Internet options in the Round Valley Area

Updated list with new information found on my latest post.  CLICK HERE!

Updated: February 21st, 2016.  

Your current Internet options in the Round Valley area: (new recommendation of AirMax.  Scroll down to see why).

1 – AirMax (Microwave) – AirMax offers a number of plans that cater to different groups of Internet users.  Most common plans are $40 per month (6Mbps down/2Mbps up) and $55 per month (10Mbps down/4Mbps up).  This technology relies on line-of-sight to the tower.  The link provided above has a map of locations of towers in our area, and the AirMax team continues to build out the network to provide more coverage to more addresses.  I have performed extensive testing on this service since September of 2015, and have been satisfied with the over-all service levels in various weather conditions.  My concerns about it being a wireless technology, and having latency has been minimized the longer I have the service running.  Streaming content as well as on-demand needs such as online gaming are not hindered over this Internet connection.

  • For the gamers reading, NAT level 2 is provided for this connection.  This allows you to host games from your Internet connection.
  • As of 2/21/2016, the updated date of this post, there is no public IP/static IP option with this ISP.  It is the only big caveat I have found with the service that makes it limiting.  I have found workarounds for my own needs, but have also engaged AirMax to begin conversations in expanding their service to provide this as an option for their customers.  It would enable more businesses to make AirMax their primary Internet connection if they have hosted services at their location.

2 – Verizon LTE (3G/LTE) –  I’ve seen ~50Mbps down and ~15Mbps up. The obvious downside to this is that unless you have a grandfathered “unlimited” plan, you will find your data cap rather quickly.  Since the upgrade to LTE, I have seen these speed be consistent.  I also use Verizon’s data services through my iPhone or iPad when traveling.  It is a much safer option while traveling when your other option is the Hotel’s free/pay wireless Internet.  Public WiFi in general is a great way to contract a virus or malware.  It is ZNET’s recommendation to avoid public WiFi when transmitting personal information of any kind.

3 – Frontier Communications (aDSL) – My provisioned 6Mpbs connection usually runs in the 3.5Mbps range with a constant .36Mbps up. It is aDSL so you upload speeds will be affected by the amount of your current downloads. The service appears to be oversold and saturated in local markets, which cause speed issues or total unavailability of service to certain areas.  Frontier has also placed a new WAN link between the Springerville C.O. and Show Low.  This was anticipated to increase and stabilize existing provisioned speeds for aDSL users.

  • Frontier Communications offers dry-loop or “naked” DSL for those not wanting a “home” phone service coupled with their aDSL connection.
  • Frontier Communications offers dedicated circuits as well, but these are not covered in this post as they are not a typical solution for most residential/business users.

4 – Wi-Power (Microwave) –

Wi-power now offers a “media” plan offering a 10Mbps bursted service with dedicated speeds of 5Mbps if you have line of sight to that particular tower.  Pricing is ~$100 per month as of late 2015 for the media plan.

I have called and spoken with their local and regional staff. They will sell “bursted” data, but will only guarante 1.5Mbps up and down.  While discussing my options with Wi-Power they asked what I used the Internet for and how many devices I had.  At the end of our conversation they recommend I stay with my current ISP because they couldn’t guarantee the speeds I was requesting.

5 – DishNET (Satellite) – Offering allowance-based Internet similar to Verizon and other cellular data plans.  The difference is, once you download/upload your allowance your speeds are “significantly reduced for that data allotment period for the remainder of the billing cycle.”  When I installed HughesNET in the early 2000s, this equated to around dialup speeds.  This is also not a good option for any real-time data needs such as stocks and online gaming.  The sheer distance the data is traveling causes latency.

6 – CellularONE (3G/4G being built out). Cellular Data Plan similar to Verizon LTE. Pricing available per GB of traffic.  CellularONE is currently working to build out their 4G network.

7 – Various dial-up services. Do we really need to discuss these? Synchronous 56Kbps connections dependent upon the quality of the cable ran between the C.O. and your computer.

UPDATED Recommendation:  The all-around best choice is AirMax.  I have always looked for a faster, more reliable option for my Internet connection.  I rely on it professionally for work as well as personally for media streaming.  Finding AirMax, meeting their team, and beginning to use it in Q3 of 2015 resulted in me dropping my previous ISP.  I have also became the direct reselling agent for AirMax in our area.  It is both the product I have in my home, and the product I recommend for almost every residential and business Internet need.

