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What To Do When Broadband is Not An Option?

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the last-twenty-miles-problem dept.

Communications 577

professorguy writes "I've been on the internet since 1984 (back before email addresses had @'s). But it looks like we're coming to the end of an era. From my home, I have 26.4 kbps dial-up access to the internet (you read that right). Since I am a hospital network administrator, it would be nice to do some stuff remotely when I am on 24/7 call. However, no cable or DSL comes anywhere near my house and because of the particular topography of my property (I'm on a heavily-forested, north-facing hillside), satellite is also not available. Heck, cell phones didn't even work here until January. So far, the technical people I've asked all have the same advice for reasonable connectivity: move. Move out of the house my wife and I built and lived in for 20 years. Has it really come to this? Am I doomed to be an internet refugee? Is this really my only option? Do you have an alternative solution for me?"

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Cell? (5, Interesting)

LinuxGeek (6139) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714133)

If you now have a cell tower within range, wouldn't cell phone based broadband be a possibility? Not the fastest, but much better [timeatlas.com] than an analog modem.

Re:Cell? (5, Informative)

rs79 (71822) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714185)

26.4 is the maginc number isn't it? They SAY 28.8 but you don't seem to actually be able to get it.

I live in a fairly remote area, no cable or dsl. I used 26.4 for a decade and was finally able to get sat last xmas and now wireless is available and I'll probably switch to that - faster and cheaper.

But, if I was still stuck in dialupland I'd get a, 2, or 3 more phone lines and bond them together. The latency will be no better but the throuput is better.

I checked the (competant) ISPs around here support this. Yours might.

If you're in Canada look at a "4 wire unloaded circuit" - it's about half the price of a regular phone line. Bell might say they don't have it, but it's a tarrifed item. They do, and must sell it by CRTC regulations.

Re:"4 wire unloaded circuit" (2)

TriCCer (591321) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714467)

What is "4 wire unloaded circuit"? a google search only results in this post.

The Internet, like television, is overrated. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20714241)

Get some good books from your local library. Enroll in some classes at your local university or college. Learn about American history, poltical philosophy, or even a higher level Mathematics class. Write a simply protected mode operating system. For communication purposes, you always have Satellite Internet access and modem over POTS.

Anonymous Coward Sig 2.0:
--
Madonna is like the C programming language.
http://www.madonna.com/ [madonna.com]

Re:Cell? (2, Insightful)

T-Bone-T (1048702) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714435)

I highly doubt he gets 3G. I live in a city of 200,000 and don't have 3G access. Someone living on a mountain that just got cell service several months ago is definitely not going to have 3G. I've heard coverage can be limited even in cities that do have 3G.

Re:Cell? (5, Funny)

Duhavid (677874) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714473)

Come on!

Think outside the box.

Buy the ISP local to you, then mandate service in your area.

Simple, no?

Seems obvious. (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20714141)

What about satellite internet?

Re:Seems obvious. (4, Funny)

FormulaTroll (983794) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714169)

I think you're the one that missed something obvious.

Fixed wireless? (4, Interesting)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714153)

If the problem is simply getting around a hill, maybe you can set up some kind of fixed-position high speed wireless that will relay a satellite link from somewhere with a clear vantage. It doesn't sound easy to set up, but if it's a choice between that and moving...

Re:Fixed wireless? (4, Interesting)

XgD (578260) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714173)

Or a high-speed wireless to a "neighbour" (who may be some distance away) that does have broadband. Pringle's cans are pretty magic.

Re:Fixed wireless? (4, Informative)

arivanov (12034) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714391)

Why pringle cans? If you need it for real work you might as well go for the full monty. These guys http://www.rad.com/ [rad.com] have anything up to Gigabit range and some of their gear in the MB range is relatively cheap. There are a couple of other companies who offer similar gear. We used to use them in the days when I worked in an ex-soviet block country and when 26.4 was the magic number for the whole country, not just a single place on a north facing hill. From there on all you need is a neighbour who will allow you to put a SAT or share a DSL line.

Re:Fixed wireless? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20714249)

ditto. Read the Cringely column (pbs.org/cringely) about his adventures with wireless. Two gems are putting a passive repeater in a tree on top of a mountain (says he knows it's on shaky legal ground but not a lawyer in CA that could find it) and buying DSL for someone he had a line of sight to (people don't like to hear you found their house through a telescope)

Re:Fixed wireless? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20714347)

Cool technology aside, why even bother with a (probably expensive, and powered how?) high-speed wireless link? If the OP has access to the top of the hill then he can run a coax cable to it (1000ft spools for $100) and nail a dish to the south side of a tree. For that matter, the satellite company might even do it for a nominal addition to their standard installation fees.

You mention cellphones (2, Informative)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714159)

Do you mean GSM cellphones? You might be able to get GPRS in that case. (EDGE would be even better!) That should be between 60kbps and 80kbps, which is equivalent or faster than ISDN. It will be more expensive, but since it's for work, you might be able to offset the costs to your employer. Also, did you look into ISDN offerings? Back in the early nineties, we switched to ISDN and it was a different world from dial-up. Frankly... I know some people do not see ISDN as broadband because of the speed, but well, it would improve your connection a lot.

