Review by Woodlane
Good "96+% Uptime, Netflix (Wii / Android) and Skype OK, 1.5 Mbps/253 Kbps, 20 Gb/mo. 50 Mb webspace. 200 Mb/hr (50 KB/s) download."
- Location: Gananoque,ON
- Cost Contract price not specified.
Bad "No backup, 809ms Latency, 4 Gb daily cap, delays and pauses. See 'Lessons Learned' in text."
Overall "Recommended if no DSL, cable, fibre or strong wifi signal....Good uptime & value.. Skype & Netflix justify this service."
|Pre Sales information:|
Value for money:
File Download Performance
Standard 3 Mbps: 1 Gb/hr_____________Lite (as of 05/13/2013) 1.5 Mbps: 0.6 GB/hr
File Upload Performance
Standard _____________Lite (as of 05/13/2013) 385 Kbps: 50 MB/hr
Only one device usually connected to the internet at this location. I am very pleased with the 'Standard' 3Mbps and 'Lite' 1.5 Mbps connections. The local installer, »www.Ripnet.com out of Brockville did an excellent job aligning the equipment for a good connection. I have been able to do things that I could not have even attempted over dialup...Skype with family, Netflix, Software Updates, YouTube to see bands I grew up with, experiment with Linux and online services like Google Drive. Since installing the Linux Zorin distro December 1, 2012, my PC is markedly faster with Linux than windows XP Pro. The Viasat-1 4g Satellite is much faster than the old xPlornet satellite service. Satellite is not as responsive or fast as terrestrial cellular or hard wired services, so will not run online gaming well, but is adequate for social networking, some entertainment and computer support. The usage tracker in the xPlornet User Portal is working as of September 2013. Only complaint is that I sometimes have to click more than once for the mouse request to 'take'. Support is excellent with delays to get to phone support less than a minute. I have found speed test results to be questionable with Jack Dinn's being the most reliable. I have recorded momentary download speeds up to 17.1 Mbps and got good performance in all but the worst wet/snowy weather showing the potential for 4g satellite technology. Slow speed here (once or twice a month) has usually been caused by either a really bad storm, MS Windows needing a 'tuneup' or a misbehaved application loading down the CPU or memory requiring only a reboot to fix. I have not tried the 5 Mpbs package yet, but I dropped down to the 1.5 Mbps 'Lite' on May 13th to keep monthly costs the same.
LESSONS LEARNED: Installation Tip: Don't install the dish on a sloping roof or side of a building exposed to debris falling from the roof especially in areas where ice storms are expected. Operation Tip: Don't stand in front of an active VSAT dish because it radiates RF radiation.
Ongoing Monthly Updates:
Contract expires March 2014. I am one of 6 neighbours on a rural Eastern Ontario island who subscribe to the new xPlornet/Viasat-1 HTS service. None have expressed any complaints to me regarding service, support or billing so it appears that statiscally, the majority of xPlornet HTS customers must be satisfied. I was the first connect as of March 14th of 2012. The only other high speed options here were Wifi and the Rogers Hub. We are 9 km from the wifi tower, and a neighbour connected to wifi could not check his email occasionally or during poor weather. Another wifi customer experiences frequent slow connections and I would need to install a 45' tower to connect. Rogers cellular had a reliable connection, but was only 3 Mbps at this location, expensive and had less than 6 Gb monthly bandwidth. I decided to try this new satellite service because of it's capacity, cost, and to avoid a tower. Latency is not a concern for my application. This is a '4g' satellite owned by Viasat with xPlornet being the Canadian ISP partner. The potential for 4g speed delivery as demonstrated to customers by Viasat/Exede is what got my interest in this new technology. Currently 4g applies only to the technology...bandwidth is set to the subscribed package (1.5, 3, 5 or 10 Mbps).
Update April 10....Average 30 day (Testmy.net) DN:3.0 Mbps UP: 311 Kbps. Peaks: 3. Mbps/ 433 Kbps.)
