13 July 2012

Internet Connection Tips From Russia

The view to the lake is lovely.  It also indicates impediments to broadband reception. The hill, the Jerusalem Artichokes, and even the trees may stop some signals.

People in Russia’s rural areas often have no cable Internet available.  They can use dial-up if they have phone lines.  Otherwise the remaining practical choice is USB broadband wireless. 

Cable and dialup are more reliable...

If we did have phone lines in the summertime, I’d consider listening again to eeeee-ooooo-ee, the dial-up crazy bird sound, rather than deal with reception problems of USB broadband. 

Wireless transmission would be stronger if Russian cellular companies shared towers more often.  Business people here don’t seem to think much about the subtle benefits of sometimes cooperating with the competition

In Zaloz’e  it seems every month signals stop because the electric  wires are down, or another transformer has exploded.  Someday, when Next Generation LTE is broadcast to Russia’s vast rural areas,  wireless Internet will be reliable... and not as interesting!

Wireless reception tricky...

St Petersburg cable either works or is flat down, but  our village wireless USB often requires finagling. 

It takes minutes to get on the Internet, and can take more than five minutes to connect to a website.  Still, I’m grateful wireless technology has allowed us to have limited Internet for three summers. 

Mysterious messages...

In Zaloz’e, my laptop has mysterious messages...

  •  Problem loading page
  • The connection was interrupted,                           
  • The connection was reset,
  • The connection has timed out,
  • Server not found.
  • Error connecting 678 The remote computer did not respond
  • You can’t connect before (sic) register an available network

I wish they told simple truths, such as...

Please don’t worry.  It isn’t you or your computer.  Our tower isn’t working well, so you can’ t receive an adequate signal.


Hey! The signal level is too low.  Fast internet has trouble waiting for our clunky system. 


Most likely rain has impeded your signal.   

It’s lugubrious...

Here I am in a village with cows, sheep, and chickens but no phone lines, while Russian cities are switching to the best radio wave system ever! The contrast of  reliability, speed, and capacity is flabbergasting!

Yota Scartel Lab consortium, St Petersburg,  is changing WIMAX  to LTE Advanced.  LTE blankets more territory, has larger capacity, and is capable of astounding speeds.

Some summer research...

I gathered items from my experience and some information found with Google Search.

I  especially appreciate the information and ideas I got from...Peter Wayner, New York Times, ‘With WiMax, Walking on the Wireless Side of Baltimore’, and from Jovoodoo, Nairaland Forum, Nigeria,and My Surf Booster.  Jovoodoo has a lot of information on rigging makeshift signal boosters from kitchen, household, and electronic items.

I hope with this information you can connect better and, by understanding the difficulties, will develop a calmer philosophy about the process... and be less likely to throw things!

Connection Work Arounds and Facts

~ Check the current signal level on your USB modem screen.  If you don’t see one to three yellow bars, no amount of manipulation will connected you.

~ Find hot spots.   Find a room higher up, and sit close to a window.  Don’t have thick walls and hills between you and the cell tower.  Also, low lying areas can present problems. 

  ~ Water.  Trees and tall plants contain a lot of water which can impede  signals.  Rain and snow can reduce reception.

  ~ Always follow the screen advice and Try Again.

  ~ Connect off hours when others are resting

  ~ Disconnect and reconnect.  I do this often throughout the day. 

  ~ Start a  new window.  Things seems to work best when just one window is open. 

  ~ Put the USB stick, the dongle, into another port.  Sometimes a port can get worn, dirty, or just stop working.

  ~ Turn off and restart the computer.  Go one step further and Unplug it. This can stop overheating, and sometimes it drops frazzled pathways.

  ~ Understand that brownouts can disconnect.  With our power supply in rural Tversky oblast, surges and dips are expected.   I use a surge protector here and in St Petersburg.

  ~ Get a Clip-on aerial. Some sticks have a place for this.

  ~ Get extension wires so you can place the USB modem stick closer to the best hot spot.  Also, with these cables you can make your wife crazy by building an aluminum pot or strainer reflector dome!

  ~ Walk away.  After 20 minutes sites may start connecting.


Maybe you have another tip for us!

Also, have you had any reception problems with your computer tablet, smartphone, or LTE connected computer?

How is reception different in your country?


  1. Ah the capacity for us humans to be disatisfied! The internet has a lot to answer for as we slowly (OK rapidly) become internet junkies. I just got 10.78 Mbps from a Speedtest check. Relax my friend, enjoy your summer, and maybe gently stroll in those tempting pastures. From a very hot and 10.78Mbps España.

  2. When traveling in Russia and connecting to hotel or free wifi do you have to watch for the HTTPS for secure sites?


Comments, Questions, Ideas