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#5882 - 11/17/09 01:54 PM Internet connection quandry
...JER Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
I live in a rural area that is not serviced by cable or DSL. I have, since moving here 2-1/2 years ago, accessed the internet via HughesNet. I have their ProPlus plan with a HN7000S modem (Ku technology) that has a maxium download speed of 1.5Mbps. I've had connection problems this past week, and have been performing speed tests offered by HughesNet. My speeds range from 1498 one time early in the morning to a low of 19 in the evening. Generally as the day progresses, the speed declines, degrading to poor dial-up speeds in the 6-8 pm time frame. To me, that level of service in unacceptable when I'm paying a premium for 1.5 down. HughesNet tech support in India doesn't think I have a problem--speeds will vary.

I've tried to evaluate various options over the past several days to come up with an alternative.
1. I can reduce my level of service and pay $20/mo less for 512k down which is more in line with the speed I average.
2. I can upgrade to the newer Ka band equipment for 400.00 with no guarantee that it will fix my problem, but empty assurances that it will. I say empty because they won't give me the 30 day trial that they offer new users, so I'm stuck with the service for 2 years or pay an early termination fee of $400.
3. I can change to Skyblue, which does have a comparable plan. I called one of their listed installers in my area, and was told Skyblue was slower than HughesNet.
4. I can go with Verizon 3g wireless (I think their service reaches me here), but I would need a usb modem for all 3 computers and would pay 3 monthly fees.

I'm wondering if there is a way for my 3 networked computers to share a common usb modem. My home network consists of a Linksys WRT54GS Wireless-G router, my Mac G4 (OSX 10.4.11) hardwired, my wife's Dell desktop (Windows XP) hardwired, an HP Laserjet 2200 hardwired, and an Acer Aspire One (Windows XP) wirelessly connected with the aid of a Linksys WRE54G Wireless-G Range Expander.

Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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#5885 - 11/17/09 03:22 PM Re: Internet connection quandry [Re: ...JER]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Yes it is possible for multiple computers to share a common modem assuming that modem is either attached to or is part of a router that is capable of handling the necessary connection chores for your network. However, all of your computers would be sharing the same bandwidth you are seeing from your ISP so your download speeds could be further reduced.

Your download speed experience pretty well maps the normal internet usage patterns, so the decrease would appear to be caused by too little bandwidth and too many users. Sort of like rush hour on the freeway. As to your four options
  1. If you elect the 512Kb level that would be the maximum you would get so you would never see the 1.5Mb speeds you are getting in the AM. If you mostly use the internet in the evening that might be a reasonable option.
  2. The Ka band offers more bandwidth to start with and as it is newer it would have fewer users so it is likely you would see better results there but $400 seems a steep price to pay for a should or maybe. That would have to be your call.
  3. The installers should be in a position to know as they are likely to be the first to get the complaints. Have you asked them about the Ka band satellite?
  4. 3G is the same as that used on the iPhone and you are looking at speeds in the <500kbps range depending on your distance from the nearest tower and traffic load. My daughter had that for a while and was getting around 56Kbps about the same or a little less than a dialup.
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#5887 - 11/17/09 06:35 PM Re: Internet connection quandry [Re: joemikeb]
...JER Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Thanks Joemikeb. I figure that my average connection speed is less than 500kbps so I wouldn't be giving up much to reduce my service. I'd be saving $20/mo and getting the same service from about 10:00 am on.

The guy that installed my system 2-1/2 years ago is the one who suggested the Ka upgrade, but he's not sure it will work, just thinks it will.

I was curious about Verizon's 3G. They say 1.1Mbps down max, and I'm not sure how far away from the tower I am. I'm also not sure about connecting the modem to my network. If their MiFi modem had an ethernet port it would work, but it doesn't. It's for WiFi connections only, but does that mean it would connect to the linksys wireless?? Not sure, and not sure how to find out.

The iphone is 3G capable, but AT&T's 3g network is so small that your daughter's connection might have been Edge. Depends on where she lives. Iphones here connect via Edge.
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#5896 - 11/18/09 07:41 AM Re: Internet connection quandry [Re: ...JER]
joemikeb Offline
Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Fort Worth, Texas
Quote:
The iphone is 3G capable, but AT&T's 3g network is so small that your daughter's connection might have been Edge. Depends on where she lives. Iphones here connect via Edge.

