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Internet service

Posted By: A Salty Dog

Internet service - 06/09/08 04:28 PM

I'm moving to SP soon and maintaining employment thru the Internet.

How often do you lose your Internet service in SP? On average, how long do Internet outages last? Regarding outages, what is the most dependable Internet source -- cable or satellite?

How often do you lose electricity in SP? On average, how long do electricity outages last?

Thanks!
Posted By: deadserious

Re: Internet service - 06/09/08 05:13 PM

When I move to SP, I'll be doing the same.

It's my impression that the cable internet is much less dependable than the dsl internet on the island. I would recommend spending the extra money to get business level service to guanrantee an acceptable speed.

Perhaps we should set up a highly connected office building where all of us web workers can go for dependable and fast service several hours a day.
Posted By: Canam

Re: Internet service - 06/09/08 06:15 PM

Make sure that you're not attempting to use VOIP for work. BTL spends more energy attempting to block this type of use of their internet service than actually trying to spend money making it better.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Internet service - 06/09/08 11:42 PM

Satellite is far better than either BTL's own service or Coral Cable's, for the simple reason that it's independent of BTL, who are perfectly happy to operate totally illegally with a view to suppressing any competition. Unfortunately although their legal monopoly was terminated, no steps were taken to ensure that other users could have uninterrupted use of the physical facilities built up by BTL, whether at a fair price or at all. Consequently there is still a de facto monopoly, and it's operated by extremely corrupt people.
Posted By: deadserious

Re: Internet service - 06/09/08 11:58 PM

Unfortunately, latency on a satellite internet connection is far too long for me to do what I do.

There is a new internet service called MirrorNet out of Belmopan that supposedly does not buy their connectivity from BTL and are on a direct fiber optic connection to the backbone, though when asked if they are buying from Mexico or Guatamala, they did not answer.

They are trying to get a company in San Pedro to put in a 200 foot tower so they can connect up their service.

If someone would like to sell the service in San Pedro and can put up a 200' tower, then you might want to get in contact with them.

Here's the contact info:

Karen for MirrorNet Limited
It's More Than Internet - It's MirrorNet
www.mirrornet.bz
605-5718


Posted By: SimonB

Re: Internet service - 06/10/08 12:17 AM

Hell of a lot more expensive than BTL.
Posted By: deadserious

Re: Internet service - 06/10/08 03:17 AM

Absolutely worth it though if it doesn't block VOIP and provides low latency to the states... at least for me.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Internet service - 06/10/08 04:45 AM

Any contractor dealing with them will be blacklisted by BTL and any company that has significant dealings with them. From a VERY reliable source.
Posted By: Short

Re: Internet service - 06/10/08 06:07 AM

Originally Posted by SimonB
Hell of a lot more expensive than BTL.

I think many people would like to pay for a better service that supports VIOP. The fastest Hughesnet connection is now US$225 per month and Idirect is US$ 1,000 per month.

Originally Posted by pedro2
Any contractor dealing with them will be blacklisted by BTL

BTL can only blacklist email, but there are not many people left that still use BTL email - unreliable, to much spam and BTL and their mail IPs are blacklisted themselves by many providers. At least that was my experience when I stopped using their email.
Posted By: RathaBnBelize

Re: Internet service - 06/10/08 06:17 AM

I think what Pedro meant by "blacklist" is that they would buy them a "cement suit" wink
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Internet service - 06/10/08 01:32 PM

Yes, I was referring to commercial "dirty tricks". I know of one start-up operation that was stopped in its tracks when an international contractor needed to establish the infrastructure was told that if it went ahead it would lose contracts it had with apparently unrelated third parties in other countries. BTL has a very long reach internationally and is perfectly happy to use any means at its disposal to suppress competition. IMO the boss is long overdue for a rap on the knuckles either here or in his native country, but so far all attempts to do just that have been frustrated by severe business obfuscation.
Posted By: deadserious

Re: Internet service - 06/10/08 03:18 PM

Originally Posted by Short
The fastest Hughesnet connection is now US$225 per month and Idirect is US$ 1,000 per month.


