

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