Search This Blog

Tuesday, 8 November 2011

WiBe Testing

Chris and John have both put up WiBe tests, so I thought I'd pull a few of mine off the phone and share them too.

This blog post can be read at

Thanks to Richard Dix at Rural Broadband for this very cute toy.

This is a new build in a village where every single home is sub 2Mbps. Many are still on dial up. The plan was to test a window on each side of the house and the attic to see where the best signal might be. The two sides were pretty similar results, so I've omitted those tests from this post and just shown the west, east and the attic.

Setting up for test 1 just as the sun is setting.

First test.

Second test.

The WiBe in the attic.

Speedtest 1 in the attic.

Speedtest 2 in the attic.

The WiBe reaches for the moon.

Test 1.

Test 2 - it does make a difference if you just let the WiBe settle in, and although it only takes a few moments to get the 3G connection, it can take 10-15 minutes before you start getting improved and consistent results. As it was dark and I wanted to share the results before the iPhone ran out of juice, I packed up my huge bag of tools - 1 Wibe and an iPhone - and headed off to discuss this with the owner of the house. In the milking parlour, where of course all the best discussions take place!

Earlier in the day, I had been out to another notspot on a different mission, and had just thought I'd test the mobile network whilst there. These are the two speedtests and the views around about 20+ homes.

This was near the main road at the bottom of the valley so I headed uphill.

As you can see, an improvement, but not a useful one!

I am in direct line of sight to the Ash Fell mobile mast but it appears to have made little difference.

So, armed with the invertor, I am going back there to see what the WiBe will get en route to a rather infamous notspot in our patch, and a few others with not quite so well-known broadband champions.

I have got about another 50 speed tests to get off my phone too, but they are all showing pretty much the same thing - the WiBe is a great solution for now if you are on dial up or live in a notspot!

I don't have a laptop so cannot film and speed test and log onto the WiBe all at once - Chris and John do all that so check out their posts.

From logging on I am discovering that the best signal strength so far is around 85dBm, with the worst being 107 dBm, but this needs far more experimentation to see if I can improve those simply by positioning. I have been trying to see where the cell ID relates to the sitefinder mast codes, but haven't resolved that one yet. This would help in understanding which mast the best signal is coming from (when there is a choice) and hence positioning the WiBe better, but it's early days yet and I'm sure there is still tons more to discover to get even more from the WiBe.

We've load balanced the WiBe with the satellite to get maximum backhaul into the Cyberbarn till the fibre goes in and it's pretty good because I can switch between the two quite simply now to demonstrate both means of getting online to visitors. Which after all was one of the reasons for the Cyberbarn's existence!

Next step is to get the VoIP phones working in the Cyberbarn so we can demo VoIP over both WiBe and satellite, but there are only so many hours in a day, and I've been given the most awesome GIS mapping software and fibre network planning tools today (Cheers Mike!) and they are vying with the WiBe for attention....more on those soon.


chris said...

I think its a brilliant gadget, and there is much more potential for getting notspots going with them than anything else I have tried so far. At least they can start to stimulate take up, and then when enough folk are ready to dig the job is easier and they are motivated. The wibes can then move on to another area, unlike sats or wifi networks which cost a lot to install properly. Plug and play, make a brew while it settles, and that's the job done with the wibe. Magic.

Mike said...

These WiBE's work really well. I see that you've load balanced your WiBE - I don't suppose you could share how you did this? I've got one and want to balance it with our limited ADSL connection.