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Wildblue - Direcway comparison ?

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Ernie Briggs
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Oct 24th, 2005 at 5:49pm  
I'm getting tired of waiting for DSL and can not get SBC to give me an answer as to when it will be available in my area.   I had Direcway satellite in the past and was very unhappy with it.  A light rain or heavy cloud would cause a loss of signal.  My rural electric coop is now offering WILDBLUE SATELLITE at a cost of $299 and $49.99 per mont.  I would be willing to pay this if it is any better than my previous experience with satellite internet.  Has anybody had experience with both systems?
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Eric Johnston
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Reply #1 - Oct 24th, 2005 at 7:41pm  
Wildblue operates in the Ka band which suffers more from rain than Ku band.  Wildblue however is deliberately designed with proper fade margins and rain fade mitigation features so as to give a satisfactory service.   A poorly installed and marginal Ku band system is worse that a properly designed and installed Ka band system.  An attractive feature of these Ka band terminals is that installation to a high quality is possible with less time and effort required than for the larger dish Ku band systems.
Best regards, Eric.
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Reply #2 - Oct 25th, 2005 at 2:10am  
Eric,
That is one of the best descriptions I have heard.
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Reply #3 - Oct 25th, 2005 at 11:03pm  
Please would anyone with experience of both systems comment further below.

Thanks, Eric
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Reply #4 - Dec 4th, 2005 at 9:10am  
Hello People, Eric, it seems as though you are already sold on OLD Technology and have not yet grasped the New. So obviously my opinion on the differences would be hollow.
Why not talk about Latency. I have yet to see where a Ku system can match that of the Ka. You cannot Poorly install a Ka system as there are certain criteria that must be met. Where as Ku, your next door neighbour can help you install it and diminish everyone else's Ku experience. You say Rain has an adverse effect on the Ka, I agree but at the same time the regions which are known for rainfall, (like the whole West coast) are benefit to higher setting to accomodate the weather. Also, A six foot dish would not look too atractive on the side of my house. We could go on and on about which is better or worse, but for the time being, the new technology has my vote. Ka, that is.
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Reply #5 - Dec 4th, 2005 at 7:51pm  
Quote:
Why not talk about Latency. I have yet to see where a Ku system can match that of the Ka.


No offense Ranger, but you're uninformed. Latency is a factor of distance. It's a word to describe the amount to time it takes the signal to move at roughly the speed of light, from the user to the satellite down to the gateway to the destination - AND BACK. As long as GEO satellites have 22,300 mile orbits, and as long as radio waves travel around the speed of light, latency is a constant in the satcom world. Now if you want to discuss technology that attempts to compensate for the EFFECTS of latency, that's another matter.

Rain has an adverse effect on very short wavelength radio waves no matter what the origin. Ka- and Ku- are both affected, but the Surfbeam equipment used for Ka- actually ramps the user modem output, which in turn varies the transmitter power.  And if you did a little more homework, you'd know that TeleSat (the owner of Anik-F2) engineered the satellite coverage to be twice as powerful over the more rain-prone western states - than over the eastern coverage.

I don't advise you to go on and on, until you know what you're talking about in the first place.

//greg//
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PanAmMan
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Reply #6 - Dec 4th, 2005 at 10:31pm  
Solid evaulation Greg... BUT...

The bottom line with SATCOM is ch utilization and latency proxy... These are 100% under the control of the provider, although the F2 has a lot more beams and therefore theoretically a lot more available bandwidth...

But That's where the theory ends... Right now all the major SAT TV providers are buying up transponder bandwidth for HDTV... So in the end your Sat internet performance is going to be a compromise on where they can make the most money from the transponder...

Predicting wheather KA or KU will be more impacted by this compromise is a futile act just now... But you can look at the fact that the newer F2 Class birds are much more re-configurable (eg HDTV) than the older KU transponders.

Remember, Money talks and B*LL  S**iT walks... And Broadband Sat Internet has NEVER yet been profitable in the home space. When compeeting with HDTV, which is rapidly approching profitability, i think we all need to be realistic about the fact that Consumer Home internet will be used to fill in temporary excesses in transponder bandwidth until the video markets mature to absorb it.