Finally, you say sattelite is not available... How is that possible? Sattelites are are accessible as long as you can position your dish correctly. I have no experience with it, but I don't think you're bound to your local ISPs for that.

For the "selfmade" option, you could perhaps ask a friend in vicinity that has broadband and make a point-to-point connection between his place and yours. That's of course assuming you have a friend in vicinity that has broadband....

Otherwise, yes, move.... But I wouldn't do it either.

Re:You mention cellphones (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20714199)

Read his question more closely. He cannot use satellite because the antenna direction from house to satellite points into side of hill.

ISDN, T1 are potentially viable options.

Re:You mention cellphones (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714213)

Sorry, overlooked that... T1 is a good idea, and I did mention ISDN :-D

Re:You mention cellphones (4, Informative)

the unbeliever (201915) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714205)

Satellite requires a clear view of the southern sky. All the satellites I'm aware of are in geosynchronous orbit around the equator, thus the southern facing requirement. Submitter goes into detail regarding his northern facing hillside dwelling.

Re:You mention cellphones (5, Informative)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714405)

For internet access, you don't want to be using a geostationary satellite, due to latency problems. You want LEO, which typically means a polar orbit and a cloud of satellites which you switch between every few minutes. For TV, latency is not an issue, so most TV satellites are geostationary, which reduces the number you need.

Re:You mention cellphones (1)

jbengt (874751) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714549)

Regardless of want you want, the available nore or less cheap satellite internet (at least here in the US) is from DirecTV or Dish Satellite Network, which do indeed use geosynchronous orbits. (they used to be download only, at least they no longer require a simultaneous dial-up for the upload)
Tracking a low-earth orbit stellite would be a pain also, unless you had much stronger signals allowing omnidirectional receivers. With geosynchronous, you just aim the receiving dish once, and you're set (until it rains hard).

Satellite Reception (4, Informative)

Cheech Wizard (698728) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714305)

"Finally, you say sattelite is not available... How is that possible? Sattelites are are accessible as long as you can position your dish correctly."

I have 5 dishes including one from the 'dark ages' of the 1980's (I still have my old 'BUG' dish). I've been playing with satellite reception for quite a few years. If he lives on the north side of a hill or mountain, the signals would have to travel through the hill, which they don't.

My girl friend tried to get satellite where she lives. It actually does have a southern 'view', but a neighbor's tree is in the way. It's a big tree, but none the less it's enough to block reception. While it is possible that in the winter when the leaves are off the tree she might be able to get decent reception, in the summer there is no way she could get the signal through the leaves on that tree.

It is not simply a matter of aiming a dish. You have to have a clear, unobstructed line of sight to the satellite (which are all equatorial, so in N America you have to have a southern view). This is more problematic the further north one is. The dish has to be aimed lower to catch th satellites so obstructions are more of a problem than in the south.

Re:Satellite Reception (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714329)

Already two people mentioned it. Sorry, I overlooked it and I have no experience with satellite dishes at all. Not even for TV, so please cut me some slack. I know now.... One learns something new every day.....

Here was my solution: (5, Interesting)

Zymergy (803632) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714161)

Strange, I just posted this earlier today! : http://slashdot.org/comments.pl?sid=305523&cid=20712265 [slashdot.org] As an Oklahoma resident, feel lucky if you even get DSL. Until Real Competition occurs, there will be no decent high-speed Internet in most areas outside medium cities. If a small town/rural Oklahoma region has even slow DSL, it is probably because the Law States they must have it order to be the telco monopoly in that area, etc... Though the phone company may claim service is available in my RURAL area, bridge-taps galore and 1970's equipment/wiring make this a non-reality. So.... I got a HAM Radio license, Bought 2 towers and 2 TR-6000 radios (http://www.tranzeo.com/products/radios/TR-6000-Series) with 2 high-gain directional dish antennas and 2 bi-directional amplifiers. Thanks to a strategically purchased rental property IN TOWN ON A HILL, I bridge the connection from its DSL to my home. Normally, the Amps are extreme overkill, but I live in the middle of the Greenbelt of Oklahoma (think dense 30-40ft. Oak Trees) and the Fresnel Zones (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fresnel_zone) are a real bitch with tree leaves. Works like a champ. Why not Satellite, AWFUL Latency and VERY HIGH Prices!

Re:Here was my solution: And it's likely illegal (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20714375)

Umm. I'm a ham. It's Amateur Radio - not commercial. You're not supposed to set up links like this that connect into a commercial network. And, unlike CB radio, where enforcement is nearly non-existent, the FCC and hams can and do police the ham radio bands.

In fact, your announcing this in a public forum may make hams local to where you live rather suspicious. They, and the ARRL, may be on your case sooner than you think.

Re:Here was my solution: And it's likely illegal (1)

ScrewMaster (602015) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714509)

True, although neither other HAM operators nor the ARRL have any enforcement capacity ... about all they can do is ring in the Feds. But you're right, the FCC does take a very dim view of such activities. It sounds like he's out in the sticks, which is probably why nobody has noticed anything.

