Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Is Starband's Satellite Internet Service Palatable?

Cliff posted more than 12 years ago | from the dishing-out-the-satellite-packets dept.

The Internet 259

George Thomas asks: "Since Centurytel bought out my local teleco, my internet access has been limited to about 14k compared to the 48k I previously enjoyed. I am interested in reader experiences and/or comments about internet access by satelite dish, specifically Dish Networks, because they offer 128k up and 350k down. I live in a rural area and cable is not a viable option. I am currently running Red Hat 7.2 on an old Supermicro LX series dual PII MB. I have USB ports native to the board, but don't have a clue whether they will work with the USB modem supplied with the hardware package. Also I can boot to Windows95 with LiLo, but my copy of Windows doesn't support USB. I can replace the MB if necessary, but would rather not if I can avoid doing that. Any help will be gratefully appreciated." Of course, Dish Network used to be a reseller for Starband. Now, it appears that things have flip-flopped and Starband is now offering 'upgrades' for Dish Network service. So are any of you Slashdot readers current Starband customers? If so, please share your thoughts on the service.

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

hey (-1)

Mao Zedong (467890) | more than 12 years ago | (#3450990)

asl ?

Important (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3450996)

2nd post!

* Important Stuff: Please try to keep posts on topic.
* Try to reply to other people comments instead of starting new threads.
* Read other people's messages before posting your own to avoid simply duplicating what has already been said.
* Use a clear subject that describes what your message is about.
* Offtopic, Inflammatory, Inappropriate, Illegal, or Offensive comments might be moderated. (You can read everything, even moderated posts, by adjusting your threshold on the User Preferences Page)

Problems regarding accounts or comment posting should be sent to CowboyNeal

tech support (-1, Offtopic)

MJArrison (154721) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451004)

Hello, and welcome to Slashdot's Technical Support line. Please hold...

Not for gaming... (5, Informative)

geckofiend (314803) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451008)

The CW I was handed when I looked into satelite ISP services is that the high latency of the connection makes it useless for gaming.

If you want to surf the net or read email you're fine. Try anything which requires a low ping time and you're hosed.

YMMV but I steered clear. (Then again I can still at least manage a 45k connection.)

Re:Not for gaming... (3, Interesting)

Shamanin (561998) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451179)

Though ping (ICMP level) results may be high, TCP/IP level communication can be optimized by the modem vendor using higher level protocols such as TCP-PEP (TCP with Performance Enhancing Proxies) which minimizes the traffic that has to traverse the modem => satellite => modem path. These optimizations along with IP QoS (Quality of Service field in IP packets) is what to look for when shopping for IP over Satellite vendors.

Not Only "Not for gaming..." (2, Informative)

Mad Man (166674) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451497)

Gaming is not the only thing affected by high latency, as Jerry Pournelle [jerrypournelle.com] wrote on his website:

"View" Tuesday, October 2, 2001 [jerrypournelle.com]
I am now willing to believe that Microsoft and Earthlink and the Hughes satellite people all worked together to create the most frustrating system possible, guaranteed to drive everyone insane.

There is no other explanation of why this imbecility works the way it does. Clearly no one really tried to make this work and did any testing. Why should they?

The MSN home page, for instance, is designed for maximum problems with high latency systems: it wants about 50 requests for little files, and since there is a delay for each one, it takes literally about 4 minutes to download the MSN home page. Updates are just as bad. I suppose there is going to be some magical fix for all this when things are adequately cached, but I wouldn't count on it.

I have no choice but to sit there and wait for Microsoft to deliver its stupid home page with all the stupid little files, but once I get my updates I can be certain I will not go THERE again. Ye gods!

All right. Once it works it works fine. But ye flipping gods , the contortions I have to go through to get it going.

I don't know if the problems are hardware or software so I am going to get an Intel D815 system to install this on and try again.

Re:Not for gaming... (1)

Darkstar9969 (516815) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451511)

Not for work at home types either so long as your employer requires you use a VPN. I support the Nortel client/switches using IPsec. You can't even get it through the satellite systems due to software compression. They are not well suited to VPN connections anyway due to the latency of getting your signal from earth to space to earth again.

The previous poster was correct. If you want to pull webpages and check email in a rural area satellite may be the way to go. Wireless providers are popping up all the time so don't count those out.

Whatever you do...DON'T do ISDN unless you are REALLY jonsing for speed faster than your 56k. It is expensive.


Don't bother (4, Informative)

First_In_Hell (549585) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451012)

getting a good signal is like pulling teeth, if the moon, sun, trees, and mars are not aligned correctly, you lose signal strength. I always seem to be operating at 50% of what they say I should be. Pure crap!

Re:Don't bother (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3451067)

I've been a long time starband user. I started with the Skyblaster PC and recently upgraded to the 360 system.

I have NEVER had signal stength problems and I would suspect that your dish is not properly peaked, pointed.

I have both Dish Network and Starband and find that even during heavy rain the TV goes before the starband internet access.

Ignoring the gaming issue I would HIGHLY recommend starband, it's great and the 360 made things better and more reliable.

Re:Don't bother (2)

Deagol (323173) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451074)

Is SSH (or any remote terminal access) workable? I have some rural property that I'd like to move out to, but I need some kind of connectivity for telecommuting. I all need is SSH.

Re:Don't bother (2)

cdrudge (68377) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451362)

Please don't think about it if you need to do any type of interactive computing. Press a key now and a second or two later, it shows up. Think 2400 baud modem days. Sats work good for batch transfers, data streams, and the like. They suck in the interactivity department.

Re:Don't bother (1)

Chucow (572393) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451076)

Well, I don't know if I would go that far. A friend of mine has it and says that it has been reliable for him. Definetely not for gaming as was mentioned earlier to due the high latency (traveling through the sky for a while), but he says he hasn't had problems getting a good connection. Only complaint he has is that speed varies (ie While downloading goes from 100kb down to 40kb and then goes up to 80kb)

Re:Don't bother (-1)

Grape Smuggler (569838) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451177)

Ah yes, the ubiquitous "good friend of mine".

Please stop trolling, and get back to developing modem drivers for Linux.

USB Compatibility (1, Informative)

KingKire64 (321470) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451019)

Ok... Well if The modem is USB 2.0 and you have 1.0 then it wont work. If The modem is USB 1.0 and you have 1.0 then it should work... Is the question more along the lines of will this work with linux Becuase if you upgrade to any newer version of windows you should have no problem. As for linux dont know.