I subscribed to the xPlornet/EOWC 'Standard' 3 Mbps/500 kbps package @ 64.99/mo. ($49.99 first year). It provides 30 Gb monthly useage and 4 Gb per day. 50 mb personal webspace and one email is included. I only use about 15 Gb per month so I will probably never be affected by overage at $2.50 / Gb.. There is a 'free download period' from 2am-7am local time during which time usage is not counted toward my monthly bill.
Ordering and pre-sales was good except that I had to find out by myself about early termination fees and traffic management policies which are needed for shared connections.
Installation was completed in about 4 hours and the installers were knowledgeable and worked with me to find the best location for the dish. Rx SNR is typically > 11 dB on a clear day. The dish and Surfbeam RM4000 Series Satellite Modem are designed by Viasat Inc. of Carlsbad California. The modem feeds a TP-Link TL-WR1043ND 300 Mbps Wireless N Gigabit Router which I have found to be very stable compared to my old Dlink router.
Since installation, I have been monitoring speeds 24/7 through testmy.net under the SID 'Woodlane'. I have also used ispgeeks and Jack Dinn's Speed Tester (best). I have seen some step improvements in performance and some slowdowns since installation. The average speeds are 2.4 Mbps and 402 kbps with good reliability. This service based on the DOCSIS standard is designed to be less affected by weather than earlier technology. This has been my experience with speeds rarely dropping because of weather except for the other day when the modem SNR dropped below 6.1 and brief outages when the SNR dropped below 4.9 when the signal had to cut through bad weather extending over 30 miles to the west (see attached jpgs). xPlornet customer service is excellent with minimal hold times. Their customer on-line portal is still under development.
Good: It used to take over 5 minutes regularly to just dial in and check email over dialup. Now I can check my email in less than a minute. Popups would drag down apps over dialup. Now they are usually not a problem. Phone free. Good support. No tower. Windows and app software updates are doable now. 50 Mb personal webspace. Netflix and being able to Skype with family. Better than 70% of Skype sessions are OK. Knowlegeable, prompt 24/7 phone support.
Bad: Having to retry sites occasionally before they appear. A second or two pause when starting an internet app like email caused by latency and delays (tcp delays) in the download stream causing app delays like webmail text not keeping up with typing occasionally or the received Skype video to momentarily 'freeze', but this is just an inconvienience at this point. Skype is mostly good when I need it.
Update June 11: A neighbor just got his old xPlornet sat service upgraded to HTS. He said that it's not 'lightning fast' (he is subscribed to the faster 5mb service and is averaging 4.5 Mb down and has not checked upload yet). He can do Netflix with minimal pauses. Correction... he ran into poor speed issues a few weeks later. I'll not try Netflix until this service is more stable. Download speed is dropping to 800 kbps tonight and getting some tcp pauses again. Skype ok though.
Update June 21: Working great. Some occasional evening slowdowns, but even then hugely better than old dialup. Have set up DDNS with no-ip.com, plugged it into my TPLINK Router, and am monitoring response times and uptime through Pingdom.com.
Update June 23: Have configured uptime reporting using DDNS and Pingdom.com. Anyone can view my live uptime and response time report at »stats.pingdom.com/rd6in85lnoxq/589922.
Update June 30:...well the long weekend is here....a bit sluggish at times, but email and Facebook running OK. Hard drive light is on a lot lately causing my notebook to slow down...I'm not blaming the network connection on this......I'll have to figure out the cause...RAM amount is OK, maybe I'll check the paging file size or try out Linux....any suggestions would be appreciated. Still reasonably happy with xPlornet/Viasat. I occasionally see its speed capability in brief bursts. xPlornet still needs to get their bandwidth feed and traffic shaping settings fine tuned to reduce excessive tcp delays and let Viasat shine. This is a shared connection and I accept that fact.
Update July 10...Standard 3Mbps/500Kbps service. Average DN: 2Mbps UP: 279Kbps. Uptime: 99.31%. Me and a couple of other HTS users have experienced some degraded performance since approximately July 1. One 'Max' 5Mbps user is now experiencing excessive buffering in Netflix where it was OK at first. xPlornet is 'aware of bandwidth congestion' particularly in evening hours and is working on it with currently no resolution date. They have offered me a $15 discount until this issue is resolved. To be fair...basic services like email and browsing are usually available and Skype worked OK for me last night.
