Question Need advice on wireless internet in a rural location.

Jun 26, 2022
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I live in a rural area with no traditional internet service. I've been using satellite internet, which basically sucks and is uber frustrating. I've had connectivity issues with cell phone, but that has been resolved using a weboost antenna/signal amplifier. No great shakes, but I do have a reliable voice phone now. It has worked so well for me that I've decided to try to receive wireless internet here.

So I bought a Waveform antenna from Amazon, anticipating enrollment with T Mobile for their hotspot $50 unlimited 5g internet plan. This antenna has specific instructions for hooking to T Mobile's hotspot device. Unfortunately, T-Mobile will not sign up a new account anywhere near my location. I've tried several different addresses where we could receive mail, etc... but not a single address is available for service via T-Mobile's website. One of the guys who works for T Mobile says they are over subscribed and not trying to sign up new customers.

At this point, I'm not sure what to do. I can return the unopened antenna back to Amazon and basically stay in the same boat where I am, with unreliable internet service. I do see several hotspot plans for 4G LTE via EBay, for $50 a month. Wondering what to do here? Are we going to be satisfied with unlimited "unthrottled" 4g LTE? I'm hoping that we can use the internet service for streaming TV and VOIP, as well as hooking up my cameras and other devices. We are not gamers.

What hot spot hardware would I need? I would assume I'd still need the Waveform antenna to get a decent signal, but I don't want to let Amazon's return window close before I try to get this running. Thanks.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Unfortunately many service providers can advertise just about anything they want with respect to coverage, speeds, throttling,. reliability, data usage/limits, current buzzwords and acronyms, etc..

And the fine print in the contract/EUA basically undoes all that......

[Cynicism conceded.]

Any neighbors? Even if "distant" (to be defined) it may be helpful to know what service or services they use and how well the services actually works.

What do they have and use: antennas, routers, etc.?

Plus I would be very leery of any hotspot plans via E-bay or otherwise. Read all of the documentation beforehand and read very carefully.

Just my thoughts on the matter.
 
Jun 26, 2022
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10
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Unfortunately many service providers can advertise just about anything they want with respect to coverage, speeds, throttling,. reliability, data usage/limits, current buzzwords and acronyms, etc..

And the fine print in the contract/EUA basically undoes all that......

[Cynicism conceded.]

Any neighbors? Even if "distant" (to be defined) it may be helpful to know what service or services they use and how well the services actually works.

What do they have and use: antennas, routers, etc.?

Plus I would be very leery of any hotspot plans via E-bay or otherwise. Read all of the documentation beforehand and read very carefully.

Just my thoughts on the matter.
None of the major providers will service my location. In fact, T-Mobile won't sell me phone service at this address either. I got around that my using Hello mobile (uses T-mobile's tower) with the Weboost antenna/amplifier. No one out here has anything but satellite for internet.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Limited on suggestions then....

The following government link may prove helpful:

https://www.fcc.gov/BroadbandData/MobileMaps/mobile-map

How, who are you dealing with with respect to T-Mobile?

Website:

https://www.t-mobile.com/cell-phone-plans?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIxJfO0pHL-AIVjovICh0heACHEAAYASAAEgJGAPD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds#more&cmpid=MGPO_PB_P_TMOBDVLEST_43700068368164403_594730437747

If you ("medic") are military, a first responder, etc. you may be able to obtain service via website enrollment.

I do not know for sure (full disclosure) but there is no harm in going through the process to learn what options (if any) are truly available.

And affordable within your budget.

Again, read the contracts, caveats, fine print etc..

Unless there are specific reasons otherwise, are you able to share your location with respect to state and perhaps county? Zipcode?

No need for anything more personal.

There may be Forum members from that area who can provide more specific suggestions and information.
 
Jun 26, 2022
17
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10
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Limited on suggestions then....

The following government link may prove helpful:

https://www.fcc.gov/BroadbandData/MobileMaps/mobile-map

How, who are you dealing with with respect to T-Mobile?

Website:

https://www.t-mobile.com/cell-phone-plans?gclid=EAIaIQobChMIxJfO0pHL-AIVjovICh0heACHEAAYASAAEgJGAPD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds#more&cmpid=MGPO_PB_P_TMOBDVLEST_43700068368164403_594730437747

If you ("medic") are military, a first responder, etc. you may be able to obtain service via website enrollment.

I do not know for sure (full disclosure) but there is no harm in going through the process to learn what options (if any) are truly available.

And affordable within your budget.

Again, read the contracts, caveats, fine print etc..

Unless there are specific reasons otherwise, are you able to share your location with respect to state and perhaps county? Zipcode?

No need for anything more personal.

There may be Forum members from that area who can provide more specific suggestions and information.
I'm dealing directly with T-Mobile, have visited their store in town, have tried to sign up online. Not happening. AT&T and Verizon, same thing. No dice based on they don't offer at my location.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
That is unfortunate.