Once he gets reported he may find himself out in the cold, with a few fines and no broadband to keep him company.

Re:Here was my solution: (2, Funny)

Cheesey (70139) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714395)

Cool. And you can rightly claim to have learned the Morse Code in order to get a decent Internet connection :).

Cell phone service (1)

corvair2k1 (658439) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714163)

If you have cell phone service, does this mean you have full service, as in 3G connectivity? If you have this, you can get an unlimited data plan on your phone and use it to connect to the Internet at something approaching acceptable speeds.

simple (1)

legallyillegal (889865) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714167)

a few woks and you have yourself a wireless receiver... set them up and you can beam in a satellite connection

Talk to Neighbors, spend money... (1)

rthille (8526) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714175)

How close are you to the top of the ridge? How much money do you want to spend? How friendly are you with your neighbors? If you have line of sight to someone else who has line of site to someone else who has HSIPC (high-speed IP connectivity), or even direct line of sight to someone, then you can probably setup a 802.11[bgn] link.

cellular internet, or pay out the nose... (3, Informative)

the unbeliever (201915) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714177)

Well, you can always get a PCMCIA card from one of the big cell companies (I'm a big fan of Verizon's data network, but ymmv) and just buy an unlimited data plan. If your employer is at all halfway decent, they will be willing to cover half this cost.

If you don't want to do that, you can pay out the nose and have a cable company or telco run out dedicated data lines. They may say they're not willing to do this, but if there's enough technophiles in your area, then you may be able to get them motivated to wire up your area for free, or you can get your neighbors to chip in.

Or perhaps your employer could run a private link to your house and let you use that. Depends on how much they like you and what their IT budget is.

Re:cellular internet, or pay out the nose... (1)

stefanlasiewski (63134) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714317)

What is the latency (ping, lag) like for these Cell services. Is it sufficient for low-latency applications, such as SSH sessions, online gaming, etc.

I recently used a Satellite internet connection, and while the speed was fine (4-600Kbps), the latency was easily 400-1000ms. Typical ping for my home DSL connection is under 100ms.

Re:cellular internet, or pay out the nose... (1)

the unbeliever (201915) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714407)

Well, the ping on satellite is going to suck. You're guaranteed 400+ms pings since the round trip is so far.

The latency on the cellular connection depends on many factors, including signal strength. I find myself able to do my job (linux sysadmin) remotely, but I couldn't see gaming.

Packet Radio (1, Informative)

ookabooka (731013) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714179)

Get a ham license and set up 2 packet radio [wikipedia.org] stations, one with access to broadband and the other at your home. The range is insane. As far as speed goes you'd probably have to do a little research as the standard speeds aren't much better than dialup. Failing that a large wifi link (you can bump up the power a crap-ton once you have a ham license) could also work.

Re:Packet Radio (1)

pcjunky (517872) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714269)

Ham radio cannot be used for anything but communicating with other amateur stations. Certainly not his work.

Re:Packet Radio (1)

Guido del Confuso (80037) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714315)

That's not true. You can only make radio contact with other amateur stations, but the information carried does not need to be generated by those stations. We're essentially talking about an Internet autopatch [wikipedia.org] . I don't think it's practical for other reasons, though...

Re:Packet Radio (2)

Guido del Confuso (80037) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714279)

I don't think this is a practical solution for three reasons. One, packet radio is very slow, so there isn't much benefit to it. Two, anybody could eavesdrop on your Internet connection, so you have virtually no privacy. Three, Amateur Radio licensees are forbidden from using Ham radio for conducting business. So Amazon, eBay, or any site where you're buying or selling is verboten.

Oh yeah, and you have to keep it G-rated on Ham radio, so porn is out too.

Re:Packet Radio (2, Insightful)

Guido del Confuso (80037) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714353)

Oh, and the statement

Failing that a large wifi link (you can bump up the power a crap-ton once you have a ham license) could also work.
is incorrect as well. A ham radio license will only allow you to operate on the ham bands, under the terms of that license. Regardless of the license you hold, bumping up the power on wi-fi equipment (which doesn't operate on the ham band) is illegal, because there are power limits for those frequencies that are quite low, and because it is illegal to use unlicensed or modified equipment on non-amateur bands.

Re:Packet Radio (2, Informative)

Cyberax (705495) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714525)

Wi-fi equipment band partially intersects the HAM band, so it's possible and have been done several times.

Re:Packet Radio (1)

jmcharry (608079) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714357)

I don't think you could legally use a ham radio link for work related stuff, and hams, being sticklers for the rules and also defensive against commercial encroachment, would rat you out. One end of the wifi spectrum shares a bit of a ham band, but the issue would be the same if you wanted to operate there as a ham rather than under the no license rules.

There is, however, some unlicensed bandwidth on similar frequencies to wifi that might allow more power. It is still line of sight, however. It might be cheaper to use wifi with high gain antennas. I don't know the legality of that, but the antennas are widely available at otherwise reputable dealers.

Re:Packet Radio (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20714361)

Is that you Sam?

