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2. General Information

Most satellite broadband companies advertise speeds of "up to" 400-500kbs down. Actual download speeds very widely. Your results will depend upon your provider, transponder and gateway assignment, and your registry tweaks, among other things. But the good news is nearly everyone gets better than the advertised download speeds. One-way systems usually average in the 500-1,300kbs range and two way systems in the 600-2,000kbs range. Starband systems seem more stable in their download speeds, and DirecPC based systems seem to have more speed potential. Many DirecPC based two-way systems when fully tweaked have attained speeds in excess of 3,000kbs and average 1,500kbs - 2,500kbs. You should note however, that depending upon transponder assignment, many users with identical systems can only get download speeds in the 600-1,300kbs range.

Broadband Reports.com speed test archive

by PetDude See Profile edited by seagreen See Profile
last modified: 2003-02-03 16:47:39

Generally consumer grade satellite broadband systems are advertised with upload speeds of "up to" 128kbs. One way systems come with no upload speed predictions.

In actual use, at least at this time, none of the consumer grade two-way satellite systems get upload speeds near the 128kbs suggestion. There is a wide variance in actual upload speeds from moment to moment. You can expect that most of the time the upload speed of a two way system will be in the 30kbs-80kbs range. Due to latency issues with satellite connections, most upload speed tests will show speeds lower than actual FTP uploads.

Upload speeds for one-way systems are limited by your connection to your dial-up ISP, but generally run in the 18kbs-28kbs range. No one seems to get the full upload speed available to a dial-up connection once the satellite protocol overhead is added.

Broadband Reports.com speed test archive

by PetDude See Profile edited by seagreen See Profile
last modified: 2003-02-03 16:48:58

Latency for satellite connections is very high due to the distance the satellites are from earth. One-way systems typically get pings in the 400-500ms range with 450ms about average and two-way systems in the 690-1150ms range, with 850ms about average.

Feedback received on this FAQ entry:
  • Don't know if this is of any use to anybody... I am on Opensky service in the Sicilian mountains. I get latency (checked over 2 days) of aprox 600ms. Also upload and download speeds are 300 kps and 85 kps respectively...

    2015-02-25 04:40:00

  • With my two-way connection, I have never clocked in a ping lower than 720 ms, and currently I am brandishing a shiny ping of 2900 in games. Satellites are NOT for gaming.

    2007-11-06 21:48:14

by PetDude See Profile

There are many companies that offer satellite services. You will get a very comprehensive list by clicking on the link to "Google's list of Satellite Access Providers" at the top of the forum. But there are basically two major providers that provide the vast majority of consumer satellite broadband services. They are Hughes Network Systems which provides the DirecPC/DirecWay services and Gilat that provides Starband. Hughes uses "Powered By" partners (AKA "VAR" or "value added reseller") to re-sell their services. Examples of those would be Earthlink, LinCsat (in Canada), Ground Control and Skycasters. While systems purchased from a "powered by" partner may be assigned a transponder and gateway that are unique to that partner, the service is provided by Hughes. Technical support for the product, at least at the lower tiers, is provided by the partner.

The list of providers below was compiled by Satellite Forum Users

It is not necessarily complete nor does it imply a preference for any particular provider. The prices listed should be taken as ballpark figures as prices and offers vary by provider and are constantly changing.

Provider name: DirecWay Standard
    •FAP Limit: 169 MB (4 hours)•Monthly Cost: $59.99•Installation Cost:•ACTIVATION FEE: WAIVED•Hardware Cost: $599.98•Term Commitment (contract): 12 months•Early Termination Penalty: $399.99

Provider name: DirecWay Professional
    •FAP Limit: 350 MB (4 hours)•Monthly Cost: $89.99•Installation Cost:•ACTIVATION FEE: $100 •Hardware Cost: $599.98•Term Commitment (contract): 12 months•Early Termination Penalty: $399.99•* Public IP included

Provider name: Earthlink
    •FAP Limit: 169 MB (4 hours)•Monthly Cost: $69.95•Installation Cost: $249.95•Hardware Cost: $649.95•Term Commitment (contract): 12 months•Early Termination Penalty: $399.99•* 20 hours/mo backup dialup included•* 8 mailboxes

Provider name: Skycasters - DW4020
    •FAP Limit: (information not available on website)•Monthly Cost: $119•Installation Cost: $200•Hardware Cost: $999 (on sale)•Term Commitment (contract): (information not available on website)•Early Termination Penalty: $500 •*Public IP available for an extra $10/month.

