Recently I had this question filter down into my inbox:

I read several Lockergnome reports every day and find them immensely useful. Maybe with all your expertise or one of you colleagues can help with this problem.

I have been trying to get high speed internet service at my vacation cabin for more than 5 years. SBC (now AT&T) won’t provide it because the wiring in my neighborhood is sub-standard. (Note, I can only get 40-44 kbs on dialup). I’m about 13,000 ft from the central office which has DSL equipment. Comcast won’t provide it because my house doesn’t fit the franchise agreement criteria. I am one house beyond “the criteria.” (And they want to charge me $75,000 to cable). I tried writing to my state and federal legislators for help with very poor results. Let me tell you that this house is not in the wilderness or way out in the country, but just 2 miles from downtown Guerneville, CA.

Got any suggestions on how to proceed next?

When I first got this, I immediately had one thought that came to mind. Unfortunately it is not only a long shot, it is also a real pain in the butt to set up as well.

This person that wrote in could if he was feeling bold enough, contact a neighbor from the side of the neighborhood that does receive high speed Internet and offer to share the cost of the connection. Now comes the part where you get to violate an ISP’s TOS agreement. Understand that I am not necessarily condoning this action or then again, I really don’t object to it either. As a matter of fact, if it happens to be Comcast that is the ISP in question, I’d consider driving down to help violate their TOS. Comcast can bite me. Anyway…

So you establish that you would be sharing a connection with this chosen neighbor. After dropping a large sum of cash into their unmarked Swiss bank account, you begin working out the best options for outdoor wifi antenna placement. Do you go with directional or omnidirectional setup? Will you have to bulldoze that small shed in the neighbor’s yard to get a better signal? As you can see, going with a shared signal from the neighbors in the broadband safe haven might not be a really viable or realistic solution.

Ok, so what’s left? Satellite is not going to happen, right? I mean we have all heard horror stories about Directway. Well, perhaps its time to look into Wildblue? And yes, it will require some green up front for pro service. But I am going to quote one of the best descriptions of the performance difference between Wildblue and Direcway:

“Wildblue operates in the Ka band which suffers more from rain than Ku band. Wildblue however is deliberately designed with proper fade margins and rain fade mitigation features so as to give a satisfactory service. A poorly installed and marginal Ku band system is worse that a properly designed and installed Ka band system. An attractive feature of these Ka band terminals is that installation to a high quality is possible with less time and effort required than for the larger dish Ku band systems.”

So how does this break down? In rain or in clear weather you will see better performance and less latency even with the Ka band – pure and simple. So even with the Ka band rain issue, you are still better off than with Directway’s Ku band. Wildblue is also a much easier set-up in addition to not outsourcing their tech support; like Directway.

Now obviously there are a zillion different factors that can offer you terrible performance regardless of the Sat provider chosen. And rain will affect things to some extent regardless of the provider. But the fact that Wildblue offers a very big link margin, I’d go with Wildblue Pro service. You will have broadband both up and down, in addition to enjoying great service that I have heard at times is comparable to a land-based connection.

[tags]sbc,dialup,terms of service,satellite internet,directway,isps,wildblue,dsl equipment[/tags]