Either that or someone is going to have to subsidize it in a very big way over a very long time... Even the canadian government is not willing to do that!

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Bubba Phillips
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Reply #7 - Feb 6th, 2006 at 10:48am  
I know this is a stupid and lazy way to ask this question considering all the variables involved, kinda likes someone calling a doctor and saying "I feel bad....what's wrong with me?", but with all uncontrollable things being equal, what *basic value system would you pick if you were about to sign up yourself, right now, in southeast Louisiana? (anybody that chimes in would be greatly appreciated). Again, I know that this is oversimplifying here, but I would just like to know personal preferences here.

NOTE: 
[B]Total[/B] cost for first year of basic Wild Blue service is about 70% that of the [B]total[/B] cost of comparable DirecWay service for the first year, and Wild Blue's maintenance cost after that initial year runs about 85% of that of Wild Blue.

The FAP Trigger for basic Wild Blue service is 7.5 GB/ preceeding 30 days (which works out to about 250 MB/ day), with FAP recovery being about one day after when the customers usage falls back to [B]80% of 7500 MB in the preceeding 30 days[/B] This is surely on rolling 30 day periods, not calendar 30 day periods....As such, you obviously [B]COULD[/B] be cut back for a good while if you trip Wild Blue's FAP, because you would trip it at 100% of the usage threshold, and you would only return to the regular download rate NOT when you get back down below the usage threshold when counting the preceding 30 days, but about a day after you get back down to 80% of the usage threshold when counting the aggregate usage of the preceding 30 days!  What I mean here is if on, say, June 6 you tripped the FAP at 7500 MB, your download rate would be cut back.  To trip it at 7500, the aggregate usage had to total 7500 MB from May 6 to June 6.  You would not return to your normal download rate until after you reached the day that your usage for the preceding 30 days equalled 6000 MB.  So, if you tripped it on June 6, and you decided that you would [B]not even get online at all[/B] until your rate is restored, then you would hve to stay off until the total usage for the preceding 30 days dropped from 7500 MB to 6000 MB.  Then, you have to realize that any use afterward would only push your recovery point farther down the line...and remember, Wild Blue will only reset your rate a day after you drop back down to 6000 MB aggregate for the preceding 30 days. 

Direcway's FAP, OTOH, triggers after using 170 MB in 1-4 hours, with the recovery to the normal rate returning in 8 - 12 hours. 

Wild Blue cuts you back to about 128 Kbps download and 28 Kbps upload after the FAP triggers, and DirecWay, I THINK, cuts you back to about 56 Kbps.  It seems about the same for both, really, except that you want to try to never trip the Wild Blue FAP.  If you do for DWay, no big deal, but if you do for Wild Blue, well, you are gonna be set back for a while.  You could quickly download a few very large files without tripping the FAP for Wild Blue, but you'd have to watch your step for a bit afterward.  It seems to me that if I had a running 30 day count meter, I wouldn't be so wary of Wild Blue's FAP.

So, as I said, what I am wondering is if you were told right now that you were moving to rural southeast Louisiana tomorrow, and you had to make a choice right now as to what you wanted, Wild Blue or D-Way's basic policy, what would you pick...No need to state a reason unless you want to, a simple "Wild Blue" or "D-Way" response post will do.  Obviously, I would love to hear you expound upon your reason, but I figure that most people wouldn't mind posting a dozen or so letters, as opposed to a big, detailed post. 

I could list a bunch of reasons why this is a hard question to answer, but that would only be if I were asking for a defense of one system or the other....I am simply asking what would YOU choose right now, knowing what you know about Wild Blue and DirecWay, even if all you know is what I typed in this post and what is in the rest of this thread.

I sincerely appreciate any and all answers, I [B]really[/B] do!!
________________________________________________________________________________
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Oh, and by the way.....

