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Why Satellite Internet Access Sucks

There’s nothing to screw up a day like bad Internet access.  Email generally can stumble in and out even over a bad connection.  Web surfing is a disaster.  Three or four tries to get a page to load at all; graphics missing; strange browser behavior; everything takes six times as long as it’s supposed to and some things can’t get done at all.  If you use satellite Internet access in the Northern United States, you’re in for a lot of bad days.

As I posted before, Mary and I use WildBlue satellite service at a camp we have on Lake Champlain.  It was all we could get other than dialup so we did it.  I did know when I ordered the service that it wouldn’t work in heavy rain or snow; that’s true even of satellite TV (which we also have).  What I didn’t realize is that it is effectively a weather radar with a three hundred mile range.  Our packet loss is directly correlated with the number of storms located south of us.  Here’s this morning’s weather map (after six attempts to get it to load):

Weather

Our camp is at the red X.  See those storms in northern New Jersey and southeastern New York.  They’re blocking our signal!

How, you ask, isn’t the earth curved?

Well, yes it is.  And that’s part of the problem.  Satellite Internet access for fixed locations (eg. houses, not boats) is implemented with geostationary satellites – satellites which always appear to be at the same spot in the sky.  There’s a good reason for this: it allows your dish to be pointed right at the satellite so that your transmit power can be much, much lower than if the satellite were moving through the sky and you had to radiate a signal in every direction (or have an antenna which tracked satellites).  Moreover, with directional transmission, the same frequencies can be used over and over again.

For reasons Isaac Newton explained on his blog (no link available), these geostationary satellites have to be 22,000 miles above the equator in order to be moving exactly fast enough not to fall and exactly slow enough not to fly off into space and to appear motionless from earth. But the equator is a long way south of here.  Note the angle of my dish – it’s not pointing up.

Dish_1 

By now you’ve probably figured out part of the problem.  The dish is at the perfect angle to detect the tops of thunderstorms way south of here.  Doesn’t matter if weather.com won’t load; my satellite dish is my weather radar.

The further north you are, the more atmosphere between you and your satellite and the better the chance that a storm’ll get in the way.  In fact, this particular satellite is southwest of me so even more atmosphere to try to look through.

This whole problem is exacerbated by the frequencies used for satellite service.  In general, the lower the frequency the better the signal gets through stuff, think AM radio in the 540 to 1650 KHz ( a kilohertz is a thousand jiggles per second on a graph) range.  AM works inside and it works in the rain.

Satellite TV, also sent from geostationary orbit, is generally at a frequency of 3.7 to 4.4GHz (a gigahertz is, you guessed it, a billion jiggles per second).  It doesn’t work in severe local precipitation but generally gets through because the transmitter in the sky is really big and you don’t have to send anything back.

Before WildBlue, satellite Internet access providers (mainly HughesNet) used frequencies in the 11.7 to 12.7 GHz range.  This is not a great frequency for this purpose,  In fact, weather radars often operate in the slightly LOWER frequency range between 8.20 and 12.4 GHz.  This frequency was chosen for weather radar because it DOES bounce off rain.

WildBlue boasts that it is at 29.5-30GHz.  This is in the Ka band commonly used for radar guns.  Remember that higher frequency means LESS ability to go through stuff.  I haven’t compared HughesNet and WildBlue when there are storms to the south of us (or any other way).  My guess is HughesNet would be slightly better but still extremely annoying.

Of course WildBlue marketing sees the high frequency as a benefit: “WildBlue uses Ka-band ‘spot beam’ satellites to allow multiple re-use of the same frequency, providing higher capacity at lower cost compared to other available satellite systems.” High frequencies do focus well (see radar guns above) but that’s a cost advantage to the provider. From the subscriber’s point of view, the signal is more often degraded than at lower frequencies.  Bad tradeoff, specially since WildBlue isn’t cheap at $50 to $80/month.

I posted previously that satellite Internet access was “OK If You Have To”.  Explained there why it suffers from high latency and is not good for either VoIP or gaming.

We’re still using it but it’s worse than I thought it’d be – especially when there’s bad weather around.  It probably works much better far south of here where the antenna can really point up.  But I’ve expanded my search for alternatives vastly.  Will report as I (hopefully) find them.

