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Rural Internet Tech

Calxy Institute 4G Wireless – Incredibly slow, but works

I have had my Calyx 4G LinkZone2 wireless router for about 3 months now, and I am extremely pleased that I did not sign up for the full year. My experience with Calyx, in a city with full coverage has been abysmal. The common average I have seen is about 7Mbit down and 1Mbit up. Don’t get me wrong, if you have nothing then this is wonderful… but that is the average. In Woodville that average goes to 1 and 3Mbit down and 0.5Mbit up (and usually less). This is just barely enough to make a voice phone call and not enough to do any sharing + voice or video. Both of which are required for my job.

In the country admittedly the signal is weaker, bouncing between 1 and 2 bars and sometimes 3 (I guess if the wind blows right). I am certain if they supported more devices (specifially any device with a external antenna port) that this signal would improve significantly. But because I seem to be limited in the city as well, it makes me believe that this service is not truly “unlimited” speed and is being throttled considerably.

I can set this next to my Mint carrier cell phone and it easily pulls down 40Mbit but the Calyx connection is pinned at 5Mbit the majority of the time. In both locations where I use this service the coverage maps show excellent 4G and even 5G coverage.

If this would have worked it would have been a dream to have for the price it costs. Hell, it is almost still worth to have for a low speed mobile backup. with my cheap Mint mobile plan.

So now I have a choice between trying two new providers; Nomad Internet or Rarity Communications. Nomad looks like another Calyx Institute but the allow BYOD – which honestly could possibly make a massive difference in service. Rarity Communications is a local outfit that looks to do fixed wireless internet for Ivanhoe, but also has a 4G option for people too far out, though I was told they normally would not service Woodville, but I think I just got in touch with the right person by luck.

I ended up going with Rarity. The equipment they suggested is quite a bit more expensive than your average gear, but it is above average in every way.

The BEC RidgeWave 7000 runs about $750 USD. The main features that make it better than your average equipment is channel 14 support for First Net and up to 5 channel aggregation which allows it to pull up to a theoretical 1.2Gbit from the air. Not that I expect to come any where close to that any time soon; it will be nice once it is possible in my area.

Unfortunately this device is backordered with ETA’s ranging from three weeks to two months. In the intern I ordered a Netgear M1 which oddly has support for channel 4 and up to 3 channel link aggregation (1Gbit max) along with the antenna kit from Netgear to go along with it. This should hopefully be enough to catch a good enough signal so I can move out to the country house (and also save me $100k+ in buying a second house closer to the city).

The cost for 4G service with Rarity is $125/month. No contract so if it does not work then it can be canceled at any time. Not sure if there is a full refund window for the month or not, but I will for sure be testing out putting my Calyx SIM into the M1. Some say they will ban the SIM some say it will continue to work. It should be here tomorrow so I am excited to see what way it goes.

I am still signed up for StarLink service which should be available in late 2021 or early 2022, but the more I keep reading about it the less appealing it starts to become.

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