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Network BC





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Frequently Asked Questions

Got questions? We've got answers.

Can I call 911 using an internet phone connection?

Persons using the MCS Network for telephone communication, either through their computer or a VOIP device should be aware this service does NOT provide 911 connectivity. Do not use your computer or a VOIP device to place a 911 call—use a regular telephone.

What's the difference between Satellite and Wireless Internet?

There is a tendency to think Satellite and Fixed Wireless, are the same. In fact they share some common concepts but the actual service delivered, is very different.

Satellite service requires the equipment at your location to “talk” to a satellite in orbit. That means the wireless signal needs to travel great lengths, typically about 22,236 miles! That long distance is the main issue with satellite service. When a link is that long, heavy rain storms can cause the service to intermittently cut out. Plus, that distance creates a gap between ISP’s latency and throughput.

Latency is how long it takes to send a signal over the link measured in milliseconds. Throughput is a term used to define the measure of the capacity of the link such as 5 Mbps. Even at the speed of light, which wireless travels at, there is an inherent “satellite delay” with satellite Internet service that fixed wireless doesn’t have.

Satellite’s latency, or perceived speed is almost 20 times slower than a land based service such as Minto’s. This is because the fixed wireless signal is traveling a fraction of the miles compared to satellite links.Information about Latency.

How does MintoComm connect wirelessly?

The MintoComm network is configured with series of interconnected wireless links that connect each of the Bridge River Valley communities to a communications gateway provided by Telus. The local Telus gateway connection is in the Gold Bridge central office. The Telus central office connects to the Telus network backbone via a microwave link to Mission Mountain and then south to Vancouver where there is a connection to the global internet.

Network Map

Tranzeo Radio

You connect to the MintoComm network using a small radio which communicates with a MintoComm Access Point; it is attached to the outside of your home. Your computer or router connects to a radio junction box installed in your residence using a standard Ethernet CAT-5 cable.Since this is a radio network, there must be a clear radio path (line of sight) from your home radio to the MintoComm access point. Obstructions like trees, hills, buildings, etc. can be factors that will prevent you getting service. Pictured is a typical client radio.

What should I do if I can't get online?

Most of the time, these simple steps will get you back online. The first thing to do is to power cycle the router and the radio. To do this unplug the power source from the wireless router and also from the little white box that powers the radio. Plug the power source back in after at least 15 minutes and both devices will almost always reboot and start up again. A restart of your computer may also be necessary.

How secure is the connection?

The MintoComm internet network is very secure wireless network which connects to the Telus gateway. The MintoComm backbone wireless links use highly directional point-to-point antennas on high towers that prevent unauthorized interception. In addition, both the point-to-point radios and the subscriber access point radios have unique electronic addresses so that they will only communicate with each other.
A wireless computer may be able to detect the radio signal from the access point, but it will not be able to connect.
If you choose to install a wireless router at your residence and do not enable encryption with password access then you are potentially exposing your computer to external hacking, as well as allowing an unauthorized third party to use your MintoComm internet access. You are responsible for the wireless router and all over usage charges on your MintoComm account, irrespective of who the user might be.

Can I get MintoComm internet service at my location?

The availability of MintoComm internet service is limited by the location of our various access points and the type of terrain and distance between your location and the nearest access point. As of March 2012 service is generally available in the communities of Gun Lake, Little Gun Lake, Tyaughton Lake, Gun Creek Road, Gold Bridge & Bralorne; however, this is subject to the previous mentioned limitations.

If I have more than one computer in my home, can they all be online at the same time?

Yes. If you have multiple computers on-line simultaneously downloading content then they will share the “pipe”. Unless multiple computers are downloading large file at the same time, then in practice, none of the PCs would notice any reduction in speed. Your service speed is dependent on the rate plan you subscribe to. The home residential plan provides a peak download speed of 5 Mbps. This would be shared by all computers.

Can I share my MintoComm internet feed with my neighbour?

No. All MintoComm Residential subscriber accounts are for single premise use only. The sharing of your account is explicitly prohibited under MintoComm's Acceptable Use Policy. MCS members must agree to and follow all Society Policies when they obtain internet service. These can be viewed in the Policies section of this web site.

What issues could impact my ability to receive the signals?

Obstructions like trees, hills, buildings, etc. can be factors that will prevent you getting a signal of adequate strength to receive service. In the winter, snow accumulating on tree branches may also cause loss of signal; tree growth in the spring can also create problems. The simple rule of thumb is that there should be a direct visual line-of-site between your antenna and the access point.

Is wireless internet as reliable as ADSL, cable, satellite or dial-up?

The equipment that MintoComm uses to build our wireless network is commercial-grade equipment with very high reliability. In the BRV we are subjected to numerous power outages and Telus network outages that affect the MintoComm internet service and general telephone service. The majority of MintoComm service problems are caused by either BC Hydro power failures or Telus network failures – so the answer is: yes; we are as reliable as ADSL, cable, satellite or dial-up.