Update July 17...Speed back up since noon on July 11th. xPlornet added a couple more 'carriers' to the spot beam (#7) that serves Eastern Ontario to help balance user load. Download speed now meets or exceeds 3 Mbps frequently. Now there are four HTS users on this island, and one more soon. One who was upgraded from the old xplornet satellite service yesterday really appreciates the huge increase in performance with HTS......Correction...saw this user on August 3rd and they have also experienced slow performance in early August...comment.."Back to where they were with the old satellite."
Update August 02....Average DN: 2.5Mbps UP: 307Kbps. Uptime: 96.56%. Speed test results have improved, but I continue have some concern with uptime changes to traffic shaping since March, occasional pauses in response and reductions in download speed. The reporting portion of the Customer Portal is still under development.
Update September 01...Average DN: 2.75Mbps UP: 526Kbps Total Used August: 14Gb Uptime: 98.44 (adjusted). 18 hours of downtime removed because I was not available to reboot my modem and router. xPlornet can 're-register' the Surfbeam 2 modem to restore normal speed..done at least twice lately. Continuing pauses in response and reductions in download speed. The reporting portion of the Customer Portal is still under development. ****Started Netflix trial Sept 18. A 1 minute pause / 5 minutes on PC (Microsoft Silverlight issue) but OK on Wii console even in rainy weather...like it sofar****
Update October 01...Average DN: 2Mbps UP: 269Kbps Total Used September: 15+Gb Uptime: 97.09%. Netflix continues to work OK on the Wii but hogs over 1.5Mbps of 2Mbps bandwidth. The xPlornet Facebook presence continues to be uninformative and negative contrary to my experience with this connection. I continue trying to justify $64.99/mo. for rural internet access.
Update November 01...Average (Testmy.net) DN: 1.9Mbps UP: 266Kbps Total Used October: 15+Gb Uptime: 99.23%. Using Netflix is a pleasure. It is always working with rarely a pause. Download speeds are more consistent. Only concern is that every day or two I have to make multiple requests to load a webpage. My confidence in the stability of HTS has improved greatly over the last two months.
Update December 01...Average (Testmy.net) DN: 2.1Mbps UP: 290Kbps Total Used October: 15+Gb Uptime: 98.27%. Netflix up almost 100%. Still have to make multiple requests to load a webpage almost daily. Skype still useable, but video more pixellated up and down since mid summer (maybe xPlornet made a change to their traffic shaping around June/July). Two instances in December already of a very good modem SNR, but having to make a quick call to xPlornet support to restore connectivity. Support was prompt and effective.
Update January 01...Average (Testmy.net) DN: 2.3Mbps UP: 352 Kbps Total Used December: 24.94 Gb Uptime: 98.84% (Not including December 31 reporting outage caused by me having to reactivate my free »www.no-ip.com account). A speed tester is reporting regular evening slowdowns, but interestingly enough, this is not reflected in Netflix. Video streaming continues to work well but in the first two weeks of January, I have been seeing some ooccasional sluggish performance and have been having to repeat click more frequently. Have now migrated to Linux Zorin on an old Dell Inspiron 640m P4 1.8Mhz 80Gb HDD/1Gb Ram. I could have not even thought of downloading an OS like Zorin over my old dialup connection. Zorin has much better performance than my old Windows XP Pro that this notebook was running. No more 'disk thrashing' . I am mainly using Zorin right now for Email, Facebook Skype and Netflix. LibreOffice spreadsheet works great, but I have been getting some crashes with LibreOffice presentations. Netflix is not pausing to buffer even though it runs under Wine and with Silverlight under Linux. I am not able to install Jack Dinn's speed tester under Wine yet, but I'm working on it. Zorin detects USB devices like my Canon SX20 very well.
