Frequently Asked Questions

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Interested Subscriber FAQ

What are the monthly package options?

The packages are best outlined on our Residential Packages and Business Packages pages.

Pricing for the packages varies depending on the area of installation, please refer to our sign-up page to select your area and find out further details.

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What do the speed of the packages mean?

The speed of the packages is best defined on our Residential Packages page. For comparison reasons, the maximum rate of a dialup connection is 56 kbps (~0.055 Mbps), the MCSNet Lite package is a speed of up to 1.7 Mbps (~1700 kbps), which equates to an increase of 30 times the downloading speed.

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What does the monthly traffic cap mean?

The traffic cap is the amount of data that can be sent or received using the Internet connection per month. The current average usage for MCSNet subscribers is under 10 GB per month. Higher usage is usually found with the use of streaming video like Netflix and Youtube, as well as file sharing programs including the downloading of music and movies.

For a relative example of usage: the average size of a song is around 5 MB, so the Lite package (10 GB limit) would allow one to download a maximum of about 2,000 songs per month (there are about 1000 MB in a GB).

If usage reaches the maximum for the package, to restart the service you may either
1) upgrade to a higher package if one is available,
2) purchase 10 GB for the current month for $19.95 (one time),
3) New option: Unlimited Mode. On request, continue to use the Internet at a severely reduced speed of 200kbps for any activity beyond the monthly usage cap.
4) wait for the next month's cycle to commence.

Refer to our Residential Packages for further details on the availability of higher packages.

The traffic cap exists because the available resources at the tower site are limited and may be shared among the connected subscribers. A generous traffic cap helps to prevent resources from being sequestered by a small amount of users for extended periods of time, and leaving less speed available for others connecting to the same node.

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What type of cable is used?

The cable is CAT5e, as is normally used with high speed networking. Cables are limited to a maximum of 320 ft (100 m) in length. The cable that runs from the radio on the roof to the interior of the house is outdoor rated cable, which is designed specifically to resist sunlight, moisture, and most other things. The connection provided to the computer is the standard jack used with NICs and routers (the flat black cable off of the power adapter).

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Can I share my Internet to a nearby building?

With a wireless router, you may be able to provide access for a 100' radius depending on the distance and number of obstacles. MCSNet will not help to configure or augment your wireless network if you choose to do this. There are router and antenna options available to extend the reach of a wireless network, you may want to hire a computer/network technician to help survey and setup an extended personal network if you are interested in this application.

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What security do you provide?

By default, the radio that is installed (on your roof) uses NAT translation to provide a hardware firewall which will prevent unrequested access to your internal network. The firewall on the radio (NAT) can be turned off if you have a router already (routers have their own version of NAT). With protection already in place through NAT, MCSNet generally discourages the use of software firewalls for the inbound connection (with the exception of Windows Firewall), as they will often break the Internet connection (can be very disruptive to the DNS connectivity on your computer). Free Antivirus can be obtained through Microsoft Security Essentials. Please see our recommendations page for further suggestions.

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What are the requirements to get MCSNet?

You will have to be within range of one of our towers (about 15 km maximum), and have an appropriate line of sight that is unobstructed by hills to the tower location from the roof of your building or tower. The basic computer requirement would be to have an Internet ready computer with an Ethernet card/interface. Installation includes a Motorola power adapter that requires an indoor power outlet.

At the time of installation, bank or credit card info is required, and the contract must be signed by the person whose name is associated with the account for MCSNet Internet Services.

Your location must also be free of local interference on the frequency that the radio uses to communicate back to the tower site. Our Internet uses various types of radio frequencies to communicate (900 MHz, 2.4 GHz, 5.7 GHz). If the connection is using a 900 MHz radio, then you may experience some crosstalk with the use of older 900 MHz cordless phone. Cordless phones have started the transition to a new wireless standard referred to as DECT 6.0 in North America with an effort to move them away from the commonly used frequencies. MCSNet recommends DECT cordless phones if you are planning to replace your older 900 MHz cordless phone. You can read about DECT here (wikipedia).

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How can I be notified when MCSNet brings a tower to my area?