Re:USB Compatibility (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3451119)

Ok... Well if The modem is USB 2.0 and you have 1.0 then it wont work. If The modem is USB 1.0 and you have 1.0 then it should work... Is the question more along the lines of will this work with linux Becuase if you upgrade to any newer version of windows you should have no problem. As for linux dont know.

Actually, USB 1.1 (or as you call it, 1.0) is completely compatible with 2.0. Any 2.0 device can plug into a 1.1 USB port and work perfectly - just at the 1.1 speed and not the faster speed that goes along with 2.0 :)

Re:USB Compatibility (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3451194)

If you don't know Shit, Shut the Hell Up

Re:USB Compatibility (1)

morcego (260031) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451260)

At least in Brazil (yeah, we have Easyband here, marketed by Embratel), the reports I received is that it works with Linux, but not very well, once it seems to depend on some kind of software that runs only on Windows.

The exactly value varies, but seems it's somewhat 40-60% slower on Linux.

Tech Support (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3451039)

Holy Shit. This board isn't used for tech support questions.

Re:Tech Support (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3451200)

Why not? There may be thousands of people who want to know the answer to this question.

microsoft only (3, Informative)

neomagi (576884) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451040)

i was consulting for a company that was interested in sat connectivity. it was the best option, until the tech support informed me that it had to connect to a Microsoft box, but they told me from there i could route to a linux firewall then to my network. that wasn t very long ago.

Viable? (0)

resonator (151559) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451042)

I'm curious about how cable is not a "viable" option. Does your cable service charge a $600 equipment fee? (last I checked, that's where StarBand is at). Is it not a viable option, or just not an option?

Re:Viable? (1)

chuckwagon99 (23463) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451078)

If I had to guess, I'd assume not "viable" in the sense that there's no cable running out to his "rural area", but the telco would be happy to run the cable out to him and give him service, so long as his company will pay some huge (1000's of dollars) "cabling" fee to get it out there.

Re:Viable? (2, Interesting)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451111)

He lives in the sticks, if he has a cable company it is some nearly bankrupt mom-and-pop that can't afford the upgrade to be an ISP.

I would suggest biting the bullet and buying a Windows 2000/XP machine. It may cost money, but your time should be worth more than fiddling to get a decade old OS to work with new equipment.

Re:Viable? (1)

kk5wa (118020) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451137)

Cable doesn't make it out that far. Trust me...I live in the sticks, and am in almost the exact same position. The cable ends 4.5 miles from my home.

Re:Viable? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3451389)

The cable ends 1.5 miles away from my house... doh!

Re:Viable? (3, Insightful)

Kamel Jockey (409856) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451152)

I'm curious about how cable is not a "viable" option

Cable TV itself, much less broadband internet access, just may not be available. In a rural area, this problem is exacerbated by the high costs incurred by a cable company just to set up basic cable TV service. I have many friends in rural areas who have to use satellite just to watch TV because cable TV service isn't available. Unlike with the phone companies, which have to provide phone service to all parts of the USA, there is no such requirement for cable TV providers. Hence, it doesn't look like this problem will "eventually" be solved in the short term.

Re:Viable? (1, Informative)

werdnab (556710) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451338)

In my case, cable is along my road, but it will cost me $1K to bring it up the driveway (long driveway). And that is not including any equipment. I have DirectTV, they offer sattellite internet service also, but that is only one way, down. You still need a DSL to go up, er, out. Now, why would anyone do that? If DSL is available in your location, why have both?

Over Usage? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3451043)

I've heard of problems with Dish Network setups before. If your a power user and love to suck down MP3's, Divx and porn.. umm I mean demo's. They will eventually throttle your bandwith back to 'balance' the usage. Of course this means it might eventually be faster to keep the 14kbps. Of course they may have changed there policies since then to.

Anyone wanna verify this?

Go ahead, hit me, no ones looking.

Re:Over Usage? (1)

NinjaPablo (246765) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451131)

Not sure about StarBand, but I use DirecPC and get throttled quite a bit. If you use P2P, or lotsa downloads, or stream stuff, expect to see download speeds drop after a few hours of continued usage.

My speed tests out at a little over 500kbps, but when throttles, it drops to 90-100kbps.

And for games? Forget it. UO and DAoC work fine, but anything relying on ping is gonna suck.

Re:Over Usage? yes! (1)

Budgreen (561093) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451234)

there can be some minor bandwith problems durring peak useage hours. and I know for sure that DirecTV's direcway/directpc does have a "fair access" policy where some power user types get capped from time to time. supposedly at random

UK residents, vote Liberal Democrat today (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3451048)

  • To choose Conservative or Labour is to choose to go the current way of America. Do you really want no public services but taxes as high as today? If so, show your affinity for the Tories. Do you want a lapdog for G. W. Bush for your leader? If so, show your affinity for Labour.
  • To not vote at all is to play on the apathy which has made Labour so strong. And we must take a warning from France as to what else abstainment will do!
These are not general elections, so you may have individual causes that are important to you, and override the candidates' party affiliation. This is OK. But remember, the spirit of the nation is reflected in the sum of the attitudes of its individual people, which begins with local democracy. Yes, democracy is a mess, but think how much worse it is in countries where there is no opportunity at all to have a voice. Let's not lose what we have.

Re:UK residents, vote Liberal Democrat today (-1, Offtopic)

cmdr_beeftaco (562067) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451150)

Who are you kidding! You have been and always will be the laptop of the world's most dominate super power, get over yourself. We throw you a couple of crumbs and don't laugh at you when you talk funny but to think that who you elect is going to change your lot in life is naive. You should have never messed with Mel Gibson, that was your downfall. Cheers.

Re:UK residents, vote Liberal Democrat today (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3451224)

Total attempts to troll: 1.
Number which were successful: 0.

Ethernet works too, according to Starband (3, Informative)

lactose99 (71132) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451062)

According to the Starband website [starband.com] (PC requirements section), Starband can work with either USB or Ethernet. I would think that an Ethernet-based model would work fine.

Re:Ethernet works too, according to Starband (1)

Autonin (322765) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451245)

This is a recent development, I think. My dad has SB, and if you don't use the proprietary Windows-only driver, you get like 10% of rated through-put. Apparently the actual line speed is *much* lower than advertised, and they make the Marketing numbers by using compression.

The Ethernet option's bound to have the same speed limitations.

48Kbps to 14Kbps? (2)

operagost (62405) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451070)

I don't see how a company simply changing hands could cause that. My parents are stuck with a tiny phone company with horribly outdated equipment, and even they get better connects than you. You need to make a service call! Tell them there's noise on your line... with a 14.4 connect, I don't see how you can't hear it yourself!

