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Broadband on the Farm
Canadian Anik F2 'bird' will allow blanket high-speed service across North
grelmar




msg:314111
 7:33 pm on Jul 11, 2004 (gmt 0)

Canadian Anik F2 'bird' will allow blanket high-speed service across North America [globeandmail.com]

Heheh, I love it when Canada beats the U.S. to this kind of thing.

Telesat Canada has long been a very dominant player in the murky world of communications satellites, and it looks like they've pulled an ace out of their sleeve with this one.

Anik F2 will be using the previously unused and experimental Ka Bands, instead of the Ku Bands that are currently used by communications satellites.

What this means, is that you will soon be able to get satellite broadband anywhere in North America, for just slightly more than cable broadband costs.

 

Teknorat




msg:314112
 12:05 am on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

Cool. Very cool.

vkaryl




msg:314113
 12:15 am on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

Er, grel.... does this mean I will be able to get satband for enough less than Pegasus/DirecWay wants me to pay that I'll actually be able to AFFORD it?

Oh goddess let it be true!

jdMorgan




msg:314114
 12:28 am on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

That's all very well for those who can't get DSL or cable, but satellite has one overriding problem that can't be avoided, and that is the fact that a geosynchronous orbit places the bird at 22,300 miles off the ground. Doing a quick back-of the envelope calculation, that gives an uplink-downlink-net-uplink-downlink travel distance of 89,200 miles. Dividing by the speed of light to convert to minimum theoretical travel time gives 480 milliseconds.

So, the fastest response time for any request to the 'net is almost half a second theoretically, and more like 600 milliseconds practically.

I use a satellite to connect, because I can't get any other broadband connection here right now (LMDS point-to-point microwave is coming, though). Because of the latency problem above, I find that click-surfing is no faster than dial-up -- sometimes even slower. Only when I do a big download do I see anything approaching broadband performance. This is what is meant when they call satellite at "Long, fat pipe." The capacity is high, but the end-to-end delay is high, too.

Just wanted to post this in case the marketing hype threatens to mislead some members here.

Jim

Teknorat




msg:314115
 1:09 am on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

The coolness lies in the cheapness of a broadband connection for people in rural areas. Not in the fact that it's satellite. :)

vkaryl




msg:314116
 1:17 am on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

jdMorgan: oh please.... I'm dealing with dialup. The fastest connect I EVER GET is 26.4.

ANYTHING is better than that.

[Edit: friend of mine across the valley (hmmm. 2 miles as the crow flies maybe) has satband. I've USED her machine to download some mega stuff. A 40 mb download on her machine averages 10 minutes. On my dialup we're talking 5 hours.... 'nuff said....]

danieljean




msg:314117
 1:38 am on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

JdMorgan- there's no need for 2 satelites hops, is there? That still leaves lag time of a quarter second. At a megabit/second, that's 125kb/s, quite a bit faster than the 2-3kb/s you can expect on a 26.6 modem.

Although I know a number of people that will be interested in their service, I can't help but think there's a cheaper solution. They spent hundreds of millions of dollars on this!

Meanwhile there are people trying to put airships up 10km in the atmosphere. Apparently a half dozen of them could provide cell-phone and broadband coverage for all of North America, and it should be much, much cheaper.

It seems odd, but these satelites may be relics of another era, soon to be replaced by technology that cost at least an order of magnitude less. It wouldn't be the first time...

jdMorgan




msg:314118
 5:00 am on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

vkaryl,

If you are simply hopping from page to page, and each page only takes one second to load (at whatever modem speed you've got), then the added half second is noticeable. For larger pages or file downloads, the delay gets swamped by the larger filesize and is less noticeable.

If you re-read what I posted, I said that click-surfing on satellite is slow, and big downloads are fast. Satellite is a high-speed, but high-latency connection. Whether you are happy with satellite depends a lot on your personal mixture of surfing vs. large-file downloading.

The satellite solution works OK for me, but I do notice that none of the satellite providers mention high latency problems in their advertisements. It is, in fact, the Achilles' heel of satellite, in that the connection delay is caused by the physical properties of transmission over long distance, and cannot be 'engineered' away.

I didn't expect such a negative response; I stated what I know to be true from direct experience, and a career in telecommunications. You can ignore my posts and opinions if you like.

danieljean,

When your browser makes a request, it goes to your satellite dish and up to the satellite. Then the satellite has to send it down to the earth station (ISP). From there it goes "onto the internet" to whatever server your request is directed to. That server sends a response back to the earth station, the earth station sends it back up to the satellite, and the satellite sends it back down. Four hops.