Update February 01...Average (Testmy.net) DN:2.7 Mbps UP:329 Kbps Total Used January: 20.88 Gb Uptime:98.84% Still was getting regular evening slowdowns to January 7th. but Netflix OK all month. Video streaming was poor around January 25. I still see some occasional sluggish performance and have to repeat click occasionally. Skype to the Carribean was bad around January 25. On 3 of 4 occasions I had to turn off video because latency increased to over 4000mS from 800ms with video causing broken up video and sound. Latency dropped back to 800mS when video was turned off. I am investigating the cause of this. Linux Zorin still working well. I may start looking at Workspaces in Zorin.
Update March 01....Average (Testmy.net) DN:3.1 Mbps UP:343Kbps. Peaks 4.8 Mbps/398Kbps. Total Used February: 19.84 Gb Uptime:98.21%. There was a step improvement in download speed early February when xPlornet added another carrier to the beam that serves this area to balance load. A 16hr outage caused by my router being turned off is not included. Still a very useable internet connection. Had to remove some wet snow from TRIA horn once to restore signal and looked into a dish cover. A bit more sluggish performance and having to repeat click more often in February/March and more 'Server Not Found' and "Connection reset" messages following 'Looking up www...." with the modem stats still reasonable. Netfix still working fine. Still waiting for xPlornet useage trakker to start working and be set up same as Wildblue so that an external graphing utility can use its data
Update April 10....Average 30 day (Testmy.net) DN:3.0 Mbps UP: 311 Kbps. Peaks: 3. Mbps/ 433 Kbps.Total Used March: 16 GB Usage and uptime reporting discontinued. Uptime always close to 100%. The 'Server Not Found' and "Connection reset" messages are no longer a concern..must have been fixed. In March, I purchased an entry level Samsung Galaxy Ace ii x 'Smartphone'. I loaded it with Facebook, Skype and Netflix. Netflix actually starts up a bit faster on this unit than my older notebook PC and runs flawlessly over my home xPlornet satellite wifi 'hotspot'.
Update May 1...Average 30 day (Testmy.net) DN:3.0 Mbps UP: 309 Kbps. Peaks: 4 Mbps/ 346 Kbps. Total Used April: 16.27 GB No disruption during two day ice storm..just had to remove some ice buildup from Tria once. Working well. Found that the Shaw/xPlornet TV service discount is less than the 'customer loyalty' discount provided by Bell Telephone / xPressVue. EFFECTIVE MAY 14TH, I WILL BE DOWNGRADING TO THE 1.5 Mbps 'LITE' PACKAGE FROM THE CURRENT 3.0 Mbps 'STANDARD' PACKAGE TO KEEP MONTHLY COST AT $52.99 (Shaw and xPlornet pricing rises by $3 / month).
Update June 1.... Average 19 day on 'Lite' package now. (Testmy.net) DN:1.2 Mbps UP: 212 Kbps. Peaks: 2.4. Mbps/ 279 Kbps. Total Used May to-date: 7.2+ GB. I dropped down to the 'Lite' (1.5 Mbps/385 kbps) from 'Standard' (3 Mbps/500 kbps) as of 12:01 am May 13th at the end of my first year discounted period to keep cost the same. Browsing and email are still working OK. Only one internet user usually on this connection. For some reason Testmy results were stable for the first few days, then stated varying a lot. I lost connection for about 20 minutes during the worst of a thunderstorm this month.
Update July 18.... DN:1.5 Mbps UP: 253 Kbps. Peaks: 2.3. Mbps/ 279 Kbps. Speed is more stable in last two weeks. YouTube pauses around 2-3 times per hour for about 30 secs per pause. Good enough to make a good 'jukebox' for my summer patio parties. Netflix still works great. Skype is a bit more pixelated than with the 'standard' plan, but still useable. Had to reload Linux 1x, but it still outperforms MS Windows.
Update Sept 01.... (Last 60 Days) DN:1.4 Mbps UP: 265 Kbps. Peaks: 2.5. Mbps/ 771 Kbps. Uptime: 99.43%. Speed has dropped to around 1 Mbps for last 12 hours, but has been OK prior to that and still is running Netflix OK even at 1 Mbps. The xPlornet useage tracker is now functional in the 'Customer Portal' albeit providing only basic information. Email notification is received when thresholds are exceeded.
