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Old 13-05-2008, 21:21   #1
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Can someone please explain this to me?

Why is 2 way satellite internet service for homes cost about 50-100/month while that same service on a boat would cost upwards of 5 THOUSAND dollars?

Im yet to understand how the service is ANY DIFFERENT WHATSOEVER from the satellite side of things.

All I can think of is something about different satellites that allow more movement or possibly something with coverage area.

We currently have a TracNet 2.0 antenna, but Im not sure if it works. I an just looking for a semi reliable internet service that I need to use for about a month in the gulf of mexico (about 100+ miles offshore). So EVDO is probably out of the question. I can live with 56k speeds, but would prefer something faster, hopefully around 400k.

Wiredocean seems to be the only somewhat inexpensive option.

Does anyone know of any other options or any way to beat this system they have to charge us out the wazoo just because they can?

/rant

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Old 13-05-2008, 23:50   #2
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Are you sure the home based one is two way satellite? Many of the home type connections use satellite for the down load only, but upload is hard wire or cell like 3G or similar. True two way from a boat requires an uplink dish and transmitter etc. That's the expensive stuff and why the boat systems cost what they do.
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Old 14-05-2008, 00:23   #3
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There is two-way satellite internet available for the home, and it only costs a little bit more than the sat-downlink and telephone-uplink variety (look at Starband, for example). I used them just recently, until terrestrial radio-internet became available in my location.

As to the big cost difference in the marine systems, I believe that the satellites used have more powerful transmitters, since the dishes used in the marine systems are smaller. That's going to have a big impact on system cost, since it will affect the number of customers a satellite can support. Also, the dishes used on the boats are actively stabilized, which adds to the (one-time) equipment cost.

No doubt the limited market also keeps prices high, both out of necessity, and because they can.
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Old 14-05-2008, 00:45   #4
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I think Paul Elliot just explained that very well.
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Old 14-05-2008, 05:55   #5
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One other thing to keep in mind about satelitte internet access is that the latency is very high which makes it a poor choice for certian types of applications. Anything that is terminal based (telnet, ssh, Citrix) suffers badly over high latency connections. Large streaming packets are fine (web browsing, ftp, email) but small packet type traffic can get very laggy. Speed is great but high latency speed may not be ideal depending on the work that has to be done.
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Old 14-05-2008, 10:39   #6
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As Paul pointed out, marine satcom service is a totally different beast than consumer-grade satellite Internet service.

Inmarsat Swift64 or BGAN service (also called Swift-Broadband) gives you symmetrical uplink and downlink speeds, and support dedicated circuit-switched voice via ISDN service (64kb/s B "bearer" channel).

And it's expensive. Just a couple months back, I consulted on a project now to put H.264 video conferencing onboard an aircraft using a similar service - and believe me, you don't want to have to pay for that...
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Old 14-05-2008, 11:30   #7
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Quote:
Why is 2 way satellite Internet service for homes cost about 50-100/month while that same service on a boat would cost upward of 5 THOUSAND dollars?
Two way Hughes Internet at home with a large dish ran about $129 / month plus $2000 for the dish and other door prizes. These dishes are fixed mounted and have to be calibrated. While you might be able to take one and put it on the boat but you would not be able to calibrate them. They tried to sell the same dish for RV's and it sort of worked but you had to calibrate it each time you stopped. The stats are low in the sky and not so easy without a full southern exposure.

At sea it's a different set of equipment as has been noted.
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Old 14-05-2008, 11:41   #8
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Other than technical differences between the various internet satellite services such as bandwidth, there are economies of scale that account for pricing differences.

Internet relay satellites are geosynchronous and cover limited areas of the Earth. There are more people living on land than on the water and it costs just as much money to launch a satellite that is going to be pointed towards land as a satellite that is going to be pointed towards the water. Given there are fewer customers on the water, the satellites that are pointed towards the water have to cost more per customer to cover the costs. So that accounts for the differences in the subscription/cost per minute prices.

For boat based satellite transceivers that require a parabolic dish in order to get enough gain, they have to be gyro stabilized, which of course adds to the cost over a roof top dish. So that accounts for the higher cost of the hardware...as well as economies of scale for the hardware.

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Old 14-05-2008, 11:51   #9
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I know some RVers use the Hughes dish for internet access with some simple third party add on mabye look more into that side and mabye you can come up with some sort of Hard ware hack that would work.
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Old 14-05-2008, 12:09   #10
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Ok, this is what is most upsetting to me... after doing some research, I found that KVH actually HAD an affordable solution. It was based on their TracNet 2.0 system that used 2 dishes. One was for uploading (probably via Inmarsat) and the downloading was through the TV antenna. This was actually semi affordable and had rates of about 79c/min.

It gets under my skin that we actually HAVE that system on our 44' Pacific Seacraft, but KVH is no longer covering that system, so we are SOL.

They are basically FORCING us to buy their 32k system or deal with nothing.

The best thing I have found is mobilesat or wiredocean (only europe).

I do NOT need worldwide coverage, simply coverage that can access internet in areas just off the coast, but beyond cell coverage (100-200 miles offshore). I dont need anything fast, but something at least ~56k.