Actually that was on the Florida Gold Coast using a MacBook with Verizon 3G, not AT&T.

My 3G service on the iPhone is good these days. I am seeing peak download speeds of just over 1Mbps in the mid morning and an average of just over 600Kbps in the peak evening hours but then AT&T just doubled their 3G capacity in our area. But that is off topic so I better drop that line of discussion before I have to move this to The Lounge. grin

As far as I know the various 3G internet adaptors are all on a one device per computer basis, but it might be feasible to connect your Mac via 3G and then use the Airport in the Mac to create a wireless network to share its internet connection. Given your mixed media network there would be some challenges to work out but I am confident it could be done. You might see if Verizon, or whoever the 3G network provider is, would be willing to send a technician to your location to test the connectivity and speed. AT&T did that for my next door neighbor but then he pays a lot more for his 3G connection than I do for a 6Mbps DSL.
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#5900 - 11/18/09 10:09 AM Re: Internet connection quandry [Re: ...JER]
MacManiac Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Paradise....on the central Ore...
...and in addition to all of JoeMikeB's good input, don't forget that you might have something as simple as a marginal aim-point to the satellite due to a shift in your antenna position for some reason....this too could give you highly varying throughput as the atmospheric conditions change during the course of the day.

I wouldn't give up on Hughes until I had a local technician come out to verify the physical installation first....antenna aim-point, amplifier condition, coax condition, ground distribution equipment condition, etc.
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#5903 - 11/18/09 11:14 AM Re: Internet connection quandry [Re: ...JER]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
btw at 1.5/sec you are probably getting what amounts to DSL. I have 1.5 down, 1.0 up here. That's very commonly the max speed for dsl. Though if you're farther from the central switch it will slow you down.

and they tend to charge for the higher speeds.
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#5911 - 11/18/09 02:45 PM Re: Internet connection quandry [Re: MacManiac]
...JER Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: MacManiac
...I wouldn't give up on Hughes until I had a local technician come out to verify the physical installation first....antenna aim-point, amplifier condition, coax condition, ground distribution equipment condition, etc.

Been there, done that. He found one loose connection, but that didn't make any difference.

I think my next step is to get him to change transponders and see if that improves anything. As I type this, my 1.5 Mbps down is 178 Kbps
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#5912 - 11/18/09 02:55 PM Re: Internet connection quandry [Re: joemikeb]
...JER Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: joemikeb
...As far as I know the various 3G internet adaptors are all on a one device per computer basis, but it might be feasible to connect your Mac via 3G and then use the Airport in the Mac to create a wireless network to share its internet connection...


Actually, Verizon has what they call MiFi that is a "home hot spot" that allows up to 5 wireless connections. I just don't think one of those 5 can be my linksys wireless router. What I need is an ethernet to USB adapter that I can plug into the "internet" connection on the linksys. Then I could unplug the HughesNet modem and plug in the 3G modem.
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#5917 - 11/18/09 06:05 PM Re: Internet connection quandry [Re: ...JER]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: ...JER
Actually, Verizon has what they call MiFi that is a "home hot spot" that allows up to 5 wireless connections. I just don't think one of those 5 can be my linksys wireless router. What I need is an ethernet to USB adapter that I can plug into the "internet" connection on the linksys. Then I could unplug the HughesNet modem and plug in the 3G modem.


Alternately, you can skip using the Linksys completely. Plug the USB gizmo into one of your computers, then turn on Internet Sharing on that computer and use that computer as the hub for an ad-hoc wireless network.
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#5922 - 11/18/09 06:39 PM Re: Internet connection quandry [Re: tacit]
...JER Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: tacit
Alternately, you can skip using the Linksys completely. Plug the USB gizmo into one of your computers, then turn on Internet Sharing on that computer and use that computer as the hub for an ad-hoc wireless network.


Plug the USB modem into my mac, turn on internet sharing over ethernet and I'm in business??? Is that all there is to internet sharing, or do the other machines need some sort of configuring?
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#5934 - 11/19/09 02:50 AM Re: Internet connection quandry [Re: ...JER]
ryck Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Okanagan Valley
Originally Posted By: ...JER

1. I can reduce my level of service and pay $20/mo less for 512k down which is more in line with the speed I average.


I wonder if you'd actually get the 512 or whether you'd pay for 512 but get something less - the same as you now pay for premium but get less.