Do you know of anyone who is using that fastest iDirect service? I'd like to talk to them.
Posted By: ScubaLdy

Re: Internet service - 06/10/08 04:04 PM

One of the most frustrating things here is that no one monitors when the service goes down. Nights and weekends there is no one on duty to call. There are several places on the island where, when the electricity goes off, a cable switch is thrown. I was told by a long time local that in town there is a woman who goes and turns it back on. The switch at the bridge is a different story. If it goes out after 5:00 on Friday we donít have it back on until Monday morning. The last time this happened it was 8:18 in the morning before I got an answer and they didnít even know it was down. They did send a guy right out and in five minutes it was restored.

Someone with more influence than me needs to address this.

The other problem is their modems. Every time there is an interruption in service I have to totally disconnect the modem and reconnect it and push the reset button. Some times I have to do this several times.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Internet service - 06/10/08 04:11 PM

Yes, and I've got through three wireless routers since this business started. The power going off is one thing, but when it flashes off and back on again it causes a surge that will destroy much electronic equipment. I have a power surge suppressor, but that isn't enough to protect against a total and very brief power outage.
Posted By: ScubaLdy

Re: Internet service - 06/10/08 04:12 PM

Pedro - you are so right. I bought a battery made just to protect my computer set up. It really works!
Posted By: deadserious

Re: Internet service - 06/10/08 04:14 PM

Even here in the states, I run my computer equipment, including routers and access points on a battery backup and surge protector. The small up front cost is well worth saving the equipment from a surge or brownout.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Internet service - 06/10/08 04:14 PM

Harriette - can you post details?

Am I right in thinking that my laptop is inherently protected because of the built-in battery? Certainly I've never had a problem with it, though desktop computers and of course routers have suffered. I occasionally use mains-powered external hard drives, and although they're powered by DC produced by an in-line transformer I wonder if they're also vulnerable?
Posted By: deadserious

Re: Internet service - 06/10/08 04:15 PM

Originally Posted by ScubaLdy
One of the most frustrating things here is that no one monitors when the service goes down.


And that type of thing kills someone who depends on the internet for their livelihood.

My hope is that if MirrorNet makes it to the island, they will be a stable and open alternative.
Posted By: deadserious

Re: Internet service - 06/10/08 04:35 PM

Originally Posted by pedro2
Harriette - can you post details?


There are many options, but for example:
http://catalog.belkin.com/IWCatProductPage.process?Product_Id=171958

Originally Posted by pedro2

Am I right in thinking that my laptop is inherently protected because of the built-in battery?


In my opinion, the laptop battery will protect you from brownouts, but not from a power surge. You should use a power strip with enough surge protection for computer equipment (there are different surge protection levels).

I don't think a brownout will affect a transformer, but if it does, a power cable is cheap enough to replace.
Posted By: kwalkpt

Re: Internet service - 06/10/08 04:53 PM

I have a laptop on a surge protector and rarely use just battery (except when the power goes out and that is just for shutting down) but I have had to replace the battery and it is only a year old.
Posted By: Canam

Re: Internet service - 06/10/08 06:40 PM

It's been said a few times, but always have a back-up external power supply for your modems, wireless routers, lap tops etc no matter where you reside, but ESPECIALLY in Belize. They cost anywhere between $150-$300 USD to buy here, and of course are a lot cheaper in the US. Brown-outs, black-outs, and power surges will fry your equipment, even with strip "surge" protectors. If you truly, truly, truly need 100% reliable service for your business you may want to re-think Belize. The service is decent for the most part, but they do block VOIP and most commercial VPNs, and you are subject to annoying days where you want to throw your stuff through a window. It can also be more expensive than most places in the Caribbean and the States. I have a 100% internet-based business here as well, and some days I'm grinning and some days I've lost a clump of hair.
Posted By: Loansum-Al K

Re: Internet service - 06/10/08 07:56 PM

I have no problem whatsoever with VOIP (Skype)being blocked as long as I have HotSpot Shield running.
Posted By: Canam