Re:48Kbps to 14Kbps? (1)

geckofiend (314803) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451143)

Many phone companies will not do anything to improve a line unless you can't connect below their threshold in BPS. Last time I check with my local company 14.4 was the cut off. At that time I was connecting at 23k on what should have been a 56(53)k connection.

check the tarrifs, call the public utility board (2, Informative)

ChaosMt (84630) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451330)

I used to work for an ISP that covered most of rural montana. Even in the worst cases, we could ALWAYS squeeze out 28.8. If there was ever a case of bad connections like that, we didn't wait a second to jump all over u.s. worst's (local telco, now qworst) back. We quote the tarrifs for the state (you can usally find them on line), and tell them to get out there and fix it now, not tomorrow, NOW.

As to answer 'what changed', I can envision one situation that would cause that to happen, even though it would make no sense. Perhaps the new company dropped their PRI's and set up some modem bank or some such. I can't imagine why, but v.90 modems pretty much can only go above 28.8 when they are analog only on one side. If you connection goes analog, digitial, and finally analog on the ISP's end, the best you will ever get is 28.8 - period.

Also check to see if the local telco dude did sometime to effect the lines in the neighborhood. It's best not to call, but wait until you see the van ot ask the guy personally. I've found that they're usally no further than one hour away from getting stoned. If you have good timing and play your cards right, and a bag of Herbal Essence, you can usally get anything you want and it'll be done faster, better and cheaper.

By the way, when did this turn into supportdot?

Re:check the tarrifs, call the public utility boar (2)

Cramer (69040) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451490)

  • I can't imagine why, but v.90 modems pretty much can only go above 28.8 when they are analog only on one side.
Then you clearly have no understanding of how modems (modern modems) work.

The whole "56k" thing is just an inventive trick. It works only because the ISP end is digital. That means the ISP hardware is transmitting pure digital crap to your modem in the form of discrete PCM codes which it knows will equal a specific analog value at the receiving modem -- and within some tolerance, it's consistant. It doesn't work in the other direction because the analog end cannot be sure of the exact PCM code to which it's analog output will coorespond and the conversion is highly inconsistant.

Re:48Kbps to 14Kbps? (1)

siemce (544739) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451395)

Actually most telcos only guarantee 14.4, and there is nothing you can do about it. They test the line for noise, they don't find anything and tell you that now it is your problem.

hello (-1)

tealover (187148) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451071)

i've just poured a bowl of hot grits down my pants !!!

Starband experiance (5, Informative)

Stoke (86808) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451072)

I installed Starband for a company on long island. The service isnt horrible, but it does have some problems.

Large downloads usually max out at 60kb/s with uploads being in the 5-10kb/s range. Web browsing feels much slower, with waits of a couple seconds before the page even starts to load.

The USB modem is huge, around the size of a flatbed scanner. (this was a year ago, maybe it's smaller now)

Weather also plays a factor.. clouds hurt and rain basically kills the connection.

Re:Starband experiance (2)

arivanov (12034) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451215)

Large downloads usually max out at 60kb/s

This means it maxes at full bandwidth. Which is quite good.

Because if you have 520 ms latency which is the standard for SAT you cannot get more than this speed. TCP window cannot grow more. It is inherent feature of the protocol. Look into TCP/IP design and implementation for discussion related to bandwidth x delay product and the RFCs on SACK and windowing options

Re:Starband experiance (2)

Ioldanach (88584) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451278)

Large downloads usually max out at 60kb/s with uploads being in the 5-10kb/s range.
Question... is that kB or kb? Either its comparable to a 56kbps modem or its 8 times as fast... significant difference there. saying kb implies kilobit.

Re:Starband experiance (rain) (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3451352)

The rain issue may just be with your LNA getting wet. Try cutting the bottom out of a one-liter pop bottle and splitting it down the side. Then snap it over the LNA, with the big end pointing to the dish and the split on the bottom. This has worked wonders for me on a different sat antenna. I haven't see a StarBand antenna, so its physical configuration may prevent this exact solution. But anything you can do to keep the LNA dry should help.

get rid of the USB (4, Informative)

dagyo (544701) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451091)

google search on "starband linux hack" revealed the following: "No, I never did, because it turns out it's a lot easier to just remove the USB daughter board in the satmodem, and just use it with a straight 10BaseT ethernet connection instead of the stupid USB connection. We are using the Starband service with the external Gilat Satmodem 180, which has both a USB jack and an RJ-45 ethernet jack on the back of the case. The USB daughterboard is easily identified and is clearly labeled with a "Warning: this card is not removable" marking. All you do is unscrew the screws holding the USB card to the back of the case, pry up the double-sided tape that's holding it down, and slide the USB card out the back of the satmodem case. I recommend installing some duct tape over the hole left by the absence of the USB daughterboard. :) The satmodem becomes a 10BaseT ethernet DHCP server and router after that procedure is done, just like a cable modem or DSL modem. That way you don't have to use any special drivers or kernel modifi-cations to use the Starband system. You can use a standard ethernet card which is properly supported in the Linux kernel."

Re:get rid of the USB (5, Informative)

refactoringdr (163991) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451263)

The problem is that the 180 modem is no longer allowed on the network, so, sadly, this option is no longer available. (It worked really well, though)

Don Roberts
The Simplest Consultant That Could Possibly Work

Re:get rid of the USB (5, Funny)

TrumpetPower! (190615) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451391)

The USB daughterboard is easily identified and is clearly labeled with a "Warning: this card is not removable" marking. All you do is unscrew the screws holding the USB card to the back of the case, pry up the double-sided tape that's holding it down, and slide the USB card out the back of the satmodem case.

*waves hand* This is not the daughterboard you're looking for.


Re:get rid of the USB (1)

Digital G (16017) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451447)

Umm last i knew 180 were not allowed on the network, and as far as linux support, well theres none that i know of, and i've checked many many many atime.... or i'm just blind. post the url of getting a linux hack that gets the main machine on if you gots one, because last i knew they didnt allow "Un-Accelerated" traffic on the network, witch basicly ment that you needed some Gilat software that messed with the packets n crap.

ethernet option (4, Interesting)

hajmola (82709) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451094)

the 360 model modem has both USB and ethernet interfaces (connection w/crossover cable). the problem isn't with the hardware and line of sight crap - even with a shitty signal i still pull in at damn fast speeds. it runs over a proprietary packet control protocol that combines multiple requests into a single big request sent to the starband gateway. unfortunately, no drivers for this have been released for linux so you're stuck using windows. if you DON'T directly connect the starband modem to a windows machine you'll get really shitty speeds like others have been posting. using their proprietary software, however, speeds stuff up TREMENDOUSLY (6 KB/s without and unreliable - steady 300 KB/s with!)