Re:Packet Radio (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714477)

I suggest getting with some hams for antenna information instead, the buying a suitable antenna mast to elevate a satellite internet dish antenna. If there are enough local hams, see about joining them and hanging a repeater on the
antenna to share the resource. While commercial use of packet radio is verboten, hams are a great resource for information, and you may find one with an antenna mast to sell.

Re:Packet Radio (1)

thesandbender (911391) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714505)

Failing that a large wifi link (you can bump up the power a crap-ton once you have a ham license) could also work

No... you can't... at least not in the United States. The 2.4ghz spectrum itself is regulated and having a ham license does not allow you to blast out whatever you want on this spectrum. I hope you're not a ham operator because if you are you should know better than this, if for no other reason that doing so would most likely screw with other peoples wireless setup. I would be a little pissed is someone setup a multi-watt transmitter whose signal happened to burn through my house. And even really good directional antenna's bloom.

Packet radio is your best choice. Talk with other people in the area, they might be willing to share setup and ongoing costs with you. I would highly recommend setting up a caching proxy like squid (http://www.squid-cache.org/) to help ease the load on the connection... especially if you end up sharing the connection.

Be aware that heavy rain can attenuate radio signals. If you're some place like the pacific northeast, this might cause you problems.

So... what is available? (1)

SSpade (549608) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714183)

Without knowing the details of where you are it's hard to be specific.

If you have cell access, do you have access to any cellular data service? Line of sight radio (to an ISP, or to someone who can get DSL service) ? ISDN?

Co-opt a neighbor (1)

m_chan (95943) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714187)

You may be on a north-facing hillside, but perhaps you have a neighbor that has the appropriate aspect to pick up satellite, in line-of-sight to you, by way of which you could pay for satellite to his location (for the use of his property/power he gets to share your broadband), and then construct a wireless bridge to your location?

Put the satellite dish at the top of the hill (2, Informative)

Jace Harker (814866) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714195)

You might try installing a satellite dish at the top of the hill, then running a line down to your house. Of course, if you don't own the whole hill, or the hill is too big, that wouldn't be an option. Alternately, I think you can pay to have cable lines run to your house from wherever the nearest junction is. But that would probably be too expensive. On another extreme, you could build a small tower, and mount a satellite dish on top of that. My grandfather was a ham and had an antenna that was essentially just a framework tower with a triangular cross-section. That might do the trick.

Buy a faster modem (2, Insightful)

JustNiz (692889) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714197)

If my memory serves me right the fastest ones are able to do 56kb. Its hardly blazingly fast but its double what you currently have.

Re:Buy a faster modem (2, Interesting)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714237)

No one has ever gotten 56kb in the US, due to bureaucratic rate limitations on analog lines... But many, many people don't get close to that because of line quality, which also degrades with distance...

Re:Buy a faster modem (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714243)

Ehm, I don't think you can even buy slower modems these days. The thing is that modems negotiate with the other side and with a lot of noise on the line, they might agree on slower speeds. Typically below 33.6kbps...

Re:Buy a faster modem (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714253)

Yeah, no kidding. Even if you're on dial-up, why would you use 28.8kbps!? You could buy 56kbps modems in retail stores at least a decade ago, for under $100 and they sell for about $6, right now.

Re:Buy a faster modem (2, Informative)

Alioth (221270) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714293)

He probably does have a 56k modem, but just like DSL - the further you're from the telephone exchange, the slower they work.

Re:Buy a faster modem (0, Redundant)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714409)

Yes, I understand that he might not have a 56k modem. So he should spend five dollars on one and double his speed. If he's able to get 26kbps on his 28kbps modem, he'll probably get 56k speeds as well. Given clean, quality lines, a modem is not subject to quite the loss-over-distance that DSL is (though I'm not a telco engineer, so this is based on a couple decades of anecdotal evidence and not hard facts).

Re:Buy a faster modem (3, Informative)

nicolaiplum (169077) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714369)

Buy a better modem. The older (flat, black) USR Courier series are still the best modems made for talking to other modems [1], but you'll have to find one secondhand now.

[1] The Telebit Trailblazer can still do better over a very bad phone line than the Courier but to do so requires you to use the Telebit PEP mode, so there has to be a Trailblazer on the other end.

Re:Buy a faster modem (1)

daddymac (244954) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714385)

Some phone lines won't support anything over the theoretical 28.8, as they split the bandwidth between you an one of your neighbors. This is probably why DSL is not an option.

Re:Buy a faster modem (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714441)

Hmm, the most cost effective solution is probably to get 2 to 4 phone lines and bond the modems together. With 4 lines you could get all of 64kbps. Not a helluvalot but likely better than a cell-phone link.

line of sight to someone with broadband? (3, Interesting)

victorvodka (597971) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714201)

If you have line of sight to someone with broadband (even if it's from your roof or high in a tree) you can get a good WiFi signal with a 24 dB dish (~$60) - I've used them to easily get SSIDs on consumer-grade routers in stranger's houses two miles away (I assume there were a few walls in the way). One assumes the connection could be made much better if both sides of it uses these dishes. These dishes will even work through a little foliage if it's not too thick. You just need to get to know any line-of-sight neighbors so a connection with their network can be on the up and up. You can even agree to install broadband at a suitable site in exchange for access.

