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Author Topic: Satellite Internet: Lookin' for the Lowdown  (Read 362 times)

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Offline StarlequinTopic starter

Satellite Internet: Lookin' for the Lowdown
« on: September 15, 2012, 02:43:20 AM »
So, yeah, I guess this topic would go here. Or maybe Tech Support, but I think it might get more traffic here. Please move if necessary.

I live out in the sticks, outside a little nowhere town so small it doesn't have a stoplight, forget public WiFi. Thanks to circumstances I'm not going into, I can't get DSL or even dial-up internet access where I live, and cellular modem access coverage is so slow, spotty and unreliable here as to not be worth the money. The only access I have at home is via my smartphone; otherwise I schlep my laptop into one of the neighboring towns and use cafe hotspots for a couple hours.

So what I want to know is, is satellite internet worth the money and the hassle? I've found a lot of mixed reviews online, but I'd like to get personal opinions here from people who've dealt with the service. Are data caps still as bad as I read about when the service was first offered, or has it loosened up? Is the speed really reliable, or is it as subject to the weather as tv signals? And how good (or murder-inciting) is customer service/tech support?

Any answers will be much appreciated.

Online Syene

Re: Satellite Internet: Lookin' for the Lowdown
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2012, 03:19:59 AM »
I'd have a hard time justifying the cost. I haven't used it extensively and I've never used a connection using one of the new Exede satellites (which are much faster and I've heard better things about them), but I do tech support for a company that used to resell WildBlue, so I'm pretty familiar with the pros and cons.

The data caps are still pretty bad, the signal is definitely affected by weather (in my experience its overall less reliable in general than DSL or cable) and the latency is so bad that it still seems really slow even if you're getting DSL speeds. You can't do any significant downloading or uploading due to the caps, you can't really game due to the latency, and you can't use anything like Skype due to both. Tech support is pretty much as awful as AT&T's DSL tech support (unless you're with a reseller that does its own support and has a reputation for good service). I have a friend I used to work with who said he'd rather just have dial-up than deal with satellite and while I'm not sure I'd go that far, it's a lot of money for a service with a lot of disadvantages.

If you can possibly get DSL, you would be way better off with that, even if it's just 768 Kbps -- at least the caps aren't murder and the latency is reasonable. Satellite is an option of last resort.

Another thing to consider is that it usually comes with a 2 year contract (possibly with a credit check) and you usually have to mount the dish on the roof, which requires the homeowner's authorization.

Offline StarlequinTopic starter

Re: Satellite Internet: Lookin' for the Lowdown
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2012, 04:33:24 AM »
Thank you for replying. I'd almost forgotten about this thread. I've pretty much made up my mind to continue avoiding getting involved with any satnet service due to the deafening two week silence to my question, but I'm very glad to have this comfirmation that it really is about as bad as I've heard / read about. I majored in Comp Science in college years ago and I used to know a lot about this stuff, but I've let my knowledge fade so now I'm only techy enough to be dangerous, lol.

Thanks again for the info!