FAQ

What is 281 Internet?

281 Internet is a network connection to the 281 wide area network in and around the Highland Lakes developed by 281 Communications Corporation Inc. family and team. 281 staff and consultants work very hard to keep their clients connected to the network, and the network connected to the Internet through fiber, licensed and unlicensed fixed wireless, and 5G mmWave technologies.

What is 281fiber and 281frackingfiber Family?

281 employs multiple technologies to get network resources out to clients who literally live off the grid. The 281 network is supplied Internet from a fiber connection in Marble Falls with a fiber link to Kingsland and a second fiber connection being installed Summer of 2021 direct to a major Data Center in Dallas Texas at 1950 Stemmons. Our other towers are connected through a combination of FCC licensed fixed wireless and 5G mmWave technology. Some of our older towers or sub towers with fewer clients still use unlicensed 5 GHz technology.

281Fiber refers to our Business and Enterprise Class service offerings where we provide fiber like service, and even Service Level Agreements (SLA) on some, if your business requires this. If the lowest latency and speeds up to 10 Gbps are needed, 281 is ready to deploy 5G mmWave technology by Siklu and Aviat to meet your needs. mmWave actually is lower latency than fiber! The slow link in the chain becomes 281's fiber to the Internet and the fiber around the Internet, and of course the server or office you are connecting to across the Internet from your connection with 281.

281FrackingFiber is our marketing name for our most popular service which brings city cable like speeds to homes off the grid. Streaming TV and gaming are now possible throughout the Highland Lakes with 281FrackingFiber Family of products.

Does 281 internet have caps or throttling

NO

Caps and Throttling are bad words!

281 employs what we call "INCLUDED DATA" with it's 281Home and 281FrackingFiber family of consumer and Small Business services. Nothing will happen when you exceed an included data level. But routinely exceeding this level, or exceeding by a large amount will prompt 281 to upgrade your service to remain connected to our network. Most clients exceeding included data levels are contacting 281 Internet to upgrade before we contact them as they are really needing the faster speeds of the higher service to support their streaming, gaming, schooling, and working needs. Think of included data as a rating of what you can expect to be able to do with that level of service.

What is unlimited internet?

Unlimited is an ISP industry term that never really means unlimited. You can never download (or upload) more than the speed of your connection will provide you, so that is a limitation on data every Internet connection has. What most providers mean by unlimited is that they don't charge you for data no matter how much you use, but most have stipulations about throttling you if you reach certain levels -- again another limitation.

281 has what we call included data. We do not charge for going over this, or throttle if you exceed it. We will contact you to upgrade service if you are routinely exceeding the level you are subscribed, or exceed it by a large amount. Our included data is a rating of what you should expect to be able to succeed in using on your 281 Internet connection at this service level.

281 Business Class and Enterprise Class are unlimited in that there is no "included data" or other specification on how much data you can use, but like all Internet and Network connections, you are still limited by the speed of the connection for which you subscribe.

Why doesn't 281 offer unlimited to its 281home through 281Frackingfiber family clients?

All networks have breaking points. Without the ability to manage network traffic, everyone's service would suffer. This is especially true on fixed wireless networks such as the one 281 Communications manages. Our network runs more efficiently than competitors by delivering the speeds and low latency our clients demand because we are hyper vigilant about having enough resources at each tower and keeping customers separated so that one heavy user can't disrupt the Internet for their neighbors.

What is the performance of 281's fixed wireless technologies for 281Frackingfiber family?

Unlike Business Class service explained below, 281FrackingFiber is a shared resource service. This is where you have a dish mounted at your home or business that connects to an antenna mounted on a 281 tower along with several other 281 clients. The antenna's 281 uses at our towers have impressive throughput capabilities so that all these clients can stream Netflix together at night. However, when several clients are streaming, you will notice that latency rises. This is because the antenna on the tower is having to send thousands of packets a second to each streaming client, so things like VPN, Zoom, or online gaming will experience delays/lag/high ping when this is happening. Most 281 tower clients enjoy 20-50 ms latency to Google during non-peak hours, but this latency will rise to over 100 ms when several clients are streaming, usually during peak times. If you need 24X7 low consistent latency, then the only way to achieve that is through 281 Internet is a dedicated Business Class connection using fixed wireless technologies.

