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#481404 - 07/11/18 06:33 PM [Help! Tech S.O.S (Off topic)] Rural satellite internet service
jazzmammal Offline
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I know I have joined quite a few folks on this forum who live in the sticks. After about 35 years in the LA area I bought a house in Warner Springs, California which is about 30 miles up the mountain from Temecula. After coming from LA where anything and everything concerning cable, fiber optic and all that is available, none of that is easily available here.

I want to talk about sat service. For years all I've heard about is HughesNet which is expensive, limited, requires a 5 year contract and is...expensive.

A new old service is now available called ViaSat/Excede. I don't know the history but if you do a search you'll find tons of posts/articles talking about how bad it is, worse than HughesNet. Not any more. Early this year they merged and put up more satellites. I didn't want to post this until I've had it at least a month and it's actually about six weeks.

They have several tiers, mine is the upper tier but not the top tier. I get 25mbs download speed and 60 gigs a month guaranteed to not get throttled down but it is an unlimited data plan, it's just if the network is busy I could get cut back after 60 gigs. It costs $71/month. I can check my account any time to see my usage and I've been averaging about 1.7 gigs a day. I watch a lot of Youtube vids, some streaming but not a whole lot and tons of regular online internet surfing, doing remote login's to my old office, efaxing, etc. So far 60 gigs is plenty.

Every few days I run Speedtest and I've always been between 25 and 30 down and 1-2 up. Surprisingly I've had only minor issues until today when a big thunder thumper was right on top of me for about 45 minutes pouring rain. Those will block sat services so I was offline for a while. ViaSat can be bundled with DirecTv which I also have and I have to say it's worked really well.

I live in a community with 332 homes and there are several folks here who've been using HughesNet for years and have been waiting for me to have this service long enough to say it's pretty good. After six weeks it's pretty good.

Bob
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#481413 - 07/11/18 07:47 PM [Help! Tech S.O.S (Off topic)] Re: Rural satellite internet service [Re: jazzmammal]
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I have no advice for you, but I enjoyed Temecula. I played their jazz festival in old town 12 years ago. Great music.
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#481471 - 07/12/18 07:37 AM [Help! Tech S.O.S (Off topic)] Re: Rural satellite internet service [Re: jazzmammal]
Notes Norton Offline
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Registered: 07/06/00
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Loc: Fort Pierce, Florida, U.S.A.
Congratulations on your move. Small towns have that trade-off with convenience.

I investigated satellite service back in the Internet Dark Ages (1990s) when my phone service was undependable.

They guaranteed me the satellite gear would work but not that I would be able to get on the Internet. I'm sure it's much better now.

Now I get DSL-Lite with the phone company, I'm too far away from the end of the fiber optics to get real DSL, so even YouTube buffers a few times.

I live along a 15 mile road with a two mile wide lagoon on one side, protected wetlands on the other, and huge houses with 50 acre lots and only 4 or 5 short dead-end spur streets. I live on one of those in a small house and a half acre lot.

What that means is Telephone and CableTV pass very few homes per mile of cable, making the return on their investment very poor. The physical plant of those two utilities is very expensive to build and maintain, so they put most of their attention in suburban areas with plenty of side streets.

So I'm reading your post with interest and it might lead to an investigation.

Have you gone through any severe rainstorms yet? Does it still work?

My neighbors tell me that Satellite TV service is very intermittent in the rainy season when it's stormy around here.

Bob
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#481495 - 07/12/18 09:56 AM [Help! Tech S.O.S (Off topic)] Re: Rural satellite internet service [Re: jazzmammal]
jazzmammal Offline
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Loc: Redondo Beach, Ca.
Check around you might find some sat related forums and find folks in Florida to ask about it. I had a big storm yesterday and the service went down for for a bit. I had other stuff to do and didn't time it but I'm guessing about a half hour maybe.

Where I'm at is referred to as the High Desert. It can be total sun for 6 months with almost zero clouds but in the summer we do get monsoons coming up from Mexico. I have friends in Tuscon and they get the same. Monsoons affect the whole southwest US and it's why Vegas has a huge storm drain system. Thunder, lightning and a ton of rain for anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour. It just depends on how intense and the altitude the storm is when it's directly in the path of the signal as it relates to your dish.

Overall I don't think it's that big of a deal, the signals are strong enough to get through a lot of weather but of course there are limits. I had DirecTV for years in LA and only lost signal a few times. There were times when it was blowing and raining pretty hard but no issues. It has to be really intense and directly in line with your dish. You might lose it but a person a mile away won't.

Bob
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#481647 - 07/13/18 04:58 AM [Help! Tech S.O.S (Off topic)] Re: Rural satellite internet service [Re: jazzmammal]
Notes Norton Offline
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Loc: Fort Pierce, Florida, U.S.A.
In the summer, we have intense rainstorms. A half inch or more in an hour.

