This page was last updated Apr 6, 2017.


Free Internet Performance

In text below: IME means "in my experience". IMO means "in my opinion".

All Internet speeds quoted below are from the slowest Internet speed testing website we used. The fastest speed testing site was 14% faster. We used the slower conservative numbers from the slower testing site when writing this. Your performance may exceed our figures below. 

If you need help setting up your devices to work with our free Internet, our in-house maintenance people have basic IT skills and will provide limited, basic, free setup assistance.

If you need additional or more advanced help setting up your devices to work with our free Internet, or have other computer support needs, you'll need to hire an outside technician. We recommend Sutinen Consulting because they set up our free Internet and are familiar with it. They are skilled at general computer support, repair, networking, Internet setups, etc. They make house calls (often on a priority time table). House calls cost a bit more, but are convenient for you, and sometimes are necessary to solve Internet-device setup issues. For other issues (such as general computer repair) you can save money by bringing your device to their retail store (2 blocks from Hearthside Apts), but a house call is usually an option if you prefer. Sutinen Consulting's phone is 360-578-9144. Their hours are Mon to Fri from 9 AM to 5 PM.

Longview Corporate Housing has 2 in-house IT people (with basic skills) and we often hire Sutinen Consulting for advanced work on our computers, networks, Internet access, and other devices. We have been doing business with them for 22 years.


Summary

We know Internet access is important to our residents, especially our extended stay (corporate housing) residents. We strive to provide reliable, fast, free Internet access. Our free Internet speeds are good for most people, but power-users may want to upgrade.

Internet peak use hours are 6:30 PM to 11:30 PM weekdays, and all times on weekends. Peak-hours are rush hour traffic on the Internet. If your schedule allows, using Internet during off-peak hours is 3x to 4x faster!

Our Wifi is dual broadcast in 2.4G and 5G. Please try both our 2.4G and 5G Wifi to see which works better for your device (and your location in the building).

Most people don't need to read further, but power-users should read further to determine if our free Internet performance meets their needs (and to learn upgrade options).


General Info and Specs

The info below is based on our tests, experiences, and opinions. It's provided to help you understand how much speed you need, what we offer for free, and your upgrade options at each building.

12 mb/s download speed satisfies most users. 10 is marginal. Most people get unhappy if download speeds are below 5 or 6, or upload speeds are below 2 or 3, IME. We try to exceed those minimums by as much as possible. Our goals are 30+ mb/s download speed during off-peak times, and 15+ mb/s download during peak times. Based on tests we've run, we (usually) provide 30 to 36 mb/s download off-peak times, and 15 to 20 mb/s download peaktimes. Depending on time of day, number users, and how intense users' activities are, performance varies from satisfactory to excellent for most peoples' needs. However, power-users with high performance needs may want to upgrade by purchasing their own residential or commercial account.

The free Internet we offer is based on the fastest commercial accounts available in our area. We upgrade whenever a faster commercial account becomes available.Each building's total speed (speed of our commercial account) is shared by all users in that building. There is no data cap on our commercial accounts. So there is no data cap on your free Internet activities. 

For performance comparisons (based on our tests):

Sprint LTE (in this area) typically has 10 mb/s download speed during off-peak times, and 4 mb/s download speed during peak times. Those are initial speeds, which apply to most activities. For large file(s) downloads, Sprint LTE may slow down. We suspect that Sprint may have a data cap or governor that slows large file(s) downloads. Upload speeds vary from 0.6 to 2 mb/s depending on time of day. (This is based on our speed tests using our Samsung Galaxy S5 Sprint phones with 4G LTE) 

Comcast Xfinity residential account costs around $50 a month including taxes (price at time this is written). It's rated for 100 mb/s download speed, but IME delivers around 85 to 90 mb/sdownload off-peak times, and around 30 to 40 mb/s download peak times. Off-peak upload around 15 mb/s, peak upload around 8 to 10+ mb/s (IME). IMO, that's good download speed for the money. Comcast upload speed is adequate.