[B]Ranger[/B] said:
[quote]"Why not talk about Latency. I have yet to see where a Ku system can match that of the Ka."[/quote]
To which [B]Greg[/B] ([B]USN-Retired[/B]) replied:
[quote]"I don't advise you to go on and on, until you know what you're talking about in the first place."[/quote]
Followed by:

[quote]"As long as GEO satellites have 22,300 mile orbits, and as long as radio waves travel around the speed of light, latency is a constant in the satcom world."[/quote]

I have no idea what any of this means, but one guy who really knows this stuff said this:

[quote] "The high frequency of the Ka spectrum makes for faster data transmission rates and a fatter pipe thus a faster Internet connection via satellite.  The effects of this overall increase in faster satellite internet communications will be to reduce lag (latency for those that know) by a factor of 2." [/quote]
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Reply #8 - Feb 6th, 2006 at 1:47pm  
[quote author=Bubba Phillips link=1130274262/0#8 date=1139222915]"The high frequency of the Ka spectrum makes for faster data transmission rates and a fatter pipe thus a faster Internet connection via satellite.  The effects of this overall increase in faster satellite internet communications will be to reduce lag (latency for those that know) by a factor of 2."[/quote]

Pure semantics. I can speculate with some confidence that the statement was lifted from a marketing document. No honest engineer would say something like that. The generic definition of "latency" is the amount of time it takes for a data packet to move across a network connection. In generic terms, "faster data rates and a fatter pipe" will logically permit data packets to move more efficiently. Nothing magic there. But more efficiently - NOT faster. Until somebody figures out how to make electromagnetic energy travel faster than the speed of light, the speed at which these packets travel will remain a constant. That's science. Where the originator of that statement went wrong is to apply the generic definition to satellite latency. See http://www.satsig.net/latency.htm. Now on the NON-satellite segment of the path, some technical tricks can be applied to reduce the EFFECTS of latency over a satellite path. But no matter how you slice it, you're not going to avoid the half second round trip time over GEO satellite - regardless of the frequency.

That said, I'm considering switching from DW to WB myself - but for other reasons. I want faster uploads, I'm not impressed with Hughes use of DVB for Direcway, and WB doesn't outsource it's tech support (yet).

//greg//

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Bubba Phillips
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Reply #9 - Feb 7th, 2006 at 1:45am  
Greg,

Yep...it was marketing propaganda....good call!  You know, in reading back my own post, it sounded kind of offensive, even to me, the one who posted it, but I can assure you that I did not mean it that way (and am glad that you didn't seem to take it that way).  What I meant was that I was wondering what the deal was...what was right and what was wrong, that is.  Of course, it wouldn't have done me one bit of good to get clarification on that single aspect, anyway!  I am a techno-tard, I can assure you, only looking because I try to shop any significant buy as good as I can. 

In this search for info, I am totally relying in not so much understanding what you very intelligent guys are saying, but more so trying to glom onto your opinions, only because that is the best that I can do.

Thus far to me, from the forum posts that I have been reading, that WB seems to be definitely edging out DW as far as the opinions of the informed [B]seems[/B] to me to be going.  Since I know nothing about all this, not even enough to understand most of what ya'll write, I am essentially limited to that anyway.

Obviously, the best way for a person to shop anything is to shop it for their own particular needs, and I am doing that as far as the things that I can understand go.  Of course, the many aspects such as the FAP, service pricing, warranty, and service contract, etc., that I can understand just as good as the next guy, I do look at closely as it pertains to me and my potential use, but as far as hardware and system "quality" goes, I am trying to count "votes of the informed", if you will, and tally the votes for what the preferred system is vs. the runner up....and as I said, it seems thus far that WB is the leader, and if I am not wrong, it seems that you may be echoing that....or at least it seems to me that you would be thinking that WB may be a bit "better" for your own personal use.