So it's 480 milliseconds in a vacuum, about 1.2 times slower in air, IIRC. I see typical ping times of about 600 milliseconds, as I stated, as compared to 50 on dial-up.

So what is "slow" is that for every "click" you wait anywhere from a half-second to two seconds. This is annoying; At least with a terrestrial connection, you usually see the page start rendering faster than that. But when you do a Windows update, or download the latest Firefox or Opera, then your browser makes one request, and yes, the data comes in quickly.

The high-atmosphere orbiting stations sound interesting, but my money is on LMDS, MMDS, and perhaps cellular solutions for now.

Jim

bird




msg:314119
 9:55 am on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

When your browser makes a request, it goes to your satellite dish and up to the satellite. Then the satellite has to send it down to the earth station (ISP). From there it goes "onto the internet" to whatever server your request is directed to. That server sends a response back to the earth station, the earth station sends it back up to the satellite, and the satellite sends it back down. Four hops.

That very much depends on the system, which may or may not be symmetric. Satellite providers in Europe usually send the uplink over a normal modem connection, so you only have the delay for the downlink. This assumes that most people will very rarely upload anything significant to the net, while they're downloading big files routinely.

No idea what system they're planning there in Canada, though.

danieljean




msg:314120
 12:58 pm on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

D'oh! Quite right, that's 4 hops for request-response. bird's solution is interesting, as this would get rid of half the latency.

Oddly enough, after my post, I read that the company launching the satelitte claims by the time Anik reaches its end of useful life in 15 years, satelitte solutions will be obsolete!

vkaryl




msg:314121
 6:07 pm on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

Sorry - what's "click surfing"? Apparently my vocab is missing something there?

I use the net for uploads to domain spaces, downloads of all sorts of things (most of them pretty large any more), and travelling to a fair number of shopping sites (like cabelas, vic's secret, jc penney, drugstore.com, tiger direct, costco, walmart etc.), to go to a couple of other website-info/html info sites, to go to the validators, and to come here. That's about it, unless I have to dig really deep into google to find something I'm shopping for....

BTW - right now, NOWHERE that I go online loads in less than SEVERAL to MANY seconds (except at work where we have a T-1). F'rinstance WebmasterWorld takes in the neighborhood of half a minute on my dialup at home.... I'm used to slow.... doesn't make me LIKE it though!

Macguru




msg:314122
 6:31 pm on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

Some one of them engineers talking about it on local news. He let a little more than we can read in the article. The bird costed about 400 M to build and prepare for the launch. (I wonder what is the insurance shares in this :-) ) It will take from 3 to 4 months to position and to set up.

Here I can't get much of what the guy was trying to explain. It will use 15 'narrow beams' of 200 Km radius each on his own frequency. Each of those beams will be assigned to a geographic erea and will carry various data signals both ways.

I will certainly watch the launch tonight.

You can get more with the "Anik F2" query. The one from Boeing gives more details.

You can see it a big can [telesat.ca].

danieljean




msg:314123
 7:10 pm on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

Heh... vkaryl, seems to me what is meant by click surfing is just what you're doing on Webmasterworld. Half a second lag time is rather noticeable, although the overall speed will be much, much better.

You'd all better get a browser like Firefox that has decent tabbed browsing! :)

grelmar




msg:314124
 7:14 pm on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

I think the main thing to keep in mind is that this will FINALLY mean affordable broadband for Rural areas.

That's going to be a big leap for those in the affected areas, and a big new market for those of us here.

It's also improtant for very isolated communities (like the deep north of Canada, where there are communities that barely have access to phone service, let alone broadband).

I'm happy about this in a "humanity moving forward" kind of way. The rural parts of North America have been severely lagging behind the technical revolution of the past few decades. This will help to even the score a bit.

I just about had a heart attack when I saw my nick on the front page

bcolflesh




msg:314125
 7:44 pm on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

Good for them - bad for their tech support - 90% of their calls: "Why do I keep getting disconnected from (insert game server name here)?"

They should start working on the sat/com latency FAQ now.

IanKelley




msg:314126
 10:55 pm on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

Vkaryl... Click surfing is just his way of saying surfing. Visiting webpages, etc...

To expand on what JD is talking about with latency, 600 ms delay isn't even the whole of it. That 600ms is in addition to the regular latency of the physical ISP and whichever internet pathway you happen to be using. On top of that you've got slow servers to factor in. Any time you're connecting to an already slow website/server that extra 3/4 second is going to be even more noticeable.

