Wednesday 20 June 2012

Goulais (Buttermilk) Site Upgrade Completed 20 Jun 2012

Tbaytel has confirmed that the site upgrade work at Goulais (Buttermilk) is now complete.  New panel style antennas were added and reoriented and a second carrier added. The second carrier will add greater capacity to the site and help reduce congestion.  There is no need to change user handset or data hub equipment to take advantage of the upgrades. 

If you are anywhere in the coverage area shown on the blog of 13 Jun 12, are  using an external antenna aimed at another site such as Bellevue to Heyden and are having  difficulties with speed and connectivity, you may want to swing you  antenna towards the Goulais (Buttermilk). There is no guarantee the service will improve, but I think it is worth a try.

If anyone notices an improvement (or degradation) in service, please let me know either directly at or by using the comment section. 

Tuesday 19 June 2012

Goulais (Buttermilk) Upgrade Follow-up 19 Jun 2012

This pictures were taken around 1:50 pm on 19 Jun 2012.  This time there are two  technicians working at the antennas level of the Goulais (Buttermilk) tower.

There is a noticeable changes in the antenna configuration. The panel style antennas are now in place. 

I anxiously await the  feedback concerning any impact the new configuration will have once it is complete.

Monday 18 June 2012

Goulais (Buttermilk) Upgrade Proceeding

This pictures were taken around 1:50 pm on 18 Jun 2012 and they show a technician working at the antennas level of the Goulais (buttermilk) tower.
There are no noticeable changes in the antenna configuration at this time.

Thursday 14 June 2012

Heyden Antenna Set-up

Anonymous Posted the following as comment on 14 Jun 12 to "North Sault Data Hub Issues Update 01 May 12".

“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?”

I re-posted it here so I could add the pictures.

First, in my opinion these are fairly good speeds. The Tbaytel website lists the data hub speed as 7.2 Mbps. Other vendors list the expected speed as between 2-4 Mbps. Tbaytel does not indicate the expected speed but I see no reason why it should differ from the other carriers.

Unfortunately I do not have a close-up picture of the original Heyden antenna set-up. I do have close-ups of the current Heyden set-up.



Original Tower Set-up Viewed From MTO Site

June 2012 Set-up Viewed From Hwy 17 MTO Site

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June 2012 Close of Antennas From Hwy 17 MTO Site

June 2012 Close-up of Antennas from Beaumont Park Entrance.

I don’t think the antennas have been moved. The upper antennas are for Canopy and the lower are for cellular. The view of the Canopy antennas from Beaumont area show that while they are on the same side of the tower, they are oriented at different angles to cover the areas of population density outside the Heyden DSL and cable coverage areas.

The cellular antennas are oriented to cover up and down the highway. Note one backs, grey sides, are in opposite directions from the fronts, white sides. I am not sure what the coverage angle is but I suspect it is either 120° or 180°. 

The main criterion for provincial funding was that the cellular site’s primary coverage area was to be along the Kings highway. Any additional coverage was a bonus. The object Canopy equipment orientation was to cover the maximum number of people.

Wednesday 13 June 2012

Goulais Cell Site Before Upgrade

This is the frequency prediction coverage for the existing cell and tower configuration

Legend for the map

Upgrade to Goulais (Buttermilk) Cell Site.

Tbaytel will be carrying out major infrastructure upgrades to the Goulais (Buttermilk) cell site and tower on, Monday, 18 Jun 2012. The work will require that the cell site be taken off the air from 0530 – 2130 (5:00 AM to 9:30 PM). The period may be shorter if the work proceeds well. In case of inclement weather the alternate date is Tuesday, 19 Jun 2012.

The work to be done includes new antennas, reorientation of the coverage pattern and the addition of a second carrier.

I would appreciate receiving feedback about the impact of the changes after they are completed.

Wednesday 6 June 2012

TBAYTEL HSPA Maintenance

The following is posted on the Tbaytel website
Maintenance Advisory - Mobility - Network Wide - June 6 to 24
Tbaytel will be performing system wide maintenance daily to our HSPA Wireless Network beginning Wednesday, June 6 between approximately 1 and 4:00 am EDT ending Sunday, June 24. During these times cellular service will be temporarily interrupted for a short period.

This will also affect Rogers subscribers.

Broadband Gap Study for Northern Ontario

On May 22, 2012 FedNor issued a press release entitled “Government of Canada investment to enhance broadband services across Northern Ontario”. The gist of the release was that one of the sister CBN’s had been provided $ 125,000 in funding to carry out a study with the following objectives.

  1. Conduct a gap analysis study to identify areas in Northern Ontario that need improved broadband services;
  2. Map service areas; and
  3. Identify fibre optic access points.

This information will be mapped to a GIS data base.

Blue Sky Net and its project consultant Barrie Crampton is in the process of contacting communities within the Algoma District for their input. ‘

This is in addition to information already provided by ADnet and the other CBN’s.

It is expected the study will be completed by the end of 2012 and result in a clearer idea where gaps exist in Internet coverage across the north.

Tuesday 5 June 2012

Realistic Speed Advertising

The acting head of the CRTC announced today that the CRTC is conducting a test project to determine what the actual Internet speed is that a consumer receives. For years, the vendors have advertised "up to" which in most cases was the maximum theoretical capability of the technology used. When users conducted speed tests using either a vendor's program or a third party program, the actual speed received by a user was very much less. It was not unheard of for users to record as much as 1/4 or less of the advertised speed. This has been a long-standing complaint of Internet users.

The United Kingdom (Ofcom) and the United Stated (FCC) have conducted similar tests in the past. Some of these studies resulted in regulatory policy affecting how vendors can advertise their Internet speeds.

Acting CRTC chair Leonard Katz indicated the CRTC is now in the process of conducting a pilot project in collaboration with an unnamed Internet Service Provider. I am sure the fact that the CRTC is working with an established ISP will give rise to many accusations of collusion and complicity. The use of independent testing organization may have added credibility to any data collected.

Nevertheless, the need to provide a more accurate statement of what speeds a user can expect is long overdue.

Mr. Katz did not provide a timeline for publication of the results but he anticipated live testing to begin in 60 to 90 days.

This is definitely a study that bears watching.