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Rural Internet Services. Bandwidth Limitations and the use of IPTV

Q: What is rural Internet?

A: Generally an end location more than 4KM from a Telephone exchange

Rural Internet can be delivered to the end user in a number of ways. Most common methods are:

· Copper cable. ie: via the traditional telephone system (PSTN). This method is the most common and comes in three flavours ADSL, SDSL and VDSL. Only ADSL is generally available to Rural areas ie: more than 4km and up to about 8km from an exchange, rural ADSL has a limitation of around 1MB to 3MB down and around 256 to 512k up. This is a physical limit of copper cable. The further the end user is away from the exchange the slower the connection. Rural ADSL services have a high contention ratio (shared among users) and are generally the most expensive option as they require a traditional copper wire land based telephone line. ( Land Line)

· WISP. Wireless Internet Service provider. Companies like Compusurf who complete the final link to the end user “last mile” using wireless technology. This system works by connecting the rural end user to the faster Urban internet sources using wireless technology. Wireless can deliver faster speeds at longer distances than copper wire can and also overcomes the lack of infrastructure to rural locations. Reliable speeds are limited to around 4MB. Faster speeds are possible but at a cost of reliability. This is a physical limitation of wireless PTMP ( Point to Multi point) technology regardless of various operators claims. The more customers an operator serves the more this limit is a reality, Exceptions are things called PTP ( Point to Point) connections but these are very expensive

· Mobile. The Mobile phone companies offer Data over their networks, GPRS, 3G and the new 4G. These will work wherever there is a mobile signal but are generally very expensive and heavily controlled to prevent overloading with things like torrents IPTV etc etc. Things are set to improve with the new 4G services but will still remain expensive compared to fixed connections

Looking at the above options it would appear the wireless service (WISP) is the best option for a rural location. However this is not always the case. Your decision should be made depending on what you intend to use your internet connection for.

Wireless Systems suit the majority of situations but there are a few exceptions. Because of wireless network limitations there has to be a certain amount of Control over protocols and usage otherwise a situation can arise where one client can slow down everybody else on the same transmitter (Access Point). Regardless of operator claims, It is not possible to provide a wireless distribution system that is reliable without these safe guards in place.

A properly managed wireless network will separate different types of traffic into groups eg: normal surfing, email, file transfer, Streaming video, IPTV, Torrents etc. High priority will be given to the main things like Normal surfing and email. Certain types of traffic that can cause problems like torrents or IPTV are given a low priority. The reason is the protocols used by these types of connections are very aggressive and if allowed to run without control will slow or even prevent the normal internet traffic from flowing. Some providers will simply block the services, Compusurf prefer to control them, this still allows their use but limits the damage they can do and in peak times so the normal internet stuff continues to operate normally.

Conclusion:

If you want to use your Internet for IPTV we do not recommend a wireless based system like Compusurf for the above reasons although it will be fine most of the time it will not be reliable when you probably want it most at peak times. Unfortunately if you are in a rural location you do not have many other options either as the best service for IPTV is Copper wire based ADSL and the speeds may be too low. With this information in mind we suggest not spending out on IPTV boxes if you are on a rural connection.