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  • #264577


    001199011346DOCOMO interTouch94261331014.0Normal0falsefalsefalseEN-USJAX-NONE

    I thought I would post a new threadhere for people wondering how to get internet in Brazil, when the usual options(cable TV, ADSL via phone line or street fibre-optic) are not available, and 3Gis well, 3G. This is not technical, and is based on my experiences, successes and failures, and 15 years of working with Wireless Internet Networks, however, it’s been a learning curve for me here!

    Radio Internet, as it’ssometimes called is a way of distributing internet from towers, usually mountedon high-ground, to receivers at people’s homes using what we commonly know aswireless internet technology. It’s a cheap, generally license-free technologythat is easy to deliver.

    The idea is simple â‚Ǩ atthe tower, radio units are connected into various types of antennas andbroadcast a signal in the 2.4GHz or more usually these days 5.8GHz frequenciesfor the end-user to pick up. So here’s what you need to know about gettinginternet.

    2.4Ghz or 5.8Ghz â‚Ǩ what’s that?

    The two frequenciescommonly used by WISP’s (Wireless Internet Service Providers) â‚Ǩ 2.4GHz is theâ‚ǨÀústandard’ for most Wifi installations you find in hotels, airports, coffeeshops and even the Wifi network in your house. Because of the uptake of thistechnology, (everything from your phone, notebook, tablet and even fridge usesthe frequency) it became very saturated, and the 5.8GHz frequency is nowbecoming more common. Think of saturation like having a conversation in acrowded pub â‚Ǩ for you to speak to someone a few metres away, you need to raiseyour voice. As you raise your voice to talk, others around you also talkingalso need to raise their voices to make themselves heard. The impact: a roomfull of loud chatter, with conversations being misheard, not heard at all, orthings having to be repeated over and over again to make themselves heard. Thenthere’s the music paying in the background of the pub â‚Ǩ this is extra noisegenerated by other devices that causes interference in your conversation, andmakes communication in the noisy pub even harder. So, what does 5.8GHz dodifferently? In short, it has more â‚ǨÀúspace’ for people to talk. So it’s the samepub, and you can talk with people, but because there is more space around you,you don’t need to shout as much, and the tables next to you are sufficientlyspaced apart that the people chatting there don’t interfere with yourconversations, and visa-versa.

    Getting back on track,this applies to the radio links that invisibly criss-cross the skies above us.Broadcasting links on the 5.8Ghz frequency gives a better chance that thesignal won’t suffer from interference and â‚ǨÀúnoise’.

    How do I find if there is a WISP near me?

    There are a variety ofways to do this â‚Ǩ ask your neighbours if they have internet, and who providesit. Maybe you will be the pioneer in your area where no one has internet â‚Ǩ moreabout this later, and the opportunity it might present. Use Google.com.br tolook for â‚ǨÀúprovedores de internet por radio em <your area here>’. Next â‚Ǩsearch the skyline, often best done at night, and look for those tell-talered-lights that are mounted in tall masts. Make a note of where they are, andlook again during the day. You are looking for towers, usually mounted onhigh-ground, that might have aproviders hardware on them. They might be for Digital TV or cell-phones only,or they might have internet links. If you can find them near a road â‚Ǩ stop inand take a look. There are quite often engineers there doing maintenance, andyou can ask them if they know. Don’t get too worried about distances at thisstage â‚Ǩ if you can see the red light of a tower, and it has radios, the chancesare the signal will reach you. Links easily cover distances of kilometres, andwith the right hardware (and careful alignment) it’s not uncommon to hear aboutlinks of 30km or more.

    Now, depending on where you live, this type of basic survey will beeasier or harder. If you live in a valley, then checking the skyline around youwon’t be too hard. If you live somewhere that is flat for hundreds ofkilometres, the towers might not be as easy to spot. In this case, look for anyhouses around you that have masts mounted on their roof-tops. Sometimes a 5mmast makes all the difference, and might be necessary for you to receive asignal. Alternatively, find the highest public place around and take a lookfrom there â‚Ǩ perhaps a shopping centre roof-top car-park? If you are in themiddle of a jungle, then it gets harder still â‚Ǩ you can almost take it forgranted that you are going to need a mast or tower that gets above the treecanopy, but don’t despair â‚Ǩ this is not as hard as it sounds, and I have beensurprised to find that even in some of the more remote areas of Brazil (downthe river Tapajos through Parì° and Amazonias states and in the Cristalinho ReserveMG, for example) there are radio internet links.

