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The End of WiMax: What I Did

Since Sprint turned off WiMax last November, I had to make a change.  LTE was one choice.  I’ve done some LTE testing; with newer MiFi units such as the ZTE Z915 device it can be faster than DSL with excellent voice quality for VoIP.

But LTE performance is still much more variable than DSL or Cable Internet, while the cost is comparable to DSL/Cable, and more than WiMax.  With WiMax, I could go cheap, fast, and limited (10G for ~$20/month) with FreedomPop or cheap, slow, and unlimited with Clear (~$35/month).  Average LTE rates are around $40/month for 5GB at decent speeds.

My choice is LMI.net’s PHLO+, which is around $51-$55/month (including all the annoying taxes) for unlimited DSL as fast as you can get, and an analog phone line (I didn’t want the analog phone line, because it’s the reason for all the taxes, but I didn’t have a choice).  It is very similar to Sonic.net’s Fusion service, but since I had already had good experiences with LMI as a previous DSL customer I went with LMI.

I also liked that LMI was open to bringing or buying your own modem, while Sonic emphasizes rental.  So after discussing which modems LMI preferred, I bought a Smart RG SR510N for ~$20 from eBay.  The Smart RG  has worked perfectly so far.  I highly recommend both companies; Sonic does have its advantages, such as more service options (FTTN, FTTH).

My peak speeds are about 18Mbps down and 1.25Mbps or so up using my favorite speed test from DSLReports.

Since PHLO+ comes with a full featured POTS phone line, I bought a ObiLine for my Obi 202.  Some people complain about echoing on the ObiLine; I have noticed occasional echoing but overall the quality has been acceptable.  However, I found I didn’t like how it handles incoming calls forwarded from Google Voice.  (To be fair, I haven’t tried much troubleshooting on these issues, but since I’m happy with my setup, that’s a low priority).

Some other service changes from my last update:

  • I dropped Anveo.  Anveo still has excellent rates for E911 service and unlimited person DID (incoming phone numbers), but I wanted CNAM and didn’t care about Anveo’s features such as advanced call flow.
  • I ported the Anveo number to Ring.to, which was quick, easy, and free.  I’m not using that number a lot, but I value it so it’s a good match for Ring.to with their new usage restrictions (but since Ring.to is free, no complaints from me).
  • I dropped VestaLink after my contract ran out.  VL did work well for me, and since they offered a great deal for a 2-year pre-pay I thought about renewing, but I don’t need it now, and it’s hard to commit to 2 years to a company that isn’t actively looking for new customers.
  • I added CallCentric’s free New York DID, which includes CNAM (Caller ID name lookup).  It’s working well so far, and I’m fine with paying $1.50/month to CC for E911 service.
  • I played around a bit with VoIP.ms; right now I’m not actively using it, but there’s a good chance I will in the future.  I also thought about trying out CircleNet, but decided against it because they don’t offer California DIDs.

So my current Obi 202 setup is:

  • Callcentric DID for primary incoming calls.  Both Google Voice and Ring.to forward to CallCentric, which provides CNAM.
  • Google Voice is the primary line for outgoing calls.
  • Localphone is the backup line for outgoing calls (so I have two outgoing lines).
  • The Obiline (LMI analog line) is used for 911, and backup.
  • One Service Provider is currently empty; I might put VoIP.ms back in here.

The system is working well enough, but my “I’ll do it someday list” includes:

  • Different ring tones for different incoming lines.
  • Automatic switch over (ring on one phone first, switch to second if first line is busy).
  • Maybe add a PBX such as Asterisk.

I know it’s not that hard to do these things, but they just aren’t a high priority.

 

3 comments

1 Andrew { 04.29.16 at 10:45 pm }

Oh my, I have 100Mbit/s unlimited LAN for $4/month. But this is Ukrainian city, we have LAN everywhere. DSL tariffs are similar, but the speed is lower. 20 – 50 Mbit/s probably. With 3G you can get 5GB at 5-15 Mbit/s for $4/month, more is $1/GB.

2 Tony { 04.30.16 at 5:57 am }

Yes, those are very good prices compared to the US. Here we basically have a duopoly for fixed internet (local telephone or local cable company) and 4 for wireless (Verizon, AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile) – everyone else has to buy bytes on their networks. Also, the low density (even in San Francisco, outside of downtown it’s mostly 2-3 story houses) makes providing Internet access more difficult.

So, yes, Silicon Valley isn’t internet paradise. But it’s better than some areas; CenturyLink, which provides service in Portland and Seattle, makes my service look great. But on the good side, companies are offering 100M Ethernet in high density buildings, and there is a little bit of fiber — for example, Sonic.net offers 1000M fiber service in Brentwood, California, but the price is still more than $40/month.

3 Andrew { 04.30.16 at 7:15 am }

Well, I could get 1Gbit/s fiber. But that would be almost $30/month.
Wimax is also available, but the speed is low 2-4Mbit/s. I don’t think anyone wants it where 3G is available… I just found that unlimited CDMA 3G is $4 /months. Not bad.

On the dark side, average salary is ~20 times less then in the US 🙂

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