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Author Topic: Internet connection for mum  (Read 500 times)

Weaver

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Internet connection for mum
« on: June 14, 2018, 11:33:38 AM »

Janetís mum is 91 and I would like her to be able to Apple-Facetime Janet somehow. She is ~450 miles away and we never get to see her because of my health.

She is possibly never going to use the web because she wonít know how. She is very intelligent.

The options are: put in some ADSL for her or use 3G or 4G,  give her an iPad or an iPhone.

I think the iPhone thing would be a bit rubbish because it is a small screen and fiddly for fingers, plus janet has got an old one but it is pretty knackered, difficult to turn on because I think the Apple button on it is semi-knackered. So not helpful for someone who is 91. Plus the fact that it has a piddly small screen is not great for Facetime.

I have a spare iPad 5 which unfortunately has no 3G NIC in it.

As for internet connectivity, I am sure the 3G and 4G is a disaster in her flat, on the evidence of multiple coverage maps. The large village / small town of Eccleshall in Staffordshire is in a coverage black spot with Three and EE, especially as the southern half is concerned. According to maps there is precious little 3G or 4G outdoor coverage on her road, so no chance indoors.

So letís say I put in a wireless LAN inside her flat:

* I can feed the LAN from a DSL line. FTTC is available delivering >62 Mbps downstream but could be rather more if lucky. Her flat is right in the village anyway, not rural.

Can anyone remind me what the typical upstream cap / speed split is on a BT Wholesale FTTC line that is capped at 40Mbps downstream? Is that how it works, cap at 40 Mbps or BTW charge the ISP more?

Magenta codelook telecom-tariffs.co.uk says 343 m to Cabinet P2 (from what?). I can't imagine for the life of me how it can be that far, because according to their map, the cab is in the same street and the whole street is really small.

I have no idea how to find the page that shows a map with FTTC cabs on it. I found it by accident in the end after no end of attempts and I don't know how I did it. I followed a link from a page in a kitz post that took me to totally the wrong town of course but then somehow managed to overwrite various fields with the correct details.

Perhaps someone could help and tell me how to use the stupid site properly, tell me exactly what I should have been doing in the first place?

This is all well and good, but then I have the cost of a DSL line every month. I am not sure I can afford this as I am not working due to ill-health.

* The second option I thought of might be a bit dodgy but could be incredibly cheap. Feed the wireless LAN by 3G or 4G.

I already have a 4G firewall-router that has 2.4 GHz wireless access point built into it, made by Solwise. It has a SIM in it for the AA + AQL service on the Three network. It only gets 3G on that service, for god only knows what reason. I got it with an upgrade antenna on a long-ish cable. It routes packets between 3G/4G and the wireless LAN that it publishes. I have tested it and it works  ucely, but I have not got round to using it much.

So that would mean no setup costs and no monthly costs as the AA SIM costs next to nothing apart from a per byte charge for traffic. Now if I can get any signal from a window somewhere then I might be onto a winner.

I would also have to make my iPad 5 easy to use for her so she can fire up Facetime simply and possibly use the web too if she could learn. That would mean she could get deliveries and benefit from internet shopping for things she cannot get at the Coop supermarket down the street. However, the added benefit of this is relatively somewhat limited since she can already get anything she wants from the web by just asking Janet to buy it on the web for her, but she of course cannot see what is available on the web with her own eyes.

A problem: I have a big problem with upstream bandwidth at both ends, but particularly at this end. I can only manage 1.2 Mbps total upstream over my triple ADSL2 pipe here and so that limits the quality of the entire thing when using something symmetrical such as Facetime.

However, at this end Janet could alternatively use 3G in the house here (very good 4G is available here, but on EE, not on AA + Three) so that would remove a bottleneck at the cost of doubling the per-byte costs because it would be over a mobile network at both ends and AA charges per byte for 3G.

At Janetís mumís end an ADSL2+ connection would be a waste of time because the upstream is so awful, so it would have to be FTTC at slightly higher cost.

Regarding DSL, I think there are three prices: ADSL2+, FTTC capped at 40Mbps and FTTC with no cap. I am not sure what the upstream would be for the middle option, does anyone know? I suspect that these are maybe BT deals passed on to the ISP?

I also need to get someone to visit, firstly someone to install a router, and secondly someone else to do some iPad training.