Re: Internet service - 06/10/08 08:04 PM

That only works for those who use it occasionally. Full-time, business quality service it won't work consistently - especially if you need to run search browsers, emails etc at the same time. HotSpot does have a few different levels of service, all of which affect bandwidth thereby limiting web speed. BTL currently has zeroed in on Hotspot 1 and blocks users fairly effectively.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Internet service - 06/10/08 08:40 PM

BTL has blocked all levels of Hotspot, right up the the 256 encryption level. Though strangely their block seems to operate intermittently. I abandoned the money I spent on that months ago and sought another solution.
Posted By: Canam

Re: Internet service - 06/10/08 08:45 PM

Exactly. I wish they would take the position as some other ISPs in the caribbean that previously used to block VOIP. Now they offer a very good service for approx. $100 UD every month. This improves business potential for the area, as well as provides solid income for the ISP without wasting money, time, and effort playing cat and mouse. Incredibly short-sighted and greedy.
Posted By: A Salty Dog

Re: Internet service - 06/10/08 10:16 PM

Canam, The link from the prior page:
http://catalog.belkin.com/IWCatProductPage.process?Product_Id=171958
Is this appropriate for the back-up external power supply that you advised having? Can you recommend a brand of surge protector?
Thanks.
Posted By: Short

Re: Internet service - 06/10/08 10:26 PM

Originally Posted by deadserious
Originally Posted by Short
The fastest Hughesnet connection is now US$225 per month and Idirect is US$ 1,000 per month.

Do you know of anyone who is using that fastest iDirect service? I'd like to talk to them.

Sent you a pm.
Posted By: Canam

Re: Internet service - 06/10/08 10:34 PM

Hey "A Salty Dog" - sorry I didn't see that link earlier. That looks like it would work well. I have two different units for two different systems set-up here, both of which are similar. The unit that you have on the link has surge protection so you should be set with all bases covered.
Posted By: Loansum-Al K

Re: Internet service - 06/10/08 10:39 PM

Well I was down to our place for 6 weeks about a month ago and had Skype up and running with excellent reception during the entire day as long as I had AnchorFree Hot Spot Shield running. Coral Cable is my internet provider. The Hot Spot Shield does slow up the internet a little but works superbly with Skype.....at least for me.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Internet service - 06/11/08 12:36 AM

Strange. It hasn't worked for me or people I know for several months. I wonder if BTL are being very selective in the IP addresses they block. Though as IP addressing here is dynamic I don't see how that would work.
Posted By: Loansum-Al K

Re: Internet service - 06/11/08 02:40 AM

pedro2, You have tried AnchorFree HotSpot Shield, (no charge) right? Don't understand why it works for me and not for you. We are located in Bermuda Landing just north of the bridge. Chris Barenfanger has no problem with Skype either as long as he's running HotSpot Shield, yet his foreman Mike Madrid who lives in town has constant problems even with HotSpot running....maybe there's a charm north of the bridge?!
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Internet service - 06/11/08 04:29 AM

Yes, but I've also tried the two pay versions. Successively each worked for a while and then failed. But I do know someone living pretty close and also using Coral Cable who is still able to use one of the pay versions. Mine simply doesn't connect.
Posted By: deadserious

Re: Internet service - 06/11/08 06:48 AM

Originally Posted by A Salty Dog
Can you recommend a brand of surge protector?
Thanks.


Belkin is a well known brand. Also APC. APC handles a lot of the server/workstation protection, so you know it is good. Belkin targets the home market, but also is very good. Just get one with sufficiently large surge protection. The link I provided is certainly what I would recommend. Nothing too less than that.
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Internet service - 06/11/08 03:43 PM

Are there any UPSs currently available that use an external 12v battery? I had one years ago in Africa and it was so much better than having a small battery built in.
Posted By: deadserious

Re: Internet service - 06/11/08 04:02 PM

Never heard of such a thing, but sounds like an interesting concept... what did you do, clamp it onto an auto battery?
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Internet service - 06/11/08 04:33 PM

In effect yes. Worked very well. In the wilds of Africa you could use anything to charge the battery - mains power if available, a mobile generator, or even run it off a Land Rover - and then use radio & basic electronics for days on end (depending on the size of battery). And you could easily couple in a newly charged battery and remove a dead one without interrupting the available power. Seems so obvious.
Posted By: SimonB