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Comments

broadband satellite internet

Many people are down on the FAP (fair access policy). But here are the facts: Every network of any kind has bandwidth restrictions. Satellite internet is EVEN MORE restricted. So there HAS to be some kind of policy in place to make sure that 10% of users aren't using 95% of the bandwidth (thereby unfairly punishing the other 90% of users. This is why it is called the FAIR - ACCESS - POLICY.

Pat

I am considering Satelite internet, but after reading all the information, am rethinking staying on dail-up, regardless how slow. How slow? I can turn on the computer, make a cup of coffee and eat breakfast before the homepage loads.
I can not watch videos unless I want to wait over an hour for an 8 minute video to load, no kidding.
The company gave me some kind of CD so it would hasten going from site to site, and were going to charge me $6. a month for, I was supposed to have use for a month, 20 days later and problems with the download (they had problems with come to find out) they were telling me I had to take the deal or give the CD back. I gave the CD back.
So I'm back to the slowness of dial up once again.
Thanks for all the information, although it's not what I expected from Satelite companies, at least I can see what I'm up against.
Pat

Danny

I own a satellite direct system. I love it! I get tons of channels national and international. I don't have to pay a monthly fee ever. I am also a big fan of music with no commercials so when I am not watching TV, I am listening to the tons of music channels. I have also this system connected to my home theater system which makes the whole experience great for me.
You can read about it first (http://www.theproductanalysis.com/satellite-direct) or order it directly to (http://http://www.theunlimitedtelevision.com)

Account Deleted

I had Wild Blue for five years and if someone asked how long it was I'd say it was hell. My biggest problem is bandwidth. I have to pay roughly $80.00 a month for 1,7000 megabytes and I swear that I do. They tell me FaceBook gobbles up most of my bandwidth and I seriously doubt this. I'm tired of complaining but where I live there is no other provider except Hughes Network they are no exception and just as equally bad, so I'm sitting here and live it out the wild blue hell. One day I was told that my dish needs to be pointed right at the satellite so it transmits lesser power unlike if the satellite were moving through the sky and you had to radiate a signal in every direction or have a special antenna which tracked satellites.

satellite tv comparison

There’s a good reason for this: it allows your dish to be pointed right at the satellite so that your transmit power can be much, much lower than if the satellite were moving through the sky and you had to radiate a signal in every direction (or have an antenna which tracked satellites).

Dan


When I started with DirecPC 8 years ago I got 240 MByte/4 hours. Now the FAP is a miserly 200 MByte/day. And they cheat. Get a byte counting program and compare your bytecount to theirs. They regularly charge 100% overhead. What makes it worse is that they PURPOSEFULLY won't put a "use meter" in the tool tray... a little red/yellow/green meter to warn you when you are getting close to getting FAPPED. I talked to a manager once, and he admitted that if they did that everybody would run in the yellow... by keeping users afraid and ignorant of how close they are to FAP the users tend to use a lot less - so they can sell more of the same pipeline. BASTARDS.

Shubert

Yea.. In rural areas we dont have a choice.. dial-up connections is so bad.. satellite internet is the only way out..

WildBlue Sucks

Yes, satellite Internet access does suck, especially when it is from a customer-unfriendly company like WildBlue. But if you live in a rural area with no other options besides dial up access, well...what can you do? It's also unfortunately true that I have to maintain a dial up Internet access account for all those days each year (and there are many) when my $80 per month WildBlue satellite Internet access account just does not work. Dial up at $10.95 per month is more reliable than the WildBlue at $79.95. That really sucks. And don't get me started on VoIP (Skype, Magic Jack, Vonage, etc.), and YouTube reliability, because on WildBlue you are S.O.L. on most of that. I'm looking forward to moving back to civilization so I can actually join the 21st century!

satellite internet access

Yes, Hughes Net is the broadband internet access solution that's available everywhere and also at any weather conditions.Its two-way satellite technology to give you a super fast, always on Internet connection so there's no more dialing-up, logging on or waiting around.

