Attempting to make a living from doing this computer stuff in rural Ceredigion is only made harder by decisions of previous governments on the way they structured B.T. and of the current governments in both Westminster and Cardiff on their decisions to subidise B.T. to become a Sky Competitor at the expense of business and those who live in rural areas, or just those who B.T. can't make a profit from.
As a family we can't wait until the end of 2015 for a faster service that may not even arrive, no matter how nice the sunset (and you can go for a swim if you think it is OK to suffer bad/no broadband coverage in rural areas. Dont' read on, I forbit it in the same way Johnny Marr forbid David Cameron to like the Smiths).
So, as a backup to our rather slow and increasingly unreliable B.T. line (as the exchange gets busier, service further from the exchange gets worse), we now have a 3G service. It is not super fast for reasons I will explain later, but it is good enough to work on, download low-res video and play ClubPenguin. Biggest performance limiation is the backhaul network.
|Under the track|
|Cable tie quality is important|
|If it is waterproof here, it is waterproof anywhere!|
- 83 meter of Armoured Cable
- 2 x 83 Meters of external Cat-5 cable
- Adaptable Box
- Proroute H820 Commercial Grade Router
- 10DB high gain attenna
- 3G SIM card
- Lots and lots of cable ties
- 20m of plastic water pipe (duct for going under track)
- A pole
- Odds and ends like Armoured glands, 2 gang socket, cables glands
- A most excellent farmer as a neighbour who is happy for me to run a set of cables under the road and up his fence
|Inside the box|
|At the top|
We are using Three as a 3G provider on the basis that their transmitter is the highest up the Blanplwyf mast (Where my late Dad worked from 1960 something till about 1985).
One quite minor issue with the Proroute H820 router is that it gets itself in a twist and needs to be rebooted maybe every 2 weeks. Probably be addressed in a future firmware update at some point.
If we could get the attenna 1m higher, there should be a improvement (we gained 1 bar of reception by going from 2.5m off the ground to 4m off the ground), but wondering round the fields with a laptop and a dongle suggests there is only about a 25% opportunity for improvement to getting better line of sight.
I also want to try a SIM for different providers as I am not convinced that the Three transmitter is pointing in our direction.
Still better than B.T. and it is here today, required no major technology on our part and I expect 3G speeds to improve over the next year in this area.