eFirehose Internet Services
Community Networks' business is built on providing our clients with incredibly fast and reliable high-speed internet service; backed by top-notch, helpful customer support. Check out our residential or business internet packages and contact us to find out how we can fill your needs.
About eFirehose's Internet Service
eFirehose High Speed Internet uses a technology called Fixed Wireless. This means that each client on the system is fixed in one location and not mobile. We have base stations that transmit and receive the Internet connection to all our clients. The base stations are located high above the ground on towers or other tall structures in the area.
This allows our service to reach our clients without obstructions to the signal. Our service does not always require a clear line of sight between the client and the base station but it helps a great deal and is the optimal configuration.
Our equipment operates in the 5Ghz microwave frequency band. This band is reserved for applications such as Internet access and data communication. This band has several advantages over other data bands including cost effectiveness and large capacity for bandwidth.
Our network has an Internet feed provided to us using fibre optic technology. We then own our entire network. This gives us full control over our systems and makes our service cost effective.
Is it affected by weather?
In some cases severe rain or snow can actually improve our signal. Compared to satellite technologies, we use a much lower frequency. Satellite operates at about 12 gigahertz. This means that the water vapour and clouds in the atmosphere readily absorb this signal. Water has a much stronger tendency to absorb signals above 10 gigahertz.
Since our equipment operates at 5 gigahertz it is well below the absorption frequency of water. Weather can have an extremely small impact on signal strength but the affect is negligible. Weather has much stronger impact on the level of natural radio noise. Severe weather reduces the amount of background noise and this makes it easier for the equipment to receive it's signal.
How does the installation look?
Aesthetics are very important to us. They promote our image as a professional company and convey our attitude towards our business. We have geared our entire solution toward providing as clean a product as possible.
We mount the antenna/receiver in a location that is as hidden as possible while still providing adequate signal. The antenna is also a neutral white colour flat panel. This is much more appealing than dish or grid type antennas and can be installed in much tighter locations. Our antenna mount is extremely strong and will survive winds in excess of 200 kph.
The cable that we use is beige and rated for exposure to the sun and weather. Due to it's small diameter we can employ many techniques to make it invisible. It will easily hide under trim, soffits, siding, in attics, through crawlspaces and a multitude of other places. The cable has a smaller diameter than satellite TV cable. We install all cabling in accordance with the electrical codes of Canada, Alberta and Calgary. Our installers all have full WCB and liability coverage. They are also trained and certified by the province of Alberta in safety.
The connection point inside looks much like a typical phone or network surface mount port. It has the antenna cable connected from outside, the power cable is connected on the side and your computer connection is also on the side. This is a very clean solution as there are no modems or other pieces of equipment cluttering up space.
Are there any time limits on service?
There are no time or download limits. Your connection is always on and available. You may download as much as you wish. We just ask that you respect this offer and only use bandwidth that is required. There is a 10GB upload monthly transfer limit. We have set this number quite high as it is only intended to prevent abuse of the service. An average user uses 2gb of upload per month. When a client nears the monthly transfer limit for their package, we will send an email warning. When the limit is reached, another email will be sent to the owner of the account and the speed of the connection will automatically be reduced until the end of the month.
To exceed the upload limit you typically need to have a virus or other problem on your home network. Home Internet use does not require large amounts of upload transfer. There are some rare cases when your connection may be limited to prevent security problems. This is covered in our Acceptable Use Policy and done so to protect you and other users of the service..
We do recommend that if you are using file sharing utilities (like Bittorrent or Soulseek) that you turn off sharing with other users and be sure to close your program when you are not using it. File sharing left on can generate enormous amounts of bandwidth if not watched closely.
How secure is it?
The connection to the base station uses 256 bit encryption based security. This prevents persons illegitimately connecting to the system. This is stronger security than what is used on ADSL and most cable.
The biggest risk to users is attacks that originate from the Internet. We highly recommend that all users employ a virus scanner, spyware scanner, firewall and use safe browsing practices. We have information available about keeping your computer secure at Keeping Your Computer Safe
Our e-mail server also scans all e-mail for viruses and automatically deletes all mail that contains viruses. However this does not remove the need for a virus scanner on your computer and only provides protection for e-mail hosted on our server.
E-mail is protected by:
How many computers can I connect at once?
We place no limit on the number of computers you may use simultaneously on your service. To connect more than one computer you will need to purchase a broadband router. They are available at any computer store and are typically about $40. With a router all members of your family will be able to use the Internet at the same time with no slowdown of any sort.
Many customers install a wireless router which allows them to roam about their house with a laptop. This works exceptionally with our service however we require that anyone on our network with a wireless LAN use WPA or some other security. We would be happy provide names of companies that provide indoor wireless LAN and PC support if you feel you require assistance with building or securing your own household network.
eFirehose Internet is available to most residents in areas North and East of Calgary, including:
- Delrich Meadows
- Eagle Lake
- Georgian Estates
- Heritage Pointe
- O'Neill Ranchettes
- Prairie Royale Estates
- Sharp Hills
- Symons Valley
Here is a Map of our current coverage areas. This map is intended to only give a rough idea of coverage. It is a computer projection and cannot account for all variables.
When asked to provide references from our clients, we say- You Bet! All these clients sent us these comments completely unsolicited. They were so happy that they took time from their day to express how they feel. Such positive feedback certainly makes us feel great about coming to work each day!
Community Networks is the company that provides the eFirehose Internet Service. Community Networks was founded by Scott Armstrong In January 2002 and operated as a consultant to other wireless and Internet providers. We helped our clients to build, expand and improve their networks. Previous to working as a consultant, Scott Armstrong worked as a Senior Network Engineer for Canada's 2 largest wireless Internet Service Providers and was the IT Manager for an IBM subsidiary in Calgary.
In early 2003 Community Networks began preparations for launching the eFirehose Internet service and added Matthew Beaton as a partner. Matthew brought his skills as the founder of Technohelp, a computer support company.
Community Networks is a privately owned company with no plans for becoming a public traded company. We feel that becoming a public company encourages us to cater to our shareholders and not our clients. We strongly believe in a stable organic growth model for our company. This enables us to be a stable company that will last. We are a debt-less company that operates on a strong management foundation.
We are a Calgary based and owned company. We focus on our home as we think this is the best place in the world to live, raise our families and make our living.