Caveats regarding Comcast Xfinity residential accounts: Comcast residential accounts have a data cap. Once you exceed that cap your download speed slows down. The good news is you can download a lot before exceeding the monthly data cap. However, be aware the cap exists. IME it acts like a governor that slows the latter portion of LARGE file downloads (especially if you download a lot of large files). This does not affect normal activities nor small file downloads, but slows large file downloads to significantly less speed than mentioned above, IME. Last we checked, Comcast residential account upload speed is rated/claimed 20 mb/s, but actual upload speeds are slightly less, and speed varies by time of day. So Xfinity residential gives fast downloads and adequate uploads (if you don't exceed data cap). 

Comcast Commercial accounts with 50, 75, or 100 mb/s (or more) are available (with no data caps), but cost significantly more than a residential account. At time this is written, 50 mb/s download speed costs $110 month, or 75 mb/s costs $150 month. This would be a strong upgrade for a power-user. Note: A Comcast 50 Deluxe commercial account (no data cap) performs for a power-user as well as Comcast 75 Xfinity residential account (with data cap), IMO. So get whichever is cheaper, IMO. 

Comcast (residential and commercial accounts) requires signing a 1 year contract with early cancellation fee. So buying Comcast account to upgrade your speed is practical if you live here for 1+ years, but isn't practical for shorter stays.

River's Edge condos free Internet is based on a Cascade commercial account (fiber optic) and is has fast download speed and extremely fast upload speed. The condos' free Internet should be fast enough for anyone, including computer professionals working from their condo. However, if you want more speed, you can buy your own residential or commercial Comcast account. You cannot buy a Cascade account at the condos because Cascade has no more available connections at that address. Our condos' free Internet is using all available Cascade resources at that address.


Building Specific Specifications

The performance specs below are based on our tests at each building. Specs are updated every 8 to 9 months after each speed upgrade.

Hearthside Apartment's free Internet is currently being upgraded in stages. Stage 1 was a faster commercial account (that is done). Stage 2 was replacing broadcasters in common areas with newer, better, stronger, dual band broadcasters (that is done). Stage 3 is testing each apt for Wifi signal and adding a dual band broadcaster inside any apt that needs it (this is in progress). Stage 4 will be adding ethernet plugs in corporate housing apts aka furnished apts (and in some unfurnished apts that need or request ethernet plugs). Stage 5 will be testing Wifi (and ethernet plugs) in all areas of the building.

Hearthside's Internet/Wifi will remain functional during 98% of the upgrades process. There may be a few brief interruptions between 8 AM to 6 PM when old equipment is replaced with new equipment. The Wifi will gain speed and reliability after each upgrade stage. Many current residents have already noticed improvement. Hearthside Wifi specs and info will be posted after upgrades are completed. 

We expect Hearthside's free Internet and Wifi will be fully upgraded and tested by 4-30-17.


River's Edge Condos free Internet includes Wifi and 1 ethernet plug-in in each condo. Each condo has around 38 mb/s download and upload during off-peak times, or 20 to 25 mb/s download and upload during peak times. That's good performance for free Internet! Cascade Networks (commercial account) gives the condos fast downloads and extremely fast uploads with no data caps.

If you want more speed, you can buy a Comcast Xfinity residential account (with data cap), or Comcast Commercial Deluxe account (no data cap), or Century Link residential account. Each condo is wired for Comcast and Century Link. So it's reasonably easy to buy your own account that works with our existing plug-ins (ethernet and/or coax cable). However, the condos' free Internet is good. So upgrading is probably unnecessary, even for power-users. 

I (tech who wrote this) am a power-user who lives at River's Edge Condos and works from home over the Internet with excellent speed and reliability. I work during off-peak hours when the condos' Internet is impressively fast (3X to 5X faster). I have tested the Internet during peak hours and it's slower then, but still adequate. That's typical of Internet in homes.  Offices have the advantage of working during during normal business hours which coincides with Internet's off-peak hours.