Satellite internet

#1
I'm looking to go on an extended trip (3+ months) around the USA. I run a software business, so having internet is pretty crucial. I like to camp in remote areas without a cell signal. I've heard the Wilson WeBoost is alright, but it won't magically give you 4G if you are in an area without cell.

Has anyone done research into satellite internet options? I realize that speeds are going to be crap, expensive, but I really just need to be able to monitor email and load simple web pages.

Too bad the Inreach Explorer is not hotspot capable.

Thanks.
 
#4
I've seen really bad reviews on the Iridium Go. Like 15 minutes to load a google page, bad. And can't load native Gmail, either.

The dish is probably a bit much for me...
 
#6
If you want anything but the miserable speed of Iridium Go you will have to have a dish. We use a 1.2 meter ViaSat, good link speed, the cost of entry isn't horrendous, low 5 digits. Monthly fee is based on data used, I can't remember off the top of my head but I think it's $40 per 500MB.

https://www.viasat.com/internet
 

doug720

Expedition Leader
#7
We had Hughes at our remote property, and it was very slow. But, it was service. We were lucky to have a government research station set up near us a few years ago with a 4g cell service.

An acquaintance with a off grid cabin has a much larger antenna he uses with Hughes. He claims the size made the speed better?
 
#8
In general satellite internet is crap, however it's better than no internet.

Hughes.net loves to defecate upon their customers...
Correction: consumer grade satellite internet is crap.

I work in the satellite industry and portable satellite access can be quite good, but you have to be willing to have a reasonable size antenna (1m is best for Ku and .75m for Ka band) and be willing to pay quite a bit for monthly service. Size does matter as the return power limits the upload speed. (And sometime upload speed limits download, but that’s a complicated discussion). Some of plans can only be used a certain number of days, or a certain number of Megabytes.

Plans outside the consumer class are usually fixed rate (ie 5Mbps x 2Mbps) for around $500-700 or metered at a price per Megabit consumed. The latter can make things quite expensive if you don’t know how you’re going to use it.

Another option is BGAN, which is L-band and uses smaller briefcase sized antennas. These are typically 256kbps - 1mbps service and also metered Mbps, and can get quite expensive if you aren’t careful about how you’re using it.

Again the options I’m describing are beyond “consumer grade” if you’re using it for business. Here are some additional resources to look into:

Inmarsat Isat:
https://www.inmarsat.com/service/isathub/

Inmarsat BGAN:
https://www.inmarsat.com/service/bgan/

Some US based resellers that focus on higher grade (better than commercial) services:

IP Access International
http://www.ipinternational.net

GroundControl
http://www.groundcontrol.com

IsoTropic:
https://isosat.net/vsat-solutions-broadband-satellite-services/

If anything piques your interest, and you need some guidance let me know and I can steer you towards some industry colleagues.
 
#11
Not sure but you mention software development. I was in the business and looked long and far for a solution for my travels. We went with Hughes net as we were told it was sufficient. First time out we discovered an issue. I had to VPN into work for work for access. With their (not sure of others) you can't VPN even though they say you can. Our MIS director and also my wife's at her work stated: " The time delay of Satellite does not allow VPN configuring for properly secure sites". You may want to look into this in your search. I will be following... I'm now retired but wife would love to be able to connect in remote travels.
 

dwh

Tail-End Charlie
#12
VPN doesn't have a problem with the time delay over sat links.

What it has a problem with, is that sat modems usually act as proxies, to optimise traffic flow. For a VPN to work over sat, you have to be able to bypass the proxy.

Then you get to experience the true joy of a 500ms-1000ms latency.
 

Arjan

Paperwork Specialist
#13
In general satellite internet is crap, however it's better than no internet.

Not really...

BGAN is simple plain text use only and works with a rather small - as in peili case 1500 size - set up. We have used them everywhere but keep it very, very simple.
Here in France ( I know - you're on the other side ) we have a fixed dish set up at the last back up if all goes wrong. And it does in Rural Allier.. Works fine, faster than ADSL - no, we do not have fibre yet - but not cheap.

And as in many cases, size matters. A bigger dish, well aligned gives good working speeds - something the BGAN unit can only dream of. VPN is very much depending on the provider and your location... Please observe all satellite traffic is closely monitored and in many countries not allowed - US may be OK, but check before crossing borders.. We used VPN's but they were nighmares to get working and need constant monitoring. We found in certain areas we would loose all contact using a VPN - "plain" was OK..

We have had clients with the fancy push the button and you'll have internet in 5 mins. but those units don't really like bouncing around in a 4WD - you need serious equipment to have it work when you need it, every time. Otherwise, smoke signals are more effective.

And, as said above - the provider makes also a lot of difference. so test carefully before parting with money.
 

dreadlocks

Active member
#14
My wife and I are both in the tech industry, and for a good decade we both worked from home.. we used that opportunity to work from camp frequently, cuz why the hell not.. used a dedicated cellular modem w/external antenna I could hookup (would even hoist it into a tree on occasion).. but we had to do alot of field testing to find locations we had good enough signal.. was not easy but after a few seasons we had a short list of places we could work from camp and we just frequented those when we were on the clock.. off the clock we always tried to find new spots, but honestly there were not that many.. when your in the mountains, cell signals fade quickly.

We'd have meetings and stuff we had to be available for, so going out of cellular range was not much of an option.. telephony access was a requirement and I can only imagine how troublesome a meeting with a dozen people woulda gone if I had a >1s latency on a sat phone that people didnt know to account for.. you see news anchors stepping ontop of field journalists (think remote warzone) on sat links and they are aware and trained how to communicate with the latency.

Honestly if you want to go exploring for 3mo, prepare your company to go without you for that time.. if its an emergency perhaps a sat based message service they can page you with.. then get in your vehicle and drive towards the nearest town until the mobile data connection comes back.. otherwise, unplug and relax..

Mebe in the next decade or two SpaceX's low altitude sat swarm will make working from anywhere in the world a real possibility.. technically it could have lower latency than cross oceanic fiberoptic links because sending signals through the air is faster than through glass.
 
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#15
I have sat internet. Its plenty fast now but your issue is setting it up every time you stop would be impossible. It requires a tech every time you change locations. I do get 25mb+ down and 3mb.

My advice is cell service covers a lot more of the us than you would imagine. If its super important get verizon and att plans with a good cellphone booster.
 
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