|Q: You say you offer
Internet. So, can I just open my laptop and
connect? Does your service come from a satellite? Through my cell phone?
A: LARIAT offers outdoor, terrestrial, fixed wireless Internet. (Yes, we know that's a mouthful.) It brings high speed Internet to your home or office without wires. It isn't satellite service; our transmitting antennas are mounted on towers and buildings that stand on the ground. It also is not mobile service, like a cell phone. It delivers service to a fixed location, such as a home or an office building. This lets us aim your antenna and tune your equipment to give you extremely fast and reliable Internet. Our service is also not the same as the indoor wireless networks to which laptops connect.
To access our wireless service, you need a LARIAT radio that's mounted outside -- most often on a wall, roof, or chimney. In many cases, the radio unit has a built-in high gain antenna. Our more powerful radios, used at greater distances or when there are obstructions, have a separate antenna. If you are very close to our access point and have a good view of it, we can sometimes put one of our outdoor radios in your window. (We often do this for University of Wyoming students, because the University has been unwilling to allow residents of its apartments to mount outdoor antennas.) Once your LARIAT radio is in place, it can supply Internet access to one computer or to an entire house or office building full of computers.
Occasionally, you may detect one of LARIAT's radio signals on a laptop computer. However, laptop computers cannot use our outdoor service directly, because indoor wireless Internet is different from outdoor wireless Internet. To use your computer with our service, you must have a compatible, FCC certified outdoor radio. Once that radio is in place, you can connect any sort of indoor network or any number of computers to it.
We can also help you set up an indoor network at your home or business. It can be wired, wireless, or both; it's up to you. We stock reliable, name brand networking equipment that is available nowhere else in Laramie, and we have the know-how to help you to build your network. Networking can be complicated, but don't worry; it's our job to handle the technical details. We can get you going quickly and inexpensively, with a "no fuss" setup that takes no technical knowledge to use. Just call us for a free site survey and quotation.
Q: How much does the LARIAT outdoor radio cost?
A: The cost of the radio you need depends upon how far you are from our access point and whether there is anything in the way. Rather than charging a single high price (as some providers do), we'll gladly do a free site survey and give you an exact quote. Typical equipment costs range from $90 to $250. In the long run, you'll save this much many times over due to our no-nonsense rates. We sell to our customers at wholesale prices (we're here to make money on the service, not the equipment). There is normally a $75 installation fee, but we are currently waiving this fee as part of our advertised special.
Q: What other equipment do I need besides the outdoor radio?
A: Usually, you'll need only two other items: A bracket to hold the radio onto the outside of the building (typical cost: $10 to $20 unless you need a tall pole to clear an obstruction) and a router.
Q: What does a router do? Is it the same as a DSL, cable, or satellite modem? Can I use my old modem with your service?
The purpose of a router is to create a local area network within your home or business. It also logs in to the LARIAT network on your behalf and allows the devices on your network to use your Internet connection. Finally, it provides security functions that protect you and your computers from attack and prevent anyone from pirating your Internet connection. The network created by the router may be wired, wireless, or both depending upon your needs.
A router is not the same thing as a modem, though some modems perform limited routing functions. DSL, cable, and satellite modems are designed to work only with a specific kind of service and will not work with others. To use LARIAT, you do not need a special modem at all, but you do need a router that includes correct implementations of Internet protocols. (Some "bargain basement" brands and, surprisingly, even some "high end" models do not.) If you already own a router, we can tell you if we have tested that model for compatibility. If you need to buy one, we sell high quality, state-of-the-art routers to our customers at lower prices than they could obtain from a retail store -- as little as $35 for some models.
Q: How do I know that you are competent to install equipment in or on my building?
