Living with a wireless modem… an update

Posted: November 11, 2006 in hardware, technology
Tags: , ,


So, i’ve been living with the wireless modem for about a month now, and it’s been mostly a pain in the keister.
The wireless modem is getting it’s signal from the cel-phone towers put up by Inukshuk, which according to info i have read is now a group effort by Bell and Rogers to provide high speed internet to people who can’t get it through the phone lines or through cable, people like me for instance. There are a couple of different “flavours” of the service available depending on who your provider is and how much you want to pay,even though the actual service is from the same place. From their web site,…
“ The Inukshuk Wireless broadband network is currently available in 20 centres across Canada. Built in conjunction with Bell Canada and Rogers Communications, the Inukshuk Wireless network is one of the largest of its kind in the world.
That being said, finding a spot in our house that consistently had a good steady signal proved to be impossible. I would get a signal, but it would be weak, maybe two lights out of the possible five, but even at that it would be intermittent at best, and quite often drop off to one light or even no lights and start searching for a signal again. Not fun if you are browsing the web or checking your email, or worse yet – in the middle of a download.

So, without boring you with all the trials and tribulations of my wandering around the house day after day (no, not constantly, just for a few minutes a day, but every day) looking for a hot spot, i eventually decided I should try in the garage/barn to get a signal. A little back-story is necessary here I think….

I have a barn on my property that was converted into a loft upstairs and a garage downstairs. When I first got the wireless modem, i tried it out upstairs in the loft and got a great signal. The trouble is, I don’t want to go out to the barn every time i want to be connected to the “interweb”. I tried hooking up the modem to my wireless router and did not get a reliable signal in the house, so i gave up on that idea and tried to deal with having a somewhat reliable signal in the house instead, thinking that the router was just not sending a strong enough signal to the house – i wonder if my neighbours were enjoying the free internet though?!?! …hmmm…, anyway, back to the story at hand…
I wandered the barn knowing that i would get the best signal on the south side (one of my many conversations with bell over the past month, had told me that the towers were to the south of me) and found I could get a steady 3 lights with sometimes 4 lights in the upper southeast corner of the garage. So after a little “macgyvering” I got the modem up near the ceiling, and ran a 100 ft ethernet cable over to my wireless router near the front of the garage on the driveway closest to the house. Low and behold, I could get a good signal in the house, mostly near windows or in direct line of site of the router. After a bunch more testing I found out it did not matter if the router was outside or in the garage near a window, the signal strength was the same in the house, so I have permanently mounted the router near a window in the garage closest to the house and have relatively good signal strength within my house since then.
Finally, I have highspeed. And the speed is relatively good as you can see from the benchmark. I got the 1.5meg service and am getting close to that on average now, so it would seem I am finally connected to the world again. As Joni Mitchell (BTW, thanks for the correction timbit) sang many years ago,

“that you don’t know what you’ve got till its gone”.
I didn’t realize how much I relied on my highspeed until I was forced to live without it.


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