May I suggest RFC 1149? (5, Funny)

erroneus (253617) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714211)

Please read here:

http://www.faqs.org/rfcs/rfc1149.html [faqs.org]

For more information. This is a method that can be used pretty much anywhere though some special conditions apply.

+1, Funny (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714283)

...but it's going to be slower than his current modem and there might be a lot of packet loss due to Hawks ;-)

Move. (0)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714217)

Why don't you just move to a place that offers broadband? That is the first requirement I look for whenever I'm looking for a place to live. Whatever great aspects there may be about a region or a home, I disregard it entirely if I can't get high quality, reliable broadband there.

Otherwise, it's a bit like saying "I want to for a top tech company from San Francisco and pull in a top tech salary, but while working from a remote mountain top cabin in the snowy Cascade".

Re:Move. (1)

YrWrstNtmr (564987) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714287)

Why don't you just move to a place that offers broadband? That is the first requirement I look for whenever I'm looking for a place to live.

Did you miss the part about:
"Move out of the house my wife and I built and lived in for 20 years."

Re:Move. (0)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714381)

No, I read it. I just don't see how it is relevant. It's not like a house is attached to you at the umbilical cord. As romantic as the Grizzly Adams thing might be to some, no home on earth is worth having little or no network access. And if it is... well, then suffer the dial-up. Or call Comcast or Cox up and tell them you have a couple billion you'd like to give them earmarked for building a pipe to your door.

I mean, I understand it sucks. But the world changes.

Re:Move. (1)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714309)

What part of "Move out of the house my wife and I built and lived in for 20 years." did you miss? People get attached to their homes, you know?

I'm pretty sure the sight out of his window when he wakes up in the morning beats your sight in the morning anyday.

Re:Move. (1)

Seumas (6865) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714351)

As I said -- it's like living in a remote cabin on the top of a mountain in the middle of nowhere and complaining that there aren't a lot of high-paying high-tech jobs available to you from your location. If sentiment is more important than broadband, those are the terms you've accepted. You have the obvious options of satelite, cable, cell and dial-up -- as is available (or not) in said given area.

I sympathize with the situation as having a lack of options can suck, but what kind of "magic" are they expecting people to conjure up?

Re:Move. (2, Insightful)

jawtheshark (198669) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714465)

Your comparison is not really valid. He lived there for 20 years, and technology didn't come his way at all. Back when he moved there, dialup was the only option and it worked well. His choice back then was good, a nice probably not too expensive place to live with access to the internet. In those 20 years, nothing changed, but the rest of the world moved on. In his situation, I would also look for a way to get a good internet connection without moving. You have to look a this in context.

Sure, if these days, I'd have to move, I'd look at Internet connectivity as a "base necessity". However, if you made your life somewhere, you aren't goint to move just because of one small inconvenient issue. You'd know if you lived somewhere for 20 years.

I can very well relate to him: I live in a very small country and broadband is extremely expensive in comparision to the neighbouring countries and it came very very late. So some of my coworkers (living in a neighbouring country) had 1Mbps DSL while I was still on ISDN. When DSL was launched here it was 256kbps/64kbps, now it is 2Mbps/192kbps but in the neighbouring countries get 8Mbps/256kbps for the same price.

Somewhere in this thread I suggested ISDN, others suggested T1. Expensive (especially T1), yes, but as far as I understood it is for his work so he should be able to offset the costs to his employer.

I had an '@' in '84 (1)

Ossifer (703813) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714219)

in my email address... I had another address with '!' too...

satellite internet? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20714225)

Re:satellite internet? (1)

flydpnkrtn (114575) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714389)

He pointed out that he is on a heavily forrested, north facing mountain. I would assume that he means he can't get line of sight to a satellite for that reason.

I'd think he's be able to run CAT-5 to a VSAT terminal and dish in a clearing or something, however, so... hmm.

What else can you do but... (0, Flamebait)

Pao|o (92817) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714227)

What? No broadband Internet? I'd go to a corner and then cry my heart out. Oh why! Oh why must I have no Internet! The horror of not being able to troll slashdot and other forums. The horrors of not whining and griping about my situation in life while millions of Filipinos go hungry.

Seriously, the Interweb isn't life.

Re:What else can you do but... (1)

Alioth (221270) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714423)

Did you even read his question? He wants broadband so he can have more of a life - being able to fix problems at work remotely, rather than having to spend the time (and use fuel) to drive in, fix something, and drive home. This means he can have more time to actually have a life outside of work.

First step (0, Troll)

JustOK (667959) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714229)

First, get ALOT of pidgins...

Pidgins are obsolete (1)

What the Frag (951841) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714275)

Get a series of tubes

Re:Pidgins are obsolete (1)

Green Monkey (152750) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714497)

I agree that pidgins [wikipedia.org] are obsolete, but I thought they were replaced by creoles.

