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Posted: 1/20/2015 1:30:56 PM EST
I'm always looking for better options for internet service since the area I'm in has limited options for broadband. All the options are limited to wireless. Not that theres no broadband in the vicinity but nobody is running the cables in the neighborhood. The area is rural, hilly, lots of trees, etc. You will see little around my house except for trees unless its a tower or mountain.

One option is putting equipment up at a nearby datacenter which has a tower on site. They want a fair bit of money to do so. I work with datacenters and what they are asking isn't outside a reasonable price range.

Another option might be a cellular tower thats LOS. Its a 195ft crown castle tower and I wouldn't need anything higher up on it than 100ft. However I have no experience dealing with tower providers or what to expect cost wise, for connectivity, and any specialized equipment I might need that would be outside of my datacenter and wireless experience.

I'm seeking advice from anyone who's had experience with tower providers on what I might expect before I contact them.


Currently using verizon 4g for internet. Fast but has restrictive data limits.
Satellite is useless for my purposes.
Several WISPs in the area that everyone hates due to poor service.
Link Posted: 1/20/2015 1:43:44 PM EST
Good luck if it's owned by American Tower.
Link Posted: 1/20/2015 1:47:09 PM EST
[Last Edit: 1/20/2015 1:50:26 PM EST by awptickes]
Crown Castle is horrible to deal with.

I'd put up my own tower before I'd deal with them.

ETA:
So, they charge you every time they have someone unlock the gate for you to touch your equipment, monthly fees are set by the lease costs (what the rest of the tower uses as far as power, and what the land owner charged them), and finally you can't often get someone to unlock the gate because their techs often service a very large geographic area. The "local" tech for me, is probably the same tech you have, no joke, and I'm up here in Northern MD.
Link Posted: 1/20/2015 2:33:00 PM EST
I'm in the same boat, currently using Verizon 4g, fortunately my employer deals with the costs.

once I put in a Wilson electronics cell booster unit service has been flawless.
Link Posted: 1/20/2015 10:18:34 PM EST
Not exactly what you asked for, but in my semi-rural area connectivity was a big enough problem that a couple of the
engineering geeks that live out here put together their own network, which is now one of the larger WISPs in the area.

They found tower rent was way out of line, so they ended up approaching people in various "good" but 2nd-choice locations,
and basically rented a power outlet and bolted a standard antenna mast to whatever was available. They've had to
relocate the repeaters on a few occasions because the people they rented from (and seriously, we're talking about
a mast bolted to the side of a water tank used for cattle) would try upping the rent. In any case, for very little money
they put together a WISP that probably covers 50 square miles today.

Oh, and this did all of this with consumer WiFi initially, including a 20+ mile link to a data center down in the city. They've
since upgraded to commercial WISP equiment (mostly Moto WiMax stuff.)

The link is heavily oversubscribed now so it kind of sucks, but when I first go it, I was getting close to 10 Mbps which was
about 20 times faster than the best wired internet available, if they'd wire you up at all.

Link Posted: 1/21/2015 9:59:40 AM EST


Discussion ForumsJump to Quoted PostQuote History
Originally Posted By seek2:
Not exactly what you asked for, but in my semi-rural area connectivity was a big enough problem that a couple of the
engineering geeks that live out here put together their own network, which is now one of the larger WISPs in the area.

They found tower rent was way out of line, so they ended up approaching people in various "good" but 2nd-choice locations,
and basically rented a power outlet and bolted a standard antenna mast to whatever was available. They've had to
relocate the repeaters on a few occasions because the people they rented from (and seriously, we're talking about
a mast bolted to the side of a water tank used for cattle) would try upping the rent. In any case, for very little money
they put together a WISP that probably covers 50 square miles today.

Oh, and this did all of this with consumer WiFi initially, including a 20+ mile link to a data center down in the city. They've
since upgraded to commercial WISP equiment (mostly Moto WiMax stuff.)

The link is heavily oversubscribed now so it kind of sucks, but when I first go it, I was getting close to 10 Mbps which was
about 20 times faster than the best wired internet available, if they'd wire you up at all.

View Quote

This is how me and two of my buddies started out. We all had Hughesnet or Wildblue in three remote areas of two counties. We used some really short (30-60') towers and a single 6Mb DSL connection. We outgrew that quick one the started letting the neighbors get a little, or grandma down the street. After the 4th 6Mb dsl was loadbalanced, we got a 10Mb fiber. Then a 50Mb. I just put in the 100Mb fiber this summer. They have around 100 customers, so I hear. I had to get out of it because of conflict of interest with work, but I still did a good bit of the tower climbs for them and a few others. Using mainly Ubiquity's wireless equipment.
One of my partner's contributions was towers. He already owned or leased 40 or so of them for an agricultural GPS system. Where he needed coverage and didn't have it, he had a tower built. He put a 199' foot one in my front yard that feed the north end of my county and part of another. Look into ubiquity's stuff. Really simple, off the shelf equipment.

Redman
Link Posted: 1/21/2015 10:36:01 AM EST
I appreciate the suggestions. I am planning to use ubiquiti equipment. But if it was as trivial as purchasing some wireless gear I wouldn't be asking about tower colocation. I need a place to get service from that I can establish a link to.

If I posted pictures taken from my rooftop in every direction you would see only my closest neighbors (who are in the same boat), a cell tower, a microwave tower (datacenter), a TV tower (packed full of antennas and used by WISPs), distant mountains (also used by WISPs), and trees.

I need something at least 100ft off the ground to overcome the trees and terrain.
Link Posted: 1/21/2015 11:47:10 AM EST
If 100ft is all you need, then the Rohn RSL might do it for you.

Easy way to check is to get a friend with a RC quadcopter to fly up to 100ft AGL and spin around. Check the video afterwards to see if that's enough to get clear LOS.
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