Re: Internet service - 06/11/08 04:49 PM

Convert one yourself, we did it out at Lamanai. Used a decent sized UPS (Minuteman, available in Belize) and then wired in a bunch of deep cycle 12V batteries. We were able to run 3 offices for about 15 minutes.
Posted By: dabunk

Re: Internet service - 06/11/08 04:49 PM

We use a bank of 2 6 volt golf cart batteries connected in series charged by an old UPS. works great. Many old UPS are thrown away as to buy new batteries for them costs more than a new UPS. Mine keeps me going for a long time for the satellite modem and computers.
Posted By: Loansum-Al K

Re: Internet service - 06/11/08 05:55 PM

Every time you launch HotSpot Shield, a different IP address is assigned......can't imagine BTL being able to keep up with it.
Posted By: Canam

Re: Internet service - 06/11/08 05:58 PM

Yes, that is correct for that version. That is not a viable solution to those who may move here with the intention of running a business, as was implied via the original post. For this you need a stable IP with consistent results - 365 days a year. BTL seems to revolve blocking in chunks, meaning 2 mnths ok, 2 mnths not so good etc.
Posted By: Loansum-Al K

Re: Internet service - 06/11/08 06:00 PM

Have you tried downloading the program again?
Posted By: Canam

Re: Internet service - 06/11/08 06:04 PM

I actually have a system that works fine through another means. I was just trying to give a heads up to "A Salty Dog" as I hear about a lot of people who move here hoping to telecommute and then being disappointed and having to go through a lot of work just to get back to square one. If she is able to mitigate against this before moving here than that would be better (depending on her needs). I agree though, for casual use Hotspot Shield is a really good option.
Posted By: ScubaLdy

Re: Internet service - 06/11/08 06:20 PM

Congrats guys - this is the kind of stuff this message board is good for.
Posted By: SimonB

Re: Internet service - 06/11/08 06:21 PM

Truly the only safe way to telecommute if your business is time critical is satellite, UPS and a generator.
Posted By: deadserious

Re: Internet service - 06/11/08 06:21 PM

I already have a vpn back to the office in the States, and every time I've been to belize it has worked very well. Since I need that vpn link anyway for work and Skype works well over the link, I am set there. I just need the most solid and low latency connection possible for other software I run over that vpn.

I have high hopes for MirrorNet as the cable internet goes down way too often.
Posted By: Canam

Re: Internet service - 06/12/08 12:03 AM

Hi again- just got a response from MirrorNet. Apparently they are not accepting any more customers. Not promising....
Posted By: Anonymous

Re: Internet service - 06/12/08 05:16 AM

Originally Posted by LOANSUM - AL K.
Every time you launch HotSpot Shield, a different IP address is assigned......can't imagine BTL being able to keep up with it.

I'm reliably told that that's just what they do do. They watch for quite a while without interfering in any way, and record all IP addresses used a lot. There's usually a range of IP addresses used, and they want to determine what the range is. Once they're sure they've found a VPN they pounce. Of course, they can never guarantee that they get all IP addresses, but they get enough to make a b***dy nuisance of themselves.
Posted By: deadserious

Re: Internet service - 06/12/08 05:31 AM

Originally Posted by Canam
Hi again- just got a response from MirrorNet. Apparently they are not accepting any more customers. Not promising....


That's not good.
Posted By: Canam

Re: Internet service - 06/12/08 03:32 PM

Yeah - Karen told me that maybe in about a month they will take on some more customers in the immediate area of Belmopan. I would seriously consider moving my office there from SP if they offered everything that I needed. So....if in a month they might take on a few more customers there, SP may be a long long ways out frown
Posted By: bigwaves

Re: Internet service - 06/12/08 09:15 PM


We are going to be down for a week in July. Are there any free hotspots to send/receive an email back home?

Thanks
Posted By: Loansum-Al K

Re: Internet service - 06/12/08 09:45 PM

Internet Cafe for one.
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