Bob

I dealt with hughesnet for a year. Overpriced and VERY underperforming. Their favorite answer to my questions was "I am sorry but that is our policy"
I recently got a verizon aircard.
It does'nt always have full strength but, even with one or two bars on the indicator ( which it always has at the least with no auxillary antenna), it is QUICK, QUICK, QUICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For the base program (5 gigs a month), about 60 bucks a month.
I live in one of the worst reception areas in my area (upstate New York) and this service never fails even when my satellite tv does.
Give it a try people, it ABSOLUTELY ROCKS!!!
HUGHESNET SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

dho

you know why satellite internet really sucks? FAP (fair access policy). they have limited capabilities which they oversell the crap out of meaning with ANY provider you get the choices of

x gb per month- go over and get bad service next month,fee's etc...

or x mb per day (usually around 300mb) go over and wham for 24 hours you are WORSE than dialup speed. (hughesnet)

and they hide it to!


Meaning you have to time your movies,torrents, and all other high sized downloads in the 4-5 morning am hours they give you limit free. (as a good divx/avi movie is 500-1.2gb- even crap .flv cam jobs are 200-300)


Now thats the suck. You should expect lag (given the massive distance it travels), weather problems and the such but FAP is the killer.

It is insanely expensive, and due to FAP very restrictive to boot. It is truly only an option when you have no other option but dialup. The moment they run cable in your area and I don't care what the dish cost you get the heck off of the crap! For $20 you will receive something amazing and wonderful. Instead of $80+ setups for well it is much better than dialup until I get tired of text only.


Don't even consider trying to play pc/360 live/ ps3 online games. 80% of the time you won't connect, when you do connect finally you will lag something awful and will lose the connection every 10-15 minutes. I don't care if your playing a game as graphic intensive as pong!

Funny how so many people have cable just 1 or 2 miles from where they are. For what satellite costs/provides it may even be more beneficial to pay to have it sent to you.

Let me reiterate - Satellite is complete and utter crap. Only to be eaten when you have already gone cannibal and your fat friends bones are picked.

Jeff Staples

You do have to remember, satellite internet is truly a "You get what you pay for" service. All of the service providers and resellers purchase space segments for roughly the same price - how they manage those networks is a different story. Hughes will pack as many people into the pipe as they can - resulting in lower costs but lower than expected quality. Then you have comapanies like http://www.groundcontrol.com that offers a higher grade (lower users) service - but with a cost. If it is for home use, it will be slow if you are paying $59/mo. If this is for business critical applications, you will have to pay more - bottom line - but if there is no alternative it is cheaper than running your own fiber!

Oh sole mio

Weather in the South??
Attention! Wrong!

First of all, you wrote an interesting blog post. But, the problem you have with your (geostationary) satellite signal is for sure NOT related to bad weather in the distant south (eg. New Jersey!) of your place.
Why? Yes, your dish is pointing quite horizontally to the south, BUT: This is NOT the true direction where your satellite is, it is much higher positioned in the sky, about 40° degrees? (35° in southern Germany, and we are much more northern than VT!)
The reason, I think, are today's dishes which are very "steep", designed to be mounted very vertically, and so fit best on walls? You can see the low position of the receiver in front of the dish, it is not in the center (anymore). That means the reflected incoming signal comes from a much steeper angle in the sky? (old dishes: pointed much more up into the sky?)
So, only bad weather really near you can be between you and the satellite and cause problems!
Also, are you sure, regarding your posted picture, NO obstruction at all is in the way of the - now much higher in the sky positioned - satellite? And, the smaller the dish, the more exactly it must be directed?

Did you really think your VT latitude would mean you had to sharply shoot with your dish just over the horizon?? ;-)

Regards from Germany!

HughesNet fan

Great blog post. HughesNet is great if your only other option is Dial-Up.

John L

I've had satalite internet via several companies for 6 or 7 years now. One thing a lot of people don't see is that the internet is becoming a video, audio, and interactive medium. Satalite simply can't cope with the bandwidth and latency required for games and youtube. I'm assuming they make all their money from relatively internet-illiterate folks in rural areas, since anyone coming from a cable or DSL connection would find things such as the Fair Access Policy, which they ALL use, unacceptable. My advice, get rid of your satalite stock quick; when cable expands to rural areas there won't be a soul using it. What goes up must come down!!!!!

satellite internet

I couldn't have said it better myself. but this is nice information for this. thanks

katkaymar

I am in the center of Texas. Few clouds, blue skies. I have WildBlue. My dialup was faster. Really. I would go back to dialup in an instant if it were available and I did not have this two year contract. I am praying for dependable, fast internet service.