Cellular Nostalgia

While waiting for my iPhone 4 to be delivered yesterday I began to think of the list of cellular devices that I have used in the past.  I was surprised at how extensive the list was so I began to type up my history with cell phones.  Then again while even beginning this post I had to return to the list to add AirCards.  While insignificant at first I thought, I realized I have used them on three different carriers.  Here’s my list:

These analog phones were before your cell phone did anything other than make a phone call unless you had a cool Nokia phones that had snake (nibbles) on it.
Nokia 252 – Nice compact phone for the time period.  It was my first phone, and I even had to convince my parents to sign the contract to let me get a pre-paid phone because I was under 18..
Motorola StarTAC – This phone was truly ahead of it’s time, but wouldn’t be the last innovative Motorola flip phone that I would own.
Nokia 5110 – The Nokia that everyone had a the time.  It had the first run of games and RINGTONES!  These were pretty amazing MIDI tones that made the Motorola nine different rings looks pretty sad.  The original Nokia Tune still carries on today on their phones. Out of no where while typing this I had *#6391# come into my head.  I believe that is the code to initialize programming on the Nokia phones. The Motorola method involved thirteen pressings of a particular button (it’s been too long!).
Motorola Vader – This phone was the StarTAC’s little brother but was the sexy phone of it’s time.  The compact design made it a must have phone!  I remember spending a couple hundred dollars on this phone in High School and thinking what a ridiculous amount of money that was for a phone.  Little did I know what I would be getting myself into.
Nokia 3310 – Very sad day when my Vader was the casualty of being thrown across a room and breaking in half. 🙁  I was given a Nokia 3310 (very, very similar to the previous Nokia’s in software) as a replacement from CellularONE.
Motorola v120e – The first phone that I modded.  It was as close to the v60 that I could get at the time, and was given to me by a CellularONE rep.  I replaced the number pad with a “waterfall” set of numbers that would light up and dance around when you got a phone call.  I’m sure my dad just loved that feature when he ended up with the phone after I moved to college.
Motorola v60i – My first text messaging phone.  I remember having to convince my mom I would pay the extra 5 or 10 dollars a month for 200 text messages (I was still under 18), and then had to call and have her up it because I texted too much.  Wow things were simpler then.  CellularONE didn’t have service outside of Northeast Arizona at the time that was very cost effective at all so I migrated to Alltel.  I got a discount on the phone from the Radio Shack in Globe where we stopped on our way down to move me to the valley.  This was the business man’s phone, and was another amazing piece of Motorola hardware.  This and the 120e allowed you to compose your own ringtones, and Riley Trickey made me a ringtone after a song that he had written.
Motorola T720 – Again working at Radio Shack (a real corporate Radio Shack this time), I was eligible for employee discounts on Verizon Wireless plans.  For 25 bucks a month I had my first cell phone (IN MY OWN NAME!!).  I remember getting the very first camera phone into our store that Verizon carried.  It was a big deal!  I got a ridiculous amount of minutes and messages for the time, and loved that phone.  It was my first colored screen phone.  There were some pretty handy Hex editing tools that allowed me to upload my own wallpapers (not even an option back then, I had to hack my phone to get some sweet 120 pixel images on my phone), and even get some ringtones on there.  There were the higher class polyphonic ringtones mind you!
Motorola v60s – Right before my mission, I upgraded to the new hotness of the v60 that had a built in SPEAKERPHONE!  My mom was kind enough to help me build credit by using the phone while I was gone.  Dang parents are awesome!!  I never did get that phone or number back.. hehe  She still has it to this day with a Droid R2D2.
Motorola RAZR v3m – Fresh back from my mission I was ready for my third amazing Motorola flip phone.  The V3m version of the RAZR was amazing!  A camera phone with text messaging integrated that worked well.  The phone was so thin, and to this day is still one of my favorite phones.  We were way past polyphonic ringtones now, and I could convert a mp3 to a mid file that was smaller than 250k and less than 30 seconds to the phone and have real ringtones.
