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  #11  
Old 07-23-2002
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John, could you tell us what Earthlink states as the per/min charge for this 400kbps sat ISP service? And is there a per/connect fee? And do they specify a specific vendor''s equipment (which would have to include a geostabilized antenna system) and the approximate equipment cost + average install cost?

I''m guessing the $70/month fee is just the monthly subscription fee, and the eensie-beetsy tip of the iceberg re: cost. But the speed is surely impressive.

Jack
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Old 07-24-2002
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Hi Jack

I do not recall all the specifics regarding fees. It is similar to getting a digital dish for your TV. The dish cost a couple hundred or so and there is an installation fee. Thats about it. They have specials all the time and wave one fee or another so its best to go to the site and get the info.

www.earthlink.net

And yes, they are using a specific service, I do not recall the name, but it is a well known digital sat service provider. One thing though, remember this is NOT a marine antenna and is not stabilized for a boat. It is for home use (or perhaps dockside use).

All in all, does not sound like too bad a deal compared with cable and DSL (just say no to DSL :O).

A dock neighbor of mine ripped his dish equip out of his house and brought it out to the dock one day to watch something on TV...so... I assume that moving the unit around and reinstalling from place to place can be done if you know how to shot the sat.

I am finding a cell phone/PDA very suitable for my needs and when I need to write long technical papers (as is my job), I just plug in a portable keyboard to the PDA. That said, a cell phone is $35-40/mo and the sat service $70/mo for a much richer net presence. Not a bad value proposition.

And I a very curious as to the whether you can shot the event horizon from the islands...hmmmmmmmm

My best to all

John
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Old 07-24-2002
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John, I took a peek at the Earthlink site as I was very doubtful that high-speed access is offered in any form that is suitable for the portability of a boat.

What I first saw is that Earthlink is offering WAP service in what they call ''Hot Sites''. (This relates to access ashore in a few locations that Earthlink selects, e.g. large international airports). The $70 (one-time) fee I saw is for an Orinoco card. I recently set up a WAP (also called Wi-Fi) system in our condo, and it''s great. Pat''s in one room using a G3 Powerbook while I''m in here on a Pentium II desktop - no wires for her and she''s running at 400KBS. But the catch is that her little Orinoco PCMCA card has a range of 50 yards or so from the router (the WAP device) that is connected to a cable modem (or could be connected to DSL).

There is another technical option, which is to use a sat dish to download web data - apparently that is what you''re referring to. The catch there is that it''s one-way, them to you. How do you handle pushing data back up? You need a phone line and modem - slow going out, fast coming back. As you note, the dish would not be geo-stabilized. You''ll notice that many sat TV users in marinas attach the dish to the dock piling vs. their boat (unless they bought a geo-stabilized antenna) - small movements will interrupt the signal.

I don''t believe either of these relate to boat application, except the conventional cable or DSL service to a marina tenant. I mention this since high-speed access while cruising is in such high demand and dont'' want folks to think there''s an option that doesn''t exist. Regretably, the closest I know of is Sat C at 9600 baud, greased with lots of bucks.

Jack
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Old 07-24-2002
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Not sure you saw what I was referring to. Earthlink IS offering TWO-WAY sat internet. $70/mo. Not sure what you are referring to.

And true, this system is not meant for a boat and could not be used while underway. However, I have known people to take their Direct TV sat dish and re-align it with the sat for reception someplace else. I am surmizing that if you know how to shoot the sat, you might be able to take the whole thing along and nail it to a dock anywhere you go. Also, since the sat is in geosynchronous orbit 22,400 mi out towards an equatorial position, or at least somewhere over the southern US, that you might be able to find the sat from the Caribean. Obviously, this is prohibited by the FCC, but... I do not see a TECHNICAL reason why it could not be done.

:O)

J
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Old 07-24-2002
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John, I surely did learn a few things when I talked to Earthlink. It isn''t quite as fast as you claim, but it''s a step up from the ''sat down/phone up'' system they were using. As Earthlink''s web site states: "The service costs $69.95 per month for downstream speeds of up to 400 Kbps and upstream speeds of up to 128 Kbps." That ''up to'' is one catch, as they apparently can''t assure that speed using the burst technology they have in place. The fellow I talked with also wasn''t real encouraging about unbolting/reinstalling the antenna "unless you really know what you''re doing", whatever that means. As boaters, we tend to end up knowing a lot about the things we don''t know about.

If anyone else is following this thread, the answers to the questions I posed are: $649 for the xmit/receive dish; $259 for the install; $399 early termination fee (contract req''d for 1 year); and they''re running a sale right now ($300 off the whole enchilada).

However, since this is a forum on using a boat, I''ll again point out this isn''t for anyone who''s hoping to cruise the Caribbean. It''s strictly a ''bolt it to the piling'' system. Within our context (boating), that usually means a marina. And many marinas now offer cable or DSL service via the local vendors for less money (and faster data rates going ''up'' the pipeline).

Clearly, Earthlink''s business plan is to be the ''broadband provider for everyone'' and, where DSL or cable broadband is not available, they can offer satellite service. The question is how long will it take for the cable and telecomm companies to reach 90% of the same population with the same service...still at a lower cost.

Jack
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Old 07-25-2002
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Just want to say thanks for all the great info you''re sharing.

Duane
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I was just following this line. and thought I might add a little info, There are satellite dishes that are self seeking. They will search for a satellite and acquire the signal. they sell them for RVers so the spouse can watch TV while they are rolling down the road. Could be compatible with a boat? Bob
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Old 08-14-2002
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Bob, there is a Sat TV *receiving* antenna that will auto-track. Among other places, it''s demo''d at some boat shows and the annual SSCA Gam. However, the Sat antennas for internet access normally must be two-way (transmit capability) and I haven''t seen a product like that yet. Earthlink would know, since they''re trying to corner the broadband sat internet service biz.

Jack
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Old 08-14-2002
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jack,
i think KVH has a two antenna system that will allow 65k
baud rate.
eric
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Old 08-14-2002
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sorry,
KVH tracknet system also runs at 400k bps.
eric
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