Re:ethernet option (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3451149)

I agree Totaly! I have set up a small corprate network for a satalite office. The old Starband 180 was easy enouph to hack to use eathernet, however the 360 didn't work reliably untill we sed up a dedicated box to act as a router (instead of a Cisco). After that we have had few problems. (Other than ~600ms lag)

Arg: USB modems (1)

Malc (1751) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451100)

What is it with these damn USB modems? They're a pain in the rear arse. I assume they're cheaper than ethernet ones. But is that the real reason, or is it because it makes it harder to share an internet connection? Yes, I know it probably can be done, but that means having to keep a computer online.

As an owner of a Netgear RT314, I firmly believe in this cheap-o internet gateway routers that hide in the corner using very little power or attention. None of them that I've seen have USB ports though.

Finally, driver support for USB modems seems crap and restrictive, and still relatively immature. Ethernet modems enjoy true plug and play, and very mature drivers in most operating systems. I can only think of one thing worse than a USB modem: a PCI one.

Re:Arg: USB modems (1)

netringer (319831) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451360)

What is it with these damn USB modems? They're a pain in the rear arse. I assume they're cheaper than ethernet ones. But is that the real reason, or is it because it makes it harder to share an internet connection? Yes, I know it probably can be done, but that means having to keep a computer online.
What's up is that the ISP wants equipment that as easy as possible for brain-dead mere mortals to install. With USB in Windows, Plug-and-Pray pretty much works. With Ethernet, there's a strong chance that you'd have to tell the user how to open the PC case and install a board. Messy.

Of course, the joke is that what they gain in ease of hardware install they I lose when the USB IP drivers trash the system.

Starband and Linux (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3451102)

I've been a starband user for over a year. It STINKS! Starband ONLY SUPPORTS WIN9x, ME, XP, and 2000. NO WindowsNT, Mac, Solaris, or Linux. This is just since the move to the 360 modem modem. IT used to work GREAT with Linux with the model 180 which is no longer supported.

I stay with starband only because I have no other economical choice.


starband under linux (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3451106)

I've tried Starband under Linux about 9 months ago and discovered that ping times are around 7 seconds on average which makes telnet and ssh sessions unbearable. Starband also uses propietary compression/decompression software (that doesn't work under Linux, of course)... the result is speeds are about that of dial up with greatly increased ping latencies. I did find that the service performed well for streaming audio and video under windows, but that a duplex dial-up line is both less expensive and faster for any other work... you might also try pricing out ISDN in your area (I have tried this service in other areas and found it to be acceptable, if a little pricey). Good luck.

Umm.. its awful (0)

xdfgf (460453) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451107)

High ping times, large blackout periods, and absurd hardware prices make starband a BAD BAD idea for internet. If anything its a wireless equivalent of an ISDN connection, and thats being nice.

If it works for you, go for it.

Throwing down ~$1000 for less than mediocre connection is not a good idea.

Clear line of sight to the southwest (3, Informative)

lindsayt (210755) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451108)

If you live anywhere in what can be loosely called the "midwest" or the "east" you need a clear line of sight to the southwest. I've been told that the US satellites are both approximately over Arizona - my dish (in Minnesota) is just barely aimed above the horizon, but I have 97% signal strength and have only once lost the signal, and then briefly, during a thunderstorm. It's fine through Minnesota blizzards even. A professionally-aimed dish (or very carefully amateur-aimed) should never get lower than 80% signal strength - just watch out for trees.

Latency can be an issue if you need fast ping times - expect no better than 200ms, best-case. But of course for web-browsing, email, and file downloads, it's fine. I now just have dish for TV though, because I qualify for 1Mbit synch. DSL. But Dish would certainly be a good choice in a rural setting.

Re:Impossible. (1)

Will_Malverson (105796) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451502)

A geosync satellite can't be "over Arizona". Such satellites can only be over the equator.

USB router with VPN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3451109)

A comany named "Draytek" (http://www.draytek.com.tw) in Taiwan has a USB router that will work with some of these satellite systems as well as other USB DSL modems. It's cheap and supports IPSEC. Check out the U.S. distributor: http://www.bestsystemsdirect.com/Products/2200USB/ 2200usb.html

I had to use one of these for an employee that I have in Denver, as he is a Qwest to MSN migration sufferer and MSN can't get him an Ethernet capable DSL modem. (They claim service isn't available to him even though he already has it!)

No (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3451110)

I had it...I hated it. The service went down every single day for up to 2 hours. I actually saw good speeds but in bursts. It is horrible for P2P and useless for gaming like some of you have already stated. But if you want to sign up I have a shiny new modem and dish for you 1/2 price.

Starban -DISCONNECTED- .... d (1)

3vi1 (544505) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451115)

The one friend I have who *had* a StarBand setup cancelled it. For these reasons: - *Constant* disconnections. I'm talking about a dozen times a day. - Sub-5k upload speeds. Tech support said that his speed was 'normal', despite the promises of 25k upstream when he signed up. - Latency from hell. You will not be able to play any online games without being at a *major* disadvantage. He was happier back when he had a DirecPC dish and had his upstream going through a modem. If you only want to web-surf or read usenet, and you don't mind outages, isn't a dial-up cheaper?

Anyone that uses Win95 deserves 14k/sec. (0)

MaceSoul (542275) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451117)

That's all I got to say about that.

We have a client who uses Starband... (3, Informative)

SwedishChef (69313) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451121)

and he has to have a proprietary driver package running on a Windows box in order to access the system. Otherwise we would have put a Linux box in for him. This could have changed in the past year, however.

As far as speed is concerned, his downloads are pretty fast but getting a download started is laggy. He does not do any gaming either.

Jerry Pournelle (www.byte.com) has a satellite connection and writes frequently about his experiences in a column. I recommend that you check the archives to see whether he has some advice that fits your situation.

As with most broadband modems... (4, Informative)

stienman (51024) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451123)

From their FAQ: ... StarBand Model 360 satellite modem that connects to an Ethernet or USB port on your existing PC.