I would like reasonable setup costs and decent rates. I cant believe this, but I would pay up to 400/month (all this 5k/month costs are numbing me)

Does anyone have any solutions?
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Old 14-05-2008, 12:41   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by disco192 View Post
Ok, this is what is most upsetting to me... after doing some research, I found that KVH actually HAD an affordable solution. It was based on their TracNet 2.0 system that used 2 dishes. One was for uploading (probably via Inmarsat) and the downloading was through the TV antenna. This was actually semi affordable and had rates of about 79c/min.

It gets under my skin that we actually HAVE that system on our 44' Pacific Seacraft, but KVH is no longer covering that system, so we are SOL.

They are basically FORCING us to buy their 32k system or deal with nothing.

The best thing I have found is mobilesat or wiredocean (only europe).

I do NOT need worldwide coverage, simply coverage that can access internet in areas just off the coast, but beyond cell coverage (100-200 miles offshore). I dont need anything fast, but something at least ~56k.

I would like reasonable setup costs and decent rates. I cant believe this, but I would pay up to 400/month (all this 5k/month costs are numbing me)

Does anyone have any solutions?
I've used a sat dish system overseas. The base cost was 1500 for a used to about 3000 for a new setup (1-1/2meter diam dish). Plus monthly costs of about 1000/3 months. Overall, it was better than nothing, but not all that impressive.

The real pain with the systems are aiming them. You need to have them the 'tunnel' so minor vibrations like wind don't totally mess things up. And there is the crux of your problem. The movements on a boat, even at anchorage, are utterly gigantic by comparison and the dish size is miniscule.

But that really doesn't help you a solution.

If you need email go the HAM/SSB route.
If you need voice, get a sat phone.
If you need to cruise the internet or need to FTP documents, you are just going to have to deal with it.

There may be some ways to set things up so you can go with out the internet for bit. I presume you have the bills on autopay. So, let's just say you want access to your online trading account. You could consider going with a broker or a CTA or setting up your trades with trailing stops or One Cancel Other orders.

Hope that helps.
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Old 14-05-2008, 16:53   #12
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I know some RVers use the Hughes dish for INTERNET access with some simple third party add on maybe look more into that side and maybe you can come up with some sort of Hard ware hack that would work.
On a moving ship there is no way in modern physics to make it work. The basic range of the platform does not even cover the southern Caribbean. This is not a global system even on land.
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Old 14-05-2008, 20:35   #13
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Here is a Pactor HF internet bridge solution:

http://www.scs-ptc.com/datasheets/sc...et_english.pdf

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Old 14-05-2008, 21:52   #14

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"Does anyone know of any other options or any way to beat this system they have to charge us out the wazoo just because they can?"
Disco Stu, you are such a lucky guy! You CAN beat that system. Anyone, even you, can put up his own satellite and then charge other suckers to use it. And these days, you might even be able to do it for less than a billion dollars, I think Alan Alda did a piece of PBS's NOVA last year explaining how to go about it along with the exact costs.

Home costs are for a fixed system, no gyro stabilizing needing, sharing the bandwidth from one satellite and one satellite only. Ask for ocean coverage, a global system, oh yes, satellite coverage in the empty ocean instead of shared by thousands of landlubbers...add a gyro stabilized tracking system...and yes, you will pay more.

You're asking for the pointy end of a lot of expensive technology, if you NEED it you either launch your own, or pay the folks who are willing to make that billion-dollar investment gamble. What's the problem with that?

Pactor HF is no solution, the speed is about 1200bps, a paltry 1/40th of the speed of landline modems. Useful for short text messaging and small files--but not live ineternet access.

By the way, Hughes and their Direct-division really ARE bloodsucking vampires. They claim that an FCC license is needed to install their dishes on land. The FCC says that's news to them. Direct just likes to make sure folks don't waste bandwidth with misaligned dishes, and their franchisees don't have to share.
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Old 15-05-2008, 23:58   #15
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Originally Posted by hellosailor View Post
"Does anyone know of any other options or any way to beat this system they have to charge us out the wazoo just because they can?"
Disco Stu, you are such a lucky guy! You CAN beat that system. Anyone, even you, can put up his own satellite and then charge other suckers to use it. And these days, you might even be able to do it for less than a billion dollars, I think Alan Alda did a piece of PBS's NOVA last year explaining how to go about it along with the exact costs.

Home costs are for a fixed system, no gyro stabilizing needing, sharing the bandwidth from one satellite and one satellite only. Ask for ocean coverage, a global system, oh yes, satellite coverage in the empty ocean instead of shared by thousands of landlubbers...add a gyro stabilized tracking system...and yes, you will pay more.

You're asking for the pointy end of a lot of expensive technology, if you NEED it you either launch your own, or pay the folks who are willing to make that billion-dollar investment gamble. What's the problem with that?

Pactor HF is no solution, the speed is about 1200bps, a paltry 1/40th of the speed of landline modems. Useful for short text messaging and small files--but not live ineternet access.

By the way, Hughes and their Direct-division really ARE bloodsucking vampires. They claim that an FCC license is needed to install their dishes on land. The FCC says that's news to them. Direct just likes to make sure folks don't waste bandwidth with misaligned dishes, and their franchisees don't have to share.
Hah...that's funny because I installed and aimed my own DirecTV dish! The hardest part was getting the dish itself. Nobody wanted to sell one to the end user. I had to lie to get them to sell me one. I aimed it using a baby monitor of all things...listening for the different pitched tones coming out of the TV until it was spot on.
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