Provider name: Ground Control
    •No FAP - DW4020 (does not appear to be available any longer) •FAP Limit: 500 Mb - DW4000;•800 & 1000 Mb FAP available too•Monthly Cost: $115 - DW4020; •Monthly Cost: $99 - DW4000•Installation Cost:•Hardware Cost:•Term Commitment (contract):•Early Termination Penalty: (information not available on website)•*Public IP included at no extra charge.

Provider name: Optistreams - 4020
    •FAP Limit: 500 mb (in 4 hours)•Monthly Cost: $99•Installation Cost: $200•Hardware Cost: $1395•Term Commitment (contract):•Early Termination Penalty: •*Public IP available for an extra $10/month.

Provider name: net2dish
    •FAP Limit: 500 mb - DW4020 & DW 4000•Monthly Cost: $95 (paid quarterly) or $105 (paid monthly) - DW4020;
    •Monthly Cost: $79/$89 - DW4000•Installation Cost: $199 - DW4020 & DW4000•Hardware Cost: $1199 - DW4020; •Hardware Cost: $499 - DW4000•Term Commitment (contract):•Early Termination Penalty: •*Public IP available for an extra $10/month.

Provider name: Starband
    •FAP Limit: Starband does not seem to have a FAP policy, but may have a Reasonable Use Policy•Monthly Cost: $39.99 to $169.99 (depending on equipment, level of service and term of contract)•Installation Cost: set by the installer•Hardware Cost: Starband 360 - $199.99 + S/H (3-year contract) - $699.99 + S/H (with no contract)•Hardware Cost: Starband 480 - $599.99 + S/H (3-year contract) - $899.99 + S/H (no contract)•Term Commitment (contract): 0 to 3 years)•Early Termination Penalty: Up to $599 for cancelling within the first year, to $99 for cancelling in the third year of a three-year contract•*Public IP included with small office plans.

Provider name: Internet Satellite Platform (Isat)
(resellers, Cband, IWC, Isomedia, and others) - one-way satellite service
    •FAP Limit: incredibly restrictive Reasonable Use Policy (read the fine print)•Monthly Cost: varies by plan, but is roughly $30 - $50•Installation Cost: ?•Hardware Cost: $125•Term Commitment (contract): ?•Early Termination Penalty: ?

Other Providers
WildBlue - now providing service
LinCsat - Canada
C-Com - Canada (also offers mobile satellite Internet)
GeoStar Satellite - DW4020 and mobile systems
MotoSat - mobile satellite systems (including Internet)
Galaxy Broadband Communications - Canada
Today's Television - Puerto Rico
O'Rourke Distributing - Puerto Rico
AgriStar - geared towards agricultural users
National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative - offers DirecWay and Starband (geared towards rural customers)
World Communication Center - Offers DW 4000 & 4020, Starband 360 and 480 and mobile Satellite Internet

Feedback received on this FAQ entry:
  • Skycasters has not re-sold HughesNet service for over three years. Skycasters is a iDirect HUB operator, located in Akron, Ohio. Skycasters provides high end business grade Satellite Internet solutions.

    2008-12-29 19:15:05

by PetDude See Profile edited by seagreen See Profile
last modified: 2005-12-18 14:24:51

Yes. Actually it is very easy to share the satellite connection across your local area network. You won't be able to use a hardware router like you might use for a cable modem or dsl modem. Mainly, this because there is software that must be running on a "host" computer directly connected to the satellite modem for the system to work at all. So you will need to have a computer connected to the satellite modem that is on whenever anyone on the network wants to access the Internet. You will also need some kind of Internet connection sharing software. The Internet Connections Sharing (ICS) software built into all Microsoft Windows platforms from Windows 98SE up, works just fine. There are also various third party software solutions available.

For an in depth look at sharing your DW4000 Satellite connection using Internet Connection Sharing on Win98, Click HERE.

