A diary of the projects, hurdles, rewards and family life at we recorded at Wise Acres, our former homestead in Horsefly, BC. (Careers and teenagers have forced us back into the city, at least for a little while.)

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Rural Internet Access - yes, the Information Highway is paved even out here!

Most people know I work from home, and most know that I depend on an Internet connection to make that work. This leads to a common question - how is that going?

Before we moved, we'd ensured that we could have high speed Internet access by having the local ISP (
BC Wireless, which is partially funded by NetworkBC) come out and do a site test, which passed. However, until it was actually working in front of me I'll admit I was a little worried. Now that it's all set up and I've been using it for over a week, I can't be happier. My throughput speeds are decent (as high as 3Mbps), but lower than Westbank, where it was often in the 15-20 Mbps range. However, the quality of service appears to be greater. For instance, I am able to conduct all my phone calls using a VOIP connection to our PBX in Burlington, ON (which is how I still have a 905 number), and I could never do this in Westbank, as the calls lost too many packets (translation: voices were choppy). (Analogy: high bandwidth, low quality = waterfall; lower bandwidth, higher quality = firehose).

How does it work?

Telus, our local phone company, runs a fibre-optic line to a tower in Horsefly (at the Fire Station). That tower provides a line-of-sight connection to anyone with the right antenna. There is also a tower at the trailer park on a hill that repeats the signal and extends the range - this is what we're aimed at with our directional 2.4GHz 802.11b client access antenna (by BC's own Tranzeo).

Out of curiosity, I ran a traceroute test to the BC Wireless server, assuming that my connection went through there:

Tracing route to bcwireless.com []
over a maximum of 30 hops:

1 <1 ms <1 ms <1 ms
2 4 ms 2 ms 2 ms router-254.fortinet.com []
3 4 ms 4 ms 4 ms
4 8 ms 8 ms 9 ms
5 19 ms 21 ms 19 ms PGRGBC01DR01.bb.telus.com []
6 19 ms 19 ms 20 ms vancbc01dr01.bb.telus.com []
7 20 ms 20 ms 20 ms
8 36 ms 35 ms 35 ms
9 37 ms 36 ms 35 ms web2.bcinternet.net []

What this tells me is that to get to 100 Mile house, my packets are going though Prince George, then Vancouver. I find that facinating! (The fact that my VOIP calls are going over an encrypted VPN connection, first to the VPN server in San Jose, CA via Prince George, and once in the VPN from California to Massachusetts, then up to Burlington, ON, is completely mind-blowing!)

Anyway, I'd highly recommend BC Wireless for their service so far - they've done everything to accommodate me and before we ever had service answered all my questions. With ISPs like these, I should expect more and more information workers to go rural.


  1. Wow, now that wasn't just another folksy ramble about another day on the ranch! Nothing better than a blog post that mentions the word packets.

  2. Hey now Barbarina...who you calling a folksy rambler? You better watch out or we will name one of the chickens after you :o

  3. heh heh

    I love reading about the adventures of Ella the chicken!

    BTW: It is my life dreams to have something named after me, if it's a chicken? So be it :)

  4. First time that I have ever taken a look at a "blog". You must have too much time on your hands! Interesting observations from an ex-city person. But, I gotta tell ya. Yep, Ray was one hell of a guy, not only from his hands on mechanical abilities, but I believe more importantly his ability to provoke conversation about the vast amount of subjects in which he was interest -- that's one reason I had to get him to China! If "you" recall the days of the Kennedy Clan and how each Sunday they gathered round the dinner table and each week one was chosen to discuss a subject -- well Ray gathered his extended family around whatever table that was present and discussed all sorts of things. And, his family was provoked to think -- about all sorts of varied subjects - past, present and future. Not many families do that today, or ever did!
    He is also the person with whom I learned to water ski -- on Lake Simcoe, while at that time California was one of my sites to visit.

    He still provides lots of fun, stories, and wonderful memories for many of us that were lucky enough to know him.

    These interesting observations of the family in Horse-what come to me via a computer, and take me back almost a century in my life.

    Grandpa lived on the farm down the road from out farm, which my Dad bought from him; and my other Grandfather -- the UK/Hull and Orono, Canada guy, also bought from him. There he had horses, cows, pigs, a BIG garden, and Grandma cooked on a wood stove. She is the one who killed the chickens -- Ma is the one who taught my boys how to kill chickens with an axe.......... Hay was brought in on a horsedrawn wagon -- yep I got to ride in it. Dad would cultivate corn with the horses, and sometimes go to the house and leave me on the cultivator -- the horses knew to go the 1,000 ft or so across the field, turn and come back, that little pre-scool kid had nothing to do with what they did!

    All of the local farmers used to get together to help each other gather wheat sheeves and thresh (at each different farm) -- which resulted in BIG pile of straw on which to play. I got to start ddriving the 1943 Ford tractor at age 10, brother Garrie at age 8, he was taller and could reach the pedals.

    We would go about a mile and half down the road to Wilson's dairy farm and get out milk in a can -- it wasn't until I went into Princeton to school that I got to taste that - ugh - pasturized milk.

    I walked a mile to and from the bus stop, and rode 7 miles into Princeton to school. (It wasn't until high school that the bus picked me up at the bottom of the farm lane. (Ma had taought there before getting pregnant with me.) Ma had her own Nursery/Kindergarten -- The Farm School with 30 - 50 children and a Summer Day Camp (RoGaPeKi -- the boys/brothers names, coined by me) with about 150 children and 30 on the staff.

    I also go the "opportunity" to mow our cemetary with a reel mower and then !! Grandpa bought a reel type mower with a motor on it -- wow! .50 cents an hour and he would bring over a glass gallon jug of water to "refresh" me.

    Today I still have a 1/3 Acre garden over there, and I still "jar"/can my own tomato sauce and Red Tomato Chili (from a recipe written in one of out maid's handwriting -- yes we had maid/s. Ann, was the only black person at my wedding.) By the way, I was in the first class of the "Princton Plan" in about 1948 when the schools were intergrated and we white kids were sent down to the black school.

    Over the years, although the main crop was apples (I, of all the pickers, was the only one who could pick 100 bushels a day off the tree - at .10 cents per or 200 per day up from the ground at .05 cents a pop - $10 bucks for 10 hours.), we also had at times, chickens, pigs, sheep, ponies, horses, cows, sheep, goats, turkeys, rabbits, pigeons, and Lord knows what else. We, as did Grandpa and the neighbors, killed most all for food and or sale. (Just recently got my first deer with a crossbow in Ohio.) Lots of deer around here, in fact NJ is so overpoplulated that the kill limit is -- unlimited. (Destructive to farm crops and vehicles.)

    Last year, while deer hunting over at the farm, I heard the scream of Fisher Cat for the first time -- they are evidently being crowded out of the Northern areas and into our area. (Blood curdling)

    What was the question?

    Love from,
    JHY/Uncle Bob/Bobby