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Satellite Internet
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Hal/WA    Posted 12-08-2004 at 16:50:05       [Reply]  [No Email]
My Starband satellite internet service started working again last was off line for about 10 days. It is sure great to be able to use the internet fairly quickly again. For some reason our available speed on our phone line is only about 9.6, which is WAAAY SLOW.

We got several phone messages from Starband and were finally told to just leave the satellite modem equipment on and it would correct the problem. It seems to have done so. They never really explained what the problem was, except that a significant problem occurred with the satellite my dish is pointed at. Apparently it took the people running the satellite some time to get it straightened out. I am guessing a communications satellite and its earthbound equipment is pretty complex. From the way things worked out, I suspect it was a software problem rather than a hardware glitch.

I like the satellite internet a lot, but I would be hard pressed to recommend a satellite based system if anything else with decent speed is available at a reasonable price. If I had a business where using the internet was very important, I would really have been up a creek the last 10 days.

Glad to be back!

Gunner    Posted 12-08-2004 at 17:15:39       [Reply]  [No Email]
Have been considering Starband recently after waiting for Wild Blue to offer service since late '03ish -
$70 a month is pretty steep for questionable reliability (thru Starband) and Wild Blue is supposed to come in around the $50 a month range - I recently tried a system connected via a cable service. Extremely impressive but those city lights are just too bright - Hoping the internet over the powerline thing eventually works out
Have you tried any remote access type software using Starband?

Hal/WA    Posted 12-09-2004 at 15:07:21       [Reply]  [No Email]
I guess I don't know what remote access software is, so I guess we haven't.

I think $70 per month must be for more features than we have. Ours is more like $50 (my wife pays that bill). It worked out to be about $5 more per month than we were paying for the dedicated phone line and the service provider. And our phone line service was about as poor as any I have heard of that actually worked. Sometimes a reasonable download would take ALL NIGHT!

On the other hand, the Starband ended up costing over $600 up front, with the equipment costs and the mandatory professional installation. I was quite put off by the mandatory pro installation, because the salesman my wife talked to assured her that if I could put up a Dish Network setup and make it work, I could put up the Starband system as well. I had installed the Dish equipment several years ago, but as I researched the Starband installation, they absolutely require professional installation by an AUTHORIZED Starband affiliated installer. We already had the equipment, so I bit the bullet and paid the $200 to have the guy come out and get it working. But the whole sequence of events left a bitter taste in my mouth--I hate to be lied to.

When it is working right, Starband works great. It is as fast as any phone line based system I have ever worked on and many times faster than what I was putting up with the last few years. Starband has seldom bumped me off, like our other company often did. Starband sometimes is affected by weather and one other time it just wouldn't work for a couple of days. That was never explained.

Starband is an alternative that I would only suggest considering if there is just nothing else available that has decent speed and is affordable. Starband is kind of expensive, especially to get started, and I am guessing that what we have is near the lowest level of service and equipment that they offer.

Something else I will mention: Starband does not support networking with their systems. Again the salesman said that wireless networking was easy to do, and then you could have several computers working from the same Starband connection. Well, it isn't that easy. You can't just put a router between the modem and the first computer, but rather have to go through that first computer with another networking board. Starband also said that you have to use a proxy software program (which I could never get to work right). Luckily, I was working with the download software that is supposed to be used on a trial basis. The actual software cost about $200. My son finally figured out that by upgrading all our computers to PRO, there was a way it would work without extra proxy software. Our little wireless network works fine now--we have had 3 computers going at the same time and never noticed any influence or delays from having more than 1 running at a time. Neat! But I fooled around with the problems for months and had got very frustrated. If my son had not come home and tinkered with it, we still would not have a working network. Starband tech support should be able to tell someone how to get networking going a lot better than they do.

But you do what you think was the best decision at the time you make it and sometimes just live with that decision for awhile.....

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