What my uncle did (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20714255)

My uncle and a business partner live about 10 miles north of Springfield, MO in a "dead zone" of any sort of high speed internet access outside of satellite (and satellite is a tradeoff due to its enormous ping times). So what he did was get a T1 installed and then erect a 100ft tower to broadcast a 900 MHz signal to the area and then started asking his neighbors if they'd pay $60/mo or whatever for internet access.

They now has 25 subscribers, which should pay off the tower and cover the T1 price in less than 2 years.

The rule to this stuff always is... if you want it and can't get it, chances are that other people want it and can't get it, either. Provide the service, and they'll come.

Of course, if 3G is available (NOT the 2.5G 100 kbps 500+ ms ping junk), then just go with that.

Re:What my uncle did (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714529)

25 users on a 1.5 meg line and $60? 1.5 / 25 = 0.06 meg for each user.

Wireless (1)

wytcld (179112) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714257)

Here in Vermont there are a number of startups using wireless for remote localtions. Here's a random sample [unstrung.com] . Here's another [muniwireless.com] . There are more. It's the sort of thing that self-styled entrepreneurs can do for not much investment, and that often gets good support from local governments that see it as key to economic development. So find some kids with a little bit of money to play with, who'd like to run their own business and build their resume for bigger things later, and encourage them to get entrepreneurial on you. If you can find a few dozen neighbors who also like the idea of buying the service, so much the better.

How crazy do you want to get? (1)

TheAxeMaster (762000) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714259)

There are a lot of unknowns in your question, but you could build a remote satellite station to wherever you can get the signal and then hardwire it to your home. Or power it there and use wireless equipment to get the signal to you. I had the idea of using surplussed directv/dish dishes and relays to create a highly directional signal relay to the closest place that you can get access. I wouldn't recommend that route if you were doing satellite also because of the crazy ping times, but if someone near you can get a decent DSL connection it might work well enough for what you're asking for. One of your neighbors would probably be grateful for the free DSL use as part of your agreement to install a dish somewhere on their property if you have line of sight. As far as power, my router at home draws half an amp, so you could set up a battery/solar setup to power it if you needed a relay point in the middle to get around/over a hill.
 
Knowledgeable people feel free to shoot me down, its just an idea.

just a wild thought (1)

phrostie (121428) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714261)

Just a wild thought, but would it be possible to set up a dish on the top of the mountain and either set up a repeater or run a cable down to the house?

no, i don't know of an existing system that does this, but i do know of others with a similar problem.

maybe i should apply for a patent on the concept so when someone does i can get rich! (jk)

string a cable. (1)

Deadplant (212273) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714267)

We would have to know more about your property and your neighbours.
String a cable up the hillside and mount a dish up there.
Work out a deal with whomever owns that property so that you can put a dish up on their land and share the Internet access.

ISDN, your friend from the past (5, Informative)

Kostya (1146) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714277)

ISDN is what you need. It sucks, it is expensive, but it is much, much better than 26k dialup. I moved to an area with no DSL or broadband and made do with ISDN and then iDSL (DSL protocols over a bonded ISDN circuit) for 4 years. Sure, you aren't doing YouTube a lot or download ISO images, but you are connected well enough for remote work, including SSH. RDC is doable, but pretty awful in my experience.

The problem is finding decent ISDN equipment. I just threw out my old ISDN modem (I'm moving and I have DSL now). It took me forever to find it, but it was really useful. Little 3COM router with auto-dialing of the second line on demand. I used it for my voice and data for the first 2 years and then realized it was pointless and went with iDSL. It was pretty expensive, but got me even more bandwidth (144 up and down instead of 128 if I remember right).

If you really are as remote as you say, there's going to be a telco engineer somewhere who knows how to help you. You just have to find him.

*If* you have enough neighbors, you can start petitioning your telco for DSL. I live 5 miles up a road leading to a national park, well outside the range of DSL. They put some "magic box" in at the end of the road to serve me an my 20 neighbors. I get 1.5/768 now. Life is so much better ;-)

Re:ISDN, your friend from the past (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20714555)

ISDN is probably not available for sale most places in the USA, anymore. Even if you can get a telco to try, good luck getting a functioning line; it was hard enough in 1998, nowadays forget it. Considering this is a work project, I'd reccomend getting a real T1. They'll run that as far as they have to (mine are 10mi+), and it can be kept running.

Roll your own ISP? (1)

Chas (5144) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714281)

Note: I'm assuming you and all your neighbors are in the same boat.

Well, I know this is a less than optimal solution. But if you (or people you know in the area) have sufficient technical knowledge, you could try putting together some type of bandwidth cooperative and run a T1 (or fractional T3) into the area.

If it's just your PARTICULAR location in the community that's making high bandwidth impossible, ask around for neighbors who DO have high bandwidth and see if you can come to some sort of agreement (pay half his internet bill for a wireless connection, etc).

Suicide (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20714297)

I would rather commit suicide than be without high speed internet!

waveguide repeaters? (1)

Cancel-Or-Allow (1073192) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714301)

Your question is missing some important details that could help give you better answers. Such as how far away are you from any area that can get broadband?
I've heard of people making 802.11 waveguide repeaters out of coffee cans and were able to power them using some PV solar cells and rechargeable batteries.
If you have good line of sight, in a rural area you _may_ get 1 mile or more per repeater.