As with most broadband modems this has an ethernet port, which generally connect directly to your ethernet card. Don't use USB. Use LILO to boot to windows, get it set up in your USB-less version of windows, then steal the settings (which most likely is a simple DHCP setup). It's far easier for them to put the smarts into the modem and configure windows as little as possible than it is to field tech support and keep configuration programs and drivers up to date on all versions of windows. You will likely find that the USB driver is a simple USB ethernet driver anyway, and you may even be able to find generic linux drivers for whatever chipset it's using - but you may have to 'research' the innards of the modem to determine the chipset since they probably don't advertise it in the USB strings.

Therefore you'll most likely find that it'll be easy to set up in windows, easy to set up in linux, and easy to set up with a gateway.

Make sure you find a service provider that has a money back gurantee or free month or something, though, just in case.

Please note the gratuitious use of "likely" and "may" in this post. I've not used them.


Re:As with most broadband modems... (1)

Cookeisparanoid (178680) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451175)

Chances are usb will work fine, I managed to get my Alcatel Speedtouch USB modem working with red hat 7.1 and Mandrake, its also pretty unlikely they will send you a usb2 modem as only the latest motherboards are equipped with it.
I would spend some time researchin wether anybody else has got sat withing with linux though as most of these products are so tailiored to windows they dont work easily with anything else.

USB in Windows (2)

GMontag (42283) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451416)

Try Win98 or newer. I had no idea that Win95 does not support USB until I went to order my VisorPro (check my journal for that story), Handspring mentions that Win95 does not support USB and they do nopt support connectivity with Win95. Have not investigated further, but they sound like they know what they are talking about.

Question... (-1)

Rob Malda (editor) (569938) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451127)

How would this affect my Counter Strike ping times??

READ THE FINE PRINT! (5, Informative)

DnemoniX (31461) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451136)

I have a friend here at work that came in a couple months ago and was livid. Starband/DishNetwork decided to filter out all of the ports used by the major P2P file sharing services. Apparently in the fine print they don't have to let you use the service for anything but web sufring and e-mail. Not only having extremely restrictive ToS, the speeds aren't that great, and they lock you into huge service contracts. But if you can't survive on a modem and you live in the boonies, I guess it is better than two soup cans and string.

Re:READ THE FINE PRINT! (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3451327)

I was an owner of the system. I speak with authority in saying it was shiat. I was one of the VERY first customers after they stopped making you buy a PC w/it. (Had model 180 modem, and a better dish than that currently distributed.) Installation blows. Connectivity blows. Speed blows. Disconnects are horrible. The software DESTROYS winblows and your TCP/IP stack.

Now Dish owns the service and customer service blows with supreme crapfullness. The system sucks so bad that Dish is selling the business unit now (to Starband I think.)

Try out wireless DSL. I live in the sticks but it works great. Someone in your area probably offers it. I am a greedy power user demanding mucho P2P, Gaming, and bandwidth... I love it and it's $10.00 cheaper than Crapband. Crapband does filter P2P... I got a level 25 tech support guy to admit it before they went public with the knowledge. Shameful.

P.S. My signal was at 95%, and the installer was capable. He actually called and apologized to me when he saw that I cancelled my Crapband service.

Comments from a current SB customer (3, Informative)

poffy (212553) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451141)

Here is how I have my Starband setup.
My Starband PC is a G333 Gateway PC running Windoze 2000. SB's software will not work with Linux. The old 180 modem that I had (before forced upgrade to 360 modem) you could hack for an ethernet connection. I loved this, as I was able to use Linux as the gateway. No more.
I've got 3 WinME's, One Mac, 2 W2K, and One Linux box all networked together and using Starband.

I am in the same boat as you - in the stix, with no hope of cable or DSL. Starband was my only option over dialup. Given that, Starband ain't bad. I would not go by their rated speed. I'll get 100kb download speeds, and since I never upload, I can't state what that would be. If you don't mind the occasional outages due to snow, fog, or heavy rain it's not a bad deal. I know that some complain about slower speeds on occasion, but given the alternative it does not bother me much.

StarBand -- Microsoft Affiliate (0, Flamebait)

petril (109301) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451155)

Quote from site:

The StarBand Board of Directors includes Yoel Gat, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd.,
John Devaan, Senior Vice President of Microsoft, Mark Jackson, Senior Vice President of Echostar Communications
Corporation and Brian Friedman, President of ING Asset Management.

Perhaps, perhaps... (4, Informative)

knewter (62953) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451162)

I've used Starband satellite internet service for a little over a year now (ok, so six months of that I wasn't using it because I lived out of the country, but my family was). My experience is when it works, it rocks (as far as download times go...gaming is, as they say, completely impossible). Upload, download - great speeds. Those are the pros. Now, however, there are some caveats.

The service goes down fairly often.
This was my experience at the beginning, but it seems to be doing much better. Now it only goes down when there's a big, nasty, thick storm (i.e. - when the satellite tv is down as well). This is okay, and it's not too often that it's down now. At first, however, they were just putting their service down for days at the time with no warning, no discounts (20 days out of 30 that we had internet access, and we paid the full amount. Sheesh.

Broken images
I don't know if this has to do with my D-Link network switch or what (the old one had a corrupt table inside it on one of the PROMs, screwed up our network. I have a strong feeling this is the case again). All I know is most of the time I have 20-75% of webpages with broken images. I have to right click, h for show images (Internet Exploder), just to see the images. Again, YMMV.

Now, as for linux connectivity, I don't really see why it should be that hard. Maybe the USB side would only work with Windows, and maybe they only support Windows, but the newer version of their hardware (and I think the only one you can get, now) has both USB and ethernet (RJ-45). It should be a plug-and-play affair on any sort of router, but I can't vouch for this.

Hope I've been of some help,

Re:Perhaps, perhaps... (1)

jeffphil (461483) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451265)

Earthlink offers [earthlink.net] 20 hours of dial-up per month with their satellite service. This seems like a good package if satellite service is prone to going down.

Hardware Contraints? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3451164)

I'm not sure why you are worrying about issues involving USB and the like with your motherboard. You are signing up for a service that is going to cost you a large, large amount of money over the course of a year. If you can't afford to spend 150 dollars on a new motherboard/chip combo, I simply don't see how you can afford to have the service. This is definately a situation where someone is buying $1200 dollar rims for their Geo Metro.

