High Speed by Sat


Old 08-25-03, 10:47 AM
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High Speed by Sat

Ok, all you geek-types, I'm on the verge of ordering satellite high speed through DirecTV (already using them for TV).

Without having to describe my area too much, suffice it to say we are in a growing city (in the top three percentage-wise in the state for growth - about 10%/yr) of about 30,000 on the west coast of Florida.

DSL - Not available
Wireless - What's that?
Cable (Comcast, after sending out a truck to do a neighborhood survey) - "There are currently no plans to expand coverage into your neighborhood". Their nearest cable run is a couple of blocks away.

Except for (1) Satellite is slower than DSL or cable, (2) We'll lose internet when it's raining really hard, and (3) It's a little pricey to get installed; is there anything I'm going to be REALLY unhappy about compared to the 49k Earthlink dial-up connections I'm currently working with.
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Old 08-25-03, 11:30 AM
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Don't use it to play online games. It has very high latency.

For instance, it will take a second for your click to respond (much like dial-up). but once it gets moving, its moves fast. For surfing the net, and downloading things, it is way faster than dial-up.

most are only one-way satellites, so you still have to dial-up and use your phone line the entire time you are online. I think this is the main reason more people havent used it.
Old 08-25-03, 02:37 PM
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I'm sure you've already read it, but there's a FAQ <a href="http://directv.direcway.com/faqs.html">here</a> - it mentions a few things to consider. One of these is that the software is only compatible with MS Windows - not Mac, not Unix/Linux environments. Something to think about. Also, you <i>must</i> have and <i>must</i> use a USB port for your connection - this means that you can't connect a router, if you want to share you'll have to use a proxy setup or ICS. Not a big problem, unless you have a small home network you want to access the internet with.

As for the speeds, if you can actually get 500Kbps out of it, I'll be surprised. But, for the most part, yes it will definitely be better than dial-up. Most low-cost DSL and Cable is only about 360K or so anyway - so it <i>should</i> be pretty comparable to them.

They say that the system is now 2-way and that you only need a modem for the initial setup (download software???) and sometimes for troubleshooting (IOW, don't throw it away - you may have to use it often.) Besides, if your Sat ever goes down or you do lose connection because of bad weather, you could still go back to dial-up (if you're like me, you'll just want to wait )

Good luck with it! And definitely let us know how it goes. A full review would be great!
Old 08-25-03, 05:13 PM
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Thanks for the input, guys. Have already covered everything you mentioned. The sat system is two way as mentioned, although I note the upstream speed is not real speedy. I don't think the modem requirement on install is for software, I think it's just for the installer to activate your account. I get the impression when the pro sat guy comes, he brings the hardware and software and basically does everything (which they should for what the in$tall co$t$). Slow upstream not a big concern; mostly I want the downstream to get to me faster anyway. Not an on-line gamer, so no prob there; Direct warns that it may not be suitable for what they call "twitch" stuff. Using Windows, got USB ports, got the southern view. Like you said, I'll be surprised if I get the max rate claimed @ 500k, but on the other hand if it sometimes gets 400 and mostly gets 300, 300k is 6x my dial-up! Not overly concerned about dropping off during heavy rain; we get nothing but clear blue skies during the dry season (roughly Thanskgiving to Memorial Day). Read just about every word on all of the Direct web pages including the faq's looking for anything that would really p.o. me if I discovered it during/after installation. Didn't really see anything to make me think twice and I am SOOOOOO tired of dial-up.

I'll try to keep notes on my experience to share later on for general knowledge.
Old 09-01-03, 12:07 PM
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Pretty much what everyone said is correct. Uploads are slow (around 56k) downloads are "bursty" from 500 to 250 back up to 500 then down to 150 kbs.

There is also a "Fair Use" clause where if you download to much a month the can dock you download speed untill the next month comes up. Basically so you don't hog the bandwith on the satellite. (Make sure you ask Directway about it, the local install guy may be clueless, not his fault)

Yea install is pricy (I had the service for over a year then got rid of it when Cable Internet became available in my area.
I had the Two way system and it worked fine, the signal never went out for to long, normaly 10 minutes or so when a heavy storm started to roll in then I would get signal back (even while it continued to rain). I did have a problem with my TX box going out and that was a pain (I got stuck trouble shooting with Direcway for about 6 hours, thank heavens for the 888 number) but when they were sure it was either the TX box or the feed horn (on the front of the dish for TX'ing) they sent me both at no cost and then I had a guy come out and replace both of them (all charged to Direcway) and I was up and running again. I did have to send in the broken parts (shipping and handling) but that was it.

I would give them 8 / 10 for customer service (Direcway)
I would give the install guy (Not directway, a Local guy) 7 / 10
I would of given the install guy higher but I helped him with the whole install, but he was a nice guy
I would give them 8 / 10 for Trouble shooting (Direcway)
I would give the equipment 8 / 10 for reliablity.

Oh yea just to let you know They do bring the Software and hardware for you, but there program will NOT run on W98 (if anyone is still running that ) You only need the dial-up modem for the inital set up and possible troubles hooting later on.

I was pleased with the service. I hope it works well for you.
Old 09-01-03, 12:35 PM
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Thanks for the additional info. Should be hearing from an installer in the next couple of days. We've had Direct for 4 years now and have been very satisfied; my experience with their customer service is similar to yours, I might even give them a "9". My only minor complaint is that when the access card fails, they want to charge you something like $40 for a replacement. So far I've avoided the charge twice by pissing and moaning; I mean, really, $40 for a $.50 piece of plastic with an encoded mag strip???

The program is supposed to run on Win 98SE (yeeeees I'm still running it) and the on-line system check says I'm good to go.

I figure just about the time I get it up and running both dsl AND cable will miraculously become available in my neighborhood.

Looking forward to getting OFF dial-up; even 150kbps is better than 3x my current speed.
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