Of course this creates lots of links in the chain of potential failures, but if build good to withstand the environment when it works it could be a good thing, else fall back on your dial-up.

This is assuming that you live close enough to civilization that has BB and someone there is willing to allow you to subscribe an account on their property and install some goofy looking hardware.

4 u: (0, Offtopic)

microcars (708223) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714303)

Sneakernet [wikipedia.org] is still your best option.

or maybe Homing Pigeons? [wikipedia.org]

I am serious, if Sneakernet is good enough for Google, why not for you?

Double your speed the easy way! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20714313)

.....buy a 56k pci slot modem.

UMTS ? (1)

Hymer (856453) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714327)

If you are in cell range you may be able to get high-speed UMTS (aka. 3G Turbo) running 3 Mbit (and being boosted to 7Mbit in near future.
Ericsson got some small UMTS routers with ethernet and 802.11b/g (WPA supported).

T1, Frame Relay, or ISDN? (1)

Deagol (323173) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714337)

To name a few other options to pursue w/ your local telco. Not cheap, but possible if copper is accessible to your area. If you go with something like a T1, and if there's a market in your neighborhood, you could offer local wireless service to cover some of your costs.

I once lived in a good-sized city, worked at a large university as a sysadmin, and had my pick of broadband options. Then, I moved to a very rural town 150 miles away and telecommuted via 56k dial-up for 2 years until DSL became available.

Aside from missing out on the fun stuff that a fast 'net connection provides, my work access was pretty acceptable. To help with the web browsing, I used squid/privoxy with firefox/adblock as well as a local caching DNS server. I set up a similar system on my work desktop, and then used an SSH tunnel w/ the fastest crypto protocol and maximum compression and used that to tunnel my pre-screened web traffic.

Of course, most of my work was text console based, so SSH and screen were my best tools.

I know you're running at half of what I was, and I don't know what you admin. So there may be not much room for improvement for your dial-up system.

Bonded dialup (1)

wayne606 (211893) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714339)

Get N phone lines, N modems, and some kind of hardware that will bond multiple lines into a single higher-speed connection. You'd probably have to have special arrangements with your ISP (install the same hardware and dedicated lines), but I'm sure it's possible...

Can you get a T1? (2, Informative)

Emor dNilapasi (455542) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714343)

I had to do this twice (different houses, neither with cable or DSL broadband). The prices have come down drastically, but you will still pay at least $200-$300/month; maybe you can get your employer to subsidize it. The nice thing about a T1 is that it's a monitored line, which means if anything goes wrong the service provider jumps to get it fixed RIGHT NOW. Once I was moving my UPS around and unplugged it. Before I got it plugged back in to the outlet across the room the phone rang - it was my service provider, having noticed that there was a problem with the line.

You don't want to go to your local telco directly with this request; they probably don't even know how to spell T1. You want to go to one of the resellers like Speakeasy or one of the other providers whose ads occasionally appear in the Slashdot banner ad space. In fact, I'm sure that several of your fellow state residents will chime in with their opinions of local T1 providers.

Good luck!

possible option? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20714387)

Its an expensive option, but contact your local phone provider and request info on a T1 line.
Probably the best and most simple option given your situation and since you work for the hospital you may want to hit them up for the cost as its for work purposes and they probably have the budget to spare.

Remote access (2, Informative)

Alioth (221270) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714399)

If you want remote access for administration, unless you can do it all over ssh (which if 28.8k is insufficient, I suspect not), sorry - you're gonna have to either spend buckets of money or move. Latency is important for GUI-based remote access, otherwise it's just awful - even if the throughput is higher, a high latency 2 meg link can be worse than a low latency 28.8k link for gui access.

High latency is pretty terrible for command-line access too, but not quite as bad. Your solutions:

GPRS (cell phone) - 64K, but generally very poor latency. SSH is barely tolerable over GPRS. Forget GUI access.
3G (cell phone) - megabit speeds possible, but still with ghastly latency. SSH is tolerable. GUI access is probably frustratingly laggy. Exhorbitant unless you can get an unlimited data plan (and these typically are pretend unlimited).
Satellite (which you've already said you can't get) - latency is so bad that remote access either GUI or SSH based is impractical. Good job you can't get it or you may have spent a wodge of cash coming to this unhappy realisation.

You may be in with a chance if you can cobble together some "cantenna" style wireless access (or spend a lot of money on a microwave link).

Or you can spend lots of money on a T1. That will give you proper, solid broadband speeds not just downstream but upstream too, low latency, will work very well for remote access, and you'll have an SLA so if it breaks they should fix it quickly, instead of "when we get around to it" as for DSL. But I bet the setup fees are some thousands, and monthly charges are $hundreds. (Would your employer chip in?)

Perhaps ISDN? You can get 128kbps if your ISP supports bonding the two 64K channels. Not high speed, but low latency and it may be tolerable for GUI remote access.

broadband over power (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714411)

broadband can be run over electrical lines.

the technology already works perfectly.

see if your local power co-op or conglomerate can help.

