Wednesday, October 19, 2011


I'd been getting pretty crabby about the speed that Algore's Innertubes arrive here at The Poor Farm in the past couple years. Speeds had been dropping since Day One, back when I was the only customer they had on the head unit that serves this neighborhood, and I was one of the few out in the country with DSL in the first place. Most everyone else was on dialup. However, the local ISP gradually weaned the dialup customers away until they shut it down entirely to save money. No point in running all that equipment for a few people and having it cost as much as the broadband stuff.

But, things had been slowing. Had Alltel and now Verizon ever put a tower up that actually served this area, I'd have probably abandoned my ISP/phone cooperative, but I can't make a damn cell call here, much less get enough data for a decent connection. Every time the sales types at Verizon tried to upgrade me, I'd tell 'em that if they could call me up, and keep the conversation going for ten minutes without dropping the call, I'd sign up. Otherwise, they'd give me the aircard they really thought I needed so badly for free - with no charges for using it, too. For some reason, those calls stopped.

So, this morning, I was reading emails when my modem disconnected. Only one of the two signal lights was showing any activity, so the connection light never changed from orange to green. So, I called in, and the tech there could see that it was disconnected. Time for a new modem. This meant a trip to Dodge City.

As I was getting ready, someone knocked at the door. It was a tech from the ISP - with a new modem. Turns out the tech in Dodge didn't know what the guys out here were doing - they had upgraded the equipment and my old modem was not compatible anymore. We pulled it out, along with the old noise filter they had recommended (he said it wasn't needed anymore), and I was back up.

Their webpage claimed the basic tier of service should run 1.5Mbps, and I got 1.6. Lately it was more like .8. Back in the day, my uploads might even be faster than downloads, but not so much anymore. Now, some of you with FIOS or even a decent fast cable connection might be turning your noses up at this, but for me, major improvement. Call me a satisfied customer for now - I still feel pretty fortunate to have broadband out here on the prairie. My sister in northern OKC cannot get cable, cable broadband or DSL. None of the biggies will invest in upgrading her neighborhood, so it's dialup, cell aircard, or local wireless if she wants broadband.

When I was testing out the connection by watching all kinds of YouTube videos, I found I had to recalibrate my little BitMeter app. It shows a graphic of upload and download speeds - and I'd set it for my home connection. It was always pegged out on the road - most motel connections were way way faster than what I was getting here. Anyhoo, while watching the Chicago video, this was what I saw:

None of the other videos showed that kind of pattern. I'd say whomever set up the server that the Chicago video is stored on has an artistic bent, no?


Anonymous said...

Ha, just an hour ago I was looking into FIOS for my area - it looked like I could get it +200 Direct TV stations $20 cheaper than my current TWarner cable +Earthlink net connection...until I got into details. Turns out I have to pay $129.90 for a tech to install some sort of outlet (is that right?) before all those savings. Ah well.

Congrats on your upgrade!

drjim said...

FiOS requires a "truck roll" to install the ONT, an Optical Network Terminal, along with a back-up battery unit for you if you chose to get your phone service over fiber. They also have to install the optical fiber drop from their junction box up on the power pole to the ONT. After the ONT and battery back-up is installed, connected, and checked, they'll connect it to your existing cable TV coax. If you never had coax run through the house for cable TV, they'll have to install that, too. The coax then connects to the wireless router they bring with them, and you then have your choice of running Ethernet ("CAT5" or better) cable to your computer(s), or using the built-in wireless connection the router provides. It's a lot more involved than getting DSL or cable TV high-speed Internet, and I'm sure they lose money on a $120 charge for installation. Our guy was here 4 hours, and that was with me helping him!
Our house had the original 35+ year old coax (the old "double cable" type), so I ran all new coax and Ethernet cables to each room last year, as the old cable installation was poorly done, and I have a penchant for doing stuff like this the right way.
Was it worth it? Absolutely! The Standard Definition TV programming looks better than the "High Definition" programming we were getting from Charter, and the Internet speeds are stunningly fast. We just upgraded our package, and besides getting more channels, our Internet speeds went to 35/35 symmetrical.