P. Haskell

I live in central Vermont and have been using Hughes satellite internet for over 5 years now. Only the most severe thunderstorms will knock it out for a few minutes. I've been amazed at its performance with it snowing with dense large flakes. I _do_ have to get up on the roof and shovel off the snow, once or twice a season. ... I pay $70/mo for slightly upgraded service and usually get 900kb down, and about 300 kb up. My wife complains about how slow it is, but I think that might be because she is using secure websites often, and, as has been mentioned, that kind of two-way communication doesn't work so well. ... We were at a neighbors party recently and my neighbors were complaining about their slow satellite service, and how normal rainstorms would knock it out. Come to find out, one had Wild Blue, the other had Starband. I have not been experiencing the same problems.

One problem I was having, was completing downloads of large software update files (350mb). I got a "download accelerator" program, which solved the problem.

At one point, I was having extremely degraded performance. The Hughes software rightly pinpointed the problem in my router. Now, I always start the satellite modem first, then a few minutes later the router. Haven't had problems since.

I'm patiently waiting for true high-speed broadband to come to my area. Until that time, the satellite fits my needs fairly well.

star

wow im not the only one with internet rural blues...i have had wild blue since 10/07...beside my computer crashing ...its the next best frustration..50+ $ a month?..not "that" fast...dial up .sat. is ..way better.( besides at&t started chargeing me 10 cents a minute.but then i got "satilite"..shame on me for living rural....yea right..i heard that due to gov . regulations or fcc or whatever satilite cant ever really be as fast as its suppose to be..any truth???

shauna

We were orginally with hughes n direct tv. And then we decided to switch to dish net work n wild blue for a change. Boy if we could redo that descion we would in a heart beat... here is my story.... we got wild blue n dish net work for $350.00 we thought that was a good deal. And be for i could give them my credit card they took my debit numbers n charged it instead leaving a $0.00 balance in my bank account a bunch of bounced checks. Only to hear from the super visor that they were sorry about that. We got passed that n things seemed to be much better. The interent wasn't so bad at 1st we were going pretty fast... n then as time went bye our internet slowed down so much we couldn't connect to our home page it would say error.. i called them back to tell them what was wrong n all they could say was they were sorry but there was nonething they could do because supposibly there were clouds in my area. I kept calling about there service i made 5 calls every 3 weeks.. until i couldn't take it anymore. I called up a supervisor n told them i wanted out after 5 months of the run around we were breaking our contract. They said fine mam all you have to is send our quipment back to us you have 30 days. Well feeling like everything would go right i got off the phone n waited for the boxes to come...meanwhile i went to use my debit card the next day n the bank declined me said i didn't have enough money in the bank. I checked into it. And guess what yep its the wild blue again they took $160.00 out of our account with out authorization from us. So i called them back up very upset wanting answers they said sorry mam we needed that money for a closing fee i promise you we will not take any more money your account is closed as now. Only to find out a week later the boxes arrived from ups. And my husband went to use the card for his lunch from work. It got declined again the bank said that wild blue took out $500.00 out of it that day. I was hot at this point i called them back up demanding they return our money right now it was not theres. What right did they have to bounce checks in our bank account because they over drawled our account. They told me that they were sorry i was given 30 days to return there stuff n mind you it was only one week sense i closed the account. I asked them what rights they had they said it was in our contract that they could take money out of our account for holding. I said thats not right they argued there was nonething they could do just give them the tracking number for there merchandice n the money would be returned. Lies n more lies from them i called them back with a tracking number n found out they had recived there merchandice a few days later... they will not give me my money back they said it was theres now n there was nonething i could do about it.... meanwhile i have had $650.00 stolen from my account bye them. And all i get is there sorry but sorry doesn't cover it. These people are money hungry people don't fall for there bs i am not the only person that was conned into them. Another girl was conned into taking money out of her account they took $700.00 n when she tried to get it back they said she owed $1.00 come on now taking $700.00 out of her account just a $1.00 is crazy!!!!! If you have dishnetwork n wild blue be for you cancell your contract change your bank account be for they drain it completley... and if we knew this about them be for we would have been more smarter about them n changed our bank account a long time ago. We are in the whole $650.00 n we will never see that money from them but we learned a valueable lesson don't trust dish net work n wild blue there out to scam you take it from me. Hope this helps people out when it comes to choosing interent.

shauna

jack

I use WildBlue and I live in North Florida. Currently, there is a storm approximately 200 miles South of me right now, and I am lucky to get online at all, even though it is about 90 degrees F, clear skies, and the only clouds I see, seem to be only visible by looking South while standing on the roof, and even then, they don't appear nearly large enough to block a signal.