Could I get some local professional to do the physical installation of a router? For the DSL plan, it means someone plugging in a wireless modem-router of some sort. That will be pre-configured so nothing to do apart from park the kit somewhere.

Does anyone have any helpful suggestions in general?
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tickmike

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Re: Internet connection for mum
« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2018, 12:32:37 PM »

I have been through that village on the way to Chester, it is a long way from me so I can not help, But what about the Local Parish Council  :)   https://www.eccleshallparishcouncil.co.uk/ I am sure there would be some very technical people (and trustworthy ) on it and I am sure they are willing to help one of there own.
They would have first hand knowledge of ADSL / FTTC and phone signal in that area.

Edit.. Forgot to say we FaceTime our daughter 250 miles away on my iPhone 4, we are on ADSL (Upstream rate = 880 Kbps, Downstream rate = 6308 Kbps),  But our daughter is on a Business network (she is a Zoo keeper and has to live on-site ) that can vary from a few Mbps download to 20 Mbps , FaceTime  seems to work ok we get the occasional drop outs.
« Last Edit: June 14, 2018, 12:43:52 PM by tickmike »
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Weaver

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Re: Internet connection for mum
« Reply #2 on: June 14, 2018, 12:57:52 PM »

As I asked earlier, amongst my many questions, anyone know what is the FTTC upstream cap corresponding to BTWís 40 Mbps downstream cap?

Also, very roughly, how much upstream bandwidth at each end does one need for a reliable, decent quality Facetime video call ?

Janetís mum has a mountain of local friends. One or two are vaguely computer-literate. I am told that at least one is confirmed to be Apple-literate too. However some are elderly. It might be rather overwhelming for some of them, the idea of having to do such techy-sounding things. about in fact all it would be would be a matter of plugging a few things in. In the 3G-to-WLAN case all that would be needed would be to plug something into the mains and park an antenna in a suitable window, then fire it up.

That is why I was wondering about a moonlighting or retired BT engineer, or someone who does computer installations or maintenance, or an electrician failing that. Someone who is not terrified.

Any idea where I might find a professional BT-man say?
« Last Edit: June 14, 2018, 02:56:20 PM by Weaver »
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chenks

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Re: Internet connection for mum
« Reply #3 on: June 14, 2018, 03:42:02 PM »

the FTTC products are 40/10, 55/10, 80/20 (and some crap ISPs might still offer 40/2)
« Last Edit: June 14, 2018, 04:25:23 PM by chenks »
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burakkucat

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Re: Internet connection for mum
« Reply #4 on: June 14, 2018, 04:17:19 PM »

The Openreach products, delivered using a G.993.2 link over a metallic pathway, which any CP/ISP can purchase for resale are --

18/2, 40/2, 40/10, 55/10, 80/20 Mbps DS/US
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burakkucat

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Re: Internet connection for mum
« Reply #5 on: June 14, 2018, 05:04:28 PM »

Magenta codelook telecom-tariffs.co.uk says 343 m to Cabinet P2 (from what?).

The distance quoted is that between the serving telephone exchange and the primary cross-connection point.
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burakkucat

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Re: Internet connection for mum
« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2018, 05:28:55 PM »

For the WMECC (West Midlands, Eccleshall) exchange, primary cross-connection point P2 is located on the south side of Stone Road, to the west of the junction with Hartlands Road and east of the local Methodist Church. In July 2011, when that image was taken, P2 was still a small, cast-iron, GPO-era cabinet.
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Weaver

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Re: Internet connection for mum
« Reply #7 on: June 14, 2018, 05:40:16 PM »

Wonder why on earth they quote exchange to PCP distance, when what everyone wants to know is the length of copper from FTTC cab to your house ? (D-side?)
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kitz

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Re: Internet connection for mum
« Reply #8 on: June 15, 2018, 01:50:27 AM »

Quote
At Janetís mumís end an ADSL2+ connection would be a waste of time because the upstream is so awful,

Are you sure?  What are the linespeed estimates?

My mother is on an adsl connection that I thought got about ~ 6Mbps, however according to PN when Ive just logged into her account the linespeed is 4.4Mbps.  When they say linespeed that actually equates to the BTw IPprofile .  I've no idea what the upstream is but she can quite happily Skype relatives in Aus.   My niece sits and streams games and movies whilst there and I sure she would moan if it lagged as she's used to    I use the connection whilst I'm there for general surfing and whilst its not what I'm used to its perfectly ok for email and just general usage and skype.    FTTC for her would be a waste of money.

