Off grid internet

Rednecktek

Photon Sorcerer
Joined
Sep 8, 2021
Messages
1,895
Location
On a boat usually.
Starlink is satellite based, I have it as my main connection here in the UK, it draws 90 watts under full load and give me around 300/350Mbps
Nomenclature clarification, usually by Satellite we mean things like HughsNet or Marlink or the other satellite internet providers that use upper orbit satellites instead of the low orbit that Starlink uses. Starlink is Satellite Magic. :)

Sadly, still waiting on my Starlink... already paid the deposit, now just waiting...

As a point of reference for my comment, and just to demonstrate how magical Starlink is, I work on container ships and often times I'm "The Computer Guy" so I've been all up in our Marlink satellite internet system multiple times. We have the "Fastest package available" according to Marlink and the best speed test I've ever seen, with everything but the laptop unplugged from the cabinet, was 2.4Mb with ping times between 2.8-3.7 seconds. Yes, ping times in the whole seconds. Once 4:30 rolls around and everyone onboard checks their FacePage and email you're LUCKY to get spikes of 64Kb/s so it's "up to" dial-up speeds.
 
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wkyongae

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
May 30, 2021
Messages
26
I use Inland Cellular here in eastern Washington. It's just for unlimited internet because I don't like cell phones. It's just one of those little pucks called a Franklin for $75 per month.
 

Texas-Mark

Solar Addict
Joined
Aug 4, 2021
Messages
531
I was just looking at that Starlink. Seems a bit pricey, especially the equipment cost. Although as long as they stick to not overselling the BW, it may not be too bad for the monthly fee. My WISP cost me $86 a month. Unlimited data, but only 25m down. On the plus side, it usually always gives me that. Note: The prepaid phone I mentioned earlier is for my mother-in-law who lives down the road. She can not get a line of sight to the WISP tower, even with a 50' mast. Since the new AT&T tower is practically across the street from her, we set up that phone as a hot spot.
 

Rednecktek

Photon Sorcerer
Joined
Sep 8, 2021
Messages
1,895
Location
On a boat usually.
I was just looking at that Starlink. Seems a bit pricey, especially the equipment cost. Although as long as they stick to not overselling the BW, it may not be too bad for the monthly fee.

I'm all excited for it because I currently pay $100/mo for "Up To" 16Mb DSL, and the cell hot spot doesn't get reception worth a damn, there are places in the house you can make phone calls, and other places not so much.

We used to do the hot spot, but at the time we'd burn through our 12Gb cap in about a week and you could just give up on trying to watch Netflix. When DSL came around it was the easiest sell the nice lady ever had in her life... it went something like:

Me: **RING** Hello?
Sales: Hi, this is $NAME from Frontier. I'm calling to let you know we'll be offering DSL in...
Me: Yes.
Sales: So you'd be interested? OK, well we have many different speed...
Me: The big one.
Sales: So the 16 mega...
Me: Yes, the big one.
Sales: And how soon...
Me: I'm here all day.
Sales: (laugh) I don't think we can be there that fast.
Me: I'll make home made chocolate chip cookies.
Sales: We can be there Friday.

Sadly Starlink doesn't seem to want cookies. :(
 
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12VoltInstalls

…myself everything do I…
Joined
Jan 18, 2021
Messages
4,019
Location
Vermont
Are there economical cell boosters worth buying?

I bought an “open box” AmazBoost but never got to really try it as it had a different receiver antenna than the box description and pic (and didn’t fit the molded packaging) but most of all the two wires out of the wall wart were broken to bare copper (shorted). I fixed that, got it to turn on but my one bar on my phone a) didn’t change when connected and b) the poor throughput went to none.
I figure an incompatibility of the not-same antenna was at fault.

I considered some more expensive units like Wilson and another top brand I can’t recall but at $1200 I couldn’t stomach it.

Would be nice to know what works for people in the one-bar universe for $300 range but maybe there ain’t one.
 

alcook62

Don't Be A Casualty - Cut the Cord
Joined
Jan 27, 2021
Messages
49
Location
Wyoming, USA
Are there economical cell boosters worth buying?

I bought an “open box” AmazBoost but never got to really try it as it had a different receiver antenna than the box description and pic (and didn’t fit the molded packaging) but most of all the two wires out of the wall wart were broken to bare copper (shorted). I fixed that, got it to turn on but my one bar on my phone a) didn’t change when connected and b) the poor throughput went to none.
I figure an incompatibility of the not-same antenna was at fault.

I considered some more expensive units like Wilson and another top brand I can’t recall but at $1200 I couldn’t stomach it.

Would be nice to know what works for people in the one-bar universe for $300 range but maybe there ain’t one.
When my wife and I bought our land 3 years ago we found a spot that we could get 3g service. We put a stick there and made all our calls from that spot. We looked around and found WeBoost and since then we can make 4g calls without issue (3 Bars 4g!). We have the outdoor antenna about 20' in the air and the inside antenna installed centrally inside.
EDIT: I think we paid around $400 at the time
 

foxburrow

New Member
Joined
Oct 5, 2021
Messages
23
I live off-grid in a hard to get to place. I was able to find a very small company that provides internet service. They hooked me up with a dish that points and shoots at a tower (LTE) across the border into Canada. Then a cat5 cable runs from the dish to an adapter that plugs in to AC power and a router. Charging me $60/month for 15mb/s. The dish and router pull about 3 watts from my system. Other people out here use their cell boosters for their service as previous posters have mentioned, but receive less than 2mb/s service.
 

robby

Photon Vampire
Joined
May 1, 2021
Messages
1,815
I would put in an order for Starlink and then use something else that is month by month until you get Starlink delivered. I hear it works great even in bad weather and has a built in heater to prevent snow build up.
 

wkyongae

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
May 30, 2021
Messages
26
Franklin R717, 15 miles from Inland's tower. No booster needed as I have direct line of sight.
 

offgriddave

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 14, 2020
Messages
190
I have starlink but the power requirements are bad. It can spike to 140w but stays around 100w. Apparently a new rom update lowers it to 90w but still that's a lot. And the power supply is really flaky, it needs a constant 120v, absolutely no voltage drop. Whenever I turned on my AC it would spike to 109v and reset the starlink modem. You would think SpaceX would have the best power supply adapter.

