Although we are trying to create a place where it is possible to relax and rest, away from it all, we realize that nowadays it's necessary to be connected to the Internet. You can always turn off your phone after all! Apart from keeping in contact with family around the world, buying and organizing all the materials for this project would not be possible without the Web.
When we arrived we knew that the previous owners had a phone line, but it had been disconnected a long time ago. When I followed the old cable through the trees I soon found it had been broken by falling trees so we were not connected at all. I also knew from locals that the ADSL connection was of very low quality and prone to frequent outages. At that point I opted to go for a satellite connection. I bought the kit and signed up, installing the dish was easy and we managed to hide it in the trees above the house. Although we pay nearly €100 a month, we get up to 20Mbps download speeds and it always works. We also get a UK IP address so we can access UK content. The only downside apart from the price is that after 100GB each month certain content is restricted during the day sometimes. it's still pretty amazing considering you are going to space and back!
As we live on the side of the mountain we have always had fairly good mobile phone coverage which has been great. I use my smartphone around the farm for making notes and planning jobs, it's very useful. Just recently we started getting a huge 50GB/month allowance on our mobile phone contracts, which started me thinking - could we connect the house via 4G as well? for €15/month we could have 6 SIMs, 300GB/month for the same price as the satellite connection...
So I bought a very cheap mobile 4G modem and antenna to test it out. From the roof of the house I can get 30Mbps just by holding the antenna and pointing it down the valley!
So I started looking around on the net and as usual found just what I was looking for, on https://www.antennesmobiles.fr/ I located the 4G mast I was connecting to, down in Montbolo.
Next question, do we have a line of sight to this mast?, turns out we do, looking on http://www.solwise.co.uk/wireless-elevationtool.html revealed the following (below). Climbing up on the roof again I can indeed see it in the distance.
So now I'm researching a 4G router that I can connect up. I think the quality of the antenna will be the key to getting the best performance out of it. We won't cancel the Tooway until I know it works, indeed we might keep it going but on a cheaper tariff, the UK IP address is really useful for recording content.
I know lots of people in France are having trouble connecting in rural areas so wanted to post this, 4G is getting rolled out widely now and looks like a real alternative to the old ADSL, which just isn't available anyway in lots of places.
I'll update the post when I get it all installed.