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What do I need to know?
For two decades, Ptera has been providing “Fixed Wireless” internet to the Inland Northwest. We have miles of fiberoptic cable running throughout Spokane, bringing an internet connection to radio towers which then broadcast a wireless signal over a large area. If your service address is within range of a tower, we can probably get you connected!
In some cases you will need a site survey performed to qualify your location for service before we can schedule an installation. If an Account Specialist determines that you can get service, either from the site survey results, or from a digital survey performed from the office, then you will be scheduled for installation. You will be given explicit instructions for any work that would need to be performed prior to the date of installation, and your expectations will be set for what to expect to happen during the installation. We plan for standard installations to take up to two hours, and someone age 18 or older must be present at the time of installation.
On the day of your installation, the technician performing the installation will call ahead to let you know their approximate arrival time. At that point, you can expect a trained and professional installation technician to arrive and either pull from the original site survey notes or begin a site survey in order to determine the best location to attach an antenna/radio, typically on the top or side of your structure. The technician will keep you informed as to the installation location, and will then install both outside equipment and inside WiFi router, whether we supply the router or we use your router. They will then leave you with your WiFi name & password to integrate with all of your home devices. The technician will also walk you through your customer portal, through which you can submit support tickets, pay your bill, and view important data about your account.
There is a one time standard installation fee of $125 for residential customers, and a one-time standard installation fee of $300 for commercial locations. Non-standard installation rates vary depending on hardware and any other custom needs.
The short answer is… yes! Even our entry-level Power plans have download speeds capable of streaming your favorite entertainment. If your situation requires streaming on multiple devices at a time, check out our Performance and Premium plans.
Ptera has thousands of customers that stream every type of video, game competitively, work from home with office VLANs and VPNs and VoIP phones, and many students, teachers and work from home customers that video conference over the wireless connection. If our support technicians determine that the connection is functioning as it is expected to, we may refer you to support for the 3rd party application that you are using for any of these services. We are happy to lend a hand and suggest the best practices for best performance, or we may suggest that you will need to upgrade your plan to a higher speed or to a business connection with a static IP in order to provide you with the best user experience given the demands on the connection in your unique situation. The bottom line is that at Ptera we want our customers to love their internet connection, so do not be afraid to give us a call or open a ticket if you are experiencing any sort of issue with what you are trying to do over the connection.
Your signal strength from the tower will determine the overall health of your Internet, impacting bandwidth, speed, latency, etc. Our technician will work with you to place our antenna in the optimal location of your property, but the overall health of your Internet will still be impacted by distance from the tower, topography, foliage, and network capacity.
Also, one thing that is often overlooked is the location of your WiFi router within your home, as well as the number of devices and the individual device demands on the internet within your home. WiFi coverage is impacted by several factors, such as multiple floors, wall thickness & composition, mirrors, and complex floor plans. One way to know if your WiFi router or a heavy user in your home is the culprit for a negative or slow Internet experience, disconnect or turn off all devices that connect to the internet, plug a network or Ethernet cable directly from your computer to your router and run a speedtest. If your speed test improves to your plan speeds, then you will know that you are either dealing with poor Wifi signal within your home, or devices or users that are using up most of the available bandwidth available.
If you’re not getting the speeds you expect, you may need to change something in your environment or upgrade your device.
Wi-Fi speeds can be affected by the following:
- The number of wireless devices connected to the network at the same time. Connecting many devices to a network at the same time can reduce available bandwidth for each device. Reducing the number of devices connected to a network might improve performance.
- The distance between the device and access point.
- Device characteristics, such as the 802.11 version.
- The Internet itself. Most common Internet destinations do not serve content to users at 1 Gbps speeds. Even though you have 1 Gbps service and you have wired your computer directly into your new router to be able to download at 1 Gbps, you still cannot download any faster than the server to which you are connected can serve.
- Both Wi-Fi and wired connections can be affected by the quantity and quality of content being downloaded or uploaded.
If you choose to use a Ptera Family Wifi router with Gigabit Speed capabilities, please consider the following:
- Network equipment should have 1Gbps ports. The router/firewall may not be able to support 1Gbps throughput even if the physical ports are 1 Gigabit capable.
- If you use a router, you may need to make provisions for QoS (Quality of Service) and rate limiting to ensure optimal performance for all connected devices.
- The number of devices utilizing the 1Gbps Internet connection can limit bandwidth for individual users.
- The internal router firewall must be capable of processing data at speeds of 1Gbps.
- A wireless router will not provide 1Gbps speeds wirelessly (see below).
- The network protocols themselves have overhead necessary to function. A 1Gbps connection speed will always have a lower throughput speed because of this network overhead.
Even though we specialize in the wireless delivery of internet services, the more we can send that information over fiber, the better off our customers are as far as the reliability, speed, and capacity of the connection we provide. We have invested a significant amount of time and money into our network over the last several years to bring fiber closer and closer to the customer. In some places we have the ability to bring fiber all the way to the customer, and are offering Fiber connections directly to customers. This significantly increases the speeds we can provide, as well as eliminating many of the things that can interfere with a wireless connection, such as weather, interference, foliage, etc. Every year there are technological advances that allow for more and more capacity over a fiber connection, by just changing out the hardware on both ends of the connection. We already have hundreds of fiber-to-the-home customers, and in the next several years we plan on installing thousands more. A national study shows that having a fiber connection even increases the property value from 5%-8%, especially in regions where the average home does not have a fiber connection (such as Spokane County). If your home is not currently eligible for fiber, please contact us to let us know where you want us to build our fiber network next! If you and enough of your neighbors commit to getting the service, then we will put your neighborhood on the list of where we will build to next!
The connection speed available at the device we install on your premises is capable of transmitting 1,000,000,000 bits of information every second. Understand that your actual throughput speed depends on many factors.