    The Hardware:

    There is a variety ofhardware that can be used, and often it is provided by the WISP as part oftheir installation fee. It’s quite common that there is a fixed-fee setup, thatcovers the radio receiver at your house, the mast and cable that runs into yourhouse. Normally they need to do a survey themselves to see what is needed andif you need a simple bracket mounted on your chimney for the radio, or if theyneed to mount the radio on a 2m/3m/5m pole to get the right line of sight totheir tower. Once mounted, they will run a cable (this should be a shieldedCAT5e or CAT6 cable that is an outdoor type) to your house, where it plugs intoa PoE injector. This is a small device that plugs into the electrical supply inyour house with a standard plug, not much bigger than a pack of cards thatpowers the radio device over the data cable, and connects to your PC via acable, or your wireless router. If you are in a high-risk lightning area, thisPoE device should be plugged into an earthed socket and have a drain wire onthe shielded cable, which will serve to protect your radio and injector fromdamage. You can expect to pay in the region of R$250 â‚Ǩ R$350 for the setupcosts, including the radio.


    If like me, you find youneed a tower to mount your receiving radio on, all is not lost. You need a goodbase of about 1500mm x 1500mm of reinforced concrete (of course, depends on theheight of the tower) but I am looking at one that is about 12m tall) that isabout 750mm â‚Ǩ 1000mm deep. Into this you can sink some steel threaded rods inthe right position, onto which you mount your modular tower sections. These aregenerally made by a local metal worker, but you can find them on Mercadolivrequite easily. If you live in an area where Internet via Radio is common,someone will be making them. Search under â‚ǨÀútorre para internet’ and see what isavailable â‚Ǩ prices seem to range between R$100 â‚Ǩ R$200 per metre, but for thisit should be galvanised and even painted in orange and white (the Anatelapproved colours I guess). Again, depending on the height of your tower, youwill want to add support cables on three sides (the tower sections usually seemto be triangular). Using cabo de aìßo (steel cable) you connect at sections ofsay 10m, and run cables back to points in the ground where you make anchors â‚Ǩthese are holes sunk into the ground to a depth of about 50cm filled withconcrete with a loop sunk into them to attach your support cables to.

    The â‚ǨÀúCaixa da Comanda’is a waterproof, weatherproof box that is mounted at the bottom of the tower.This is where the cables run back to, and needs an electrical supply, and someway of getting the internet from the tower to your house. If you needed tomount this tower in a location where you cannot easily run power, but it’s gotline of sight back to your house, then you can make another radio link betweenyour tower and the house, or just stop being lazy, and dig a channel and put ahose pipe in it to run the cables! But joking apart, you might not be able toget power to the tower. If so, consider a solar panel that charges a batterybank to power the radio that connects you to the WISP and another radio thatsends the signal back to your house. This is commonly done, and yes it willcost more, but is possible, and radios don’t use much power. Most Ubiquiti (acommon hardware provider of cheap, but good hardware) uses 24v 0,5A and 24v 1Ainjectors for their radios, which can be easily powered by a relatively smallbattery and solar panel.

    Safetyâ‚Ǩ climbing towerscan be dangerous. You could disable yourself permanently with a fall of only afew feet, so be careful, and if in doubt, leave it to experts. You can getsafety harnesses easily, which I recommend, as it leaves both hands free towork on the tower. If your WISP Technician is climbing your tower, ask them towear a security belt you provide â‚Ǩ they won’t bring their own in my experienceand will happily climb up without, but at least if you have asked, and theyhave refused, you have some fall back (geddit?) if they have an accident onyour property.

    The other thing Ilearned is that you should plan your tower well. If you think it’s only goingto be 5m (as I did originally) plan the base and foundations for more. I endedup adding to mine until it was nearly 12m. I now have two radios mounted, a TVaerial for Digital TV and two 3G antennas where one day I will mount a signalrepeater to boost the cell-phone coverage around my house.

