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Thread: Questions on Satellite Internet Service

  1. #1

    Default Questions on Satellite Internet Service

    Looking at options for acquiring satellite internet service for some remote NPS and FS locations down the road, and would love to get your thoughts and input in 2 areas:

    1) Challenges/nuances with satellite internet service to remote locations (what can affect the connection, how do you provide power to the satellite, does the size of the dish matter, etc)

    2) Do you have a favorite provider, and why do you prefer their service over others?

    Feel free to PM me if you prefer that you a Forum response. Thanks in advance for any thoughts you can provide! I've use sat phones to call in bush planes from different remote hunting spots in Alasa, but am not familiar with satellite internet services.

    Thanks,

    Michael

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    First off, what type of foundation to hold the dish? I have a Hughesnet dish on my cabin at the lodge and have had great success with it. I had Starband when I lived in Naknek, Hughesnet is better in my opinion. First advise would go get licensed to be an installer, that way you can install and tune them with out having to wait for the installer to arrive in the bush. This will save much grief. You will also be able to get the gear you need instead of waiting so long for your turn. Mine I could power with a Honda 2000 genset. You also need to be about to look low at the eastern horizon or you won't be able to see the sattelite.

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    Member KelvinG's Avatar
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    I have Hughesnet mounted on the side of my place. I get about 500K up and 1 meg down. Good enough for email and online shopping. Not good enough for voice over IP or online videos.
    My advice is to call the Satellite Guys in Anchorage. I have a friend installed dish for a new outfit, (sky blue? blue sky?). I forget what he is gets for speeds, but it's a lot better than I get. He's using his for VoIP and says it working great.

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    We use Exede internet, through wild blue. It is a 12mbps down 3mbps up, works well up north above the arctic circle, shouldn't be an issue since your further south. Works well for any type of use except gaming, which isn't a big deal. Strong signal, much better then starband, you should have a stable power system though, a UPS is recommended.

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    Quote Originally Posted by KelvinG View Post
    I have Hughesnet mounted on the side of my place. I get about 500K up and 1 meg down. Good enough for email and online shopping. Not good enough for voice over IP or online videos.
    Voice actually doesn't use very much bandwidth at all - even uncompressed it's only 64k bps. Poor voip performance over satellite can only be fixed by rolling back the laws of physics - minimum speed-of-light delay in one direction up and down to a satellite in geosynchronous orbit is about 1/4 second, and that's if you don't include packetization overhead. So, VoIP isn't a realistic option with satellite. Video will be bandwidth constrained - pay more, get more.
    Mushing Tech: squeezing the romance out of dog mushing one post at a time

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    Michael, We live in the NE corner of Wrangell-St. Elias Nat'l Preserve and have Starband. The dish is an older one (2005ish) and is approximately 3 feet in diameter and mounted to the side of the house about 10 feet above ground with a clear SE exposure. Power is provided via solar charged battery bank, although we also have a diesel generator for back up (occasional large electric demand with lodge and several outbuildings). Connection seems to be affected by extreme weather: thunderstorms, heavy snow, and high winds primarily. Outages are generally less then 30 minutes when weather induced. Other outages are usually a few minutes, similar to sat-phone or GPS issues. Transmission speeds and bandwidth allowance vary with service plan, but in reality are a bit less than advertised. Speeds and allowance are fine for email and checking weather, but any large data streaming like Skype, Pandora, YouTube or Netflix type are just about impossible even with the high end plan. They operate on a rolling seven day bandwidth plan, so you are ALWAYS on day seven of usage. Additionally, the company is based on the East Coast so dealing with customer service / tech support can be challenging. Not exactly the greatest setup, but it beats the heck out of smoke signals. If you have any specific questions, feel free to PM me. Regards, Jessi

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    Member SusitnaAk's Avatar
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    Any new things going on for internet in the bush,? I am interested in getting some for cabin out by Susitna and Yentna river, Hughs net and or this Wild blue, Exede, seem to be the Choices, any others ? Are you happy with what you have ? Can you install your self? Who would you call ?.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SusitnaAk View Post
    Any new things going on for internet in the bush,? I am interested in getting some for cabin out by Susitna and Yentna river, Hughs net and or this Wild blue, Exede, seem to be the Choices, any others ? Are you happy with what you have ? Can you install your self? Who would you call ?.
    If at all possible I would talk to people around you that have the satellite service you want and find out if Mt Sue is blocking the signal and how they like it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacGyver View Post
    If at all possible I would talk to people around you that have the satellite service you want and find out if Mt Sue is blocking the signal and how they like it.
    Thank You ,for the reply MacGyver. , Hoping someone from the area would jump in. Tell me what they have, were they got it. how much. so forth. My understanding of it,You need a view to the south, for this type of access. Mt. Sue is west of me. Cell phone must come from the North because i have to walk about 300yards to top of the hill facing north , to get it to work .

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    We are in SE. We have Starband, because that's who has service in the area we need it. Hughesnet is rumored to be offering better service for us in a year & we will be trying that out. we have a big dish 3' I think & have it mounted on our deck. We had some troubles getting it aimed & had to clear out a big tree that was a good distance form the cabin- but it works now. We had a friend come by with an aiming tool that some 'neighbors' went in to together to purchase. The instal guy would have come out- but it was expensive & sort of a hassle.

    We use a honda 2000, so we have service when the gene is running. I also have a router- so I have wireless in the cabin & can use the laptop on the sofa.

    Our deal is $50/mo- we don't have much download though. The perk is that we can 'turn off' the service while we're not there & not be billed. Th next higher pkg didn't allow that. After we hit the max- we get throttled for awhile. That part sucks! We check the weather, emails, misc & can still facetime a little bit (well, we did it once).

    When the river flooded & I was there alone with the kids- it was REALLY nice to be able to reach out via text msg & not have to use the sat phone, whenever I wanted to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SusitnaAk View Post
    Thank You ,for the reply MacGyver. , Hoping someone from the area would jump in. Tell me what they have, were they got it. how much. so forth. My understanding of it,You need a view to the south, for this type of access. Mt. Sue is west of me. Cell phone must come from the North because i have to walk about 300yards to top of the hill facing north , to get it to work .
    I suggest you Google Starband and Hughesnet for more information. When I did Starband they said

    “The dish antenna must have an unobstructed view of the satellite in order for the service to function, meaning that no buildings, trees, etc. can block the path between your antenna and the satellite.”

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    Member SusitnaAk's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by alaskan9974 View Post
    We use Exede internet, through wild blue. It is a 12mbps down 3mbps up, works well up north above the arctic circle, shouldn't be an issue since your further south. Works well for any type of use except gaming, which isn't a big deal. Strong signal, much better then starband, you should have a stable power system though, a UPS is recommended.
    Update: Almost a year now since my last reply. I also picked Exede,$59.00 per month package. Besides the heavy snowfall type weather and when the trees leaves came in, I had to cut some down. I have been happy with it. My Gal can also do this face time thing on her iPhone right from Cabin without suiting up and going up to the hill for cell phone coverage. It is run with either Honda 2000 or if I don't feel like getting up and starting the generator, I will just unplug it and plug into a cheap little 300 watt, inverter.

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