Business class service is unlimited

As explained in "What is unlimited Internet" above, you will always be limited with any Internet service by the speeds you can achieve. 281's Business Class service is unlimited in that 281 does not contact you or take any action based on how much or how often you use this service, because it is a dedicated connection to one of our mmWave or fiber enabled towers, and we have partitioned off network resources to support your connection, so we expect you to actually use that much Internet.

There is a WIDE range of services and capabilities with Business Class depending on the type of technology used to connect you to the tower. What we can use and how much it costs to setup will be determined by how far away you are, how it is mounted at your location and at the tower, and how much speed capability you need as well as how low you need latency/ping to be. Business Class starts at $281/month with a $850 setup in most areas. Speeds and latency for this setup will depend on the area and all the factors above. Text 830.798.9041 to inquire, and include some pictures of your property and a screen shot of your exact location.

Is 281fiber as good as real fiber?

This questions depends on the technology used to connect you to the 281 Network and where you are connecting. In terms of the speed and performance you pay for with a Business Class connection, yes a dedicated connection to 281's Network gives you exactly the level of service you pay for.

Real fiber connections might be more reliable as it's less likely to break being run underground, but this is not true of all fiber lines. 281 utilizes sometime high places on towers to achieve connectivity to you or your Business which will add a level of outage susceptibility should weather cause the outage, and delay repair if weather prevents us from climbing the tower to affect repairs.

5G mmWave technology can actually have less latency that fiber! So a direct connection to one of 281's towers with fiber connectivity to the tower can offer very low and consistent latency for your mission critical work like VPN's and VOIP or Video conferencing, as well as gaming. And while it is likely much cheaper than getting fiber run to your location unless you are fortunate enough to be somewhere where fiber runs next to your property already, mmWave technology can be very expensive, unless you are fortunate enough to be within 1 miles of one of 281's fiber or 5G enabled towers, lower priced (lower setup) 60 GHz equipment may be used.

Why can't i get real fiber?

Fiber to the home such as Google Fiber, XFinity, and AT&T Uverse are only found in neighborhoods (cities) with high population density. I like to tell you (clients) that you will have fiber to your home when you walk outside and find yourself back in the place you left.

It's about economics. Fiber costs an exorbitant amount of money to lay. These companies do a lot of market research and operate on the principle of build it and they will come---really it's build it where they are at and they will buy. You'll find 281 is more in the build it when they ask for it kind of company. Many current customers know we spent time a lot of time, installed new antenna on towers, just to get them service. While there are certainly some neighborhoods that are exceptions, most in our area do not get built all at once like many neighborhoods in metropolitan areas. And Developers do not lay fiber when they make the roads and utilities.

How does 281frackingfiber and business and enterprise class compare to cable and fiber in the city?

Cable and fiber are great technologies. Unfortunately, the cost to lay cable is too high to be economical in much of the Hill Country, especially since most homes are built far apart. We do not have the density of housing in the Highland lakes to make this type of technology feasible in most areas.

While 281 employs fiber to and on it's towers, we have to used fixed wireless technologies to get Internet out to clients who literally sometimes live off the grid!

As discussed in "What is the performance of 281's fixed wireless technologies for 281Frackingfiber family?", fixed wireless technologies have the advantage of cost when deploying to distances too expensive to run cable or fiber. And they have similar performance capabilities for download, and even for upload compared to cable. You can even use 5G mmWave technology to achieve 10 Gigabit links with lower latency than fiber, for a fraction of the cost of laying fiber, but still more expensive than your average home or business will spend. 281 uses this technology primarily between our towers where we can run fiber. But we do have one client with specific high needs, both in terms of high speeds and low latency using this technology to their home.

The largest drawback to all fixed wireless except the mmWave for Business and Enterprise Class mentioned above, is the higher latency that will occur as the load rises. This is most prevalent in the 281FrackingFiber family where 5ac technology is used. While on a good cable or fiber connection in a city you will not see much difference in latency at 6AM or 6PM, here in the Highland Lakes you will see two or three times the latency during peak hours due to the high throughput being experience due to a high number of clients streaming TV.

