Monday 30 August 2010

Wireless Broadband (high speed) Internet Comparison

Wireless Type



Cost *

Small dish antenna installed on user residence.

1. Universal coverage of Canada
2. In theory easily scalable
3. Can connect to LAN

1. Latency/delay
2. Limited data Speed
3. Inconsistent data Speed
4. Impaired by weather
5. High initial user cost
6. Fair Use Policy limits

MRC: $59.99
Speed: up to 1 Mbps down
Activation OTC : $99.00
Annual Licence: $75.00
Hardware: $199.00 (Can be waived)Installation Cost: Varies

Fixed Wireless
Small panel or yagi antenna installed on user residence.

1. Relatively inexpensive to install
2. Consistent data speed
3. Medium range initial user cost
4. Can connect to LAN

1. Limited data speed
2. Line-of-sight to base required
3. Subject to terrain masking

MRC: $47.95
Speed: up to 4 Mbps
Activation OTC: $75.00
Pop-up Tower (if needed) $300.00

Data stick or Data hub connected to computer. Can use external antenna for better speeds

1. Greatest data speed
2. Broadband and cellular capable
3. Expensive initial user cost without contract
4. Can connect to LAN

1. Line-of-sight and 5 km to cell tower
2. Expensive if basic data caps are exceeded
3. Subject to terrain masking

MRC: $35.00 – 1 GB
$60.00 – 10 GB
Speed: up to 7Mbps rural; 21Mbps urban
Hardware: Hub: $400.00
Data stick: $175.00

  • Taken from ISP websites. Packages and bundles can affect the actual prices a user pays. Does not include taxes or regulatory fees.


  1. Recently (June 08)checked on new Bell sites in Beaumont and Buttermilk-other than hydro connected and Meters installed (110+ 220v panel outlets available) there is certainly no evidence of further progress ( no concrete pads aso).
    So far the effects of Tbay tel/Rogers "TIGER TEAM" to address the band width problems for the greater Goulais area have so far effected me personally that my top dl speed is reduced from 6.5Mb/s to around 5Mb/s while synchronization (ratio between DL and UL) is often less than 5-10%.
    My personal opinion: Tigers only kill and eat their prey (customers?),maybe an elephant team-might get some work out of them; may be better yet a CRO-Magnum man or Flintstone man with his Dino.
    Any way, I run @ -31dbm signal strength (0= on the tower)and the whole affair smacks of the design of a pimple-faced engineering team. Have patience but pay.DF

  2. A copy of the above comment was sent to the blog:

    I have not heard or seen a confirmation direct from Bell Mobility as to when the Goulais and Heyden sites are to be commissioned. The technician level, as opposed to management level, rumour mill has the target date sometime in August. I agree that one would expect to see some type of concrete base as a minimum requirement before any form of tower – be it free standing, self supporting , or guyed – is built.

    I did see a bunch of non-descript trucks and people around the base of the Beaumont power line and half way up the hill last week. There was no openly visible sign of their affiliation or exactly what they were doing.

    The completion date for the Tbaytel “fixes” is the end of June 2012. They are very tight lipped bout what they will be doing.

  3. From my some what sarcastic letter of June 11 I am now obligated to eat a bit of Crow.Since the upgrade finished on June 20, my UL and DL are back where they originally were with this improvement, namely the speeds are fairly consistent through out the day. UL are slightly up but nothing that would remotely qualify for "cloud computing" where large files would be uploaded to be stored on a remote database Storage and then later to be accessed from other portable devices.In other words buy more HD.DF

  4. Hello,
    Drove up to new Bell site on Buttermilk today, July 24/2012. Lo! and behold there is a crew up there erecting the new tower( they are about 20' up as of 3 PM) Total height is to be 200',tower is anchored on a triangular base on concrete pillars with a little shack for electronics.
    Erectors are a crew from Taiwan, (go figure! I personally am convinced that Bell wants to be paid in Canadian Currency from us), but so the cookie crumbles.

