Cottage country Wi-Fi sags during Canada Day crush
Published on Monday July 02, 2012
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Richard Brown likes to use the Internet and his cellphone at his cottage. Lately, however, he’s been having problems.
“When you’re trying to make calls, calls wouldn’t go through, particularly on Saturday,” said Brown, who owns a cottage on Gull Lake near Minden, Ont., sandwiched between the Kawarthas and Algonquin Park.
“What happens if someone had a real issue? Let’s say you’re on the boat and somebody had a major accident. The call would just not go through,” he said.
Brown suspects the summer population boom in the area is to blame for the sporadic Wi-Fi. Minden, a town in the heart of “getaway country” popular for its Canada Day celebrations (the attractions include river duck racing, crazy boat racing and an antique car show), sees its population of 5,600 more than double on the long weekend.
Xavier Fernando, an engineering professor at Ryerson University, believes the crush of Canada Day cottagers affects the quality of Wi-Fi connections in two ways.
First, if there are too many people sharing the wireless connection, packets of data will collide with each other and not transmit. And if the portion of the fibre bandwidth allocated for Internet services is not enough, connectivity slow down.
It is no surprise that a place like Gull Lake is having wireless issues, said Fernando.
“In a cottage area, normally, you (the service provider) don’t provide excess capacity unless it’s required for, because it will be expensive,” he said.
A Bell representative said that company has not received any complaints about the quality of its cottage country service.
“We have no reports of network congestion,” said Jason Laszlo, media relations person for Bell, in an email to the Star.
A Rogers representative was unable to answer a similar query by press time.
Meanwhile, the people of Minden soldier on.
“I was just complaining to my husband that I was frustrated because every time I go on the Internet I can’t get on the website,” said Lesley Elliott, who owns a bed and breakfast.
“I really don’t know how many people are on it, but certainly we’re struggling with it today,” said her husband Gord. “It’s been giving us trouble this weekend.”