Can I use my internet connection in more than one place?

The connection point for your MintoComm service is the radio installed at your premises. This is the only physical connection point for your specific account. You plug your PC or router into a small power injector box that has Ethernet jack. This is the service demarcation point. If you use a wireless router or other technology to distribute the signal to other devices, you are responsible for all MintoComm traffic whether it is legitimate or generated by someone “stealing” your wireless signal.

Will the award of any government grants to the MCS raise my taxes?

No. Typically, government grants that are awarded to service providers such as the MCS are aimed at mitigating the high cost of delivering broadband internet service to rural citizens versus urban citizens. Both the Provincial and Federal Governments have similar grant programs that were created expressly for this purpose. The funding for these programs comes from the respective government's general revenue and not from a local tax levy.

Can I expect that the amount that I pay for MintoComm service be reduced due to any grants that the MCS receives?

Not directly. To date, grants that the MCS has received have been made explicitly for the purchase of new technology to increase network internet speed and to expand the Minto network into new communities. However, if a grant creates a condition where the MCS can reduce its costs and bring in more revenue, then it would be possible to lower subscriber rates. This principle is part of the MCS mandate as a non-profit society. The basic internet rates have not increased since they were set in 2008.

Can a device in my home access the internet when I am not aware of it and use my bandwidth?

Yes, many different programs can access the internet and generate background traffic while you are online and while your computer is sleeping. Operating System Updates, Anti Virus Programs, Peer to Peer File Sharing Programs, Cloud Backup Services, VOIP Phones Systems are just some examples of programs/devices which can access the internet without your knowledge. You are responsible for all bandwidth generated from your account and the overuse charges that may apply. Settings can be changed on individual programs/devices to reduce un-authorized use. Another way to ensure this does not happen is to power your devices off when not in use.

What settings do you recommend for Netflix?

100GB of monthly data sounds like a lot but if you are watching Netflix daily in high definition you will find the data use adds up fast at 3GB per hour of viewing. We recommend standard (Medium) definition which only uses 0.7GB per hour. Ultra HD will not work well on the Minto network as it requires a minimum speed of 25Mbps.

Some links to the Netflix help pages are listed below:

General Netflix Help
How to control Netflix data use
Speed Requirements

I sometimes loose the connection to my wireless router or the speed of my connection slows down intermittently. I have been told that some of my household appliances may be the cause; is this true?

Answer: Yes – this is a possibility. Wireless router troubleshooting is the responsibility of the subscriber. If you require technical assistance from a Minto Comm staff member, additional fees will be charged to your account.

If your wireless PC or Bluetooth wireless device loses its connection intermittently or slows down, the problem may be due to interference.

Products affected include: wireless laptops & PCs/netbooks, wireless mice and trackballs, wireless keyboards, wireless video cameras, Bluetooth devices.

Interference results in:

A decrease in the range of contact with a wireless access point like a router.
A decrease in the rate of data transfer or intermittent connection loss over a wireless network.
Intermittent loss of connection to a Bluetooth wireless device.
Difficulty in discovery when pairing a Bluetooth wireless device.

Sources of interference for wireless devices and networks

The farther away the interference source, the less likely it is to cause an issue. The following items can cause interference with wireless communication:

* Microwave ovens: Placing your computer, Bluetooth wireless device, or wireless router or telephone base station near a microwave oven that is in use may cause interference.
* Direct Satellite Service (DSS) RF leakage: The coax cable that comes with certain types of satellite dishes may cause interference. Obtain newer cables if you suspect RF leakage.
* Certain electrical devices such as power lines, electrical machinery, and power tools.
* 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz phones: A cordless telephone that operates in this range may cause interference with wireless devices or networks when used since they share the same frequencies.
* Metal objects: If possible, move metal objects or change the placement of the computer, wireless device or wireless access point so the path between your computer and the wireless device or wireless access point is free from metal objects that may cause signal attenuation.
* Video senders (transmitters/receivers) that operate in the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bandwidth.
* Wireless speakers that operate in the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bandwidth.
* Certain external monitors and LCD displays: Certain displays may emit harmonic interference, especially in the 2.4GHz bandwidth between channels 11 and 14. This interference may be at its worst if you have a portable computer with the lid closed and an external monitor connected to it. Try changing your access point to use 5 Ghz or a lower 2.4 GHz channel.
* Any other "wireless" devices that operate in the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bandwidth (microwaves, cameras, baby monitors, and so on.
* Proximity to a high power radio transmitter such as a ham radio or a base station business radio.

Note: Some devices may not overtly state that they operate in the 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz bandwidth. The operations manual should indicate the frequencies the device uses to operate. These may be referred to as "Dual Band" or "Wireless" devices.