Where I am, the cable company specifies all its speed levels as "up to". I check my speeds and have never seen the "up to" speed I pay for. I'm pretty sure that, if I paid for the next level up I'd probably get the "up to" speed of my current level but would never get the "up to" speed of the one I was paying for.

The big print giveth, the small print taketh away.

ryck
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#5941 - 11/19/09 05:47 AM Re: Internet connection quandry [Re: ryck]
...JER Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Ryck,
From what I've been able to find out they don't throttle everything back, they just cap the max speed. So it the best system speed is at or above your service plan, you get the max for your plan. But when the system speed is 350, I get 350, the next plan down gets 350, and the lowest plan gets 350. Other things do influence this, like signal strength. They also reduce the "Fair Access Policy" threshold. Mine is 425 megs/day, the next plan down is 300, and the bottom plan is 200. If you have a big download, you set the alarm and begin the download at 2 am when the FAP isn't in effect.

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...JER (-: >

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#5945 - 11/19/09 08:14 AM Re: Internet connection quandry [Re: ryck]
alternaut Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
My experience fits JER's: my DSL is currently about 2560 Mbps on a nominally (read: up to) 3000 Mbps subscription. That's about 85% of max, likely explained by distance to switching office. Before I was bumped up to the current speed level I got about 1280 Mbps (85% of 1500 Mbps).

An ATT tech told me I cannot get up to the next level (4500 Mbps), because my line only supports up to 4400 Mbps. I'm not sure I follow his logic (after all, my 85% share easily falls within that maximum), and I sure would appreciate the almost 50% speed bump I'd get out of that... tongue
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#5953 - 11/19/09 12:28 PM Re: Internet connection quandry [Re: alternaut]
MacManiac Offline

Moderator

Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Paradise....on the central Ore...
The 85% throughput measurement for DSL comes from losing about 15% to PPPoE overhead.....

If your distance to the CO is such that your line will only support 4400 Mbps, then you would have issues trying to maintain DSL sync at any speeds greater than 85% of 4400 Mbps.

FWIW, I found through prior line service calls with Ma Bell that there are many pairs that can be swapped into place than just the pair that you are currently using.....each mid-point phone junction box has multiple pairs available that follow different physical paths, some longer and some shorter distance from the CO.

I got mine changed early on due to line noise on the pair that I was originally setup with.

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#5958 - 11/19/09 06:13 PM Re: Internet connection quandry [Re: MacManiac]
Virtual1 Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Loc: Iowa
There's a dsl and cable line going in here. Both are "highest available consumer grade" for whatever that's worth. In my case, that means claimed speeds of 1.5 down and 1.0 up on dsl, and 20 down and 2 up on cable.

The DSL is a dedicated connection to my ISP so nothing affects my speeds short of water in the phone lines. (which does happen) But upstream on dsl is almost always limited to about 66% of downstream, and that's a limit of the technology.

Cable on the other hand varies wildly in both up and down, because it's using a shared connection. Some nights my downstream has dropped below 4 on average. Upstream on cable is also limited by the technology - they assign channels of some sort for uploading, and others for downloading, and depending on the ratio they assign them in determines how much slower the up is compared to the down. And if a fifth of the people on my leg of the line are downloading or doing pay per view, my download speed tanks.

In either case, most consumers want downstream so they can download fast. They're not sending large files or data and so don't need upstream. Of course ppl like me that run mailserver and webserver need mainly upstream unfortunately.

Adding to my problems, upstream tends to cost. It's common for ISPs to offer different sets of speeds for up and down, where the highest cost packages offer no more downstream, but faster upstream. .256 or .384 is common for DSL upstream speed, even if you're getting the full 1.5 down. Cable is much worse in that respect, because the cable customers want blazing fast downloads and don't care much about upstream so they divvy up most of the channels to downstream. 10:1 ratio is common, which is what I have. Where my DSL is 3:2 because up does not compete with down. The ISP 'provisions' your modem, capping its upstream speeds, and they provision your downstream on their end. So its possible for your line to be able to go a lot faster than the hardware is using it.

