Tuesday 1 May 2012

North Sault Data Hub Issues Update 01 May 12

In my blog of 15 Mar 12 I discussed issues users were experiencing with data hubs in the North Sault area. Since then I have had a number of exchanges with both Rogers and Tbaytel about this matter.

I can say that both companies have taken the concerns seriously and  are taking administrative steps and infrastructure action that should lead to improved service for the users. I will publish additional details once they become available. 

I stated elsewhere that it could take up to six months from when I made an issue of the problems before there might be an improvement in the quality of service. Based on this forecast I expect to see some improvement during the summer of 2012.


  1. That's good news. Now they just have to offer up a reasonable fixed broadband price instead of pricing this like a mobile service. Just because it's a wireless device does not mean we're mobile. My house has no wheels. The hub never moves from it's spot in the corner. There's nothing "mobile" about this.

    Try a 10 or 15 GB limit on any of their DSL or cable customers and see how that flies. Why should we pay a ton more just because it's a Netcomm or Ericsson sitting on the desk, instead of a DSL or cable modem?

    Myself, my son, and my wife, 3 devices. One weekend. A couple of automatic system updates (O/S patches, etc.) and kiss the 3 gb threshold goodbye - almost before we can actually even do anything online. I just paid an extra $10 to get the necessary security updates on my devices? Are Windows updates alone going to bankrupt me every other month? Seriously, though, this is really really ridiculous. Rogers, TBayTel - getting the 3G (or 4G if you choose to call it that) infrastructure up to speed is great - but you gotta stop gouging us, please. Even LTE speed is useless if it just makes you blow past the tiny usage caps that much faster. 100MB speeds and a 10 GB data plan - that gives me 90 seconds of great internet experience, then I'm bleeding. Maybe almost tolerable on a cell phone, absolutely useless on the rocket hubs.

    I don't expect something for nothing - a reasonable max on the bill - reasonable - and clearly published as part of the service - so I know what my bill is going to be every month. I'd be much happier. I understand Bell is supposed to be going that route - isn't this a great opportunity for Rogers / TBaytel to beat them out of the gate? If Bell gives me a reasonable fixed rate for the same service, I have no choice but to go there. Instead of losing sleep over my Internet charges - that's crazy...

    1. I love when people pick one or two companies out of the crowd and slam their business practices.

      Seeing as this is the norm in the industry, what made you pick tbaytel and Rogers over Bell and Telus?

      Comparing fixed solutions like DSL and cable to wireless is like saying a halfton truck should be able to move a whole house in one load.

      Wireless has numerous limitations when compared to fixed solutions - chiefly capacity.

      It's unfortunate that Wilf is allowing hyperbole over fact. Posts containing opinion over fact should be annotated with factual information before they are posted.

    2. Fair enough, they're not the only culprits, however I "picked" them because they're the only game in town right now (in my case / location). Are you suggesting that physical capacity or other "numerous limitations" - or the fact that this is the industry norm - are justification for the business practice of charging a customer $130 a month to deliver a fraction of the user experience that would be available for a half of that cost on a wired solution?

      The "10 or 15 GB limit on any of their DSL or cable customers" comment was in reference to a tiered price structure, not limiting their capacity. I understand that the wireless infrastructure has physical limitations. I applaud Rogers and TBayTel for taking steps to improve capacity issues where they can.

    3. 2-3 mbps at 3am, 1mbps during the day and not even being able to connect in the evening is pretty sad, when my hub is getting a medium to usually high signal strength. Rogers told me several months ago, that it was Tbaytels problem because they own the tower. I was also told that Tbaytel is aware of the problem and does have a plan to fix it. As to when that would happen, she could not say. I told the rogers tech that it certainly was their problem too, as it's them I pay. She had to agree with me on that point.
      So now we pay through the nose and wait for reliable, high speed internet.

    4. Anyone in the North Sault area – Sixth Line to Montreal River - who is a data hub user and is a customer of Rogers should register their complaints with Tbaytel as well since they own and operate the infrastructure (cell sites) that are being used by Rogers. Complaints raised through the Rogers reporting system do not always get the necessary visibility at Tbaytel.

      My suggestion is to send a message to Tbaytel Customer Care customercare@tbaytel.net with a cc: to Andrew Edwards (andrew.edwards@tbaytel.com). State clearly you are a Rogers customer living in the North Sault area, give details of your issues and provide contact information.

      You can also phone into Tbaytel Customer Care at 1-800-264-9501 but I personally normally use the e-mail approach for its record keeping value.

      It would be useful to me if I had the particulars of Rogers data hub uses in the North Sault area if anyone wishes to share the information send it to wlefresne@adnetalgoma.ca

    5. I'm a business owner who has a Rogers number from southern Ontario. Phoning tbaytel about issues with your Rogers service will not lead to a resolution.

      Their staff is friendly and sympathetic, but there is nothing they can do to assist us. The tbaytel rep I spoke to explained they could not open trouble tickets nor log my issues as they do not have access to Rogers system.

      Tbaytel directed me to contact Rogers for assistance.

      The Rogers agent I spoke with confirmed I should be calling them and not tbaytel.