Often they are accompanied by lightning in which case I'm turned off and unplugged anyway.

For most of my life they were of short duration, an hour at the most and then the sun comes back out. But for the past few years the weather patterns have been changing. We had a week of rain early this spring, but I think most of it not intense enough to block the signal.

Thanks. I think I'll investigate.

Notes
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#482909 - 07/22/18 02:54 PM [Help! Tech S.O.S (Off topic)] Re: Rural satellite internet service [Re: jazzmammal]
jazzmammal Offline
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Just to update this. No more thunderstorms here but I have had two brief outages for no apparent reason. A few hours ago with a clear sky it suddenly went down and I looked at the modem and it has a weird looking light that I've learned means it's offline. It only lasted about 10 minutes. Several days ago the same thing happened and again it only lasted a few minutes.

Still not a big deal at least for me but so I don't come off sounding like a salesman, the service is not perfect. I'll still rank it pretty good compared to the alternatives. If it starts going down for a day or even a few hours, I'll report that but it hasn't happened yet.

One thing I forgot to mention, they insist on automatic debit for payment. They just charged me the $71 yesterday and now I'm going into my third month.

Bob
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#482987 - 07/23/18 08:10 AM [Help! Tech S.O.S (Off topic)] Re: Rural satellite internet service [Re: jazzmammal]
Notes Norton Offline
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Thanks for the update.
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#483834 - 07/29/18 08:28 AM [Help! Tech S.O.S (Off topic)] Re: Rural satellite internet service [Re: jazzmammal]
musiclover Offline
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I think if I was moving, and I hate moving, the two foremost questions in my mind regarding house and area are, is it prone to flooding, and quality of internet services.
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#483906 - 07/29/18 07:37 PM [Help! Tech S.O.S (Off topic)] Re: Rural satellite internet service [Re: jazzmammal]
rockstar_not Offline
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Registered: 01/14/02
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Loc: Colorado Springs, CO, USA
I know a family that has to move somewhat regularly and one of their top criteria is they only consider neighborhoods within 5 miles of official Apple stores. They figure Apple only puts stores in areas of high quality services, Internet has included.

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#484111 - 07/31/18 09:14 AM [Help! Tech S.O.S (Off topic)] Re: Rural satellite internet service [Re: jazzmammal]
Guitarhacker Offline
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Registered: 04/03/09
Posts: 5796
That's a situation I was faced with last year when we moved in. The cable co wanted $12,000 to run the cable under the road and 900' up a clear right of way. I turned them down.

I checked into Sat I-net but didn't trust it to be always on as I've had sat before and weather knocks it out. And.... the cost vs speed wasn't good IMHO.

I got the phone co to install DSL for $50 install cost and $60/mo. We stream our TV and have Magic Jack phones that all work well on a 20MB service. In other areas, the DSL speed is much higher but we're out in the boonies and they need to upgrade the equipment at the service distribution point to deliver higher speeds.

Another option is a cell phone hot spot if you have solid coverage. I think it's comparable in price to Hughesnet and has the same throttle issues with usage limits. But it was the one I was looking at before I called the phone co. Two of my customers are using it for their home internet.
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#484211 - 08/01/18 10:23 AM [Help! Tech S.O.S (Off topic)] Re: Rural satellite internet service [Re: Guitarhacker]
MountainSide Offline
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Registered: 12/06/11
Posts: 1049
Loc: Lake Keowee, South Carolina
I'm struggling with the same issues here since we recently moved from southern Florida to Lake Keowee outside of small town Seneca South Carolina. The only options here are HughesNet and AT&T. I choose AT&T over Hughes due to the spotty coverage and outages during storms.

Even so, it's a great disappointment after having 150Mbps download and 20Mbps uploads from Comcast in Florida. I mean come on, 25Mbps down and 3-4Mbps up....ancient technology!

Anyway, a couple of things I have found out that may help all of you rural folks: 1. Chrome is much faster than IE (IE is becoming less and less capable with with videos...some websites no longer suppport IE for vids); 2. and this is a big one, change your DNS to a public DNS and get away from your ISP's DNS. ISP DNS's are notoriously slow as they try to contain bandwidth. For me, Google's public DNS improved my internet response time significantly.

Here's how to change your DNS:

https://developers.google.com/speed/public-dns/docs/using

Hope this may help,

Jeff
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#484212 - 08/01/18 10:38 AM [Help! Tech S.O.S (Off topic)] Re: Rural satellite internet service [Re: MountainSide]
sslechta Offline
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Registered: 12/27/13
Posts: 1247
Loc: St. Louis, MO. USA
Originally Posted By: MountainSide
Here's how to change your DNS:

Thanks sir! That's a cool tip.