Satellite Internet Services.... as long as... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3451178)

I've used a competing product (Direcway) for a year now (two-way 128/400+). It has a horrible latency (800ms+) almost unusable for telnet/gaming but is fabulous for downloads and webbing. Like you note, they only supply Windoze drivers so what I ended up doing was using an ultracheap box running Win2K+BlackIce+ICS with the satellite modem. Ran a crosscable from that to a Linux box+modem (2 multilink) with routing rules so that packets were routed to modem or sat-box based on destination/type. The Linux box was NAT'd so that my private network (kids, wife, etc) got to the world from behind that.
The result works fairly well -- I have DAoC/EQ/etc routed through the modems, webbery and email through the satellite.
Like you I live in an area abandoned by telco (Verizon scum for me) and cable. The aggravating part is that I'm less than 3 miles from an Intel campus which has TXXX running every which way. My particular phone lines are some 19th century coil-loaded hamster crap that won't even support ISDN or higher than 26.4kbps (so I have to use both of them to even get marginal low-ping bandwidth). Verizon won't work with me *at all*, the last rep told me if it was really that important I should move... I told her the instant I find another solution I'm going to have them rip their copper off my property and they can go to hell.

RTM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3451180)

I'd recommend you read the Starband website again. It specifically states that it is not for Linux (or Mac, or...).

A year or so back, when I was looking in to this, I remember reading that Windows is required because they use some software compression voodoo to get their published speeds. And, of course, that software is only available for Windoze.

Starband is poop (5, Informative)

belgar (254293) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451193)

1) Latency is insane. Don't even *consider* it for any type of gaming.

2) It will work if you plug it directly into your switch, apparently (The modem has an Ethernet port in the back, as well). HOWEVER...the software (Internet Page Accelerator) that keeps file from being chewed in Win95/98/2K is really needed. Graphics on sites get eaten in transit, and it's just ugly. We used their suggested proxy package (WinProxy [ositis.com] ) to allow our mostly-mac network to connect using the IPA on the proxy machine, and it worked, (downloads 30-40k on average) with a fair number of errors (page won't load, hit reload, it's fine, that type of thing).

3) Starband technical support is totally, totally useless -- even if you're using the systems they recommend and support. They keep buying JD Powers & Associates ratings every year, but it's horrible.

4) Upload over the proxy was stupid. We had 40-60% of our larger ftp and mail chewed in transit, and rendered useless. And, it was a total bitch to get it working right -- it just "started" working one time, after using the same settings for over a week.

I wouldn't recommend it unless you have no other option, and need fast download speeds.

On a side note, I don't think the submitter did much looking into the task at hand before the article was posted. There is a *wealth* of information out there on this topic. Try Starband Users, [starbandusers.com] for starts. And, Macworld has a very comprehensive article [macworld.com] that outlines some of the problems I mentioned above, which I would assume also apply (partially, anyways) to a Linux setup.

USB and Win95 (2, Informative)

LordoftheFrings (570171) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451196)

You can get support for usb with Win95, as you can get drivers, although limited, that work well. To get more info follow this link [usbman.com] .

Starband woes (2, Informative)

SpacePunk (17960) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451209)

Ok, I'll start by saying that if you can't get anything else then Starband is ok as a last resort.

A company that I do work for got the Starband service a year ago when they were still shipping their 180 model modems, and at that time it worked quite well. Then Starband switched everyone over to their 360 model modems, and the service went downhill from there when the new modem was installed. My technical evaluation of the model 360 modems is that they suck, and that makes the Starband connection suck.

With all that said, if you can stand the high lag times (a 'good' ping return is around 700ms, but more often 1400ms and higher), and if nothing else is available in your area then it's ok because it beats the crap out of using a modem on a phone line with multiple D/A conversions.

This one is kinda all over the place..... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3451212)

What exactly ARE you getting at?

1: Will your (unnamed) USB modem work with linux?
1: Should you replace your motherboard?
2: Should you install Win98? (for USB support)
4: Is Starband service "Palatable"?

When you figure out what the hell you are talking about, I will share my experiences. ;-)

Proprietary Protocols? (4, Funny)

tarsi210 (70325) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451226)

From their FAQ:

PLEASE NOTE: Networking the StarBand service via a router or other hardware device connected directly to the StarBand satellite modem is expressly forbidden. A Windows-based PC running the StarBand software must be the interface with the StarBand satellite modem as it converts Internet requests into a protocol optimized for satellite-based Internet connectivity. Circumventing this optimization software creates excessive and unauthorized traffic on the StarBand network and may result in a measurable decrease in transmission speed or complete service outage.

What? Windows knows how to slow down my Internet connection? Imagine. I take "converts...into a protocol optimized" to mean that the Starband software is sitting there in the background going, "A packet? What's this? He wants a download? HA! I'll just stick this in a buffer for 5 minutes and then send it on. That'll keep his pr0n addiction in check."

I....think I'll stay with modem, thanks. (as painful as it might be, at least I get low-latency, if slow, pr0n.)

Re:Proprietary Protocols? (5, Informative)

mjprobst (95305) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451420)

Actually, this is probably not true. I worked for a satellite network service provider who offered a commercial (site/citywide) version of this for folks who couldn't get a landline to their town for reasonable price.

Most commonly used network protocols do not consider the minimum 500ms latency involved in communicating via geosynchronous satellite. The signal goes up to the satellite, down to the hub center, out to the Internet, back to the hub center, back up to the satellite, and back down to your dish; light and radio signals can only move so fast.

We "solved" the problem by supplying turnkey Linux servers with TCP proxy software (vendor will remain unnamed, lest I get zapped for disclosure beyond public company documents) and all outgoing traffic was routed through this. It would hijack the TCP connections and use some kind of satellite-specific protocol when talking to our data center. It broke some of the strict semantics of TCP, going to a NAK-based protocol and increasing the window size. By clustering ACKs, using forward error correction, and increasing window size it allowed higher throughput on TCP connections and made terminal sessions just about tolerable, the local echo would start working in .5 seconds and it _seemed_ much more responsive. Same for web page loads--no more waiting 5 seconds for each one to start.

Our optimizing software did NOTHING for UDP, but we hijacked FTP connections and tossed them through a proxy cache hierarchy. I'm sure this software has probably improved since then, and might have the capability to hijack well-known UDP-based protocols and process them the same way--substituting a satellite-efficient protocol in the middle.

If they're selling this product mostly to Windows folks, they've decided to support this optimizing software on Windows only. It might be a poor technical choice, but I assure you that "connection optimizing software" isn't a figment of their imagination.