    The Reality of Radio Internet:

    It’s going to cost morethan you expect, so don’t be expecting a R$34,99 per month package thatpromises you up to 20Mb in speeds. You won’t be getting that. However, youshould be looking in the region of R$100 per month, for varying speeds between1Mb â‚Ǩ 3Mb, and your provider may offer other plans to. As with all internetproviders, they are obliged to provide a minimum guarantee on the bandwidththey provide you with, currently set at 30% of the contracted rate, but risingto 60% in November 2014. This is a complicated calculation, and just becauseyou are only getting 10% of the contracted bandwidth at one particular momentin time, doesn’t mean they are not meeting their obligations. It’s allcalculated over a rolling one month period from what I understand, and youcannot use Speedtest.net to show an accurate reflection of the speed you aregetting.

    If you are reallyserious about your internet connection, or depend upon it for work or abusiness then you can consider a dedicated link. What I have mentioned above isall about shared links â‚Ǩ this is where the WISP broadcasts a signal from theirtower, perhaps in a random 360 or 180 degree pattern (they wont bother with 360if the only inhabited area is on one side of their tower) and allows clientdevices to lock into the signal, and access the internet. In this situation,you are all sharing an internet connection â‚Ǩ the more users at peak hours, themore the speed drops. With a Dedicated Link you have a private connection,normally a point to point connection, like the provider would use to link theirtowers together. This dedicated link gives you a guaranteed bandwidth, oftenreferred to here as â‚ǨÀúfull’ meaning it is the same upload and download speed.So, â‚ǨÀú5Mb Full’ would be a 5Mbps up/down link. This is usually a lot moreexpensive, but will come with service level agreements, a response to fix time,public IP addresses etc.


    There are lots of WISPsin Brazil, some better than others. In a country as large as this, and withoutthe means or practical way to run fibre-optical cables everywhere, wirelessinternet has become a common solution for linking small towns to cities, aswell as for providing domestic internet. There are sometimes opportunities tobe had: if you have some land on a high point, and have good line of sight oflots of homes (especially the market segment that might want and be able toafford internet) then you may have a bargaining chip with the WISP. Make theman offer â‚Ǩ you pay for a tower, and provide the electricity, they provide theradios to connect your home to the internet, and are allowed to install arepeater to send signal to all the neighbourhood, giving them a potential newmarket of customers that without your strategically placed tower, they didn’t havebefore. That said, this has mostly been done, but there are still opportunitiesfor some rural areas to do this.


    You can also buy nearly allthe hardware you need, including parts for a tower, the radios and cabling onMercadolivre. YouTube has plenty of informative videos on installing towers,aligning radio links and doing the cabling.

  • #264588


    Wow! This is awesome! Are you blogging this info somewhere? (you should be, this is really great)

  • #264592


    I agree with 3casas.

    Just to add my neighbor’s experience, she is three months in with a radio provider and very satisfied. She pays $50 per month for 1mb. She runs one of those speed test sites every once in a while and says that it hits close to 1mb most of the time and usually does not go below 600k.
    I on the other hand have Speedy 1mb. When I do the speed test I use www.speedtest.net/â‚Ǩ≈Ω and it usually comes up less than 500k.
    How reliable are these tests by the way. The only reason I use the above site is because it is the first hit on the google test “speed test”
  • #264593


    speedtest.net is the bane of my life: I have clients who live by it, and don’t understand why when they install a dedicated 100Mbps fibre-optic internet link, they are not getting 100Mbps internet connection in speed test. A lot of it depends on where you are connecting to, and where you are connecting from.

    For example, connecting with a cable to your router, or the providers modem and doing a test to a server hosted by your provider should give you your contracted speed if you have a dedicated link, or near as damn it. However, if you connect to a server in Singapore, London, LA or Shanghai and do the same test, you will see how the connection is for someone connecting to resources in there areas – such as an email Exchange server hosted in London.
    I think more important than speed is actually latency (the time taken to send packets of data between two points) and reliability – how many retries of data transmission there are to get your data transferred.
    There is also the law of diminishing returns – once you get above about 4.5Mbps, the time taken to load an internet page reduces so much that it makes little or no difference. Your Google results wont come back any faster with a 5Mb connection than they will with a 50Mb connection, or not that you would notice.
    So – speedtest.net is an ok indication. Better is to have an iperf setup of your own, so you know where you are testing to, but ultimately, you never know how the providers are doing their international routing, and if it is configured well or not. Give it a go on Speedtest one day – test using a server in Los Angeles, and then imagine if your webpage that you want to see is hosted there.
  • #264599


    instead of speedtest.com I like looking at the speed I am downloading torrents via utorrent. My 1mb connection usually gets a bit over 1mb

  • #264600


    Love my Live Tim, not relevant to this thread, but if you can get it, it is crazy fast and relatively cheap.

