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Wireless rural internet

Hi all, hope you’re surviving ok.
I’ve recently moved into my family’s 150 year old farmhouse to better socially distance myself. Unfortunately this means I’m in a similar position to rural westerosis as far as internet goes. Cellular service only. 10 GB a month for like $150 CAD. Typically I use a MINIMUM of 3 gigs a day

This is where the DIY part begins. Despite my rural situation, I’m only about 4 miles, (6-7 km) from town, depending on where in town you drop the other pin. I have beautiful line of sight from the top of my silos (Picture)

I have experience and good success with ubiquiti wireless bridges, and most of them should have the range for what I need.

What I’m here asking you fine folks for, is some advice on who to approach in town , to ask if I can put an antenna on their premises, and approximately how much should I be considering paying them?

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I don’t have an answer to your question however have you considered if this is a service other farms and houses in the area would want? You could potentially run a community WISP in the area and lower your running costs (maybe make a little money)

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I would recommend you pay for their ISP service as payment, there is a Convention in my area that does something similar and they do that as payment. works out well imo.

I’d talk to a university / college. the city / county government likely will not help not because they don’t want to, but because red tape. they’d be afraid of having you get injured, or having to pay one of their own people to install an antenna on a building. they’d be worried about getting sued by at&t / verizon for some nonsense reason, etc.

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Line-of-sight will dictate who to approach. No point approaching the owner of a building that you can’t see.

Apart from that, I also don’t think there is any point approaching anything remotely government-related, or telco-related — they’ll just screw you over in one way or the other.

Back in the 1990s we ran a wireless link from an outer suburb to the central business district to improve our connectivity. We ended up approaching the owner of an ‘old’ multi-storey office building that was not located on the prime shopping/business streets. That building always seemed to have vacancies, and had no lift. It was, however, only about 100m down the street from the exchange. We ended up not only getting a dish on the roof, but we got access/use of the top floor of the building in the same bargain. It even had a shower.

The owner was simply thankful that he could generate a little bit more income from an otherwise ‘underperforming’ asset, without having the usual dramas associated with a regular tenant (e.g. modifications, parking and foot/customer traffic).

My advice would be to identify a sub-prime building with clear line-of-sight, which is either obviously under-utilised or otherwise could be reasonably expected to be underperforming. Basically, pick someone to whom a relatively small amount of additional income would actually mean something and be appreciated.

You should not piggy-back off their Internet connection, or them off yours, for legal reasons. Commission your own Internet connection within the building which you have 100% control and accountability over.

Negotiate a — completely off-the-books — compensation deal them. Ideally you would either pay for this every 6/12 months in advance with physical cash, or set up an automated monthly bank transfer into an account of their choosing. Don’t ask for paperwork. Don’t ask for receipts. Don’t make it hard.

What they want is a 100% hassle-free passive income stream. Give it to them.

Around these parts a residential Internet connection (now) costs ~AU$100 a month. I would consider offering the owner somewhere in the $20–40/month if I were in your position. (Realise that you will be adding to their electricity bill as well.)


Laser links (FSO) if you have $ would look nice up there. :wink:


Laser links would be cool, but don’t work in fog. Probably 5ghz is my best bet, maybe 2.4 if I can get up high enough with the in-town antenna to be above the noise.

I have been considering this for years. There is one WISP in the area running 3ghz licensed equipment, they get hundreds of millions of dollars of government subsidy funding. Unfortunately, their (customer) service is also terrible. Way oversubscribed.
I have one next door neighbor who would definitely be on board, and another that MAY. Perhaps if I had success there I’d get about 10 customers total.

Which is definitely something, don’t get me wrong, but I worry it is just enough customers that I’d actually start having to set up ‘semi-real’ ISP-type equipment, (and get an IP for each of them, etc) whereas with one neighbor on board I’d just add another layer of NAT, and we would share one IP address. This would mean he couldn’t forward any ports without asking me.

I know that some places in the UK have done this, either via WISP or putting in their own fibre. We have some funds for that kind of thing i think, but they had 30 people involved in the community to help. A couple of people you might just want to setup something small and share the bill and do without the management of multiple customers essentially.

But worth a thought :man_shrugging: especially if it might be profitable and a better service than your potential competitor.

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I managed to get an installer out to get me setup with our local commercial WISP. My speed is terrible (paying for 10Mb/s down, 1 up) getting 3/1 most of the time. I’m sure this is just oversubscription on their part(Exacerbated by the thing. They have recently upgraded everone to unlimited data because of the thing). My speeds actually slightly better than advertised during the “wee hours” such as right now.

I’m stil very interested in setting up my own mini-WISP but likely will hold off until there’s a patch for this human 0-day vuln so I can safely approach my neighbours.

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Have you made sure your signal is as good as it can get, lowering packet loss will host speed and lower latency

I used an old satellite dish back when I had a 4G router

Ubitquiti has some longer range stuff but it’s certainly not going to be cheap. Here’s hoping for starlink to get rolling eh?