Does it work? Sometimes...maybe...sort of
We are in a position to not only compare satellite internet to DSL and dial-up, but also to compare 2 sat companies, Hughesnet and WildBlue. After years of living with wonderful DSL,we moved to the far north, where the only options are satellite and dial-up. Our office has WildBlue, and our home has Hughesnet. This what is what we have learned:
1. Sometimes satellite is amazing. It brings somewhat high speed internet into the middle of nowhere. At its best it is worth every penny. It is never as good as our DSL was though.
2. You can't always count on it working, and sometimes when it is supposedly working it is painfully slow. We have "raced" each other to get to a website with AOL dialup and satellite internet when the AOL won.
3. Consider paying for a service plan when after your warranty runs out. A service call and equipment repair can easily run $350. It is not uncommon to hear people say they have paid this type of repair bill more than once a year. Service technicians tend to travel from far away, so service is not usually fast.
4.Both plans we use limit your bandwidth usage and will make you "pay" for using too much bandwidth by slowing your speed down to next to nothing. Our Wildblue plan is cumulative for 30 days, so if you overuse bandwidth part-way through the month then the rest of the month could be awful. Our Hughesnet starts over every day, so if you goof up you are only tortured by slow internet for 24 hours. This is a big Hughesnet advantage, as it doesn't take much to go over the bandwidth limitation, even when you have the highest possible allocation. On Wildblue our staff was playing Pandora internet radio for part of the day; we went to 80% of our allocation in just 14 days. Satellite is definitely not for heavy users.
5. VoIP--the providers say you can't use it. We have used Skype over the satellite to talk to our daughter in Asia. It didn't work great, but it worked. Communication was possible.
6. EVERYONE complains about their satellite internet service, no matter which provider they use. Nobody ever raves that "It works fabulously" because frankly, it is an imperfect technology.
I guess it's better than nothing, though.
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