Linux and USB (1)

WolfSpirit (577431) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451230)

Well I'll admit not to knowing that much about satellite connections and have read many good posts here on the subject. But Linux and USB support right now have still a ways to go. Its true you can get USB modems to work as long as you have a Linux compatible modem. Even the popular Alcatel Speedtouch finally got on the bandwagon with producing a driver so Linux users could hack their distro to get it to work ( of course with a LOT of sweat and knowledge. ) Of which, utilizing the HOWTO's on that matter really sux, ONLY because I personally haven't enjoyed that success as of this posting. With many hours of hard work and pulling my hair out, I've relegated myself to only connecting up using my External Modem 56K! Until I can afford a Ethernet Modem. Ethernet, truly is the way to go for a modem for high speed transmissions.. won't infringe upon your CPU usage or blatantly drop you due to the early stages of Linux USB support. Good luck!

I'm ok with it (2, Interesting)

refactoringdr (163991) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451239)

I have starband, and I, too, live in an extremely rural area. I'm satisfied with it. I haven't seen the reliability issues that others complain about and I get anywhere from ~150kbs to >600kbs download times depending on the time of day, etc. Web surfing feels pretty snappy modulo the initial start time (due to satellite latency). I also have never seen any bandwith throttling by the providers, (and I've downloaded a couple .iso's).

Having said all of that, you need to realize the following facts:
- You can't beat physics. The signal has to travel 45,000 miles. Your ping times will never be below 600ms. Therefore, this cannot be used for real-time, reaction-based gaming.
- Heavy rain kills the connection.
- PtP stuff seems to only work marginally (I have had some success with it, but also, I haven't experimented extensively).
- The 360 modem (the only option) does have both USB and ethernet connection, HOWEVER all of its acceleration is done by Windows drivers and the modem must be DIRECTLY CONNECTED to the windows box. If you want to home network, you have to install a second network card and use the windoze box as your gateway. Therefore, linux boxes can be on your network, but you have to have a windoze box to drive the modem.

Hope this help.

Don Roberts
The Simplest Consultant That Could Possibly Work

centurytel (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3451244)

You might want to bother them for DSL which is much better than their dialup.

Jerry Pournelle (2)

wiredog (43288) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451275)

Has satellite internet service. Look around his website [jerrypournelle.com] for details.

The main problem is latency. If you are downloading iso's it's great. 0.5 seconds to initiate the download, then it just comes roaring in. A site with lots of graphics, frames, and associated files that have to be downloaded individually sucks because there's that high latency on every file.

Re:Jerry Pournelle (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3451374)

Maybe HTTP/1.1 mechanisms can help with this? Using the feature where all data is transferred through the same connection?

My dad uses it. (1)

insert witty phrase (577435) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451302)

My dad uses it and constantly has problems. The first problem is that the modem has to be plugged into a Microsoft windows machine. No routers or linux. Then, from the microsoft machine you can do connection sharing. The service goes down often. With our setup it goes down whenever it gets the least bit stormy. In addition to this we have repeatedly found the tech support to be unhelpful, and downright rude. The cost is too high for that many problems. But, then again what are your options if you live out in the boonies. If you can wait about 6 months I bet they will have a better option for the reciever. I know that right now their parent company is selling a reciever similar to the starband one that supports linux and routers. Hope this helps.

DSLReports (1)

Aoverify (566411) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451312)

The current consensus over at DSLReports doesnt seems too good. http://www.dslreports.com/comments/1652

Wait a second... (2)

swordboy (472941) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451332)

Also I can boot to Windows95 with LiLo, but my copy of Windows doesn't support USB. I can replace the MB if necessary, but would rather not if I can avoid doing that.

Hang on here...

I know that this might not be the most slashdot-correct thing to say but you would replace your mobo before upgrading to a version of Windows that supports USB? In all seriousness, Windows 2K doesn't suck much at all. Just don't make a habit of it.

If you don't want to *buy* a copy, then I guess you could always use your Tivo to *steal* a copy.

Starband Vs. other options (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3451337)

I do tech support for Starband, Direcway (Direct TVs version of 2-way satellite), DSL, Cable, 2.4 Ghz wireless,and Dial-up. I also have telco return satellite at home. Here's the low down:

IMHO, Starband is the better of the two "2-way satellite" flavors. If you want it for pure download speed, you will be happy. The claims they make on speeds are pretty on target. Ping times, however are the Achilles heel of 2-way satellit. The problem comes from there geosynchronous orbit. The satellites are 28,000 miles above the earth. For the signal to go up to the satellite, down to noc, noc to sat, sat to you is a 600 ms baseline round trip. Light only goes so fast. So if you plan on doing any online gaming, forget it.
Not to bad mouth Direcway, but there speeds are...lacking. Nuf said.
I have a telco return satellite for two reasons.
1. Money. Instead of $79 (or whatever the current promo is)per month, I pay $40/month.
2. The ping times are still, high, but I can routinely get into the upper 300 ms range.
Also, a few more things. The 2-way satellite upstreams are very slow. Don't expect to run a server. Look for anywhere from 30-50 KBps. Those speeds are also kind of misleading, as the software that comes with the satellite runs an acceleration program jsut for port 80 traffic. So if you want to do FTP, expect slower speeds.

To sum up, these satellite are not very mature yet. They do work, but are aimed at the web browsing home user. I personally like the telco return variety, but if you want a connection that doesn't tie up a phone line, don't play games (like Quake, etc),and you want to add satellite tv on for a slight additional charge, go for the Starband. I know a lot of people that love it.

Wait a little longer gamers! (2)

sabinm (447146) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451350)

The major problems with starband service:

Bandwidth throttling. If I pay 600 bucks for equipment and install and another 70 bucks per month, I want *premium* service. No hassles, no throttling, no nothing. Pipe, Pure Pipe.

Latency Not just for gamers, if you want to video or voice conference, it's terrible. Not a chance. No voIP, no nothing.

There is a company called Skynet that is on a LEO system. Low Earth Orbit. meaning less latency, and a truckload more of bandwidth. It's vapor so far, since the fiber on earth is not utilized much, but wait a couple years and it'll rock. [skynet.com]

The biggest caveat is that Skynet is supported by Bill Gates. You can look at this as a plus or a minus. The minus is that Microsoft has its finger in every pie. The plus is that Microsoft has a inherent interest in getting broadband to everyone, if only to stuff those bloated apps down the pipe.

Starband stinks. Use ISDN

Re:Wait a little longer gamers! (2)

Drachemorder (549870) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451436)

Skynet? Aren't they the guys who build the computers that build the Terminator?

Sorry, y'all ain't getting MY money...

"upgrade" (1)

waa (159514) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451356)

I was a starband customer for about 1 year. I say "about" 1 year since just before my year contract was up, they forced an upgrade to their new and improved model-360 modem.

