Data in the Wilderness

Feb 20th, 2014

Data in the Wilderness

I said before we moved that I would give an update on what the data situation is here and how we are managing with the greatly reduced Internet access (compared with what we had before). 

So what we have ended up with is 2 bonded ADSL lines (this is a service from the Andrews and Arnold ISP).  With the two lines together, we get about 6MB downstream 1MB upstream.  This is actually quite adequate for most normal activities – in fact a lot of the time I don’t really notice the difference from what we had before.  Where we do see a difference is on big downloads – these take ages (comparatively speaking) and we also have to be a bit careful because our basic package is only 100G a month and if we go over this we are charged more.  Over the years I have got into the habit of just pressing ‘Run’ instead of ‘Save’ when I am installing something from the Internet – so I am now trying to stop that so that if I (for example) download a service pack for something, we have a copy to install on other computers. 

Due to using both lines for the internet we can’t have a landline phone so we are having to use Skype for a ‘landline style’ number (really so we have a number to give out to people).  The drawback to this is that it needs the system to be clear of congestion otherwise it breaks up during calls all the time.  I have had to turn synchronization between my devices and my Skydrive off – otherwise the upload of the millions of photos I have been taking stops the line being clear enough for calls.

We also have a satellite package from Avonline.  We were aware of the limitations of this before we got it – the latency on it means that we can’t really use it for some of the tests we use (Web Application testing is not really possible on it – although we have managed infrastructure stuff ok).  In the general run of things it is pretty good – it has been reliable and it is fine for ordinary browsing and downloads.  The speed is very variable – I have had nearly 9MB downstream out of it – but it grinds to a half through over utilization between about 7pm and 9pm most days.  I see various negative comments on satellite broadband on various forums – but this has not been borne out by our experiences.

So all in all we do pretty well.  We have had to make some sacrifices (R says they are all first world problems) but at the end of the day our fixed data (I’ll come to mobile another time) is adequate for our needs – both professionally and personally.  One point I will make right at the end is that the services we have cost us £200 per month for what you could get for a tenth of the amount in a city – so you have to be prepared (and able) to pay through the nose for fairly basic speeds.  In our case of course we have the business which requires good access and therefore no choice.

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