Rural Broadband and Greenham Parish
Rural Broadband options
If your still stuck with very slow broadband (around 2Mbps) and using your telephone line as your broadband connection then most likely you are a long distance from your nearest exchange and or the exchange has not been upgraded to fibre.
There are really only two relatively low-cost viable ways to get decent broadband in this situation.
- Go mobile Go 4G, 4G+ or 5G – i.e. assuming you have a decent 4G connection where you live then lots of mobile operators now have options that will allow you to create a home hotspot to use as your broadband connection. This should be able to deliver around 20Mbps up and down which is enough for almost all uses.
Examples would be
- Vodafone - https://www.vodafone.co.uk/shop/mobile-broadband/
- Three - http://www.three.co.uk/Discover/Devices/Huawei/HomeFi?memory=0&colour=Black
- EE - https://ee.co.uk/search?q=mobile+broadband&x1=site_category&q1=Shop
- O2 - https://www.o2.co.uk/shop/mobile-broadband
The key to good mobile broadband is the signal strength on your device that acts as the 4G connection and WiFi. For that you can take steps to improve your reception by selecting a good quality router or adding Antennas or boosters (not as complicated as it might sound)
Small to medium improvements can be done by changing the device to something with better internal Antennas. the latest range, that are meant for 5G use, seem to perform very well at 4G and 4G + as well. Routers like the Huawei 5G CPE Pro (H112-370)
Or you can also improve by adding larger indoor antennas to the device. Just ensure your 4G/4G+ or 5G device supports external Antennas. Then just add compatible antennas for the type of device you have.
Medium to Large improvements can be done using outdoor external Antennas. These can be simple ones that stick to a Window for medium improvements, to Wall mounted ones that deliver large improvements. The key measurement to look for when choosing and Antenna is it dB gain. For every +3 dB gain that translates to doubling the signal strength. For every +10 dB is 10 times the signal strength. For +20 dB gain? That’s 100x more powerful.
Very Large improvements can be achieved with boosters, but this can be very expensive 100’s to 1000’s £ and you will need to be aware of legislation that controls just how much power you are allowed to transmit.
FYI. There should be almost nowhere in Greenham Parish that would need a booster.
- Use Satellite broadband – This is a very well understood solution to the rural broadband problem and a simple search of Bing or Google will provide a list of solutions and providers
Authors own solutions
Having had the issue of poor broadband for many years I initially solved my personal problem by adopting the Medium to Large approach mentioned above. Here are the parts I used as a guide.
- Huawei B311 Wireless Router (approx. £64) - Three HomeFi - I bought an Huawei box then the three sim only deal (£20 on offer) that provides unlimited internet. Three will provide a box free if you take a standard deal.
- Omni-Directional 4G LTE MIMO 3G External Antenna (approx. £79) – Mounted as high as possible on an external wall after checking which wall gave best signal strength at ground level.
- Network switch for connecting to my wired network (may not be needed by most, but <£20 for an 8 Port switch).
I’ve went from 2Mbps (Streaming a problem) to 15-20Mbps (Streaming no problem even at UHD Ultra High Definition) total cost £79 plus sim only subscription.
In November 2019 I decided to buy a 5G router as it had gone live in Newbury and I was on the edge of it's availability zone according to my postcode. Inside my house I can't get 5G, but the new router (a Huawei 5G CPE Pro) picked up 4G+ to the point where I now regularly get 50-60Mbps down and 20 Mbps up. That's plenty for all my broadband needs and multiple members of the family can now stream at once.
Author Cllr Adrian Abbs