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Internet Speed Clarification


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If you sign up for a service with an internet provider (Telus/Xplornet/Rogers/Comcast/Whatever) you are not guaranteed a speed. It will fluctuate. If you don't want it to fluctuate, be prepared to pay through the nose for it (over $300/mo. in most areas) and you will sign a legal binding agreement that is called a "Service Level Agreement" or SLA.

If you sign and SLA the provider of internet is legally obligated to give you the advertised speeds. That being said...

You "should" be able to hit 75% of the advertised speeds on Xplornet on a nearly constant basis. If you aren't, then there's something wrong. Either you are too far from the wireless tower, it's going through trees, there are certain types of trees that have more Iron in them (metal reflects wood) and therefore cannot go through them at all. If it's satellite, maybe out of alignment, faulty Tria or a modem/cable issue.

For Distances, your speeds vary with how far you are from the tower. The further you are, the more air there is to cause interference from you to the tower. Also, if you are between 15-20 miles from the tower, you are probably on the fringe anyway, and your speeds are going to be not-so-good (not for everyone but it does happen). Most of the time it's everyone who lives a certain direction from the tower are over loading that canopy module on the tower, and then people kick on/off.

Not much you can do about interference unless it's in your own home (cordless phones, baby monitors, any wireless equipment basically). You could always see if you're in the area for the 3.5 system.

But ya, in my experience. If you're on their $44.99/mo (zoom) package, you are "supposed to get up to 1.5mbps", when in reality you will probably only ever get 0.7mbps on average. Some people hit around 1mbps constantly but they're under 10 miles from the tower. Anyone under 5 miles usually gets on or slightly above the advertised speeds.

If you are within 10 miles from the tower, and the tower supports the 2.4Ghz frequency modules, then see about getting a 2.4 with a reflector dish to see if it makes any difference. The reflector dish kinda pinpoints the signal in/out and usually makes your connection become more stable and it also has more bandwidth (You can get the Xtreme 5.0mbps package on it).

Apparently you can get the 5.0mbps package on the 3.5 system, but I haven't seen it in action yet to know how well it works or what the speeds are. I would be suprised if they went over 3.1mbps on it though. On Telus ADSL in town I get a 4mbit connection but I am usually around 2.4mbit so... hope that answers questions. I get them a lot, and there's a few posts in here about it. Just thought i'd explain the background of the "up to" speeds and ways that you might be affected.

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If I had $300/mo to throw away, so would I but... in this area most people don't want to pay more than the $60 advertised and it's a stretch. Most are trying to get "high speed internet" for a little as possible.

Tough part is, is ya... Xplornet can give you a $49.99/mo. package, the dealer can sell you the system (right now) for $99 Installation + mileage over 50km and a $199 hardware fee... but the dealer makes $0 off of the "residuals" which is the reason for selling it. Also, the $59.99 basically gives $0 residuals as well, so we are having to do the $79 just to make some extra cash after the initial sale.

my dealer has well over 2500 customers, starting back in around 2 1/2 years ago. The residuals are going to run out. It's vitally important to keep up the residuals, otherwise we make no money and you have no installers to come fix your gear lol.

Honestly, people out here want as much as they can get for nothing... and it is really tough to make a living. The "basic install" for Xplornet has always been  hookup into house, working on installers laptop. The rest is up to the customer.

At our dealer, we feel it's important to try to get it working on the customers PC at least. If it causes a lot of hassle and the installer has no idea, then they call me in. But alas, the customer feels that they are obligated to have the computer running for FREE when the installer leaves, and sometimes it's just not possible. I had a customer the two days ago who had Vista on their machine, and it would not get an IP from the machine. The installer had left and they got it working on their laptop, the customer saw it worked, and then he left. The customer then called after the installer left saying "So I just had the internet installed, and it works on his laptop, and they said that you could help me get it working. So what do I do to make it work here?" And they wanted me to walk them through over the phone.

My frustration is... I spend a lot of time figuring out the fixes for these systems, Xplornet will not cover my on-the-phone time, and if I send the customer off to the 1-866 number, the customer will get the shaft because of hold times. It's honestly getting to me, because I work from 10am to 6pm shift work, and the first 3 horus of my day are usually spent on the phone with customers from the past 1-2 days explaining how to get their PC's working with the Xplornet system or the Vista working with it and the router and BLAH.

I explained to one customer what the basic install is, and that we don't think it's enough and try to hook it up to the customers PC to get it working. If the installer cannot get it to work then a technician will be required. But they FEEL that I am now obligated to give them technical support for free even though I don't actually work for Xplornet. I don't even work at the company. I contract out to the dealer to organize installations, and do other tech-work.