A: Unlike competitors (including the cable company, which uses unlicensed technicians and contractors), we train all of our technicians to install equipment in accordance with the National Electrical Code for fire safety. And we're experts at preserving the aesthetics of your building as we do the installation. We recommend that you ask anyone who proposes to install wiring or an antenna on your home or office building whether he or she has all of the licenses and training required by Wyoming law. Also, for safety's sake, if you do not see an FCC registration sticker on any wireless equipment that is offered to you, do not allow it to be installed.
Q: Is your network really as fast as cable, DSL, or satellite? Is it affected by weather? How reliable is it?
A: DSL currently has a maximum speed of 7 Mbps (million bits per second) in the downstream direction and 768 Kbps (thousand bits per second) in the upstream direction. DOCSIS 2 cable modems typically have a maximum of 3 or 4 Mbps downstream, while DOCSIS 3 cable modems typically run up to 16 Mbps downstream; upstream rates are usually much slower. LARIAT's wireless network runs at a minimum of 27 Mbps and often as fast as 54 Mbps in either direction -- more on the special high capacity links we provide to larger businesses. Because LARIAT's links to customers are wireless, they can't be disrupted by construction, excavation, or moisture seeping into cables, making them extremely reliable. Unlike cellular service, LARIAT uses powerful, focused, carefully aimed high gain antennas to get the best possible signal. And unlike satellite, LARIAT's service isn't affected by weather and doesn't send your data all the way into geosynchronous orbit and back (which causes long delays). Because the speed of radio waves in air is 5 times the speed of light in fiber optic cable, wireless also has less delay than fiber. The limit on your connection is the amount of guaranteed bandwidth you buy, not the speed of our network.
When you shop for Internet service, remember that the speed of your modem or radio is a maximum speed. Some of our competitors sell service based on this number, which we believe is deceptive; it's like saying that an automobile is a "120 MPH car" because that's the largest number on the speedometer. What matters is how much throughput your provider gives you in real life. The other guys quote you an "up to" speed, and then -- in fine print -- say that they won't guarantee you any speed at all. But we do things differently. We tell you upfront the minimum you can expect, and encourage you to call us immediately if you ever do not get at least that much. We provide the most consistent and reliable access for the money. For our rates, see our rate page.
Q: Can I do Internet telephony (Voice over IP, or VoIP) over your network?
A: Absolutely. What's more, you have your choice of providers (including several which are free if the person you're calling uses them too). We don't force you to use any specific service by bundling it with our Internet. And unlike some providers who offer their own VoIP services, we do not degrade the quality of other companies' VoIP service as a way of trying to get you to switch to our brand. The only activity we do prohibit on our network is the operation of servers on residential Internet connections. This includes so-called "peer to peer" traffic, such as that generated by Kazaa, BitTorrent, Limewire, and similar file "sharing" programs. These programs, which are mostly used to make illegal copies of copyrighted material, attempt to take over all of the capacity of our network and can congest wireless systems. They also allow third parties to consume our resources without paying for them and degrade the quality of users' service. We also do block some Internet "ports" used by viruses, worms, and other malicious software. These restrictions ensure that all of our customers enjoy economical, top quality service.
Q: What about security? Can someone sniff my data out of the air and steal my identity?
A: LARIAT was the first Internet provider to offer data encryption to every customer at no extra charge. Your data is far more likely to be intercepted by malicious software on your computer, or once it is out on the public Internet, than while it's on LARIAT's network! However, if you desire extra security, we can add another layer of strong encryption to your connection via a specially equipped router.
Q: Do you charge rural customers extra?
A: No! Unlike some competitors, we don't believe it's fair to charge rural customers more for the same product. You may need a more powerful radio or antenna to reach us if you live far outside town, but once you're connected the monthly cost is the same.
Q: Are you really local and not some out-of-town chain?
A: Yes! In fact, we're the only Internet service provider serving Laramie that's locally owned, locally operated, locally managed, and not a franchise or chain. We're active in local business development. We answer the phone, and we do not send your call to a foreign country. And we make house calls! For more information about LARIAT's service, call us at 761-2895 or see http://www.lariat.net.