You would notice the delay when:

1) Visiting any web page. Not website, but every individual page.
2) Connecting to an FTP server. And then once you're connected, every single file you upload/download. Huge productivity loss.
3) Sending an email. Each and every email you send/receive.
4) Using any IM/Chat program.
5) Using an internet phone application (in fact you would pretty much have to forget about using one for anything other than novelty).
6) Playing games (an important part of any work day). If you happen to play online games you're out of luck with a 2 way satellite connection.

vkaryl




msg:314127
 11:09 pm on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

Hmm. Just never heard it called that before....

So JD and IanKelley, you're saying that regardless my dialup is ABYSMALLY slow, I won't notice that satband is faster? Even though I already notice the difference with my friend's satband sytem? (As I said earlier, the difference between 5 HOURS on dialup and TEN MINUTES on her satband for a 40 meg dl.) Do you mean that I will wind up paying relatively more but not getting a performance boost to equal the difference in cost?

The online game thing wouldn't affect me. Not my sort of fun - I only do single-player machine-resident games.... and I don't do IM/chat (HORRORS!) or 'netphone (ditto!). I need some sort of broadband because things like uploads and downloads are part of my BUSINESS of building websites.

Since I will never in my lifetime see cable modem, dsl etc. here (and even had I the money for a T1, the antique phone lines here won't allow for it I am RELIABLY informed by LanSource, the premier installer of same in this part of the state), satband seems like a relatively logical move.

Again, I have to point out that my modem NEVER EVER connects faster than 26.4, and that a 40 meg download takes me 5 hours - assuming my connection doesn't get dropped in that period of time. I have a really hard time believing that satband could be WORSE than that. Then again if it becomes available to me I'll just subscribe to it, and if it IS worse, you'll hear about it here I have no doubt.

[Aside: danieljean, I have been quite happily using FF for some months now. Tabbed browsing helps some....]

IanKelley




msg:314128
 11:23 pm on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

There's no question it would be far faster for download/upload of large files.

It's small files where the problem lies, especially when compared to dial up in a website management situation using FTP.

Still, in your situation it definitely sounds like a good idea. I was just posting for the sake of accurate information. :-) For the majority of people 2 way satellite is probably a bad call.

vkaryl




msg:314129
 11:28 pm on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

Well, of course there's always the option to move back into a city. Um. Nev'mind. Not going to do that now. Maybe after my husband can't live out like this any more.... but then again, I will probably be a widow before I'm too ancient to design websites, and at that point I'm just as likely to move to Alaska's North Face....

[*laughing* My middle name is "hermit"....]

bird




msg:314130
 11:36 pm on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

Any time you're connecting to an already slow website/server that extra 3/4 second is going to be even more noticeable.

Actually, it's the other way round. If the server has a slow response time anyway, the additional delay won't matter. It will mostly be noticeable with otherwise fast and snappy servers.

You would notice the delay when:

1) Visiting any web page. Not website, but every individual page.

Maybe, maybe not, depending on what you're used to.

2) Connecting to an FTP server. And then once you're connected, every single file you upload/download. Huge productivity loss.

How much productivity do you lose because that file arrives in 5.01 minutes instead of 5.00?

3) Sending an email. Each and every email you send/receive.

E-mails are normally sent and received by the client software in the background and without direct user interaction. Because of that, you're quite unlikely to notice anything there.

4) Using any IM/Chat program.
5) Using an internet phone application (in fact you would pretty much have to forget about using one for anything other than novelty).
6) Playing games (an important part of any work day). If you happen to play online games you're out of luck with a 2 way satellite connection.

Those might end up being the most annoying, if you need them, along with interactive console sessions (telnet/ssh).

bird




msg:314131
 11:43 pm on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

It's small files where the problem lies, especially when compared to dial up in a website management situation using FTP.

Ah now I see why you're worried about productivity loss there. Of course, any decent FTP software will automatically up/download whole directory hierarchies of files at the press of a button. So the only thing you lose is about half a second per file on top of the "normal" transmission time. Your really need a *huge* site for that to matter.

vkaryl




msg:314132
 11:50 pm on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

One could always simply zip complete folders prior to upload.... thereby making "one big file" out of numerous small ones....

IanKelley




msg:314133
 11:51 pm on Jul 12, 2004 (gmt 0)

Bird...