  • #264605


    Hpeak – how is your internet delivered? I guess it’s radio up there in the jungle? Sounds like they don’t know how to control torrents on their setup :D

    Andrewfroboy – do you live in an apartment on a high floor in the South West of Sao Paulo? If so, can I install a massive microwave link on your balcony and share your crazy fast internet please? Hell, I will even pay the bill for you, and you can cook things in front of the microwave link, or use it to defrost food. I once heard tales of the workers on the BT Tower in London who during maintenance of the original links used to sit in the ‘drums’ to eat their sandwiches, enjoying the view. It was only when they worked out why it was they had to clear out dead pigeons every day that it dawned on them – the covers were put on the drums at a later date. Could be myth…wouldn’t want to risk it!
    Joking apart – sharing internet connections is considered a crime in Brazil, and there was a fairly recent case in MG where two neighbours were prosecuted and fined for sharing the cost of one internet link between them.
  • #264606


    Live near Jabaquara in Sao Paulo, had Live Tim for almost a year, it is amazing, I pay R$60 for 35MB/S

  • #264607


    fin….comes in via cable to my house. company called WKVE….maybe you can answer this…….why, when I get a server not responding message (after restarting router and modem and computer several times am I still able to not only download torrents but use skype? used skype on my iphone and torrents on my laptop….nothing else worked…very strange.

    and one other question….any ideas on whats best to use to stream media locally from my laptop? ie movie to my ps3 or tv show to iphone or tablet? Currently use playon but it seems not to work when internet connection is down (which i dont understand as I want to stream just locally)…currently downloading xbmc and hoping i’ll get better results
  • #264614


    Hpeak – if you mean you get the browser message showing internet as ‘down’ when you enter something like http://www.google.com then it sounds like their DNS is not working. This is the thing that converts internet names (like google) into IP addresses. If Skype and Torrent are still working but browsing isn’t this would make sense, because they are not dependent on ‘names’ – just numeric IP addresses. If it happens regularly, try fixing Google’s DNS servers in the router (if you have access to it) rather than the one’s provided by the ISP. Use and as first and second DNS servers.
    I suggested Plex Media Server as something to stream stuff around – I never really played around with it much, as i didn’t have time to install the Plex server for Linux, but for Windows or Mac it sounds like a breeze, and will stream your music to just about anything. You can even install a Plex Application on some smart TV’s I am told, and stream movies straight to your TV.

  • #264621


    fin…yes, getting DNS server message…but recently have had bunches of issues with internet being down. have not made any recent changes to anything so strange that I am having issues