Update Oct 01.... (Last 30 Days) DN:1.4 Mbps UP: 227 Kbps. Peaks: 2.1 Mbps/ 253 Kbps. Uptime: 98.84%. Total used Sept 14 - Oct 1 (14 days): 11.69 Gb / 20 Gb (55.99%). Working when I need it. I still hear that HTS is sometimes faster than a Rogers cellular connection here.
Update Dec 01.... (Last 60 Days) DN:1.4 Mbps UP: 237 Kbps. Peaks: 2.1 Mbps/ 259 Kbps. Uptime: 96.45%. Total used Nov 14 - Nov 25 (11 days): 7.94 GB / 20 Gb (39.64%). No problems. Netflix working well. Always connected when I need to do any research. 24/7 support is efficient with 3 minute hold time.
Update Jan 07/14.... (Last 30 Days) DN:1.4 Mbps UP: 305 Kbps. Peaks: 1.8 Mbps/ 318 Kbps. Uptime: ***82.05%. Total used Dec 14 - Jan 7 (24 days): 8.08 GB / 20 Gb (40.39%). ***Still works as well as ever when up, however several inches of ice built up around the dish mounts from a major early January ice storm shifted, bending a mounting bracket slightly causing loss of signal for a couple of days. Signal returned when the ice was removed. Lesson learned: Not recommended to install the dish on a sloping roof or side of a house where snow or ice could fall on it. Install dish in an accessible location so that you can remove snow buildup. NEVER STAND IN FRONT OF AN ACTIVE VSAT DISH. »www.satcoms.org.uk/satellite/for···635.html
Update Feb 26/14.... (Last 30 Days) DN:1.5 Mbps UP: 301 Kbps. Peaks: 2.2 Mbps/ 322 Kbps. Uptime: 99.70%. SNR better than ever since the ice storm affected the dish mount...9.9+ dB gain. Always there when I need it. Some delays still, but just a minor inconvenience.
Update March 28/14.... (Last 30 Days) DN:1.5 Mbps UP: 301 Kbps. Peaks: 1.9 Mbps/ 322 Kbps. Uptime: 99.73%. No complaints....no change in status.
Update June 12/14.... Netflix still working well. Haven't used Skype lately. Still almost always up when needed....was down briefly when a bad thunderstorm came in from the west. Satellite TV was also affected at the time.
Update October 28/14.... (Last 60 days) Uptime: 99.23%. Usage June through September 11.91, 7.01gb, 5.89gb, 7.17gb. Netflix still working well although haven't used it much over the summer. Skype OK. Uptime excellent. Speed OK...unchanged...not spending as much time checking monitors these days.
I am also documenting my experience with this new service on my Facebook tech page 'woodlane.ca'.
member for 2.6 years, 187 visits, last login: 93 days ago
updated 91 days ago
Re: Advice needed! Hi,
Looking at where you are, it would be a long time, if ever, before you got fibre, cable, or dsl, so that seems to leave you with wifi or satellite or cellular which is what you seem to have now and is expensive..
On the 'Standard' satellite package, you would drop to 2-3Mbps download speed and 0.5Mbps upload speed with around 800mS latency with satellite, but with a generous 30Gb per month bandwidth. There is a faster package that could give you up to 5Mbps down and a bit faster upload speed.
Wifi would be a better choice if you can get a good wireless signal with an outdoor antenna on a tower. That could give you 5-10Mbps download speed with much lower latency and even more monthly bandwidth I think. I am around 15-20Gb per month useage with Netflix.
Speed on shared connections like wifi and satellite will always be erratic to some degree depending on concurrent users. xPlornet 4g Satellite works for me (for now until something better comes along). We are on Netflix almost daily on our Wii with no problems. Call Ripnet '»www.ripnet.com' in Brockville for more info. They installed my satellite here and they sell satellite and wifi so you can choose which works best for you. Good luck! If anyone there does gaming, satellite latency might be a problem, but Skype is useable for me.