However, there must be some reason(s) for all of the carriers not covering your location.

Therefore I would be doubly suspect of any other "offers" (via Ebay, etc.) to do so.

You are over the proverbial barrow and such offerors would know that and their terms may well not be in your best interests and budget limits.

I am out of ideas.

There may be other posted ideas and suggestions. However, without some idea of location viable options may be overlooked.
 
Jun 26, 2022
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So then the bottom line is that I'd be looking at 4G LTE, which I'd have to buy a modem for and then hook the Waveform antenna to it.
 
Jun 26, 2022
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10
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That is unfortunate.

However, there must be some reason(s) for all of the carriers not covering your location.

Therefore I would be doubly suspect of any other "offers" (via Ebay, etc.) to do so.

You are over the proverbial barrow and such offerors would know that and their terms may well not be in your best interests and budget limits.

I am out of ideas.

There may be other posted ideas and suggestions. However, without some idea of location viable options may be overlooked.
i'm in the same situation with mobile service. Not offered, but I got around that with an antenna. I'm sure the reason that no one offers it here is because they'd have end users opening up their modem and attaching an antenna to it. Basically, I'm paying $85 a month for terrible service, so I'm getting screwed already.
 

Ralston18

Titan
Moderator
Late thoughts:

What waveform antenna did you purchase to get "around that with an antenna"?

What satellite service provider are you now using and paying $85 per month? What antenna is installed now?

Antenna's etc. are not my strength but I would expect that as long as you comply with the terms of service, the provider will not be concerned about what and how you use your connections once on your premises.

May be time to take a step back and rethink options.

Overview of what is needed and needs to be done:

https://www.wikihow.com/Use-Satellite-Internet

https://www.satelliteinternet.com/resources/what-is-satellite-internet/

And per the posts from @Fix_that_Glitch and @nigelivey a closer look at the suggested service providers is warranted.

There are others:

https://www.usnews.com/360-reviews/services/internet-providers/satellite-internet

Starlink for example:

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2021/11/starlink-unveils-2nd-generation-satellite-dish-and-new-wi-fi-router/

Still expensive at $499 for the dish. Not sure about monthly charges etc..

= = = =

In any case I recommend that the purchased waveform antenna be returned to Amazon before the return window closes.

Especially if the use of that antenna is not supported by any given service provider. And some "get around" actually not going to be workable.

You can always reorder the antenna or purchase another as warranted suitable to your requirements and the service providers serving your location.
 
I am somewhat surprised that they will not activate it based on you being able to lie to them. You should be able to use a billing address and then say you have a "office" that you temporarily work in that is in their coverage area.

In any case very technically any cell antenna is illegal in the USA. The exception is that if the provider allows it you can use it. Although many might give you verbal permission none will give you any paperwork. People get away with it because you would somehow have to be causing interference for someone else who complains.

The next problem is because it is technically illegal they make it very hard to find hotspot type of devices that have external antenna connectors. Most antenna connectors you see are for wifi not mobile broadband. They are device you can get but you must be sure it can take the antenna you buy and support the proper bands. This also means that the ISP actually has to offer the service at least someplace kinda close to your location. Most rural areas they are using a data encoding for coverage and not speed.

I would take a cell phone that supports the vendor you think might work. You should be able to get a prepaid phone you can test with. If you get no signal at all outside your house then you have no hope the signals is likely much too low. If it is barely usable then "maybe" antenna might work.
 
Jun 26, 2022
17
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10
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I am somewhat surprised that they will not activate it based on you being able to lie to them. You should be able to use a billing address and then say you have a "office" that you temporarily work in that is in their coverage area.

In any case very technically any cell antenna is illegal in the USA. The exception is that if the provider allows it you can use it. Although many might give you verbal permission none will give you any paperwork. People get away with it because you would somehow have to be causing interference for someone else who complains.

The next problem is because it is technically illegal they make it very hard to find hotspot type of devices that have external antenna connectors. Most antenna connectors you see are for wifi not mobile broadband. They are device you can get but you must be sure it can take the antenna you buy and support the proper bands. This also means that the ISP actually has to offer the service at least someplace kinda close to your location. Most rural areas they are using a data encoding for coverage and not speed.

I would take a cell phone that supports the vendor you think might work. You should be able to get a prepaid phone you can test with. If you get no signal at all outside your house then you have no hope the signals is likely much too low. If it is barely usable then "maybe" antenna might work.
You will for sure have to install an antenna on their device to get reception out here. I put in all the lies I could on available addresses. No service there either. For kicks, I put in a childhood address in Tennessee. That was the only address I put in where service was available. I did just buy a Netgear LM 1200 broadband modem, for 4G LTE. I can find unlimited mobile hotspot service for about $50 a month. I paid $250 for the Waveform Antenna. It's dicey, but if I get reliable service and can save $30 a month, I can amortize the aggravation. Eventually, they'll be upgrading service to my address and I'll move over to 5G then.
 