First, the delay would be cumulative. It works like this...

a) You send request for site to satellite (delay)
b) Satellite sends it back down to the ISP (delay)
c) ISP sends request to website and receives response (delay)
d) Steps A and B in reverse (delays)

However long the lag takes at step C adds to the total, it does not somehow magically dissolve into it :-)

Next, in regards to general surfing. The average delay on dial up is around 60ms. This is a minimum of 10x less than you would see with 2 way satellite.

FTP... You used 5.01 minutes in comparison to 5 minutes as an example. This would be a large file. I was referring to small files.

We're not just making this stuff up. It's true, I promise, just think about it a little more carefully.

jdMorgan




msg:314134
 12:18 am on Jul 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

My only purpose in posting here was to warn potential users not to expect DSL or cable performance. If your only option is a 26.4kbps modem, then you'll probably be happier with satellite, as long as you *do* download a few big files every day. The response delay of normal page-to-page surfing is still annoying, but if you can "forgive" that by keeping in mind that your big downloads are fast, then you can be happy.

Satellite is certainly better than an unreliable slow phoneline modem, but it is expensive and the people selling it intentionally gloss over the latency problem. Before I went to satellite, I got 26.4kbps on a good day, and 14,400 whenever it rained. Estimated dates for DSL and cable availability in this area were "never" and "fat chance," respectively. But I am looking forward to the fast-improving "wireless ISP" coverage in this area. Moving back to/near the city is not an option, I'd rather chew my own leg off.

Jim

vkaryl




msg:314135
 12:52 am on Jul 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

jdMorgan.... ditto that. I just don't do anything but "country" any more.... slow dialup or not, if moving back to the city was the only way to get "fast", I'd go for slow forever....

We aren't ever likely to get the "wireless ISP" option either.... you have to remember that this is the only place in the lower 48 where you CANNOT get "regular TV".... and I am NOT KIDDING! [A CS rep from Pegasus spent THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS of company money to come here to my home to "prove to me" that plain ol' TV was available EVERYWHERE in these United States. Guess what? He went home, tail between legs.... and now we get network TV for a "small added charge" on our Pegasus bill - without argument....]

AmericanBulldog




msg:314136
 1:03 am on Jul 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

Having gone from dial-up to one way satellite as provided by Bell/Direcpc(Hughes) I can assure it is faster than dial however noticeably slower than other broadband connections.

The other disadvantage to dial up for outgoing requests/ftp is the slowness of dial up, try upload a several thousand page site on dialup!

My solution was to install a server I can log into via remote desktop in the city in my brothers basement, this is hooked into a 5mg high speed cable connection.

Again, the latency is a little annoying when connecting via remote desktop and online gaming..forget about it.

bird




msg:314137
 1:21 am on Jul 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

First, the delay would be cumulative. It works like this...

a) You send request for site to satellite (delay)
b) Satellite sends it back down to the ISP (delay)
c) ISP sends request to website and receives response (delay)
d) Steps A and B in reverse (delays)

However long the lag takes at step C adds to the total, it does not somehow magically dissolve into it :-)

I know exactly how it works, thanks.

The additional delay will indeed "dissolve" with C for values of C larger than a few seconds. That doesn't mean it will technically go away, but your perception will become unable to notice the difference. And for judging how someone will experience the performance of an online connection, that's all that matters.

PS:
They just said on the radio here that the start of the Ariane 5 carrying Anik F2 got postponed because of technical difficulties. Prepare to wait another week or two longer for your internet by satellite...

grelmar




msg:314138
 2:23 am on Jul 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

AmericanBulldog:

This is different than old style satellite broadband.

It's a two-way satellite broadband connection, independant of a phone line. The current systems are broadband in (to your computer) and dial up out from your computer. Keeps the load down on the satellites.

The Anik F2 will provide two way communication, much the same as satellite phones. No wires involved at all.

Yes, there will be some latency issues, but it won't be near as bad as current sat broadband.

The other big drawback will be weather. Same as with digital satellite TV. When it snows, the reception goes.

As for pricing, Telesat is aiming the price to be a "slight premium" over cable broadband, whatever that means. Still, prolly cheaper than existing systems. They've already sold 75% of the capacity (and that's before even launching the bird) to resellers.

vkaryl




msg:314139
 2:27 am on Jul 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

grel - is this at all similar to full-duplex voice?

pmac




msg:314140
 2:49 am on Jul 13, 2004 (gmt 0)

CBC is reporting that the bird never got off the ground. Im no techie, but Im gonna go out on a limb and say thats gonna affect download speeds.

This 51 message thread spans 2 pages: 51 ( [1] 2 > >
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