Internet with a dish, but not satellite – this is a WISP installation, in Cyprus, from Cosmos Wireless.
I’ve noticed on some local Cyprus forums that people have been raving about Cosmos Wireless as an alternative to the mainstream ISPs in Cyprus (CYTA, Primetel, MTN & Cablenet*) – mostly from existing customers who made the switch and say they have never regretted it. So I decided to find out more and compare the service with my existing 10Mb Primetel connection.
Being a pretty technically minded person but not familiar with this way of delivering home broadband I was a bit sceptical but decided to give it a go. I opted for the 16Mbit download + 1.5Mbit upload package which is around the same price as I currently pay for 10Mbit down + 0.7Mbit upload from Primetel. On 8th March 2017
Chris Craig and George from Cosmos came to do my installation.
Here’s some photos from the installation:
The WISP wireless internet system is not like Wi-Fi, it’s actually more like internet via satellite where you have a dishes pointing to a transponder. The transponder in this case is not strapped to a satellite 22,236 miles above the equator but on a mast somewhat closer to ground. The dish contains all the magic that makes is all work and presents itself as a broadband ‘modem’ with a simple Ethernet cable crammed full of internet goodness just like a regular broadband modem. Apparently the installations Cosmos are using can happily transmit to 10km or more away.
Out of the main ISPs in Cyprus, Cablenet are an interesting one as they offer exceptional speeds and great value but they are only available in the main cities where they use their fibre-optic cabling. But read on and you’ll see why this is very relevant to what Cosmos are providing.
Cosmos promise high speed, competitive pricing and un-metered internet, with no throttling, and no ‘filters’ (nothing blocked). You can see their pricing here. The speeds they can offer are comparable with those that Cablenet offer and that’s not coincidental.
I was curious as to where Cosmos (a relatively small outfit compared to CYTA etc.) were getting their massive amounts of bandwidth. And then the penny dropped, from what I can see, in the Larnaca district at least, is they are using the Cablenet fibre-op network as their backbone. I realised this when I discovered that my public IP address when everything was working is a Cablenet IP address and when you visit speedtest.net to check the speed it reports that you are connecting via Cablenet.
This makes perfect sense; Cablenet is only available in the main cities in Cyprus. Which is frustrating when you live one of the many densely populated villages, or rather towns, in Cyprus like Oroklini. What Cosmos do is take the super high speed fibre optic internet broadband, add some WISP magic, and make it available to thousands of people outside the geographic restrictions of the fibre optic network. It also does away with the need for a landline which some will consider an added bonus. From what I gather they have ‘stations’ and relays all over Cyprus now so they can provide the service pretty much everywhere.
Does it work?
So, with everything set up, the cable from the dish first went into a little Ethernet power supply dongle which feeds power up the cable to the dish and then from that a regular Ethernet cable connects to the Cosmos router. This works just like the router you get from any other ISP. You can connect to it via WiFi or use one of it’s 3 Ethernet ports. Alternatively, for the more tech-savvy like me I connected the Cosmos router to my separate ASUS router which then feeds everything else in my house. That made it easy to connect up as I just disconnected the Primetel Modem/router from my router and connected to the Cosmos router instead. I ran a speed test at speedtest.net and the results were a little better than expected with around 2Mb upload instead of the subscribed 1.5Mb:
I am very happy with the Cosmos Wireless Internet and I like the fact that I can easily go up to 30Mb/s, 50Mb/s or even higher. In fact, judging by the figures on Craig’s installation application, my dish had actually established a 300Mb/s connection with the station 6km away in Larnaca!
It’s also good to know that they are drawing from well established reliable backbone networks to provide the service.
What about TV and Telephone?
Cosmos offer a TV service which basically adds an IPTV box (e.g. MAG) to your installation (at additional cost) to give you a range of TV channels. I didn’t opt for that as I already have my TV supply sorted. As for a telephone service I will find out more about what they offer and update here accordingly. For me, I’m running Cosmos parallel to my Primetel landline + broadband for a month or so before cancelling the Primetel account.
The Cosmos their website has a lot of useful information but I found they were more responsive from their Facebook page messaging and on the phone than from the Contact page on the website.
I hope you found my little write up on my experience so far with Cosmos Wireless Internet useful.