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Clueless in PA

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Oct 30th, 2007 at 10:55pm  
I am losing my cable internet service due to moving and while researching satellite internet, I stumbled upon this site, so please excuse my complete ignorance.

I work from home doing transcription.  My company is going to allow me to try using satellite, but they are wary,  as I am.  Can  someone answer questions for me please because I have found no-one who can, even the actual satellite people at Wild Blue and Hughes (they use DSL in their offices).

In practical terms, when I'm downloading and uploading files, am I going to notice a difference between the speeds of cable versus satellite?  Will it be as though I can just do something else right quick while waiting, OR will it be as if I can go and  take a nap?  Am I going to lose connection 4 times a week, 40 times a day or 400 times a day when it is snowing (with a good clear Southern path to the sky)? I have no experience working with dial-up so that comparison means nothing to me, but will satellite be, say, like working on a manular typewriter versus a computer keyboard?  I am paid by production so my main concern is, will it be fast enough to make it worth my time.

Well, any help at this point will be very much appreciated.  And, if I'm in a completely different type of forum, please tell me and I'll move on.  Smiley

Kelli
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Eric Johnston
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Reply #1 - Oct 30th, 2007 at 11:27pm  
Can you please describe more what you mean by "transcription" ?

Are you listening to a voice via the cable modem and typing the result ?   Are you listening over a telephone call ?  Are you listening to tapes physically delivered to you ?

How many pages of text do you generate per day ?  How many Mbytes do these files add up to ?

Do you have to type the documents directly on-line to a word processor computer at some other place ?    Or can you type the documents up locally and then send them later when you have finished?.

Best regards, Eric.
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Reply #2 - Oct 30th, 2007 at 11:46pm  
Hi Eric,

I work for a medical transcription company.  I work on their computer.  Typically, it would be through a VPN connection, but it just so happens that the particular "account" I work on does not need one.  What happens is that the dictators (doctors, nurses, researchers, etc.) call in and dictate and those "files" are  downloaded into their system and when I log into my work, via the internet, they download into my system.  I know that is not in sophisticated language, but I am not tech-savy.

The voice I hear comes through over the internet.  I see no tapes nor use any telephone lines.  I type the reports one at a time and then "send" them--or upload--them as soon as I am finished. I work in a platform by Softmed called ChartScript.  It's actually quite cumbersome already, and this is what concerns me with using it with satellite.

I'm not sure how many Mbytes these files add up to in 1 day.  Everything I do is measured in lines.  For instance, in one day I might type 1000 lines.  I will find out tomorrow if one of my tech people knows the answer to this.  They have had 6 people try working on satellite and only 1 was successful.  The others were constantly knocked off making it too difficult to make production goals (for them and the company).

I appreciate your help.

Kelli
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Reply #3 - Oct 30th, 2007 at 11:54pm  
You're talking about streaming audio. Streaming data poses a problem for satellite users. Not because it doesn't work, but because it presents a potential for excessive bandwidth usage. Before you get a satellite connection, have one of the IT staff at your employer calculate the approximate amount of streaming data you'd be receiving in a typical hour, work day, work week, month. Ask for the numbers in megabits or gigabits.

The reason you need this number, is because satellite internet is typically shared access. As such, the providers limit how much throughput (bandwidth) they will permit you to use - based upon the rate plan to which you subscribe. Some limit per hour, some in 4 hour blocks, some by the month, et cetera. That's why you need to be armed with those numbers from those IT folks before you go shopping for a satellite provider.

Make sure you add in your own anticipated usage as well.

//greg//
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Reply #4 - Oct 31st, 2007 at 2:12am  
Geez, I would have NEVER known this!  I'm going to find out tomorrow from the IT folks what this is.  I so appreciate your help here.  I'll come back and tell you what they say.