Thanks, Greg....I appreciate your time and post!
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john d
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Reply #10 - Feb 7th, 2006 at 5:40pm  
Latency indeed involves time of transmission at (in this case) speed of light, but also involves congestion, number of hops, and any other processing delays contributed by the devices through which the signal goes (think Throughput speed if you will).  Kind of like caution zones and stop lights on a high-speed hiway.  You should rather think of latency as the total delay time for your signal to transit a given path.  Using car and driver terms, it doesn't matter much if the speed limit on your road is 100 mph, when there are stop signs, stop lights and crossroads every half-mile!  I did several trace routes of my signals over DW and the signal delays were related directly to the multiple hops the signal had to make, and the thousands of m-secs each device caused... talking 4+ hops at 1500+ milliseconds each.  So for a signal with a 255 msec time-to-live (TTL), you see it gets killed quite effectively, whether going or returning.

I wonder if the Ka band has enough of a speed and throughput improvement, or not.  I hope so.

And ps, every time you open (for example) Outlook over the web, thousands of little gif's are downloaded, so the MB or GB limit is not jus the fiels you acces, but all the traffic that comes down when you connect to a website.  Streaming ads will add to your totals as well.
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Reply #11 - Feb 20th, 2006 at 3:37am  
About the effect of rain and wind. I have been on Wildblue since December 20th, 2005. I live on the southern Oregon coast and we have had torrential rains with hurricance force winds. Those conditions did slow down the internet, but Wildblue worked surprisingly well.
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Reply #12 - Mar 3rd, 2006 at 5:20am  
Ka band is affected less by weather then Ku band. I have had both Direcway and Wildblue and Direcway is affected by the rain a lot more then Wildblue. Wildblue is faster, cheaper and its not as affected by the weather it also allows more usage the equipment itself is less then half the cost.
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Reply #13 - Mar 3rd, 2006 at 8:34am  
You need to bear in mind that Wildblue is designed with a very big link margin, so that it will still provide a satisfactory service during moderate rain.

A Ku band system, like DirecWay, needs a lesser fade margin, but unless this link margin actually exists following installation the service will fail quickly during rain.  The link margin can be wasted in pointing error, poor cross polarisation, cable losses, incorrect level setting etc, all of which are installation skill related.  The link margin is also obviously affected by dish size (receive) and dish size and transmitter power (transmit).  These decisions are a cost/quality of service trade off at the design stage.

My observation is that Wildblue appears to be well designed and, having circular polarisation, needs less skill to install well.

Best regards, Eric.
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Stephen White
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Reply #14 - Apr 8th, 2006 at 10:23pm  
I had Direcway 4000 system for about 2-1/2 years. It worked most of the time, but had periods through the day where it slowed. Only used customer service a couple of times, and response was very slow. About the same time as the merger (Hughesnet) service almost stopped.
It worked about 10% of the time for about 5 days. Customer service didn't exist. Telephone support was basically unavailable, chat didn't work, and emails brought no response.
We have an internet business, and couldn't conduct business. In panic i called Wildblue (used local elec co-op) and said hook me up. We bought the pro pak which is $20 bucks/mo more than the old Direcway. We have only been running for about 48 hours, but so far terrific. Very fast compared to our old DW4000. I'm not worried about rainfade, I expect it and plan ahead.
To get Direcway disconnected I had to trick them into answering the phone by calling the new orders number. The were polite once I got a human voice.
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satman
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Reply #15 - Apr 26th, 2006 at 10:16pm  
beware to buyers. seems there is a conflict between wild blue direct dealers and rual electric companies. ive done the research and here is what ive found by talking to wild blue. there is a difference between service when you get wild blue from rual electric. real wild blue dealers offer real wild blue customer service, email and wild blue is your internet service provider. the rual electric tries to hide this but when you buy from rual electric they are your internet service provider not wild blue. they also dont offer wild blue customer service they offer some 3rd party thing. also real wild blue dealers have to be trained by wild blue, NRTC installers can train eachother or do in house training other than wild blue. not to mention the email address with rural electric is easily twice as long. as a matter a fact if you buy from rural electric you are not allowed to talk to wild blue because your not their customer. its really weird but it seems to be a deal wild blue set up with the nrtc to get off the ground. my suggestion would be to buy from a real dealer. its a better deal and is the same price. do the homework before you by. not to mention, when did the rural electric decide to do internet instead of electricity? Id rather have a satellite installer put in my internet rather than a lineman.
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