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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.
> Yes, there will be some latency issues, but it won't be near as bad as current sat broadband.
The latency will be exactly the same as the current two-way satellite service I described above, unless they can change the speed of light. At minimum, it is the altitude of the satellite times four, divided by the speed of light. The satellite altitude is fixed at about 22,300 miles, because it must be at that altitude in order to remain over a fixed position on earth (orbital mechanics). So, it's 89,200 miles, divided by 186,000 miles per second, or 480 milliseconds, plus the delay in the modem, satellite and ground station electronics, plus the "internet" delay, which is roughly the same for any connection to a given server.
In practice, 480 milliseconds is the minimum, because the client and the ground station are rarely located directly below the satellite, so the signal must take a longer path (trigonometry), and the speed of light is slower than 186,000 miles per second in air -- 186,000 miles per second is the maximum speed of light in a vacuum.
vkaryl, yes this is similar to full-duplex voice over satellite.
I hope the bird can be launched successfuly. It will be a great boon to those who can't get any other kind of connection. I just get testy when they market it as being equivalent to DSL or cable speeds.
The latency there is worse because you're "click" has to be transmitted through the phone service to the ISP, which does the processing, before anything gets sent to the satellite, in turn to be sent back to your computer. It's a more circuitous route, so more latency. (I think, I really haven't much messed around with sat broadband).
Technical issues aside, and setting aside the obvious benefits for the hermits among us (I'm already stock-piling logs for my cabin in the rockies...)
Anyone see this as potentially making a big difference in rural communities? Especially in terms of increasing the information available for small rural schools, where education tends to lag behind the urban schools?
Other potentially neat applications:
Tracking gear hooked up to a dish on the roof of your motorhome/SUV/name the vehicle of your choice.
Broadband enabled passenger aircraft.
Broadband on cruise ships.
Collapseable, battery operated, backpack broadband you can take with you anywhere you can walk or hike or climb. Mebbe a bit heavy for the sport trekker, but for survey crews, arctic exploration, remote location seismic crews, etc.... Could be a boon.
Going back to the original G&M article I posted at the begining of the thread, indications are for it to hit the consumer market at slightly more than cable broadband.
As for the latency issue:
An even better way to beat it would be to install an infinite improbability drive inside the modem, powered by a nice source of brownian motion. The modem could then flip instantly, and at all times, between your desktop, the satellite, and the base ground receiver, carrying your data with it as it goes.
And *poof* the latency dissolves in a puff of improbability.
The problems experienced in dial up connections here include ISPs who completely ignore their bandwidth limitations, flaky undersea cables to regional communication hubs and an overloaded national Telecom network. People frequently have to wait until late evening to be able to read their mail. Satellite has got me around all of that but at a cost that is huge - US$6000 for the antenna, box and installation plus US$1000 per month. A lot of the upfront bill was for freight and international travel by the installation staff. We load the monthly cost into our product and recover it that way.
Quite frankly 600ms latency is a trivial issue compared to trying to read the New York Times through the local services. We often got connections of 28k but that's meaningless when the average terrestial network speed is somewhere in the sub 10k area. Maybe those problems don't occur in the North American backwoods but it's reality in much of the 3rd world and satellite is the only way around it. It allows you to connect directly to an earth station in an advanced country. Incidentally my daughter uses messaging and chat services daily and has no problem with either.
Of course, HTTP Pipelining can reduce this if you use a browser that supports it (e.g., Mozilla), but the pipelining only kicks in after the first request has received a response. Until then, the browser doesn't know what version of HTTP the server supports.
There are several additional layers of protocol involved in sat connections, plus custom software to handle the prefetching mentioned above, and that's why you must use a PC to connect to the satellite modem; you cannot connect the satellite modem to a router, because a router won't understand the additional protocol layers on top of TCP/IP. If you want to share the connection, you'll need a satellite-aware proxy program - there are several good and inexpensive ones available - and an additonal network card to connect to your other machines via your local network.
I am waiting for Wild Blue to get going and see how it works. Thought about Direcway but think I'll wait & see where things are going.
Sad thing for me is I am only about 4 or 5 miles from cable or dsl.
It's more of an issue up here than in the US, a higher % of the pop lives outside cities, either in the countryside or in small communities where setting up a land based broadband service would be unjustifiable due to the small size of the market.
Looking at sats as an alternative. Are there any particular providers that are cost effective?
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StarBand and DirecWay are the two major players in the American fixed-location market. Mobile-satellite internet service is much more expensive -- Probably not worth considering for household use.
Emerging technologies are LMDS and cellular-based systems. LMDS is a point-to-point microwave system -- Search for "wireless internet (service) provider(s)" or maybe "wireless broadband" to find availability info. The cellular systems use the same infrastructure that's in use now to support internet-capable cell phones.
The LMDS approach is the most straightforward and (today) most capable deployed techology, IMO, *if* you can get it.
Definitely do a lot of research before jumping into this; Things are changing fast, and more options are opening up. And realy dig deep on searches -- Some of the best "local" providers have sites which are very hard to find because of all the ISP directories and the "loose" use of technical terms causing overlap of unrelated search topics.