Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Rural Areas Stuck With Dial-up?

The other day I was helping a client via my remote desktop tool (over the Internet) and I thought this person really had a problem, but they weren’t talking about that — they were talking about Outlook.

It was like they were ignoring the elephant in the room.

So, finally, I asked. Er.. um.. pardon me, but.. don’t you think there’s a problem with your Internet?

“What do you mean?” they replied.

Huh? So I said, “Well, no offense but, it’s slower than molasses in January.” (I suspected a hefty spyware infection..)

Fortunately, my client laughed, and told me that where they lived, all they could get was dial-up Internet. And it was running “pretty good” lately at 28 Kbps.

Kilobits? That’s so.. early-to-mid-1990’s!

Tip of the day: If you live in a “rural area” and neither cable nor DSL service is available (yet), and you would like to join the world of “Mega” (aka “broadband”), you do have some options you may not be aware of.

Option 1: Satellite.
Satellite providers, such as HughesNet and WildBlue, can provide up to 1.5 Mbps (equal to basic DSL) for residences, and faster for (pricier) “Business” plans.

Option 2: Microwave.
This is also know as ‘fixed wireless’ and ‘wireless broadband’, and has a range of about 25 miles from the transmitter. (It works kind of like a radio station). Often, these are set up by small, independent ISP’s, and finding them is done by geography. KeyOn is one that covers the area my client was in, and you might try an indexing service like this one, to locate a provider near you. This will give you speeds “up to 50x’s faster than dial-up”.

Option 3: (The wave of the future?) WiMax.
WiMax is also a microwave technology, capable (I have read) of speeds of up to 70 Mbps. US residents will have to wait for this technology to become ubiquitous, but if this sounds appealing, take a look here

Today’s free link: is the place to go to find a high-speed service near you (the “Find Service” tab). But it is much more than just that; you can find reviews of ISP’s, and there’s tools for testing and tweaking your speed, and much more.

* hidden bonus for those of you who read all the way through: Free ZoneAlarm Pro – One Day Only!

Copyright 2007-8 © Tech Paul. All rights reserved. post to jaanix

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November 17, 2008 - Posted by | advice, computers, Internet, performance, tech | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


  1. TechPaul,

    Oh how I can relate to this article. My parents (just visited today), live in “no mans” land and their dial-up is less than 28.8 kbps… They are so used to it that they don’t know anything different. I actually had to turn “off” their Windows updates, etc… and manually install updates via a update patching utility, due the Windows updates were throttling down their connection even further.



    Comment by Rick | November 17, 2008 | Reply

  2. I BEG TO DIFFER!!! As a former subscriber to HughesNet, let me be the first to say, DO NOT GO TO SATELLITE!!!!! On a good day, (Keep in mind, my plan with Hughes was 1.5 Mbps) I would get around 200Kbps. (At 6AM!) Who is up that early? During the DAY i was lucky to get 50Kbps if even that! If you cant get High Speed, Check in to Cellular, Verizon Wireless supports a wide area of High Speed Coverage. ( Otherwise stay on DialUp, Satellite is NOT the way to go! (My Current blog will show you why in all the comments i got form angry customers like myself)


    Comment by Snoff | December 9, 2008 | Reply

    • Snoff–
      My article was not intended to “advocate”; only to inform folks of possible options.

      I have violated my own policy in your case, and allowed your URL to be clickable, so that people can read more about your experiences w/Hughesnet.


      Comment by techpaul | December 9, 2008 | Reply

  3. The 70mbps WiMax speeds that they speak of is possible only over very very short distances. Here in Colombo (which is definitely not rural) WiMax connections are being used. The reason is that legislation and high cost of infrastructure (cable laying) is preventing new entrants to the market from providing traditional ADSL connections.

    So they are relying on wimax. Speeds start at 512kbps (download) and go upto 4mbps.


    Comment by e4c5 | December 15, 2008 | Reply

    • Raditha–
      Thanks for the information.


      Comment by techpaul | December 15, 2008 | Reply

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