WinXP users sharing a DW4000 system go here: /faq/8237

DW6000/4020 users scroll down to the section on Self-Hosted systems. Your connection-sharing methods are different.

by PetDude See Profile edited by seagreen See Profile
last modified: 2004-05-03 11:37:41

Kilobyte (KB or K) = 1024 bytes (2 ^ 10) "binary kilobyte"
kilobyte (kB) = 1000 bytes (10 ^ 3) "decimal kilobyte"

Kilobit (Kb) = 1024 bits (2 ^ 10) "binary kilobit"
kilobit (kb) = 1000 bits (10 ^ 3) "decimal kilobit"

KBps = Kilobytes (1024 bytes) per second (binary)
kBps = kilobytes (1000 bytes) per second (decimal)

Kbps = Kilobits (1024 bits) per second (binary)
kbps = kilobits (1000 bits) per second (decimal)

bps = bits per second

Most browsers and a lot of FTP programs show transfer rates in KBps (kilobytes per second). So in order to get the approximate number of Kbps (kilobits per second) you need to know that there are 8 Kb (kilobits) in every KB (kilobyte). Thus if your browser is showing that you are downloading a file at 176 KBps you would then multiply 176 times 8 which would translate to 1,408 Kbps. The reverse can be used if your transfer rate is in Kbps then you divide that number by 8 to get your rate in KBps. Example:1400 Kbps divided by 8 equals 176 KBps transfer rate.

If you wanted to know how many bps (bits per second) you are transferring, all you need to do is a straight decimal conversion. Example: 1,408 Kbps would translate to 1,408,000 bps.

by watchman57 See Profile edited by PetDude See Profile

On 4/18/07 a more strict 24 hr. FAP has been implemented. We are still trying to determine the scope of the limits so until further results are clear, be aware that a FAP trip may limit your connection for approximately 24 hours.

update: the 24 hour FAP depends on your plan. Some users suggest a 170mb daily FAP, others report a 300mb FAP. It isn't clear yet how to determine the FAP and whether faster or more expensive plans give you more per day than others.

Here is the "official" Hughes Explanation:

Fair Access Policy

To ensure fair Internet access for all HughesNetTM subscribers, HUGHES maintains a Fair Access Policy (FAP). This policy establishes an equitable balance in Internet access for HughesNet subscribers. Hughes assigns a download threshold to each service plan that limits the amount of data that may be downloaded during a typical day. A small percentage of subscribers who exceed this limit will experience a temporary reduction of speed.

The Fair Access Policy is straightforward. Based on an analysis of customer usage data, Hughes has established a download threshold for each of the HughesNet service plans that is well above the typical usage rates. Subscribers who exceed that threshold will experience reduced download speeds for approximately 24 hours.

During this recovery period, the HughesNet service may still be used, but speeds will be slower. Web browsing, for example, will be significantly slower than subscribers normal browsing experience. Subscribers will return to normal download speeds after the recovery period as long as they minimize their bandwidth-intensive activities. If they continue these activities during this recovery period, reduced download speeds may continue beyond 24 hours.

FAP Threshold

Click for full size

OLD Bucket analogy still under investigation:

For the Home Edition, think of a bucket full of 200 MB of data, no matter how fast you drain it, once the 200 MB is gone, it's empty. Period.
It fills at a trickle rate, 50 kbps for the Home Edition so it takes approx. 8 hours to refill if you empty it.
If it fills for an hour or so, you can download another few megs until it's near empty again. The Pro & ProPlus plans have a slightly higher refill rate of 56 kbps and provide 375 or 425 megs in a full bucket.

The Small Office & Business Internet plans refill at a higher rate of 150 kbps and have a bigger bucket of 500 or 1250 meg but the same analogy applies.

Tests to date show the bucket analogy is still viable but if you reach the FAP limit for your plan, you are kept to sub dialup speeds for approximately 24 hours.

Feedback received on this FAQ entry:
  • Hello, my name is Amanda Miller. I am 30, and just recently diagnosed with profuse FAP and rectal cancer. Do you ever hear for others with FAP? I'd really like to talk to or even meet someone else with GAP. Having this disease has caused quite a "road block" in my (and my hubana's) life.If you are available to provide any help, I greatly appreciate it! But if you can't, I still send a thank you for being willing to listen! Amanda Miller amille56@kent.edu

    2008-08-28 10:56:40

by installguy See Profile
last modified: 2007-09-03 10:41:48

For Direcway 3000/4000 Users
a. Start/Programs/DirecWay (or DirecPC)
b. right click Antenna pointing
c. select Properties
d. find the line that says Target
e. place your cursor immediately after the last letter (G)
f. push your spacebar once
g. type /manual
h. click OK

Return to Start/Programs/DirecWay (or DirecPC) and
a. launch the Antenna Pointing utility.
b. Put in your ZIP code (manual latitude/longitude is more accurate - if you know it)
c. depending on which version of software you have report the info on the next screen, or
d. report the info found on the Satellite and Transponder tabs.