    6. I agree that notifying Tbaytel about what is perceived as a Rogers problem may seem counter-intuitive but Tbaytel is the company that has to fix the problem and they need to be aware of the numbers that are affected.

      I always use e-mail when dealing with any Customer Care as it creates a record, is harder to ignore and provides good documentation if escalation up the management chain is necessary. (Technical Support is completely different and in most cases a phone call can resolve a technical issue.)

      As expressed in my response on 10 May 12 and as noted by Anonymous, it is true that Tbaytel cannot access the Rogers network data base and herein lies part of the problem. Tbaytel is not getting the full feel for the level of frustration data hub users in the North Sault area are experiencing and that is why I recommended reporting the problems to them.

      Since I first brought the issue to the attention of both Rogers and Tbaytel management in March the problem has received higher visibility in both organizations. As a result Tbaytel formed a “tiger team” to conduct an in-depth examination of the problem. The team lead is Mr. Edwards and that is why I suggested an e-mail to him as the complaints of non-Tbaytel users will get the visibility needed within the Tbaytel organization.

      As is often the case in these matters, getting the information in to the hands of people that can actually do something about it, is the challenge. In my estimation, the e-mail approach to Tbaytel will be more effective in the end. Of course it is up to individuals to decide which approach they wish to take.

  2. I just realized my math sucks - 90 seconds should be 100 seconds with LTE and a 10 GB cap (I was probably thinking of the 9GB plan that was once offered by Rogers when they first announced LTE service). Either way, it's a marginal difference and a show stopper...

  3. It's 1:30am and I just did a speed test of 2.5 mb, on speedtest.net. My speed was 2.6 mbps. My signal strength is 5 bars and -69dbm which I am led to believe is pretty darn good. I am told that the signal strength is not always the issue, it's the quality of the signal that is more critical. If the towers not aiming in your direction your screwed. I'm in goulais within 1/2 a km of hwy 17. I will contact tbaytel as hermes suggested and so should everyone else having problems.
    All other cell towers that I see across the province have up to a dozen of those antennas all around the top of the towers. If you take a look at the heyden tower it has only 2, that I think is the problem. They're not catching alot of there customers with good coverage.

  4. The above basically correct; too many customers chasing too few spots on the towers. The end result is congestion.

    The usual approach to solving congestions issues is adding more sectors (antennas), beam steering, adding new radios and frequencies, splitting cell sites i.e. adding new towers, or all of the above. All these fixes require time and money.

    In fairness to the carriers, the advent of smartphones, tablets, monitoring devices and data hubs has increased the demand for data to a level not foreseen by any of the network planners or telecom gurus in North America. The result is all carriers are scrambling to catch up. The bottom line is there needs to be increased capacity to meet demand.

  5. for Anonymous - just tossing this in fwiw - when the service was working fairly well for me (last year) I did a couple of speed tests that if I recall were as high as 3 mbs (once or twice, and that was the best I'd ever seen - haven't seen that since then). Lately it's working here but not great. I'm only showing 1 bar signal on my hub - then and now (not sure about the dbm as the Rogers W35 hubs don't appear to provide that detail). In any case, I'm probably 20 km from the tower, much farther than you, always had much weaker signal, and still I have seen the occasional decent speeds. My experience seems to confirm what you and the moderator suggest - even a weaker signal with no congestion = decent service. As the customers join up, it goes south. It would be nice if they could beef this up a bit.

  6. Just wondering if anybody knows what this is all about.
    I see a sign near the husky east that says, Algoma Net, unlimited rural internet for $44.95 a month, 1-866-916-2355. I googled algoma net and only found a company with that name that makes hammocks. Haven't bothered to call because I live in goulais. I am a rogers customer with crappy speeds, even though I have a high signal strength. Tbaytel better fix the problem before bell gets there tower up and running or they and rogers are going to see a big customer loss.
    I hope bell is not going to make the same mistake that tbaytel did. They need to make sure that there tower is able to provide sufficient bandwith to meet customer needs.

  7. I far as I can determine, ALGOMANet and Telgo are hoaxes being perpetuated by a local SSM resident. I have found about a dozen bogus websites covering a magnitude of subjects that can be traced back to the same source. Some of them are copies of legitimate websites but a lot of the sub-menu hyperlinks are not real.

    In most the cases the giveaway is the reference to the head office of the international conglomerate that operates around the world is located in SSM but no one has ever heard about it. Also the address for this supposed conglomerate headquarters is in a residential area of East Sault.

    At the bottom-line, it appears there is no genuine new service provider operating in the area.

  8. I sent an email last week to tbaytel, as suggested by Hermes and to my surprise, I received this back from Andrew Edwards.
    "Tbayel is working very closely with our network venders and consultants to optimize our network performance. We have some scheduled performance upgrades that have a planned june 2012 completion for your area that should help performance".
    Lets hope it happens as planned and that all our troubles are a thing of the past. Well, even some improvement would be welcome for sure.

  9. I see the antennas on the Heyden tower have been moved. They are now both side by side, pointing to the south, rather than one east and one west. I am in goulais and although my signal is slightly weaker, my speeds are faster and much more consistant. I'm getting around 3mbps in the afternoon and up to 5mbps in the wee hours of the morning. Yet to see what it's like in the evening. Anyone else notice a difference?