For the past 14 days, my internet hasn't even been able to support my laptop to connect to an IRC chat, and it takes nearly 5 minutes just to pull up my homepage (Google.com).

Unfortunately, my mother, the subscriber, has a bad habit of assuming high prices is the same as high performance. I have argued many times with her about any technical issues that effect the household should be ran by me. Like when she upgraded WildBlue to a higher monthly limited bandwidth, hoping to solve the problems. They haven't and now for some brain dead reason we have a contract with them for the next 2 years... 14GB per month is not enough if you have 3 people using the internet daily. General web browsing and chat rooms tend to eat up a great bit of our limited bandwidth. The first few days of the month is the fastest, but day by day the services gets more and more slow. By the end of the first week, the service is appears nearly deceased. WildBlue is for old people who only use the internet to get mapquest directions and send and receives pictures of grandchildren.

I am not going to state the very high price of our monthly bill (because of shame of it being over $100 per month), but I will say this, Dial-Up is cheaper and has better performance during most hours of use.

I run Slackware Linux 12.1 and the technical support personnel I conversed with about the issues, argued with me about the reason WildBlue is slow is because I am not on a MS Windows platform. Ignorant fools shouldn't be allowed to answer phones. Plus, I have tested Windows XP and Vista and it is the same results. In the beginning of the month, they run at decent speeds, but after less than a week the performance degrades greatly, even when I don't download any big files. I don't even download pirated media, Linux ISO's, pornography or streaming media.

In my summary, my experience with WildBlue is one of the worst ISP's I have encountered, and I highly suggest a difference service. If you choose not to take this advice, give it 3 months of good use before they start throttling back your bandwidth and and talk you into paying more than double a month for false informed bandwidth upgrades.

jennifer

We live off the grid in the eastern sierras just North of Bishop ca on over 300 acres, no landline. We have Hughes for our internet satelite connections and Direc tv for our tv satelite. In a snow storm we just have to use a broom to dust off the snow from the satelites and they both work like a champ!

Satellite Internet Blog

Satellite Internet services are used in locations where terrestrial Internet access is not available and in locations which move frequently. Internet access via satellite is available worldwide, including vessels at sea and mobile land vehicles. There are three types of satellite Internet service: One-way multicast, One-way with terrestrial return, and Two-way.

eric

I marvel at satelite internet. I dont marvel at the crappy management of the companies. My satelite company Wildblue limits my usuage to 7.5 gigs per month. When I run out they drop my connection to 125 kb . I cant even enjoy youtube videos or do daily usage things. They call it a "fair usuage policy" which, by the way, the name sounds like BS. They just dont want to put my $60.00 a month to more bandwidth and send it to upermanagement who buys extra houses and likely would never touch satellite internet because it is so crappy for rich people.

Wildblue

don't complain. Do you understand how glorious the technology is and you are fortunate enough to be in a country that has this service? Who put up those sats? who repairs them? NASA. The janitor of inter solar space. Cleaning up after others messes. So you don't have internet for a day or two, fuck off idiot. Think about it, if you fucking hate it so go back to 56K!

Talkin from 70.282.121.12

Colorado... from Wildblue (aka AT and T) main geostationary tracking station...

Tom Evslin

Michael:

I answered some of your very good questions in a new post - http://blog.tomevslin.com/2008/01/should-a-cellul.html. Unfortunately, no good news in Canaan, yet, though.

Michael Hardt

I'm in rural New Hampshire, and I'm always scheming to improve on my dial-up Internet. Lately I've been reading about HSDPA and EVDO.

I have very spotty cell phone access where I live--generally to make a call I have to walk outside and step about thirty feet away from the house. I've heard of cell phone repeaters and amplifiers and stationary antennae but don't understand them. Is there some way that I can mount an antenna to my roof to get Internet via a cell signal? Can I find out whether HSDPA and EVDO are even available in Canaan, NH?