For now, I use a no-name amazon Chinese LTE Signal booster that requires 3w. I downloaded an app on my android phone to find the channel (channel 12, 700mhz) and installed the LTE booster on a 30ft pole. The LTE booster requires 5v, and comes with a AC adapter. I was able to splice an USB cable to the plug on power input for the LTE booster.

I run the LTE booster from a USB charge pack or wall outlet depending on if I have solar

Then I have Visible wireless unlimited for $25/month with the friend plan.

I use a RPI 400 with Ubuntu Mate as a desktop. This works fine. It draws 3-4 watts and a Acer 27" monitor that draws 11-13w in Eco mode.

Total is 3w (LTE booster) + 4w RPI + 11W monitor. Plus a 10w charger for my phone, throw that in there. Total 28W.

I also have a GLiNET $20 cheap OpenWRT router that's plugged into the USB output for the monitor, I think it draws a few watts. I use it to connect to the hotspot on my android phone, because the internal Rasberry Pi wireless sucks.

I think this is the ultimate lowest power option. I connect to remote systems to do any CPU intensive stuff.

28w for 8 hours is 224 watts. Round it up to 500w because of all the power conversion lost.. 500w per day.

If I ran the Starlink it would be an additional 140w per hour or an insane 1120 watts for 8 hours. Round that up to 2kw for conversion loss... you'd need a big system.
 

OffGridEnclave

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
Jan 27, 2021
Messages
40
satelite setup incl. lossrates of powersupplies about 100W
router and stuff, another 35W
laptop.. anywhere from 40W to 200W depending on model
 

12VoltInstalls

…myself everything do I…
Joined
Jan 18, 2021
Messages
4,019
Location
Vermont
now, I use a no-name amazon Chinese LTE Signal booster that requires 3w. I downloaded
And it works good?

I’m typically 1 or 2 bars at home. Sorta works if it thinks 4G but as soon as it decides LTE is possible it looks like it’s downloading but nothing I mean nothing happens 97.5% of the time.

Can you drop a link to the one you found works?
 

offgriddave

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
Feb 14, 2020
Messages
190

It was $100 when I bought it

My signal is really weak. It goes between great to off. I think because I am so far away. There is a tower 5 miles away, but it has to go through a mountain full of metal. So I have it aimed at another tower which is ridiculously far away. I am either getting that tower or it is bouncing off another mountain back. Strangely, GPS does not work where I am. And I tried my $500 Garmin.

I use it for talk radio, email. But where I am at it cannot do voice. I have to walk to the otherside of the mountain to call anyone and stand in the rain. The opposite of your problem! But it works... I am on it now actually because of a storm my solar and starlink is down. (I ordered some new parts so it'll be on 24/7)

At my last location, it worked flawlessly for months. There wasn't a signal outside, but it picked one up and gave me 5 bars. I was using it inside a shipping container with zero RF if that matters.

By luck or coincidence the same frequency -- verizon 700mhz between the same locations. Channel 12 and Channel 13.

Make sure your cell channel matches the model, there are other models for other frequencies/channels.

I am actually interested in a better one if you know of one.

I made the mistake of buying a MikroTik LHG LTE kit-US. It was a disaster. The design is you insert a SIM card as a one time thing and it is impossible to take out. (why??) Until I took an angle grinder and chopped it up. Amazon took it back no questions.


And it works good?

I’m typically 1 or 2 bars at home. Sorta works if it thinks 4G but as soon as it decides LTE is possible it looks like it’s downloading but nothing I mean nothing happens 97.5% of the time.

Can you drop a link to the one you found works?
 

solarsimon

Solar Enthusiast
Joined
Oct 9, 2020
Messages
95
Nomenclature clarification, usually by Satellite we mean things like HughsNet or Marlink or the other satellite internet providers that use upper orbit satellites instead of the low orbit that Starlink uses. Starlink is Satellite Magic. :)
Technology/nomenclature reset required. Musk has deployed more satellites than Intelsat, Viasat/Inmarsat, Eutelsat etc put up across decades. Geostationary is going to dwindle.
 

Greendream

Off-grid Beginner
Joined
Jun 30, 2021
Messages
67
Location
Colorado
We are online today with starlink. If you can afford it, I also suggest to put in your deposit. It took us 8 months and I hear it's first come first served.

Random speed test result of 256Mbit down, 43Mbit up, latency 22ms, jitter 8ms

We live in a canyon with no overhead obstructions.

I believe the days of slow off grid internet are over.
 

NwCali

Solar Addict
Joined
Apr 27, 2021
Messages
326
US Cellular often has coverage in the middle of no where... Just fyi.

I used it for years, just piggy backed off my phone.
 

Texas-Mark

Solar Addict
Joined
Aug 4, 2021
Messages
531
I use my phone allso it works good and it is unlimited for me

Using the phone directly or as a hotspot? Few if any carriers have unlimited hotspot (without throttling).

As for Starlink, I am still waiting. They say mid 2022. My biggest concern is that like other ISPs they will end up over-selling bandwidth. Starts up ISPs are always great at the beginning when there are few customers. Saw it with DirecTV sat internet, Wildblue, and RockSolid (I was an early adopter on all).
 
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