Why is 281 so expensive?

281 Internet is competitively priced. But frankly we do not compete with our "competitors". They compete with us. We know you get what you pay for or you will pay someone else.

What does 281 know about me?

281 Internet only keeps the information you provide us to setup an account at installation, and the communications we exchange during the sales process and support for your service and internal network once you are a customer. Our systems monitor how much data you are moving in and out of your home or business network, and some statistics of the equipment 281 installed there. We do not keep data about the IP addresses or sites you are visiting beyond the time it passes through our equipment on it's way out to the Internet.

Your financial information is kept by a 3rd party Credit Card processor and literally disappears before our eyes if you ask us to enter it into our system for you.

Why does 281 charge a monthly fee for a pole? everyone else sells you the pole.

281 Communications used to sell poles too. We realized that this was unfair both to the client and to 281. Having a pole makes every visit by a 281 Technician more difficult and time consuming. If the pole becomes damaged in high winds, it was a difficult conversation to have about paying another hundred or more dollars to replace the pole on top of the labor to take the tangled mess of a pole and wires down and reinstall the new one. In 2018 we moved to a service only model for all our services including poles and WiFi's. When our technician comes to fix your Internet, he literally can replace anything without ever asking you for money. It's all 281 stuff and all 281's responsibility. 281's total cost of ownership by our clients is very competitive.

Some clients do have their own routers and WiFi, but we even have workable routers and WiFi's our Technicians may freely install at any client included with the service should their's die after a storm.

If i have deep pockets can 281 lay fiber?

Yes.

281 Communications Corporation Inc. has the tools and know how to terminate and splice fiber. We have fiber installed on our towers between 5G mmWave equipment. Cost to lay fiber in a neighborhood or to an individual home can be many 10's or even 100's of thousands of dollars depending on many factors. Running fiber across your home or from one building to another is more affordable, but there is usually a much more economical and many times even better performance option with 5G mmWave technology.

But yes, 281 can and will install fiber where appropriate.

What is the difference between Business Class and Enterprise Class Service?

While different companies define these differently, the Internet Service Provider industry generally distinguishes them by Business Class being a best effort whereas an Enterprise Class will typically have an SLA (Service Level Agreement) that guarantees levels of service and has penalties for not providing that service in the contract.

On a more practical look at 281 Internet, the difference would mean having either part of a fiber connection to 281 or getting a entirely new connection to provide service at the contractual level. At the client side, it might not look any different to have a Business or Enterprise Class service, but the infrastructure 281 Communications must provide to meet it's obligations under a Enterprise level contract may be very different, and the price you pay may be more. A gigabit connection 281 might provide as Business Class may be completely different than one we might provide as Enterprise Class, with multiple redundancies and different equipment to insure reliability and 281's ability to meet an SLA that your needs will determine the terms of such an agreement.

For those of you visiting here not familiar with SLA's, here is a good definition:

A service-level agreement (SLA) defines the level of service you expect from a vendor, laying out the metrics by which service is measured, as well as remedies or penalties should agreed-on service levels not be achieved. It is a critical component of any technology vendor contract.

Does 281 offer phone or tv service?

No, 281 only focusing on bringing you an Internet connection so that you can use your own phone (WiFi Calling) and your own Smart TV through our network. We recommend you consider Google Voice which is a free service and works well on the 281 network.

What is 281's cloud Mesh WiFi system?

281 uses various Cloud WiFi systems to provide mesh Wifi inside and outside your home. The cloud part comes from the fact that each mesh wifi 281 installs is connected to a cloud. This capability is a game changer when you have a problem with a particular device as 281 can now see what's connected and how good a signal each device on your Wifi has, helping to identify problems and give you solutions!

This is also future proof as 281 repairs/replaces your WiFi if one fails or you are in need of newer technology as our WiFi changes. Currently we are installing the 5AC WiFi5 technology in all our mesh systems.