The service was "ok". I don't think I EVER got to their advertized up OR down speeds, but the service was OK. With the 1-2 SECOND latency, it was definitely NOT for gaming, nor was it all that good for remote ssh logins (my primary mission). Other than that, it was decent for 'surfing', especially with my local squid cache server.

Their forced 'upgrade' came with what I considered to be an unacceptable condition. The condition was that now, I could NOT use my little 486 Linux firewall to connect to the Internet any longer. I would have to use a machine running microsoft windows 98/nt/xp/2k, and load some of their proprietary software to talk to the USB-only connection to the satellite modem. In the past, I was able to remove the USB daughterboard from the model-180 modem, which activated the standard ethernet port which then interfaced quite well to my linux firewall.

I told them that forcing me to use an insecure, unstable, proprietary operating system to act as my primary connection to the Internet was unacceptable, and to cancel my contract.

I made sure to tell them exactly WHY I was cancelling, and asked the rep to relay my reasons to the people higher in the food chain at Starband.

Not sure how far it got, or if it made any difference, but I feel a little better knowing that I spoke my mind so they know exactly why I am no longer a customer.

YMMV (especially if using a microsoft box as your firewall is acceptable to you)

DIRECWAY works... (5, Informative)

speleo (61031) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451361)

I don't have the Dish system but I do have a Hughes DIRECWAY [direcway.com] system on my motorhome [motosat.com] with a MotoSat [motosat.com] Datastorm [motosat.com] mount.

It works very well, but you have to keep in mind there is some latency as the signal has to travel up to the satellite in the Clarke belt and back down both ways in addition to the latency in the ground network. I have the business service with a static IP address and have seen as much as 2 Mbit/sec download. But the upload is slow--usually around 64 kbit/sec and sometimes as high as 100 kbit/sec but never any higher. It would suck for gaming.

The "modems" require a USB connection and a PC running Windows--you have to use the DIRECWAY software/drivers and it only works on Windows. I run Windows 2000 on the satellite access machine and it works well. Other folks are on XP and 98 but a variety of problems do crop up on the "consumer" versions of Windows I hear.

To let other operating systems access the satellite network you can use Windows' Internet Connection Sharing (ICS). I'm using this and share the connection via Ethernet to an Apple Airport base station and allow my Macs and Linux machines access the network via the wireless connection. It works very well.

BTW, last I heard, EchoStar (the parent of Dish and Starband) were getting out of the Internet access business and leaving DIRECWAY as the sole comsumer satellite Internet provider as part of their yet-to-be-approved takeover of Hughes Electronics (parent of DIRECTV and DIRECWAY).


Starband (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3451390)

I have a Starband setup Linux WILL NOT work with the new 360 model because you need the netgain client which is not availible in linux you can read up on it at http://www.starbandusers.com .

As for the service itself

Web isn't much faster then on a modem because of the wait.

IRC works but dcc sucks because its not
accelerated like the web.

FTP Download works great I can get close to 1mbits in the evening but during the day I am lucky to get half that.

last time I checked Telnet sucked too

uploads suck and when in progress most other stuff is slow and I get disconnected for FTP dl and IRC .

Outages are rare now a days unless you have alot of bad weather.

Kazaa and such services generaly do not work or are very slow ( slower then on a modem)

Support suck until you get up to like leavel 3 .

Hope this helps.

And if you look into DirecPCs 2way option be aware that they have a Fair Access Policy that limits your daily downlows to like 235mb .

My Experiance (1)

Digital G (16017) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451403)

For pure DL speed its awsome, but for browsing its a bit sluggish. pages with lots of graphics tend to be ALOT slower. ping times are on the lowside of 800ms so you better forget about online games. But i have been able to pull 20Mb files down in less than a minute before, although upload speeds are on the side of 20 kbs. A big down side is that the main machine thats hooked up to it has to be a windows machine. I tried the win98 connection sharing and that totaly failed and was forced to buy winproxy, but past that it was fine.

All in all its great for country users that pull large files or want to DL alot, but for casual browsing its not a big winner.

BTW if you want to buy one let me know, i recently moved and dont need my dish anymore could sell it to you.

My Review of Starband... (5, Informative)

kninja (121603) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451424)

I have installed it for use at a rural residence where I used to live. We had a 26.4 modem connection max, as rural phone lines are often low quality for data. We've had starband since it was available. They sent us an upgrade modem which worked with a netgear router, as the original did, but about march of this year, they wanted original customers to flash upgrade their modems or else service would be cut off. (They were moving us to a different part of the network.) Then it would not work with the router, no matter what. We had to buy winproxy, which was the only thng thay supported. I was a little disgruntled by this obvious ploy to sell copies of winproxy, as it took me several days to figure out how to set up the $%@# winproxy software, but now it's working well and pretty stable, so I can't complain too much.

The Pros of Starband:

Fast internet for those without hope of DSL or Cable.

I've seen downloads of 300K/sec. K not k!

AIM and other programs do work through the proxy server, provided you specify the correct ports. The proxy server is actually faster than the netgear router was too.

The Cons:

High ping times 600-1200 ms. No Games for you!

Filesharing is limited. Some things do work, but they have bandwidth police I'm told.

I don't fully trust the company after they made their modem only work with winproxy. That bothered me a little bit. They essentially have a monopoly at this time, and they know it. Our router is now a paperweight.

You must have win98 or 2k. I won't ever upgrade to Me or XP, so I don't know or care about them. No official Linux support as of yet. I doubt there will be for some time. It *might* work, but I haven't had time to meddle with it. Their mission control software is somewhat usless and windows only. I tried installing it to run a proxy server off of a
windows 95 box and it didn't work.

The mixed blessings:

The hardware setup fee is a hefty initial cost, but the money we saved from canceling our extra phone lines paid for it quickly.

The bottom line:

We are saving time and money because of this service. It is worth it if you use the internet a lot and live in a rural area beyond DSL or cable. If you can get DSL or cable get it, otherwise starband is a decent option.

NO (1)

Yablo (98362) | more than 12 years ago | (#3451442)

do NOT get starband. i had it at an office it used to work at, and it was terrible. i couldn't ping google in under 800ms, and when i did, it average at about 25% packet loss.

I chose DirecWay over Starband (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3451468)

I needed to make a similar decision and decided to go with DirecWay instead. There seems to be less problems with DirecWay (not that it doesn't have problems). Make sure you get service directly from DirecWay [direcway.com] , as resellers such as Earthlink and Pegasus seem to have more problems (as an example, DirecWay customers get software upgrades much quicker).

A good site for info is DirecPC Uncensored [copperhead.cc] .
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?