Please sign-up with us, and if services are not currently available for your location, we will keep your location on file and call you if a new tower is installed in your area that provides a potential shot. Please follow our online sign-up page to start the sign-up process.

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Are there any costs if the install doesn't work?

There is no cost to you if we cannot get service to your property. If we cannot obtain a signal, our system will retain your interest in our service, and we will contact you if a new tower is constructed that may provide a service opportunity. MCSNet does not make multiple trips for installations. If the wireless shot tests 100%, we will install the Internet.

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What are the payment options?

With residential packages, MCSNet will only accept pre-authorized payments either with a void cheque or Visa/MasterCard. You may also prepay for 6 or 12 months at-a-time, but pre-authorized payment is still required. MCSNet does not currently provide monthly payments, invoicing, or statements for residential customers. If you wish, you may get an annual statement for tax purposes, provided that you notify MCSNet a month in advance.

Documents are made available in the My Account section of our website in PDF format for all subscribers. Please use your administrative email and password to access this data.

Payment options for connections on grandfathered office packages or on the extreme package include pre-authorized payments through bank or credit card, 6 or 12 month pre-paid billing intervals, and monthly billing/invoicing (only for connections not using the free installation contract term). Statements by mail are available for business subscribers for $2.00 per month.

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Does MCSnet support VoIP?

Our network is engineered to provide the best possible latency and throughput, where services like voice over IP should normally work in most conditions. Unfortunately, the most common VoIP services do a terrible job at providing proper latency back to their servers from this part of the world. MCSNet has launched its own VoIP service called MCSNet Phone to help fill this gap. MCSNet Phone is still in development, and may not work well in some regions. Currently, local numbers are available in St Paul, AB, Edmonton, AB, Fort Saskatchewan, AB, and Sherwood Park, AB. Please read our information page for more information.

FoIP, or Fax over IP, is currently not supported.

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What happens if I move?

If you are moving to a location where MCSNet provides service, we can move the equipment to the new location and align it. A new contract will apply like with a new installation. Please contact our scheduling department 30 days prior to make these arrangements and schedule the appointments. The radio (on the roof) and associated power adapter remain the property of MCSNet. If you are moving out of the coverage area, we will have to make arrangements to uninstall the equipment.

For transfers of service to new tenants, if the new owners are moving into your current location and they would like to assume use of the equipment, please have them fill out the sign-up form from our website. You will have to contact MCSNet to inform and authorize this change. If the new owners use the equipment with no servicing necessary (please do not take the power adapter with you), please provide your referral code to the new tenants for a $50 credit on your account. The new owners must sign a standard contract.

If there is a period of time where no one will be using the service, then you may want to make use of our parked package. Parking the service places it in a dormant state for a monthly rate of $19.95 per month. The parked package can be used up to 2 times per year, parking the connection more than 2 times may result in a $29.95 deactivation fee when parking again.

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Current Subscriber FAQ

How do I set my homepage?

To change the homepage of your browser to mcsnet.ca:

In Internet Explorer:

Open Internet Explorer
Open the tools menu at the top
Open the Internet options
Type mcsnet.ca in the homepage area
Click Apply and then OK

In Mozilla Firefox:

Open Firefox
Open the tools menu at the top
Open options...
Click on the Main icon at the top
Type mcsnet.ca in the homepage area
Click OK

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I recently had MCSNet installed, and now I get an error message when I try to send emails

A simple change of outgoing server on your existing email (from your previous provider) is required. You may want to delete the old email account with you previous provider and set your new MCSNet email up. If you are still using the old email account, you will need to change the outgoing email server to mail.mcsnet.ca. Refer to our example for an account changing from Telus.

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I received an email that appears to be from MCSNet asking for my password.

Delete it. MCSNet will never email you requesting personal information. Be careful about email con-artists who may try to pretend to be your bank or credit card company, and ask you to verify your data (called a phishing attack). They will create false bank or financial sites (Royal Bank, CIBC, PayPal, MCSNet etc) and then attempt to capture your username and password. Do not respond to email requests to login to your financial accounts and do not click on links contained in suspicious email messages. The website will look exactly like the institution you are expecting to see, do not be fooled by this.

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Why do you track usage?

Usage is tracked to ensure the highest quality of service for all of our subscribers. Limits on downloads affect only a small percentage of users and ensures that network resources are not tied up amongst a smaller amount of heavy users. The available bandwidth at a tower site or access point is shared amongst the connections using it, by using a traffic cap we can allow for faster per second speeds while limiting the slowdowns that might be associated with several heavy users on the same node. The alternative strategy is to have no limit on the amount of usage but severely limit the top speed to ensure even distribution. MCSNet does not track your specific usage of websites you visit or the content of the files that you may download.

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How much is a gigabyte (GB) of data?

There are approximately 1,000 MB in a GB. A typical song can be about 5 MB in size. You will be able to download about 200 songs with 1 GB of downstream traffic. Websites are typically only kB in size (this page is approx. 0.000070 GB); you normally will be able to visit thousands of websites before using a GB of data (not including sites that host videos and other multimedia content). The highest usage is from streaming video like Netflix, where an hour of video can use more than 1 GB of data.

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How will I know when I reach my transfer cap / How can I purchase more bandwidth?

After reaching the cap for your package you will be presented with a webpage explaining that you have reached your transfer cap. Some additional leeway has been provided on all packages before the service is disrupted.

You can monitor your usage through the "My Account" section of our website.

The most economical upgrade is to increase your package to the next one up.
If you are already on the highest available package, then 10 GB can be added on a 1 time basis for the current month for an additional $19.95.

We have introduced a new option called 'Unlimited Mode'. Unlimited mode will allow you to continue to use the Internet beyond the monthly usage cap at a severely reduced rate of speed of 200 kbps.

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Why is my usage so high?

Usage can be tracked by logging into the "My Account" area of our website. If you have usage that is beyond what you expect, this is usually caused by:

  • Streaming video from services like Netflix and Youtube
  • Peer to Peer file sharing programs, commonly used with the downloading of music and movies (bit torrent like utorrent, etc.)
  • Many hours of online gaming, especially if hosting a server
  • Someone else connecting to your wireless router (please use a password with wireless routers)
  • Viruses and spyware

Usage is tracked only as an amount of data, the traffic you transfer to and from the Internet is not logged, we do not track where you go on the Internet. If you are looking for help determining the source of unknown usage, MCSNet may not be able to help you with unknown computer issues. There are programs that help to track and tabulate activity in your home network like: Netguard, just make sure to uncheck the optional boxes during the install to avoid the adware.

Netflix has settings to adjust the quality, which can affect how much traffic it uses. Please see this page for more info on the settings.

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How do I administer my account?

You can administer your account by logging into the 'My Account' page on the mcsnet.ca website. In 'My Account' you can monitor your usage, review previous invoices, change the password for other emails associated with your account, change the password of the Admin account that you used to login here, and register a new device to the connection.

For further information on the use of this page click this link.

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What do I do if I lost my username or password?

Your original username and password should be labelled on your copy of your contract. If you require assistance, please call us to find out your username or to reset your password.

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Is it possible to add more computers to the Internet?

Absolutely. You will be sharing the same Internet connection amongst any computers connected. A router is recommended/needed for splitting the connection, most routers will work fine, but we recommend against Belkin and Apple routers because of issues they have. You will plug the cable that is currently connected into the back of your computer (do not disconnect the power adapter from the line that connects to the outside) into the "Internet" or "WAN" port on the back of the router, and you will have 4 out ports to connect additional computers. A wireless router can also be used if you have a notebook with wireless capabilities. Once you have the router connected you will have to register the device with us to get it online, here is a page that explains registration.

You may find help with our guide for connecting to a wireless connection, and our Netgear, D-Link, and Linksys information guides.

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Are any ports blocked on my connection?

The normal configuration for a MCSNet connection that goes directly to your computer will have NAT translation active with the radio. Some ports may be blocked due to this translation. If you would like the ports to be available, you will need to use a router as a gateway for your connection. If you get a router, the NAT translation can be disabled (please contact us), and then the connection will be open where you can manage use through port forwarding on your router.

If NAT is disabled on your radio, only port 25 (that does not go through our mail server) is blocked. If you are administrating your own mail server, you may need to have this port opened up (please contact us). To open port 25 you will have to have a static IP address (available through some of our business packages). If, after opening port 25, your connection is responsible for mail (spam) abuse, your account may be subject to additional fees and/or suspension.

