Living far away from a major city center can offer a huge number of perks (like peace and quiet), but quality Internet access is rarely one of those perks. While many of us might curse at our meager 50Mbps connections from time to time, there are many others who are still at the mercy of latency-ridden satellite or glacier-slow dial-up. Fortunately for some, a real solution might be right around the corner: Super Wi-Fi.
One ISP already taking advantage of Super Wi-Fi is Cal.net, which caters to those living in rural parts surrounding Sacramento. With it, customers can do a lot more than just read and reply to email, including taking advantage of the ultimate luxury: Netflix.
Flickr: James Cridland
Unlike regular Wi-Fi, which can suffer extreme instability from interference, Super Wi-Fi takes advantage of a similar piece of spectrum used for TV broadcasts. Using this part of the spectrum not only reduces interference from other types of wireless devices; it increases the distance the signal can travel. Better still, that signal can go through walls and other objects that might stop a regular Wi-Fi signal in its tracks.
Another ISP in Evansville, Indiana, called Q-Wireless, also offers a wireless Internet service (as its name implies), and it's also found that Super Wi-Fi can offer tremendous benefit. Before Super Wi-Fi, the ISP regularly heard complains regarding dropped connections, and in one particular case, it was all because a neighbor deciding to install a wireless dog fence. You just never know where that interference is going to come from.
Outside of simply being a wireless-only solution, the biggest downside of Super Wi-Fi is its cost - but like any rural solution, that's to be expected. Cal.net in particular starts its Super Wi-Fi packages at $54.95/mo for 1-3Mbps, which isn't enough to meet the minimum requirements for Netflix. The $84.95/mo 7-10Mbps option would, though. The top option, 18-25Mbps, is priced at $159.95/mo. All packages have unlimited bandwidth, which is a great perk (especially given the price).
Overall, it's easy to see the benefits of Super Wi-Fi for rural dweller and hopefully pricing will become more competitive in the future.