Barney

I still find it hard to believe that there are places in the world where internet access is limited to dial up or nothing at all. Given the falling costs of fiber optics technology and the growing demand for high speed access I have to scratch my head wondering where these cable companies are at on this. Right now (http://www.ipinternational.net/products_sat.php)2 way satellite internet providers are making a killing on those people and businesses who need a fast connection but have no other alternative. Companies do tend to move slow though especially cable companies. Why? Who knows but they’re losing a lot of money to their competition.

DrSatellite

There are definitely good and bad areas of the United States that satellite internet works well in. As time progresses and satellite internet companies add more and more satellites into orbit, this will improve. Hughes has a new satellite coming out in 2008 supposedly.

dsl-over-satellite

Thanks for the lesson in how satellite Internet access works. I am taking an Internet related class in school and was intrigued by the idea of a satellite connection. Our book didn't really cover it too much, but I now have a better understanding of why it has the problems it does. I am trying to help my Dad set up a connection for when he is traveling off the grid. I thought maybe satellite http://www.highspeedsat.com was a viable option.

dsl-over-satellite

Thanks for the lesson in how satellite Internet access works. I am taking an Internet related class in school and was intrigued by the idea of a satellite connection. Our book didn't really cover it too much, but I now have a better understanding of why it has the problems it does. I am trying to help my Dad set up a connection for when he is traveling off the grid. I thought maybe satellite http://www.highspeedsat.com was a viable option.

HughesNet Satellite Internet

Satellite internet does suck but what are we to do if we life in a rural area? Dial-up is worse and dsl and cable are non existent....

Satellite Internet

I think the SpaceWay by HughesNet offers 16Mbps download speeds.

Maxim Usatov

Check if you can get a C-Band system. C-Band has the best tolerance over the weather conditions among geostationary solutions and can still deliver good pricing.

William D. Bond

I wanted to go all the way with technology. So, I thought Hughes. A big mistake. Comcast cable is so much faster. I discontinued the service with Hughes.
Now I am stuck with the equipment. I know that the technology is there to provide satalite service as fast as cable. The price should be about thde same as well. I am disappointed that a satalite is not up to modern times. It should be. Oh well maybe someday it will.

Ned Hughes

Do a google for SpaceWay by HughesNet. It looks to offer 16mbps speeds.

Ned Hughes

Do a google for SpaceWay by HughesNet. It looks to offer 16mbps speeds.

ron koffman

hello out there: we live in nw arkansas, and we grow fruit trees organically, here on the oklahoma border, on our somewhat remote 32 acres for 11 years now, and we also feed much wildlife, such as many hummingbirds. we live in a somewhat remote setting in the mountains and ozark forest here, and as a result we decided to give up our dialup service with the local phone company and regrettably get a wildblue communications dish for $321, plus $49.95 per month, since the first of may, and all we have had is problems and surprises with this company of various kinds, and as a result we are seriously contemplating terminating our service with them shortly, regardless of their contract, and we are wondering if there is anyone out there that can advise us as to whether or not there is any type of a market for this dish, which we own now, and could possibly sell used; and/or is there any other type of usage that we could put it to perhaps???? thank you. peace and light: ron koffman ronkffmn@yahoo.com

charley

I have a camp NE of you above Lydonville. I am not optimistic about getting usable satellite service. Do you have any advice?

me

1) It was Johann Kepler that explained the orbits (not Newton).

2). Your WildBlue dish installation is clearly not to WildBlue standards. The photograph shows it installed on your wood deck. Wood changes its dimensions with humidity, temperature and time. So your dish will NOT stay properly aimed.

The beamwidth for this system is 1.6 degrees. So if it was installed perfectly (originally) and the dish moves 0.8 degrees you start to lose signal. This will make it more susceptible to weather. It is just not possible to get them aimed "perfectly". So any changes in the dimensions of the deck will mean the dish is no longer properly aimed.

I live in Florida. We have thunderstorms nearly every day (like 29 days a month) in July and August. I have had WildBlue for 5 weeks now and have never had it go out at all. I will keep an open mind until we have gone through at least a month of the daily storms and see what happens.

