Finding the right WISP

WISP (Wireless Internet Service Provider)

Living in the country side and being a digital photographer don’t always go together, though the country side can offer needed space and quiet but also offers some unique challenges, until you have lived in the countryside you may not fully understand. Since moving to the countryside (outside Reedley, Kingsburg, Dinuba and Visalia) just over 2 years ago, I have been in search of good internet. Having been spoiled by the break-neck speeds of the internet offered in major metropolitan area’s I knew that dial-up internet wouldn’t be a suitable option for gaming and general website updates/hosting so I immediately set out to find the best and most reliable internet service available to my area. The house that we live in was built to be far outside of the city limit and¬† services and as such DSL or Cable internet just simply were not available as options so I immediately started looking at bridging technologies and WISP services available to the area.

In the world of WISP networks it comes down to one simple thing, “Location, Location, Location” if the tower isn’t in the correct location for the house location you can almost forget receiving internet access, or internet access with any quality to speak of. One of the largest challenges that I have had to face was the large wall of trees slowly growing my way from my neighbors property slowly cutting off the angles that I can use to get to ISP’s. Be sure that you have whichever WISP you initially choose come out and do a sight survey or ask where the towers are located and do some research on your own to ensure that you will be able to get access. Certainly call them and talk about your needs and any concerns that you may have.

The following WISP networks were tried for my needs here in California’s Central Valley and here are my results:

1. Odyssey Network

Good Local Service (Cheep)

Odyssey networks is a still growing network with service to many different areas in and around the Dinuba/Reedley area, their install is nice and cheap their monthly costs are kept nice and low an additional bonus is that the support personnel are local. If you have an issue there is a good chance that you will have someone out nearly the same day to look at your connection and the issues that you may be having. Give them a call and ask that they come out and do a site survey, if you are able to hit one of their towers they may very well be a great option for you.

Overall Rating: Good
Technology: 2.4 GHz for connection
Pros: Local Network Tech/Service, Lots of local towers allowing the connection to be re-pointed
Cons: Wasn’t a tower that I could hit consistently due to my neighbors trees.
Would I go back/Recommend to a friend: Certainly

2. Integrity Network

Good Service (Expensive)

With Integrity Networks I was offered 768 KB transfers for just under $150 the added costs were to cover the fact that I was getting a guaranteed rate of 768KB and speedy service when issues were found. Though the speed was nice and the latency was in fact low enough for gaming, in the end though I realized that I wasn’t doing anything that needed a guaranteed rate nor the super low ping, as I am not an avid gamer.

Overall Service: Good
Technology: 2.4 GHz for residential connections, Microwave for Business Connection
Pros: Speedy Service, Low ping rate (good for gaming)
Cons: Price per month is high for people like myself getting business level services as a residence, monthly debit from credit card or equivalent without an emailed receipt for service.
Would I go back/Recommend to a friend: Yes, if I needed a guaranteed rate of 768 or higher with good turn around on service.

3. UnWired Broadband

Amazingly Great Service  for an Amazingly Great Price

Though I have just signed up with UnWired Broadband and they have had some rough patches due to a recent thunderstorm that knocked out their main tower I can already tell that their service is just right for me. UnWired’s amazing customer service puts them heads and shoulders above any one in the area in my opinion, they communicate any issue as quickly as they have a status almost to the point that I don’t have to wonder what’s going on at all. Their assistance on the phone is wonderful, tech support leaves nothing lacking and their basic service guaranteeing 256 KB upload with bursts to 768 often leaves me at 768 (I have never seen it lower in fact) which is the same as my previous provider at a cost just over 1/3 of my previous internet provider.

Overall Rating: Great
Technology: Microwave for even their most basic residential service
Pros: Great customer service, Emailed receipts for debit of Credit Card, Great level of communication
Cons: 1-2 Year contract, Expensive installation fee (this is to cover equipment and warranty of that equipment)
Would I go back/Recommend to a friend: Certainly, I don’t think that I will ever leave, but if I were to need to certainly I would go back.

If you would like to correspond concerning the level of service on each of these services please feel free to leave me a comment and I will be happy to respond.

Would I go back/Recommend to a friend: