I made the initial service request in Apr 2011 when I received mistaken information about the Goulais (buttermilk) site being operational, During site visits in Jun 2011 and Jul 2011, the installer was able to get a signal from both the Goulais (Buttermilk) and Heyden sites, although not at the minimum signal strength needed for installation. There was no signal from Bellevue and the Heyden signal was weaker than Goulais (Buttermilk).
After a technical adjustment by Tbaytel at the Goulais (Buttermilk) site, the installer conducted a third test in Sep 2011. After an initial failure, the installer’s assistance suggested another test with the head unit as high in the air as they could get. Once the head unit got above some nearby trees, the signal came booming in! The installer was confident the system would work but he needed a new installation order from Tbaytel to proceed. It took considerable effort to get Tbaytel to issue a new work order.
There was a classic case of the theory not agreeing with the reality. Apparently the theory, the formulae and the software being used in Thunder Bay did not correspond to the reality of the signal strength in Goulais. It seems a little local knowledge is considered a bad thing. In any case, persistence paid off and Tbaytel issued a new work order.
The problem the installer faced was getting the head unit high enough in the air. After discussing the cost of a few options, we went cheap and decided to use a couple of metal fence poles from Home Depot. Each pole cost $14.00.
As you may discern in the picture, an old Direcway satellite dish mount served as the bottom support and an old TV antenna pole mount stabilized the Canopy pole at the roof line. The Canopy head unit is at the top and a cellular 800 MHz Yagi is the antenna just above the roof peak. Since the installation there have been some strong winds in the area and the antenna has held rock steady.
It is obvious to me, that foliage has a far greater impact on the reception of the signal strength than anticipated.. The roof level Canopy signal coverage is not what was projected and there are a large number of users that cannot receive the signal. This is very unfortunate.
At one time, Tbaytel was offering a pop-up tower option which would have got the head unit above the tree line in a lot of areas. Unfortunately, this option is no longer available from Tbaytel. In my case I have a two storey house which gave me a bit of an advantage but I still needed an extension.
For those unable to get the Canopy service, the 3G HSPA data hub seems to have better signal distribution. I also have a NetComm Data Hub and am able to get a speed of 1.5 - 2.5 Mbps downloads using the built-in antenna with the unit sitting on my desk beside my router. When I use my cellular repeater to connect, the speed jumps to the 3.5 – 4.5 Mbps range. Since the data hub is a shared service, as is Canopy, the actual speeds obtained vary with the time of day and the number of users on the network at any one time.
This is a sample of my Canopy speed. It has remained very constant.