There is a shorter way to do this, but because of bugs in several versions of the software, it's not always as accurate as the above technique. To see if you have the buggy software, do this:
a. find the icon down by the clock that represents your satellite connection; it's usually a DW or a NAV.
b. right click it and select About
c. select System Info
d. compare Satellite Information and Transponder information to that which you found using the Antenna Pointing utility.

For DirecWay or HughesNet 4020/6000/7000 Users
To find your satellite on a DW6000 or a DW4020 you need to open the user interface.

1. If you have your browser set to use the DW6000/4020 proxy, you need to list the user interface as an exception first. In IE go to Tools => Internet Options => Connections => Lan Settings. If "Use a Proxy Server for your LAN" is checked, then click on "Advanced". In the "Exceptions" Box, enter Press "OK" three times.

2. In your browser enter "" (without the quotes) as the URL. This should open the interface. Click on the "System Information" button. You will find the satellite longitude and frequency on that page.

by grohgreg See Profile edited by Red Baron See Profile
last modified: 2006-04-30 13:59:00

In the Direcway satellite forum you see many posts about a certain transponder and optimum settings.
The frequencies we refer to in our posts are actually the down-converted (IF) frequencies coming down our coax after being converted in the LNB at the dish. The satellite frequencies transmitted and received are much higher and not easily routed to and from your sat modems.

You will find many DSLR members have added the down-converted frequencies to their signatures as well for ease of passing along our setup information.

A partial list of the satellites in use are:
AMC9 (83)
AMC3 (87)
IA8 or Galaxy 28 (89)
Galaxy 11 (91)
IA6 or Galaxy 26 (93)
Galaxy 3C (95)
Galaxy 16 (99)
Satmex 6 (113)
Satmex 5 (117)
Galaxy 10R (123)
Horizons 1 (127)

Your system is set up to use 1 of these during the installation and configuration. You have no control over which one your system uses. The determination of which transponder and satellite you use is based upon your provider. Your installer can get your system moved at commissioning if there is a problem with the line of sight or signal from a certain bird.

A pdf file for reference of all satellites & transponders in use can be downloaded here:


by Red Baron See Profile
last modified: 2008-10-12 13:35:40

Directv can be added to your DiRECWAY system, by adding a DUO Kit. Choose the right kit(s) for your DiRECWAY system, based on your satellite location. Note: If using multiple Duo Kits, a multiswich will be required.

Directv Satellites

101- Primary Directv Programming
110- Local Channels (In some markets) & High Definition Programming.
119- Local Channels (In some markets) & High Definition Programming & Spanish Programming.

Duo Kits for Satellite G11 (91)

101- Duo Kit C
110- N/A
119- N/A

Duo Kits for Satellite G4R (99)

101- Duo Kit A
110- 110 LNB "Used with Duo Kit B"
119- Duo Kit B

Duo Kits for Satellite Satmex 5 (117)

101- Duo Kit B
110- 110 LNB "Used with Duo Kit B"
119- Duo Kit A

by installguy See Profile edited by PetDude See Profile
last modified: 2004-04-20 13:11:46

On a new install, it is specifically necessary to activate your account using the software that was supplied by your Satellite Service Provider / Value Added Reseller. DirecWay is a Satellite Service Provider. Earthlink, Optistreams and MotoSat are some examples of VARs.

Failure to follow this exact path could lead to billing issues that could take months to resolve. The software installation sets up key parameters for your system including credit card numbers or a billing ID that is linked to your system.

by Rfsjr2 See Profile edited by seagreen See Profile
last modified: 2004-05-03 11:37:03

BroadbandReports.com supports an FTP server with a directory structure based on the different forums that are on this site. The Hosts of each forum can create and maintain a directory of useful program and\or tools associated with their topic.

The Direcway Satellite directory (sat) is primarily for BBR members who are willing to offer their applications to the world but may not have space of their own. Additionally, other applications and utilities will be added that may prove useful in your computing environment. All applications in the Direcway Satellite directory are free to use.

To access the FTP directory, you must first click on the following link provided below.

Click This Link for access!

After waiting the prescribed time, use your favorite FTP application to browse the system. You will have to login with your BBR name and password. Entries to login are case sensitive and spaces in your name (if any) should be replaced with an underscore. ( _ )

If you have a program you wish to submit, contact one of your forum hosts.

by Red Baron See Profile