All I ask, is that anyone who reads this know that a PC Technician has spent his life thus far, learning how to overcome obstacles. They know how to go in and out of a system to make things work, and if you want to take the time to learn it, go for it. Until then, be willing to pay for the knowledge we have, and not assume that it comes with a standard installation for a company that we probably don't even work for.

And to be honest, I only charge $60/hr. to do it on-site. Places in Calgary are $140/hr. to go onsite IN CALGARY. That's like maybe 25 minutes across town, and sometimes I have to drive an hour away to get to someones house in the country. It's dumb, but that's what I do.

I don't like lying, so I try to give the customer their time's worth. I know when I goto someones house, before I leave, what exactly it's going to take to fix it. I know that I could do it over the phone, but then I couldn't get paid for my time where I could be doing something else. So when I go out, and it has taken me 3 minutes to fix something and I am charging 1hr. labour minimum, then I ask what else they want me to show them, or anything they don't understand. That way it makes them feel like they're getting their money's worth, I spend some time, and I get to keep a customer after the fact.

I dunno, late night... LOL time to sleep I guess... Sometimes I need to rant XD Xplornet and the customers get on my nerves every now and then, just like Xplornet's Level 1... ugh :D

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  • 6 months later...

Uhm, unless you are watching streaming video or streaming audio from some source over the network or the internet, having multiple windows won't dramatically change your internet speed.

The common fluctuations that Xplornet users experience are NOT due to such things. They are almost always due to a certain panel being over loaded on the tower. Either by having too many subscribers on it to handle an average load, or having an alright number of users on it, and some of those users are downloading/uploading massive amounts of data during certain times.

Most of the problems occur when children get home from school. People complain that their internet is slow during certain times. For example:

6am - Internet is extremely fast

7am - internet gets slower and usually unable to browse or gets disconnected/time-outs

8am - internet gets back to normal somewhat

Usually around noon it slows down a little bit, but then again around 3-4pm you can watch the speeds drop like a mosquito in a canvass tent in the summer.

This is not _just_ xplornet, as it happens with any wireless provider, I don't care who you are. If you are over-loading a panel on your wireless tower, or are dumb enough to use an Omni on the tower in a busy area, then your internet subscribers are going to experience this exact same thing.

The only real solution is the provider. The problem being, is that these things are expensive, and when you're dealing with the legal issues surrounding rental of towers, other providers/company's frequency's and what not, it gets a little hairy. It's not an immediate fix.

All I would say to avoid any "bad results" from ordering from any wireless/satellite providers, is find people in your immediate area that are on said ISP. If someone in your area is having problems with their internet, and they have a perfect view to the tower (you can see the equipment with binoculars) then it is not a good idea for you to sign up for internet service with that provider. You will almost indefinitely have the same problem as they are, providing you connect to the same tower.

Also, ask your provider (local dealers should know) if the tower you would be connecting to is operating off of a slab or an omni-directional transmitter on the tower. If it's an omni, then it can only handle X number of people over the entire range. If it's a slab based system, then it can handle X number of people per slab. The slab based usually give you more output and better signal providing the frequency interference in your area isn't too bad. There are a lot of company's that use wireless frequency's. Government, Transportation, other ISP's all use some form of wireless at one point or another. It's a matter of whether or not they are broadcasting in your general direction or not. If you live near a tower or in between two towers that you can actually see, chances are some kind of wireless is shooting between the two. Whether or not it will affect you, depends on what frequency's they use.

Most providers are only allowed specific frequency's, but they can mesh together.

900MHz isn't just 900MHz. It's actually a breakdown of multiple frequency's at a decimal point to the 100th place. 900.12MHz, 900.26MHz etc. And a signal carries like a football around a specific frequency. Easiest way to show this, is if you have ever looked at a wireless router. You will see a "channel" They are from 1 to 11 and sometimes your router will have "Auto". Auto will switch between depending on interference in the other frequency's. Usually, you will want to pick channel 1, 6, 11, purely for the avoidance of interference.

1  ------------

2  ------

3  ---

4  ----

5  -------

6  -----------

7  -------

8  ----

9  -----

10  -------

11  ----------

Think of it like that. The wireless providers pick a certain channel to broadcast, but it does overlap in other frequency's. That is what the tower providers have to worry about. No one should be heavily interfering with anyone else on a certain zone on a tower.

Anyway. That's what happens and why speeds fluctuate for the most part. Interference, and over loading of towers in a certain area. In almost 90% of the cases I've found, it's to do with one of these 2 things. It usually doesn't get brought up until the rep comes by and goes: "Oh hey, anyone in this zone, you can't sign up for a while, the tower is full."

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well i fixed the link to his site for him...go ahead and click it and see where it takes you...and he's no longer a member...we don't normally give warnings for this kind of thing but he was actually posting normal stuff besides his spam...so i tried to give him a break...oh well.

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