Alternative solutions for awful Internet

The ongoing poor Internet situation has been extremely frustrating. There have been some developments. A community meeting was held just over a week ago. Resulting in a clear community goal to get the cabinet upgraded, as the problem we face is due to the distance to the exchange over copper, which would massively boost our speeds out the 1mbps range (0.4mbps on my personal connection for a few weeks). So the positives really are that as a community we have a clear goal, community engagement is growing, and our MP has expressed interest in supporting our campaign. A result of the meeting was a letter sent to Openreach signed by around 40 members of the community.

However, even with this positive development we are still stuck waiting for Openreach to consider the upgrade. I was warned by an Openreach engineer that this process even when considered may drag on over months as planning permission is required, the developer needs to agree to the work, and the actual work then to be eventually carried out. On the bright side we have had two alternatives suggested.

Wildanet Wireless Internet

Wildanet is a small company that specialises in wireless internet for remote areas. A couple of representatives went to the meeting and provided an interesting alternative solution to our problem. Normally they set up wireless internet for villages and they did highlight that we were outside their normal user base.

The technology they use is pretty damn cool. However, there is a bit of catch. For them to deploy their solution they require enough people to sign up. The cost to install per home is £335 and a monthly cost of £55 (24 month contract). Rather costly for Internet even if that is for 100mbps upload and download.

Mobile Data

An alternative solution, something that makes more sense living on a boat rather than in a town, is using a SIM card. After shopping around the best deal I found 3 had excellent SIM only contracts that made data a solution. No limits on tethering either.

However, this was not a perfect solution on it’s own. My experience after a day of deploying the solution, going for the £32 per month contract option to make sure it was effective, was a desktop that would no longer communicate with my phone. Even then the range of the mobile was low and rapidly drained the battery.  

Buying a SIM card router was an ideal solution. Enabling normal router operations and easily manage my home network. I went with a TP-Link router (TL-MR6400). Supports 32 device, 4 Ethernet ports, and can be used as a normal router once the Internet infrastructure is upgraded.  

Alternative Internet solutions: Conclusion

Wildanet is offering an attractive deal for ultra fast internet. However, the cost is just too high. Even if I was willing to pay the price, I doubt enough people will sign up as the majority of people in my community will not really benefit from ultra fast Internet speeds compared to the speeds if we just getting the infrastructure upgraded.  

Instead the option that I do recommend at this time is the unlimited data SIM using a router. From this I have been getting speeds around 15mbps to 20mbps upload and download. The upload speed alone has been a breath of fresh air as Chloe was able to upload a video in 12 minutes to her Youtube channel compared to the 9 hours that it took on our TalkTalk connection. That 9 hour upload also crippled our Internet for any other use. 

I’m currently stress testing the solution. I have thousands of photos (nearly 1TB) to back up on my Amazon Drive (unlimited photo storage with Prime membership). On my old connection I could maybe upload 10 photos over an hour and then it timed out. We will have to see whether this solution will be successful, but everything is looking excellent so far. Planning on getting out of my TalkTalk contract on Friday if I’m satisfied with the SIM card solution.

The SIM card solution feels rather ridiculous considering I live in a town and my area is surrounded with high quality Internet, but we have been missed. For the time being I will be paying for the monthly SIM card. I’m hopeful our campaign will get our local infrastructure upgraded in the near future.

I hope you find this post of use. Please leave a comment if you have any questions or suggestions.

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