3) Neither WildBlue, Hughes, Direcway, nor Viasat 'choose the frequencies'. The Federal Communications commission (cooperating with other countries) assigns frequencies. They sometimes have a choice between a couple.
The main reason for higher frequencies is that the size of your 'dish' is inversly proportional to the frequency. This is also true of the satellite. If you wanted to use a frequency low enough that it would not be bothered by weather (much), lets say, 300 MHz, your dish would have to be 100 times greater in diameter than it is now.
Going to that lower frequency would also mean that the data rate would have to be dropped from 1500 kb/s to 1.5 bits per second in order to accommodate rural America.

Mark Pendergraft

Hi,

Do you get Cell Phone Coverage where you are?
If so do you get data?
Sprint and Verizon are rolling out EVDO rev (a) so this is 3.1 mbps and rev (b) is on its way sometime next year or so. There is a Company call GlobalNet that is coming out that offers CDMA/GSM/WiFi in one handset its a Global Network Carrier so you can use it anywhere in the world, I'm not sure what the Cost is but It might be something to look into. But good luck.

Mark

Ron

I agree with the opening statements of this blog. Having a bad connection sucks! When it comes to that I am thankful that I live in an urban area so I have cable internet. Even that goes bad sometimes.

tony

can i use satilite internet to run a xbox 360 were i live that is all i can use thanks for the help

Deborah Baum

I thought your article was very informative. I also have satellite Internet (Hughes Net). The area where I live has no telephone lines so my options for Internet access at the time were limited to satellite. Very expensive, for one, and the slowest internet connection you can have. I did not know this when I signed up, although like I said, it was the only option at the time, and I needed to be on the Web as I am a college student and I take some online courses. It costs arox. $100.00 a month for 15 monthe til you bought the satellite, then it drops to $60.00 a month(still expensive compared to other forms of access). I have problems with this satellite access all the time. One major thing I noticed recently was when I tried to download a sizeable powerpoint lecture and , because of the size of the lecture, and the distance the information had to travel, my computer froze up. This is a bit of problem for me as I need to be able to download school stuff from home at times. I'm hoping something better will come up soon, although I have to wait out the 15 months before I can change services. Any ideas?

Ed Kangeter

Hi,
I appreciate your postings, thank you!
What is your latitude? I am at approx. 38 degrees north. What is your elevation above sea level? I am 2,350 feet above sea level. I am wondering what my experience might be for satellite internet. I use DirecTV satellite with little problem.
Thanks again, Ed...
BTW - I am in Northern California. Regards!

Steve

Have you ever considered one way satellite internet service. Basically there is a tradeoff; you need a land line for the upload (it ties up your phone). The upside is instead of sending from your dish to the satellite, the page request goes through the phone line to the satellite. It bypasses the weather related issues. Try skyway Satellite. www.satellite4internet.com

Stephen Aldrich

Thanks for the lesson in how satellite internet access works. I am taking an Internet related class in school and was intriged by the idea of a satellite connection. Our book didn't really cover it too much, but I now have a better understanding of why it has the problems it does. I am trying to help my Dad set up a connection for when he is traveling off the grid. I thought maybe satellite was a viable option, but I think I will look around more before making a recommendation.
Steve

Paul Cunningham

THANK YOU! I went googling for the facts and stumbled across your well written article. MAY GOD BLESS YOUR SOUL for your honest and objective publication!

I am preparing to move to the sticks a few miles ENE of Nowhere, Oklahoma (yes, that's a real place) where a landline phone is barely available, and reportedly, inversely reliable to the moisture content of the red dirt where they buried the line umpteen years ago.

You may have saved me a chunk of cash in installation fees and service bills with your article. I believe I will hold out for wireless (point to point) service which is spreading like wildfire in the area.

Paul

CS

I have wildblue also and have the exact frustrations that you mentioned above. I'm ready to tear my hair out!

Scott

Tom,

Not sure if this will be any better in upstate NYC, but you might do as I do: hack your cellphone to tether to your computer, then use the cell phone network. Twice as fast as dialup and less likely to crap out in the rain, though still not broadband even in optimal EVDO environments (i.e. cities).

Scott

Eric

Let me know if you ever hear of links to Newtons blog:)

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