Bridging connections like the ones here is technically possible but impractical, so the two lines have different IP blocks. Its easier to obtain a static IP address or range from DSL than from cable. In many respects, T1's are like DSL, but they always cost a lot more, but have guaranteed uptime. If your internet goes down, they start cutting you a check, so you are at least a high priority. Cable company at best will give you the month for free if you call and complain while you are down. DSL not much better that way, the phone company's always stingy because they have grown used to being a monopoly.

Just to reiterate, upstream costs a lot more than downstream. Not entirely sure why, but I think it's a cascade thing where the ISPs have to pay a lot more for the traffic leaving their network than for that coming in. And they just pass that cost on to you. Oh, and if you buy your own dsl or cable modem because they are leasing you a piece of crap, be prepared for them to offer you zero support if you are having a problem, and blame your hardware.

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#5970 - 11/20/09 01:21 AM Re: Internet connection quandry [Re: ...JER]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: ...JER
Plug the USB modem into my mac, turn on internet sharing over ethernet and I'm in business??? Is that all there is to internet sharing, or do the other machines need some sort of configuring?


Its even easier. Plug the USB modem into your computer, turn on internet sharing over wireless and have your other computers connect to your computer with the modem instead of to your Linksys router.
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#5994 - 11/20/09 05:50 PM Re: Internet connection quandry [Re: ...JER]
steve626 Offline


Registered: 08/29/09
Originally Posted By: ...JER
Originally Posted By: tacit
Alternately, you can skip using the Linksys completely. Plug the USB gizmo into one of your computers, then turn on Internet Sharing on that computer and use that computer as the hub for an ad-hoc wireless network.


Plug the USB modem into my mac, turn on internet sharing over ethernet and I'm in business??? Is that all there is to internet sharing, or do the other machines need some sort of configuring?


To add slightly to what Tacit already indicated, the way internet sharing works, you connect to the internet via the USB modem on the "main" computer. Internet Sharing is turned on (System Preferences, Sharing) in the main computer, and when you do that, it broadcasts the internet connection via its wireless card/antenna. Your other computers use their wireless cards/antennas to receive the shared internet connection, just as they would if you were using a router. The shared internet connection from the main computer looks like a router offering internet to the other computers, except the icon looks a little different. You can set security from the computer sharing its internet connection so that others have to "log in" with a password, if you wish to do that.
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#5998 - 11/21/09 05:40 PM Re: Internet connection quandry [Re: steve626]
...JER Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
Originally Posted By: steve626
To add slightly to what Tacit already indicated, the way internet sharing works, you connect to the internet via the USB modem on the "main" computer. Internet Sharing is turned on (System Preferences, Sharing) in the main computer, and when you do that, it broadcasts the internet connection via its wireless card/antenna. Your other computers use their wireless cards/antennas to receive the shared internet connection, just as they would if you were using a router. The shared internet connection from the main computer looks like a router offering internet to the other computers, except the icon looks a little different. You can set security from the computer sharing its internet connection so that others have to "log in" with a password, if you wish to do that.
Ahh, since my computer doesn't have a wireless card, and one of the others doesn't either, I guess that's out. The signal from the one with wireless isn't strong enough without using the range extender because of distance/interference.

Thanks for the clarification.
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#6019 - 11/22/09 04:47 PM Re: Internet connection quandry [Re: ...JER]
tacit Offline


Registered: 08/03/09
Loc: Portland, Oregon, USA
Originally Posted By: ...JER
Ahh, since my computer doesn't have a wireless card, and one of the others doesn't either, I guess that's out. The signal from the one with wireless isn't strong enough without using the range extender because of distance/interference.

Thanks for the clarification.


In that case, you can still make it work, but it's a little more cumbersome. Here's what you do:

Step 1: Plug the USB thingy into a Mac.
Step 2: Turn on Internet Connection Sharing on that Mac and tell it to share via Ethernet.
Step 3: Run an Ethernet cable from that Mac to the Internet port, not a regular Ethernet port, on your Linksys router. The Mac now becomes the equivalent of your old Internet connection device.
Step 4: Connect your othe computers to the Linksys just as you do now.
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#6030 - 11/22/09 07:47 PM Re: Internet connection quandry [Re: tacit]
...JER Offline


Registered: 08/04/09
That sounds like it will work for my set-up!
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