  • #264627

    The general problem in Brazil with Radio Internet seems to be that plans of 300Kbps, 600Kps and 1Mbps are acceptable, when there is no need for it in this day and age. Wholesale bandwidth has been getting cheaper and cheaper, and I am now seeing clients installing dedicated 100Mbps/100Mbps fibre links for a hotel to give the internet away for free, when there are WISP’s running their entire company on 20Mbps links and charging R$100 or more a month for the 600Kbps connections they are delivering. In Sao Paulo, a 100MB dedicated link, delivered by fibre costs in the region of R$30.000 per month. I regularly see 200+ users sharing this link with a bandwidth cap set at about 20Mbps to stop the torrent abusers, and the MRTG (graph that shows bandwidth usage) rarely goes above 60%, so we are looking at increasing the bandwidth cap to around 40Mbps.
    Now, imagine that for your provider in a small town: if 200 users in a hotel can have up to say, 40Mbps capped and not saturate a 100Mbps link, then you could offer 10Mbps capped for say 800 subscribers quite comfortably, and still meet the Anatel requirements of a 30% guarantee. That would mean you only need to guarantee 3Mbps to each of your 800 users. 800 subscribers paying R$100 each per month for their radio service pays a nice profit, even after maintenance of your towers, staff for support etc. The reality is that most people don’t need much bandwidth, but how we use bandwidth is changing quite rapidly. I was all about the download, but now with social media, the upload is becoming more important. Even today, most ISPs offer upload speeds at around 10% of the download speed, where as with dedicated links, or ‘full’links, it’s sold as the same up and down. Most users today are browsing the internet, reading articles, checking facebook, maybe watching a YouTube video or even streaming High-Definition HD Video from something like Netflix. Well, even Netflix only uses around 4-5Mbps of bandwidth for HD streaming. For everything else, we really don’t need huge amounts of bandwidth, or even use it. Torrent downloading is the exception, but even then, huge bandwidth only allows you to download more torrents usually, rather than any particular torrent a lot faster, as it depends on the upload bandwidth being available from the other people that have the file shared.
    This shows the average time to load a page (PLT – Page Loading Time) on a browser and how that average time is impacted by having more bandwidth. Clearly there is a point where more just isn’t really more.
    So – Brazilian WISPs need to start increasing their plans they offer and saturating their links. I would love to see some of the MRTG results from the small WISP providers, as my guess is they artificially cap users speeds while not saturating their links on the basis they need the capacity to grow. However, while they are growing, everyone suffers;
  • #264628


    [QUOTE=hpeak13]fin…yes, getting DNS server message…but recently have had bunches of issues with internet being down. have not made any recent changes to anything so strange that I am having issues[/QUOTE]

    Try manually changing your notebook or PC settings to use Google DNS of and but at the same time making sure you keep your IP address as DHCP, being assigned automatically. If necessary, check that the provider doesnt block Google DNS first by opening a command prompt (windows: START>RUN>CMD and press Enter) and type ping and you should see something like
    Pinging with 32 bytes of data:
    Reply from bytes=32 time=9ms TTL=55
    Reply from bytes=32 time=21ms TTL=55
    Reply from bytes=32 time=8ms TTL=55
    Reply from bytes=32 time=12ms TTL=55

    Ping statistics for
    Packets: Sent = 4, Received = 4, Lost = 0 (0% loss),
    Approximate round trip times in milli-seconds:
    Minimum = 8ms, Maximum = 21ms, Average = 12ms

    This will fix the issue for your notebook or PC if its just a DNS problem, but I am guessing your provider WKVE is actually a Radio provider, and you either have a radio on your roof, or a radio on a street post that feeds a cable to your house and any other house within about a 90 metre radius. Try and find out – this radio might have been knocked out of alignment slightly, or depending on the plant life, you may find a tree has grown considerably in front of it, and it doesn’t get as good a signal quality as it did before. It can also be attributed to heavy rain, or branches that blow in front of the link when its windy.
  • #264632


    thanks finn, but riddle me this…why can I not access apps from my cell phone (other than skype) like tunein radio, facebook, gmail, etc….do those same server settings relate here as well?

  • #264654


    [QUOTE=frank4000]Radio is more applicable in Rural deployments. However the geographically size of some these remote areas would make cover a challenge. Municipal network model might be an option but you would need major by in for that to happen.

    Often the challenge is getting the bandwidth to a rural community. Brazil is littered with small communities that can sustain a small wisp (250+ subs per month) but the only viable way of getting the bandwidth there is by radio links. I met someone who had an entire network of towers crossing MG a year or so ago, and it was cheaper for him to get the bandwidth where he needed it like this, breaking out services wherever he came across a community along the way. Eventually, I think we will see some consolidation in the WISP market here (last I heard there were over 120 WISPs running in Brazil) although I don’t know if that is a good or a bad thing.
  • #264660


    Yes, I think some consolidation to give better buying power on bandwidth would be good, and to give strategic access to the cities where the big bandwidth is available. However, too big a monopoly and they will just stagnate and strangle themselves with their own inability and incompetence. I am dealing with 3 WISP’s at the moment, and luckily all three have a degree of flexibility if you want to discuss ideas with them.