Multimode Fiber, DirectPC, WiMax (0, Flamebait)

Adeptus_Luminati (634274) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714415)

Options:

1. DirectPC: There's no excuse to not get satellite Internet Access. Yes latency sucks, but surfing and many aspects of Interneting will be much faster. If you're telling me you can't get it because some tree is in the way, well heck dude, cut the tree - you live in a forest, one tree isn't going to make a difference. And if you love the tree too much, then run the wires UP the tree and install the satellite link securely atop a high tree branch near the trunk (yes you may have to cut a few branches)

2. MultiMode or Single Mode Fiber: Find the closest neighbour with broadband, explain your situation, offer a small monthly fee & install a media converter (CAT5 to Multimode or Single Mode fiber), then higher a wiring contractor to lay fiber all the way back to your shack in boonieland, install another media converter & there you be.

3. Setting up your own WiMax tower may be cheaper. You can setup 2 WiMAX towers these days for $10K USD or less, and they can be a few KM apart. Get your work to pay for 1/2 of the cost. Get your other boonieland neighbours to chip in monthly, and it may even get done for free. The second tower obviously need be where broadband is available... again near that first neighbour that has access to broadband. If he doesn't want to share broadband ADSL/Cable with you, then offer to purchase your own, but it gets delivered to your house & then you connect it to the WiMAX.

Adeptus

two phone lines = twice as good (1)

derekoneil (220542) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714429)

I know it's not much, but before broadband was available in my area we used two phone lines and two 56k modems bonded together using MultiPoint Protocol to get almost 112kbps. Sorry for the lack of a better link, but here's a FAQ from an ISP that supports this two modem connection. [cruzio.com]

More of less. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20714443)

Well in true slash-geek fashion everyone focuses on the technology. Now how about the other half of the issue. The issue of using whatever connection you do have (or will have) more efficiently? Just how much of your job needs to cross that connection?

microwave (1)

prelelat (201821) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714451)

why not see if you could setup a microwave relay at the top of the hillside, I believe the initial cost to set it up is about 1500 or something like that. On the top of the hill you can setup a sat, and relay the info over the microwave dish. This would be a fairly fast solution. Though you would have to be able to have line of site to the sat and the microwave dish, permission to put it up, and a power source(maybe solar panels I don't know, if theres a cell tower up there already it might be easy if you got permission from the tel com company). A stable tall tree or pole would have to be used. But thats the best I could come up with. Other people have already mentioned other ideas I could think of.

Use the Cellphone (1)

Deinesh (770292) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714453)

You have several options:

1. Your post suggests that you have limited cellphone connectivity. You can get a cellphone repeater [alternativewireless.com] ($200-$1000) to boost the cellphone signal. Depending on the carrier, you could be able to use EDGE/3G to get some connectivity.

2. You could use satellite [hughesnet.com] . It is decently fast, but has high latency.

3. If you are in a neighborhood where broadband is widely available, but the specific location of your property is the limiting factor, you could work with your neighbor to share their broadband by way of a wifi connection. If you do some research, you will find a lot of ways to do it with things like repeaters, boosters and external antennas.

Good luck.

I exploited line of sight to a friendly neighbor (1)

LarsLohn (882253) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714463)

I had a similar problem. I eventually solved it when a new subdivision went in about a half mile from our farm. Comcast wired the subdivision, but wanted many thousands of dollars to extend it on to our farm. So I rented a shelf in the garage of one of my new neighbors and got Comcast service to the shelf. Then using a couple Proxim Tsunami radios [proxim.com] , I setup a wireless link from my neighbor's garage to one of my farm fields. Using Power Over Ethernet, I was able to string an ethernet cable out to the antenna and radio in the field through a couple of my greenhouses. It could probably have been done cheaper, but since my business depends on reliable service that I didn't have to muck about with it very much, I went commercial. I blogged about it and posted some photos when I finished the project: "The New Internet Connection [livejournal.com] "

Use lynx (1)

gvc (167165) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714475)

Or another text-oriented browser. The ultimate pop-up blocker!

You can approximate that by turning off images in your
graphical browser.

Your need to see images to navigate is inversely proportional
to the merit of the site, in my experience.

Cellular Broadband? (1)

monk (1958) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714503)

Do any of the cell companies that serve your area offer "wireless broadband" service? A company I used to work for supplied me with an a Verizon card and it seemed to work well where there was service.

ISDN? (1)

Hadlock (143607) | more than 7 years ago | (#20714535)

Works over POTS lines, avalible since 1984 (before the @ in email addresses)!

In the spirit of some of these responses, DNRTFS (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#20714539)

You should get a faster modem. I hear they have 56kbps modems these days, why aren't you using one of those??

You can also get cable, or DSL. These are much faster than your 26.4 connection! I suggest looking into them.

In addition, satellite is available. Try that, how could you have any problems?

Finally, have you thought about moving? Perhaps into a nice cookie-cutter subdivision with a great HOA. I can't imagine you have much of a reason to stay where you are.
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