Last edited:
Jun 26, 2022
17
0
10
0
Late thoughts:

What waveform antenna did you purchase to get "around that with an antenna"?

What satellite service provider are you now using and paying $85 per month? What antenna is installed now?

Antenna's etc. are not my strength but I would expect that as long as you comply with the terms of service, the provider will not be concerned about what and how you use your connections once on your premises.

May be time to take a step back and rethink options.

Overview of what is needed and needs to be done:

https://www.wikihow.com/Use-Satellite-Internet

https://www.satelliteinternet.com/resources/what-is-satellite-internet/

And per the posts from @Fix_that_Glitch and @nigelivey a closer look at the suggested service providers is warranted.

There are others:

https://www.usnews.com/360-reviews/services/internet-providers/satellite-internet

Starlink for example:

https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2021/11/starlink-unveils-2nd-generation-satellite-dish-and-new-wi-fi-router/

Still expensive at $499 for the dish. Not sure about monthly charges etc..

= = = =

In any case I recommend that the purchased waveform antenna be returned to Amazon before the return window closes.

Especially if the use of that antenna is not supported by any given service provider. And some "get around" actually not going to be workable.

You can always reorder the antenna or purchase another as warranted suitable to your requirements and the service providers serving your location.
I'm sending the Waveform back when I see that it doesn't work to connect a broadband modem. Waveform has excellent reviews on Amazon for people in my exact same boat. The problem I'm running into is that broadband providers won't service my address, period. In fact, T-Mobile won't take any new service in Florida at all, so I can't use a friend's address. They are fully subscribed. The Waveform isn't "supported" by any provider. Providers don't support antennas. It's just an antenna that either brings you enough signal to your modem/hotspot, or it doesn't. I've had fits trying to get phone service out here as well. Finally, I got a Weboost Home Studio which works great with T mobile. We use 3 lines with Hello Mobile (uses T mobile towers) for a total of $50 a month. No complaints about the phones. Rather than sign up with a service directly, I'm going to have to buy my own modem and get service from a reseller (there are people who do resell the service). So I'm buying a 4G LTE modem and hooking the Waveform up to it. Crappy phone/internet service is just a fact of life out here. If you look on Waveform's site, they have instructions about opening up T-Mobile's 5G hotspot and hooking an antenna to it. Of course, T mobile doesn't support end users doing that. But there are a lot of folks doing exactly that and it would be my first choice. I'm going to have to settle for 4G LTE.
 
Jun 26, 2022
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I bought the Mofi 5500 LTE router day, $500. Returning the Waveform antenna I bought. I 'll get the Waveform 4 x 4 for $400 if the Mofi 5500 doesn't do it. We aren't gamers, we just want to surf the internet /stream video and satellite is so insufferably slow and inconsistent. That Mofi router is CAT 20 and really kicks butt . My Lan will get a big upgrade from it. Not to mention I have a couple of Panel antennas and my entire property will have fast WIFI. You just have to do the best you can.
 
I would not worry a lot about tmobile 5g. They play games....and now all the other providers do also.

I forget the exact names but there are 3 types of 5g and becuase I am too lazy to look it up my numbers might be wrong but the general issue is correct. The first and what most of tmobile network is is just a renamed slightly faster version of 4g-lte. Other vendors used to call it 4glte advanced or something. It might get 100mbps on a good day. The next form of 5g uses a different encoding and is sorta 5g but not really. It might get 200mbps. The real form a 5g can do full gigabit. You see testing done in newyork city at almost 2gbit. Problem is it is very high frequency so it does not go far or penetrate walls and there is very little of it installed. Mostly att and verison only in parts of some cities. This has been around for about 5yrs years. It is designed for home/business use and I don't think is supported on cell phones.

So 4g from someone other than tmobile might be faster than 5g from tmobile
 
Jun 26, 2022
17
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10
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I would not worry a lot about tmobile 5g. They play games....and now all the other providers do also.

I forget the exact names but there are 3 types of 5g and becuase I am too lazy to look it up my numbers might be wrong but the general issue is correct. The first and what most of tmobile network is is just a renamed slightly faster version of 4g-lte. Other vendors used to call it 4glte advanced or something. It might get 100mbps on a good day. The next form of 5g uses a different encoding and is sorta 5g but not really. It might get 200mbps. The real form a 5g can do full gigabit. You see testing done in newyork city at almost 2gbit. Problem is it is very high frequency so it does not go far or penetrate walls and there is very little of it installed. Mostly att and verison only in parts of some cities. This has been around for about 5yrs years. It is designed for home/business use and I don't think is supported on cell phones.

So 4g from someone other than tmobile might be faster than 5g from tmobile
As a practical matter, I want to be able to stream video. Doesn't have to be 4k, but I do want a resolution that isn't fuzzy and stops to buffer constantly. That's what I'm getting with Hughesnet. So as long as I get that, I'm happy.
 

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