Jeff,

P.S. - While I was looking at this stuff I found a free utility you can use to scan the fastest DNS hosts in your area if you are uncomfortable with Google storing all your browsing history. Trying it now.

DNS Benchmark


Edited by sslechta (08/01/18 11:14 AM)
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#484262 - 08/01/18 05:36 PM [Help! Tech S.O.S (Off topic)] Re: Rural satellite internet service [Re: jazzmammal]
rharv Offline
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Registered: 05/30/00
Posts: 18958
Loc: Marysville, Mi. USA
Google DNS servers have nothing to do with Google browsing history.
Your ISP may be watching, but Google DNS servers could care less. Much more likely that your browser has that history data.

Pop quiz;
When setting up a DNS server, what do you use for it's DNS setting (as mentioned above)? <grin>


DNS is one of my day job aspects that I think is fun, and pretty cool.

If you realized how many requests your personal computer makes to DNS servers and how fast they respond so you get to the requested website, you would likely be surprised.
Many times two/three other servers are involved; your DNS server is first (after checking locally for Hosts Entries) .. and if your DNS server doesn't have the answer cached, it checks the NameServer computer for the domain (Start of Authority) which then tells your DNS server either the correct answer or the location of where else to check (which may be a third computer) and then your DNS server sends this info back to your computer, before the website even launches/loads (because only now your computer knows which other computer has this site).

Sorry, I deal with DNS a lot & that was probably more than you wanted to know.







Edited by rharv (08/01/18 05:38 PM)
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#484266 - 08/01/18 05:56 PM [Help! Tech S.O.S (Off topic)] Re: Rural satellite internet service [Re: jazzmammal]
sslechta Offline
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Loved it, thanks!
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#484349 - 08/02/18 08:56 AM [Help! Tech S.O.S (Off topic)] Re: Rural satellite internet service [Re: jazzmammal]
Guitarhacker Offline
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If I tried to change my DNS server, I'd probably crash the internet as a result. World wide, is what I'm talking about. I know nothing about this new-fangled stuff.

At the very least.... I'd be off the internet and no clue how to get back on.
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#484396 - 08/02/18 04:14 PM [Help! Tech S.O.S (Off topic)] Re: Rural satellite internet service [Re: jazzmammal]
90 dB Offline
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#484421 - 08/02/18 07:08 PM [Help! Tech S.O.S (Off topic)] Re: Rural satellite internet service [Re: jazzmammal]
jazzmammal Offline
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Posts: 6558
Loc: Redondo Beach, Ca.
Funny clip.

Speaking of ATT's DSL over the cell network solution, that was the only thing available up here other than HughesNet until recently. My neighbor has it and so does a bunch of folks around here. The problem here is there needs to be an available portal and there have been none available since I bought my house last October. I didn't actually move in until the end of April but starting last October I kept calling ATT every few weeks and I got the same answer, no portals available, they're working on building out more.

It was the last call where the lady transferred me to Viasat. The other thing is someone said they're getting 25mbs downloads with ATT rural DSL. Nobody here is getting more than 4 or 5. Here it's some kind of combination of phone line DSL and the cell network. They do allow you 180 gigs a month. When I've told people I'm getting 25mbs D/L speed from Viasat they're amazed which is why people keep asking me how it's working out.

I have a few clues to my short outages. It seems to be related to me leaving the system unattended for several hours while I'm working on my office computer. I'll come back and the browser can't go to a new site. Either closing/reopening the browser does it or rebooting does it. All I can tell people is it's only once or twice a week and for a short duration except when I had that bad thunder thumper for an hour.

To the comment above about IE. This is why I've been harping about Win 10 for months now. Edge is not IE. Edge works great while IE can have occasional issues.

Bob
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#484463 - 08/03/18 06:28 AM [Help! Tech S.O.S (Off topic)] Re: Rural satellite internet service [Re: 90 dB]
sslechta Offline
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Loc: St. Louis, MO. USA

Loved it Bob! Did you know the internet is on computers now?

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#484553 - 08/03/18 05:06 PM [Help! Tech S.O.S (Off topic)] Re: Rural satellite internet service [Re: Guitarhacker]
rharv Offline
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Posts: 18958
Loc: Marysville, Mi. USA
Originally Posted By: Guitarhacker
If I tried to change my DNS server, I'd probably crash the internet as a result. World wide, is what I'm talking about. I know nothing about this new-fangled stuff.

At the very least.... I'd be off the internet and no clue how to get back on.


I doubt you'd crash the internet, but it's possible to put yourself at increased risk. That's what makes products like Cisco Umbrella have so much value, especially for large networks.
Need to be careful with DNS servers, fixing a failure is pretty easy, but using a bad one (successfully) is risky.





Edited by rharv (08/03/18 05:14 PM)
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