  • #264697


    [QUOTE=frank4000]Interesting. Pm me with the details. Let number customer each has. There are alot of possibiities with Rural. Not necessarily Fin. The issue is how many could be brought out as a part of a congolmeration strategy. The timing and the assets need to right. Would need to see the whole landscape. let me know.

    No details to PM you about at the moment to be honest – I am speaking to them as a client, not with intention to acquire them. That said, I have been quite interested in buying into a WISP business in Brazil for some time. There are so many areas where there appears to be instant room for improvement in Sales and Operations, that could improve service, customer loyalty and really make wireless a viable competitor against the dreaded Speedy. In the US some WISPS are going head to head with Verizon and other cableco’s and winning business through better service, price and availability.
    That said, I know someone who was doing exactly that in the North of Brazil for a couple of years, and finally pulled the plug. They had the towers, they had the know-how and the coverage, but in the area they were in, they simply could not attract enough people to pay the R$250 setup fee (which included the CPE devices). Ubiquiti are doing an interesting product called AirGateway that plugs into the end of the PoE injector that powers the CPE radio in the customers house, and creates a wireless ‘hotspot’, so the end user only needs the radio on their roof, line of sight of the providers tower, and a cable between the two. The problem as always in Brazil is cost of imported hardware – something that is US$20 in the US, is R$75 – R$100 here, making it less interesting.
  • #266360


    An update on this:

    For people who work from home and need the internet for their work, or people who just get anxious when they are offline, load-balancing is the way forward.
    We probably have all had the problem where we need to make a Skype call, or send an email, pay a bill or just rant online, and found the connection is down, so adding extra links to your connection can give you some redundancy. Firstly, load-balancing does NOT give you more speed – it gives you more capacity. Think of it like a motorway where traffic all goes at a set speed (ok, not a Brazilian motorway) – if you add an extra lane, the traffic still moves at the same speed, but there is room for more traffic. So, that aside, what does load-balancing do for you?
    Load-Balancing is often performed on a router, and the router inspects each of the internet links it is connected to, to see which one is ‘free’ or has the least traffic on it, then routes your data via the available link. So this means that if you are sharing your link with another family member, and they are maxing out one link, your traffic is sent via the other link, rather than waiting in line behind their torrent download.
    As well as this, there is usually a fail-over function that means if one link fails, the router detects it – usually by testing to see if it can access a specific website on the link, and if it can’t, it shuts down the failed link until it can access that web site or IP address again.
    So, for many people, 2 x 1Mb links are a better option than 1 x 2Mb link that doesn’t work that well, or gets hogged by someone in the household. You can also connect a variety of links, so using a combination of a 3G modem, a Telefonica Speedy ADSL line or a Radio link would give you a redundancy if Speedy fails you. In this example, 3G is usually a fairly painful experience, and more advanced load-balancing routers allow you to set them to fail-over only, or add weighting to each link. By adding weighting between two links, you can tell the router to favour one link over another – say 70/30, so that one link is a priority, and the other is only used if the main link is really not working well or over-utilised at any given moment. This is ideal for 3G, which you only want to use if your main link is really not coping well.
    When considering what links to use, try and use links that are not going to both fail at the same time – two Telefonica ADSL links are probably going to be coming from the same telephone exchange, so any problem there will impact both links at the same time. Similarly with Radio Internet, two radios receiving signal from the same remote tower will suffer the same problem. A mix of Radio and ADSL, or two different radio providers with different towers will decrease the chances of both links failing at the same time. As mentioned, 3G is also an option, and in due course 4G will become more viable, but for most people, 3G will only really serve as a fail-over if your main internet dies and you need to get an urgent email out, for example.
    D-Link make some fairly good consumer-grade load-balancing routers, and for something more advanced, the Ubiquiti EdgeMax Lite will also take two links, but with far more control over how those links behave. If you have a business and need multiple links, there are products from companies called Peplink, Elfiq and Mushroom that will do a very professional job, but with prices to match. I use the EdgeMax router, which is not that user-friendly, but very reliable:
    In the image you can see the two links working in the graph, albeit not working very hard!
    In summary, load-balancing and fail-over can make your internet connection more robust and increase the capacity that you have available to you. For home workers, it is well worth considering.

    finrudd2014-05-04 10:27:24

  • #27281


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