These are the bandwidth requirements for Skype. 

Quote
Call type    Minimum download/ upload speed    Recommended download/ upload speed


Video calling /
Screen sharing    128kbps / 128kbps    300kbps / 300kbps

Video calling
(high-quality)    400kbps / 400kbps    500kbps / 500kbps

I should imagine Facetime would be similar.

Quote
possibly use the web too if she could learn.

Not sure if the local council does similar to here, but the  library has a PC for beginner course on how to surf, mail etc aimed at OAPs   Cost was ridiculously cheap  -  something like £1 per session for a 10 week course.  The quid each time to cover printer costs.   
I enrolled dad and an elderly uncle on the course even though they knew some of the basics I thought it would be a good refresher for them.   I know dad enjoyed it because they did a couple of other things like photo editing which he'd never done himself before. 

There's also another near here at the YMCA which is the really basic stuff such as using a mouse and keyboard which is totally free and paid for by Lancs CC. 

So well worth searching whats available in her area. 

----

btw, talking of my uncle..   just realised I also put him on an adsl2+ package, but his speeds were a bit better ie 16000/800 and he used Skype a lot too.
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Weaver

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Re: Internet connection for mum
« Reply #9 on: June 15, 2018, 04:17:12 AM »

She will be using an iPad.

To explain a little of how things are. I would not try to talk to her about her having to learn anything, otherwise she would just say that she would then just drop the whole thing, knowing such peopleís reactions well. I canít go into details in an open forum, but although she is intelligent she is simply tired at such a great age and I have seen this with my own parents. A rejection of all new things, which are a source of anxiety. My own dear father would not be happy to drive around the centre of Stafford a mere 14 miles away even when he was relatively young, never mind very aged, let alone navigate the centre of Derby which is 20 miles away.

But I suspect that if I can just set up an iPad in a very restricted single function way then she won't  thing of it as a computer but more as something like a Tv set or a phone, decides that she can use and whose utility she doesn't question. Any guidance would have to be from a friend or relative of whom there are many and I know that Apple literate friends are already around. Lessons from a stranger would be a source of anxiety. Also travelling to classes would be difficult because she suffers from vertigo which has curtailed her travel. She was happy to travel on the bus into the nearby town of Stafford which she knows very well, but the vertigo has really made things difficult.

So you see I have to proceed conservatively and craftily.

I hear what you say concerning the bandwidth requirements, I need to check on the upstream bandwidth of ADSL2+ for her vs VDSL2. I looked up AAís current prices and I think a VDSL2 link is only something like £8 per month more than ADSL2+ but I would need to recheck. For such a small cost difference I would play it safe and go for the 10 Mbps upstream of VDSL2. Is that figure right? (It's my money not hers, so I don't need to worry about justifying the cost with mum, she won't be involved with that.) The bottleneck is likely to be my own upstream unless I remind Janet to always switch to using 3G here which will be a real pain. I am very keen on upgrading my own bandwidth here to remove the inconvenience for Janet.

But if the 3G router thing works in the Eccleshall flat then that will save me a ton of money every month. My benefits have just been cut by £500 per month so things are not good right now. But I think this would improve mumís life because she would be able to see Janet often and see what is going on around the place here. Also a much bigger screen than a phone would mean she could really see properly.

That is my psychological strategy thus far. Hope that helps to paint a picture. I have met many old folks who love their Windows PCs and have taken to using email, IM and web browsers very enthusiastically. But my own relatives all fall into the opposite camp, and Janetís mum is a member of that diametrically opposite group.
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Weaver

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Re: Internet connection for mum
« Reply #10 on: July 23, 2018, 09:04:21 AM »

I am hopefully going to proceed with this.

I was thinking about getting an iPhone if I could use so-called "wifi calling" with say EE, since Janet has confirmed that there is no mobile phone reception
worth a damn there at all.

However on reflection I think it is probably a bit of a waste of money as Facetime to Janet would be free and of course video would be superb for them both, so I suspect it might be just as well to stick to an iPad with Facetime and a cheap landline phone for POTS and a  mobile phone for when mum is in hospital.

So I need to find a local ex BT engineer or some such to do installation work.

I have not forgotten the tip about the parish council.
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