Today I went over to one of my relatives’ house that’s too far away from the CO for DSL. My primary reason for going there (seeing said relatives) of course didn’t stop me from checking out how they connected to the interwebs. I knew they had a wireless setup from talking with them six monhs or so ago. Today I figured out just what that meant.

The first thing I did was a traceroute to Google. 20ms or so of latency at the first hop made me think that the system in use was Motorola Canopy. I did some sleuthing that resulted in finding the equipment’s IP adress (169.254.1.1) and was right; a 900MHz Canopy Advantage radio (board P9, software version 9.3 SDM-DES) was hooked directly to the family computer (an eMachines W3115 for what it’s worth). Not far away was a 5.8GHz cordless phone; those things also transmit on 900MHz at times so I recommended the family switch to a DECT phone. Or cable, since Comcast is now available in the area (though I found this out later).

Network-wise, there are a few hops on the provider’s network (domain flbb.com), totalling 40 milliseconds of round trip time, plus or minus ten milliseconds. Sounds like an interference issue to me; 900MHz is susceptible to that sort of thing, especially when you’re deploying the system in flat-as-a-fritter Florida. Still, this is Canopy gear…the stuff is supposed to be bulletproof, right?

Anyhow, the upstream provider (just one) for their ISP is NTT America. Their network is decent around here, though that’s sort of only because it hands most things to Level3 as far as I saw from a quick bunch of traceroutes. The provider’s network performance on the other hand was less than impressive; download speeds varied between 400 and 1300 kbps over a matter of minutes on the download side, and uploads were between 100 and 400 kbps.

So which provider am I talkng about here? PDMNet, AS13641. DSLReports has a little to say about them here.

I’m guessing the family in question is on their $45-per-month residential plan since they’re getting speds bursting over 400 kbps down and 200 kbps up. Beyond that, I’m not too thrilled with connection reliability; the tower for PDMNet is, according to the canopy unit, a mere 1.25 miles away and yet it only had twenty-six or so hours of uptime when I checked. Granted, Florida storms are myriad, and someone may have unplugged the radio, but I’m still not impressed. Heck, the time on the unit wasn’t even set correctly (it’s not 2001 anymore).

Still, the connection is better than satellite, but it’s not as good as cable. Might give my aunt a call and let her know about Comcast’s $34.95 megabit cable internet; might save a bit of money and be a little better performance-wise.

Net up: my late-night probing into NetZero’s access numbers here. As it turns out, there are a few numbers that TOAST.net’s dialer didn’t pick up. Even cooler: said numbers are fre (aleit ad-supported) when you dial in via NetZero. Groovy.