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What happens if I am moving?

If you are moving to a location where MCSNet provides service, we can move the equipment to the new location and align it. A new contract will apply like with a new installation. Please contact our scheduling department 30 days prior to make these arrangements and schedule the appointments. The radio (on the roof) and associated power adapter remain the property of MCSNet. If you are moving out of the coverage area, we will have to make arrangements to uninstall the equipment.

For transfers of service to new tenants, if the new owners are moving into your current location and they would like to assume use of the equipment, please have them fill out the sign-up form from our website. You will have to contact MCSNet to inform and authorize this change. If the new owners use the equipment with no servicing necessary (please do not take the power adapter with you), please provide your referral code to the new tenants for a $50 credit on your account. The new owners must sign a standard contract.

If there is a period of time where no one will be using the service, then you may want to make use of our parked package. Parking the service places it in a dormant state for a monthly rate of $19.95 per month. The parked package can be used up to 2 times per year, parking the connection more than 2 times may result in a $29.95 deactivation fee when parking again.

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What should I do when I lose the connection to the Internet?

Please visit our printable Connection Troubleshooting page for step by step help. Steps normally involve rebooting your router, or renewing the IP address on your computer.

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My connection seems slow, how can I test it?

If you are experiencing slower than normal downloads, please visit our speed test page to try a quick download to determine the speed of your connection. The quoted speeds for the packages are the top possible speeds under ideal conditions, the speeds will be lower depending on the wireless conditions to the tower site and network load in the area.

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My connection is experiencing constant interruptions, what can I do?

There are some common factors that may cause an interruption of your surfing.

Wireless Interference with Your Wireless Router

First you should eliminate the possibility of any problems on your computer or local network. Wireless networks are sensitive to interference from similar frequencies. If you are using a wireless connection with a wireless router, please be aware that 2.4 GHz phones, microwave ovens, baby monitors, and other electronic devices may interfere with your wireless network. You may be able to resolve these issues by changing the locations of these devices and/or selecting different channels for your 2.4 GHz cordless phone. Running a cable from the router to your computer to replace a wireless shot may save a lot of problems in the future.

Firewall Flooding from Excessive Number of Connections

If your computer is directly connected to the Internet, the firewall (NAT) table may be flooded due to unrequited requests (most common with peer to peer programs). If this is the case, it should start working again when you unplug the Motorola power adapter and reconnect it. After reconnecting power, you will have to wait about 2 minutes for the radio to reboot and your computer to negotiate a new address. If this is a constant problem for you, please contact us so that we can change the nature of how these unrequited requests are handled. We can also disable NAT if you are using a router, please call us if you would like to have this changed.

Interference with Wireless Feed to Tower Site

The other type of interference will be where the wireless Internet connection MCSNet is providing is disrupted because of local or remote crosstalk on the wireless frequencies. The most common application is cause by 900 MHz cordless phones when a 900 MHz radio is used for the Internet connection. 900 MHz radios are used most often when the line of site to the tower includes trees. MCSNet recommends replacing your cordless phone if it is causing drops in your Internet. Cordless phones have started the transition to a new wireless standard referred to as DECT to provide them their own frequency to avoid creating noise on commonly used bands. You can read about DECT here.

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About Denial of Service Attacks

A Denial of Service (DoS) attack is where a connection is flooded with traffic in an attempt to overload it. Please check our our DDoS info page here, or Google has a good amount of info here.

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Why do software firewalls like Norton break the Internet?

MCSNet generally discourages the use of Norton and Mcafee products as well as software firewalls unless you are familiar with how to configure and repair them. Although the Norton products have improved in some areas over the last few years, there are free alternatives to Norton (Microsoft Security Essentials) that have proven to be much more trouble free and efficient to keep your computer running quickly (click here for details on what slows computers down the most). To uninstall Norton properly, you will have to download and run symnrt (Symantec Norton removal tool) available here: http://www.majorgeeks.com/Norton_Removal_Tool_SymNRT_d4749.html

For good alternatives please visit our recommendations page.

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Keywords: frequently asked questions, faq