Kelli
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Reply #5 - Oct 31st, 2007 at 7:58pm  
Well, my IT guy wasn't sure so he had me install AnalogX from the Hughes site.  I'm not really sure how to read the little box, but I am assuming that the Outgoing Totals mean something.  I did call the Wild Blue/Hughes reps who service this area and the pro pak for the WB offers bandwidth upload of 6000 megabites per month and download of 22,000 per month.  Of course, this means nothing to me, but I have a feeling it will soon.  He said that for "average" internet users, upload is around 500 and download is 2500.

Kelli
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Reply #6 - Oct 31st, 2007 at 9:17pm  
Well he wasn't paying attention. Because if you're going to stream audio 40 hours a week, you'll NOT be considered an average internet user. At a minimum, you'll probably have to pay for a SOHO or small business package.

//greg//
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Reply #7 - Nov 2nd, 2007 at 1:21am  
check out Du Meter, I use it for bandwidth monitoring of my connection while on line in real time as it does a nice job of collecting my daily, weekly, monthly, data upload/download and total.
I've used analogX as well, but the program above, as a purchase helps me R&D many subjects.
I have used it for a while and it's an interesting real time monitor to see the vsat bursts, while working or while testing bandwidth test sites.

Tom
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Reply #8 - Nov 3rd, 2007 at 3:00pm  
Thanks for your help.

Actually, I'm not streaming audio.  I am receiving files.  By coming here, though, I've learned a great deal. At least now I can make an informed decision.

Kelli
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Reply #9 - Nov 3rd, 2007 at 3:44pm  
I have a customer that does exactly what you are describing.  They download wav files and then transcribe them.  They are using Starbands service because it gives them a free download window between the hours of 12 Midnight and 6 AM EST.  They use a download manager to get the files while she sleeps, works on them during the day and then up loads the result. She is doing this all on a VPN.

Coupla things on the VPN.

We do have a substantial number of customers working from home using VPN.

The best VPN performance is obtained when using a SSL based VPN such as V-One or Neoteris. The IPSec VPN's are very slow over satellite, usually comparable to a 56k dialup connection or less.

That being said, a lot depends on what you are doing. If you are moving files using a SSL based VPN performance is very good. Do you know which type of VPN you will be using? If it is SSL based and you are just downloading and uploading files they you should be fine.

The problem comes in when you start using applications. Applications like Outlook are very chatty, open up a lot of connections, and performance suffers. Another problem we run into a lot is that people not only want to run VPN, they want to remote control another PC through the VPN using PCAnywhere or Citrix. This is a double whammy. It would probably be barely useable if you needed to use it a few minutes a day. IF you had to use it all day, you would probably want to bang your head on the wall by the end of the day!  It sounds to me like this will not be the case for you so that is good.

IF your client is using Cisco VPN, I understand there is a SSL add-on available for the Cisco IPSec VPN. If they have a mait. contract w/ Cisco, I've been told this add-on is free, and just requires a download.

VPN's by their very nature are extremely chatty applications because just about every packet sent has a security handshake associated with it, with at best a 3/4 sec ping time for each of those you can see how it's like listening to Ravels Bolero in slow mo.

Your IT dept, if they are willing can configure the client connection to only do an initial security handshake at the beginning of the session and only do another one if the session goes idle for a predetermined time period, this can help a lot but not many companies are willing to do this.

If it is an IPSec VPN You can go into the configuration properties and under the transport tab check enable transparent tunneling to improve performance a bit and eliminate dropped connections.

If you would like to personally talk to this customer of ours I would be happy to put you in touch with her.

Just contact me privately.

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Reply #10 - Nov 6th, 2007 at 10:54pm  
Fortunately, I will not be using a VPN.  This is the main problem in my business and one that keeps most MTs from working through satellite.  I was lucky enough, though, to be on an account that does not connect through a VPN.  If I ever run into that problem, I will check out your advice.

Appreciate the help!

Kelli
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Reply #11 - Nov 7th, 2007 at 6:05pm  
No problem,  Good luck working from home...It's the only way to go...Smiley
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