  5. I wonder how this tower compares (proximity and height) with the existing site / tower in the Buttermilk hill / Goulais area (the Rogers / TBaytel service). I would also really like to know if / when Bell is going to swing up north to the Batchewana / Ryan area (also part of the deferral plan if I understand it correctly).

    1. The Tbaytel and Bell towers in Goulais are a few hundred meters apart but on the same ridge line. As to the matter of height, two factors come into play; one is the height of the tower base, usually expressed as a measurement above sea level (ASL) and the other is the height of the actual antenna above the tower base. For example, according to the Industry Canada data base, some Tbaytel sites are as follows:
      a. Ryan - ASL 303, Antenna Height 79

      b. Batchawana –ASL 255, Antenna Height 3 (Batchawana is located on the ground at the edge of a cliff so there is no tower.)

      c. Goulais (Buttermilk) – ASL 229, Antenna Height 35

      d. Heyden – ASL 366, Antenna Height 100
      The actual relationships are driven by the antenna design, the desired signal pattern and targetted coverage area.

  6. Thanks for the additional detail. I think DF above mentioned that the Bell tower is going to be 200' high. If the Tbaytel Goulais tower is 35 (meters?) (roughly 115')and if the base of the Bell towers (on the same ridgeline) are roughly same elevation then Bell's tower would be approx 85' higher.

    This might not matter much but I was just speculating if the Bell tower could possibly make any difference for folks on the other side of the hill (lots of high terrain between Marlette shoreline and the Goulais site).

    1. The antenna heights cited are from a data base and not actual measurements. Once the tower is complete and the antennas mounted, a better relationship can be established.

      In my estimation, Bell has improved the accuracy of its coverage maps over the last year or so. They appear to be based on real frequency prediction maps as opposed to the previous "block" approach.

      If you zoom in on their future coverage area on their website, it shows fairly extensive coverage in the Goulais area. This is a pre-Deferral Account prediction.

      Remember, the new Bell sites at Heyden and Goulais provide only HSPA+ coverage on the Bell network. If you are still using Bell CDMA hardware you will be accessing the Tbaytel network. This means that if someone acquires a Bell HSPA data hub but keeps their Bell CDMA phone, they will be accessing two different networks and two different cell sites. The good news is that since both the Bell and Tbaytel sites are fairly close together, in most cases a single external Yagi connected to an in-house repeater should work for both systems. Of course the same mix and match applies for the combination of a Bell data hub and a Rogers or Tbaytel HSPA + phone. In the end, the user should select the combination that suits their particular needs, coverage area and costs.

      Based on the map projection I am suspicious that they may be adding a cell configuration to one of their existing towers in the north Batchawana Bay area but this is just a guess. Vendors tend to be very secretive when they can be about their specific plans, always citing competitive considerations.

      Bell is still targeting the area where the money is i.e. the highway coverage. During initial deployments like the North Sault area, coverage off the main route is a by-product consideration. Future fill-in activities will hopefully pick-up the slack and increase coverage.

  7. Hello,
    The height of a tower, (given the same parameters such as power output,polarization, antennae configuration,inclination) to name a few does make a substantial difference on the distance of coverage, keeping in mind that the frequency spectrum used(some in the 850 MHz right up to the 2100 MHZ) are all LOS(line of sight propagation=no earth surface bending. There are further tricks involved in the LOBE arrangement such as slightly inclining antennas towards the ground to effect maximum ground coverage instead of sky coverage.A higher antenna would naturally reach better into terrain holes which would otherwise be skipped over.But time will prove
    these things out:A bit of reality can and will render void a lot of theories.If the Bell tower is going to be as high as the rigging crew states, then I would anticipate some gain from that.DF

    1. I agree with the above general comments. All things being equal, the height of the antenna is probably the main consideration in determining the coverage area.

      However the cellular engineers have become very good at controlling the signal radiation patterns to get the coverage results they want.

      I guess we shall see soon enough.

  8. After much tweeeking and frustrating a lot of customers,yep there are some improvements.