DVC500 at last wrote:We are looking to purchase a house wayyyy off the beaten path, in North Carolina. No DSL, no cable. Other than using dialup (OUCH!) or the satellite internet provider(limited downloads), I thought I'd get a WLAN router (MBR1200) which has a port for a Broadband connection, for a 3G and/or 4G USB stick. Some of the 4G providers now have unlimited downloads for $60 a month, which I think is pretty reasonable.
Anyone doing this now?
Also, how would I find out if I get a good signal on the property before I buy the service and hardware? Yes, all the providers have those generic Maps-of-Coverage, but I would like to test the signal right on my property.
You need to find out what cellar companies have coverage for your new property. Ask locally of the cell phone providers. Get their coverage maps. Then borrow a high end cell phone for those carriers and use the phone as an instrument to measure the signal strength. My cell carrier is Verizon and on my cell phone is two sets of signal strength bars. 1X and 3G. 3G is the data network. Other carrier companies will have similar names and their high end phones will also have signal strength indicators.
Check with the local government economic development office. All states and counties have them. They will have data infrastructure information or know how to get it.
Understand the various cell companies future plans for upgrading the data infrastructure. A good start is their annual report to stockholders. Pay attention to the buzz words, 3G, 4G etc.
Many cell phone towers are not owned by the cell phone companies. They are owned by third parties and space is leased to cell companies and others. American Tower is the largest. They have a cell tower locator:http://www.americantower.com/sitelocator/default.aspx
See if you can identify a tower near your new property. Then contact the tower owner and ask who has equipment on that tower. My closest American tower also has a local wireless internet service company on it. They offer always on 1.5 M-bit symmetric internet service for about $60 a month. They install a directional transceiver on your property. My local county has areas that are rural and will never have fiber, DSL or even cable TV. Local county government is building a fiber network backbone that will connect all the county government and school facilities together. In addition there will be a way for private companies to use lease the network for expanding service into areas that would never be served by existing companies. North Carolina has high tech areas and a state government in tune with high tech development. You might be pleasantly surprised at what might be available. Approach them as if you had a business need.