Dedicated Internet for Farms
The available suite of options
for getting broadband Internet service to farms, ranches, orchards,
vineyards and rural businesses.
Agribusiness is now high tech business.
GPS systems in tractors keep tabs on exactly how much acreage
has been planted and harvested. Livestock is electronically tagged
and monitored to know the health of each animal and the costs
involved in raising it. Everything from buying seed to monitoring
market prices to keeping tabs on the weather is computerized.
Yet, getting high speed voice and data connections in rural areas
can still be a challenge.
A large part of the problem is that the
methods of Internet access most popular for small business and
home businesses are based on technologies with limited delivery
range. DSL, including low cost consumer ADSL and business grade
SDSL, can't be delivered more than a few miles from the nearest
telephone company central office. In fact, the speed of a DSL
connection goes down rapidly as you get farther from the DSLAM
(digital subscriber line access multiplexer) that feeds the broadband
Internet signal down the phone line.
Cable Modem Internet service is also limited.
Cable companies may run their lines to a few outlying subdivisions
and then stop. Their business model is based on dense populations
so that they can get a lot of TV and Internet subscribers for
every mile of expensive cable buried or strung on poles.
WISPS or Wireless Internet Service Providers
are sometimes an option, but they are also limited in range and
need a line of sight path from their tower to the antenna they
set up on your property. When WiMAX enters service starting later
this year and next year, coverage will greatly expand and wireless
Internet service to farms, ranches, vineyards and rural residents
will become more available.
That really leaves only two good options
right now for Internet service on the farm. A very practical
and professional grade Internet connection can be provided using
T1 line service. T1 is a technology developed by the telephone
companies for long haul of telephone and data traffic. As such,
T1 is available just about anywhere you can get a telephone line.
In fact, T1 is transported on two pair of ordinary copper phone
wires with special regenerators spaced every mile or so to maintain
That's a big difference between T1 and
DSL. T1 was designed with means to keep boosting the signal out
to 20 miles or more from the telco office. With T1 you get 1.5
Mbps both upload and download with a service level guarantee
to ensure reliable operation. With T1 you have the speed to run
multiple computers, VoIP telephone or a hosted PBX system, and
even a web server if you wish. If you don't need the power of
a full T1 connection, fractional T1 service is available for
a lower price. In some areas, Integrated T1 lets you share the
line for Internet access plus a small PBX or key telephone system
for your business phone calls.
The other service that works in remote
areas is satellite Internet. With satellite Internet, all you
need is power and a clear view of the southern sky. You can get
residential grade satellite Internet for home users, or business
grade satellite Internet service for professional use. Satellite
access does degrade during really bad weather, much like satellite
TV, and doesn't work well for VoIP telephone due to the long
distances up to the bird and back down. Otherwise, it is a very
practical solution for just about any remote location.
Rural Connectivity at Affordable Prices
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