Palm Treo 700w – Windows Mobile 5 – Things went spiraling down hill from here.  My first smartphone.  I got hooked up with this phone from a friend of a coworker, Brad for $150.00 I think.  A steal for the phone at the time.  This phone was so horrible compared to today’s standard of phone, but it was one of the best smart phones of the day.  My employer, Azstar Communications, paid for my data plan and I was in business.  I had Outlook mobile hooked up to multiple email accounts (Exchange and IMAP), and we were off.  That phone served me very well, and my mom even used it for a few years after I upgraded.
HTC Mogul (XV6800) – Window Mobile 6 – My first HTC phone, but last Windows Mobile phone.  This slider was a step up from the Treo because of the newer version of the Windows Mobile operating system and larger touch screen, but it was still a Windows Mobile phone.  I used this phone without a data plan because we had just moved into our home and were trying to save money.  Pay-As-You-Go data is not the smartest idea, but using the built-in 802.11 wireless card made it a usable phone.
BlackBerry Storm 9530 – The timing on this phone was pretty spot on.  My employer was getting me a BlackBerry, and it timed to the release of this fail of a phone.  It was slow, and slow.  Definitely not the best introduction to the RIM line phone cellular phones.
BlackBerry 8830 World Edition – I finally caved and got rid of my Storm to inherit a phone with no MMS support (because RIM decided if it didn’t have a camera you didn’t need the ability to receive picture messages either) and a QWERTY keyboard.
Palm Pre – This phone was loaned to me for a summer to provide internet access to rodeos that I was live streaming.  I didn’t like the phone at all, but the built-in and free Mobile HotSpot feature made it a home run for what we needed.  Thanks Verizon! (Please bring the free HotSpot back!!)
BlackBerry Tour 9630 – The last phone RIM had on Verizon to offer the ball for navigation.  it was a nice functioning phone running the BlackBerry OS Verison 5.  The newer OS made the phone a much more pleasant experience.
BlackBerry Bold 9650 – My current BlackBerry.  Basically a Tour with more memory, and a the optical track pad in place of the notorious ball.  The 3.2 Megapixel camera takes sharp pictures of still objects.  The focusing takes some time, but pays off for snapping pictures of serial numbers and other small information on technological devices.
T-Mobile – Sony Vaio TX770P Integrated EDGE Modem (Unlocked).  EDGE was definitely slow, but I can’t complain about having an integrated modem in my already ultra portable laptop.  I still have that laptop because I can’t bare to sell it.  It is a nice live stream computer using UStream.
Sprint – PCMCIA EVDO Modem (When Sprint offered truly umlimited data plans).  Sticking out of the same Sony VAIO laptop it was always on.  I don’t even know how many GBs I would rack up in a month.  Amazing coverage in the Phoenix Metro area.  I found myself using my work VPN even while at work with that laptop instead of switching to my WiFi card.  It would use Verizon’s towers when I would travel home, but only at 1x, so the dial-up speeds, similar to my T-Mobile EDGE experience, while away from the valley were less than stellar, but at least there was service.
Verizon – Multiple USB Pantech and Verizon modems.  Verizon has consistently had great coverage for the majority of places I travel.  It is slower than it’s competitors, but I drop connection rarely in the many situations I’ve used either an aircard or my Blackberry as a modem.  it sure makes my trips up to Colorado to visit Amanda’s family more bearable.  Travelling drives me crazy!

Tether a Black Berry 8830 via BlueTooth to MAC OS X

1.) Pair the phone with your Mac via Bluetooth using the Bluetooth Setup Assistant (this is the easiest way)

2.) After pairing, be sure to check the box that says “Access the internet with your phone’s data connection”

3.) For verizon this is the information you enter as the username, password and phone number:

Phone number: #777
Username: [your phone#]
Password: vzw

*** For other carriers use the following information ***

Phone Number: *99#
Password: CINGULAR1

Phone Number: *99#
Username: [blank]
Password: [blank]

Phone Number: #777
Username: [blank]
Password: [blank]

4.) For the modem script make sure you set it to “WWAN Support”

5.) Click continue

6.) Your all finished! Just click on connect and it will dial out and make the connection for you. BTW your speeds are around 250 – 300k (real speed) for the connection.

When your connected your phone should say “modem active” at the top. By the way make sure you have a data plan otherwise it will not connect and in the “odd” event that it does, you will pay out the nose in data charges. Oh yeah calls can still come in while your connected but they terminate your connection if you answer the phone.