Satellite: The 'Rodney Dangerfield' Of Broadband Connectivity
Have industry executives tried their own product lately?
Inmarsat CEO Andrew Sukawaty talks to the Washington Post
and seems upset that satellite broadband didn't get more attention in the FCC's recently released national broadband plan
. Sukawaty downplays the success other nations have had in deploying 100 Mbps as a product of geography, argues the country is just gosh-darn big, and then unrealistically pushes satellite's role as a broadband niche filler even above and beyond technologies like Mobile WiMax and LTE. Meanwhile, Viasat CEO Mark Dankberg talks to SpaceNews
, and at least realizes that some of the satellite broadband industry's problems are self-inflicted:
Viasat Chief Executive Mark Dankberg said early satellite consumer broadband efforts in the United States, to make their profit goals, loaded too many subscribers onto a single transponder, resulting in poor service that tainted the young technology’s image among US policymakers. "From the U.S. government’s perspective, satellite is a failure," Dankberg said March 18 here during the Satellite 2010 conference. "That is totally due to perceptions established because of the race to stuff as many people as possible on a transponder. The service was not good, and that gave satellite broadband a poor reputation."
Dankberg goes to note that even new Ka-band satellite launches haven't been enough to help the sector, something made evident by the high prices, inconsistent connectivity, slow speeds and ultra-low usage caps common in the satellite broadband sector. The SpaceNews
story goes on to quote White and Case lawyer Maury Mechanick
, who does a lot of work for the satellite sector; Mechanick calls satellite the "Rodney Dangerfield" of the telecom sector, and goes on to lament the FCC's obsession with 100 Mbps:
"It’s not an issue of lobbyists," Mechanick said in explaining the US government’s view of satellite broadband. "The problem is that the politicians are fascinated by downlink speeds that satellites cannot deliver. Also satellites are not labor-intensive. So what we get is a policy — 100 megabits per second — that will satisfy a few uber-gamers who will take precedence over ordinary people."
Mechanick's apparently a little confused. The government's perception or fascination with speed isn't the problem, the satellite industry is the problem. Satellite broadband customers, long-held captives in under-served markets, have grown used to service that's slow, expensive, and inconsistent. These "ordinary people" have never asked for 100 Mbps -- they've just asked for reliable, relatively inexpensive connectivity -- and rarely even get that. What they get are connections that barely qualify as modern broadband, cost an arm and a leg
, and come with daily caps as low as 200 megabytes
These users have spent a decade hoping that the next satellite launch will cure what ails their connection (the launch of the high-capacity Viasat 1
next year being the latest hope on the horizon). But satellite technology can't defeat physics to improve latency, and until the capacity is in place to satisfy demand, the industry's reputation won't be getting any better. The problem isn't perception, the problem is the satellite industry has spent a decade delivering a low-quality residential product.
Mechanick and satellite industry executives should spend some time in our HughesNet
forums listening to satellite users if they really want to know why they're considered the Rodney Dangerfield of connectivity.
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said by brianiscool:All we have to do is increase the speed of light. It's so simple, I am sure the satellite companies are already working on a fix.
If Satellite can fix their delay time
Whats smells like blue?
said by Rockin4D:Actually it's 22.5k form your computer to the satellite then 22.5k from the satellite to wherever your sending the request too. Then 22.5K from that place to the satelite then 22.5k from the satellite back to you. So that's 90k round trip. That's 484 milliseconds latency. Of course that's not counting other parts of that whole process that have some latency. With satellites being that far up you'll never get under 500 milliseconds latency. Which pretty much rules out any online gaming or anything where nearly instantanious response is required.
First of all satellites in question are only 22k miles out in space total of a 44k round trip for the signal. Now light goes 186k miles a second the total delay should not be more than 1/4 a second.
Leo & Meo sats are the solution »Satellite: The 'Rodney Dangerfield' Of Broadband Connectivity
But satellite technology can't defeat physics to improve latencyRead up on Leo & Meo sat systems here:
Latency is between 40 & 125 ms/ Much better than GEO sat systems(250 ms).
ViaSat will supply gateway teleports and high speed IP trunking terminals to O3b Networks, including full-motion tracking antenna systems for the Medium Earth Orbit (MEO) satellites, high-speed modems, monitor and control equipment, system development, and installation. Teleport installation is scheduled to be complete ahead of the planned launch of the O3b service in early 2012.MEO's along with local high speed wireless systems can provide fast speeds and reasonable latency to remote areas.
Each teleport will include three ViaSat 7.3-meter antennas and each IP trunking terminal will include two 4.5-meter tracking antennas together with high-speed modems and other baseband equipment. The O3b IP trunking terminal is designed for Internet backhaul by telecom carriers, operating at rates from 50 Mbps to 1 Gbps. ViaSat will develop a new 4.5-meter MEO antenna and a very high-speed DVB-S2 modem.
O3b stands for the "Other 3 billion", a reference to nearly half of the world's population that is not adequately served with broadband Internet access. Through partnerships with telecommunications providers and internet service providers (ISPs), O3b will be able to combine the speed of a fiber optic network with the global reach of a satellite system to serve billions.
Based on O3b's current spectrum allocation, the company has initial plans to launch 20 satellites by 2015 with long range capacity of over 90 satellites. The life span of each satellite is expected to be in excess of 10 years.
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Re: Leo & Meo sats are the solution
said by Karl Bode:Do I remember it? Yes. Can I point to it as being any thing more than live vaporware? Negative.
Yeah, I've been seeing various low orbit satellite and latency improvement projects for a decade. I'll have to believe it when I see it....What was that low orbit Bill Gates wonder satellite solution? Does anybody remember that?
Re: Give more funding to satellite tv. Directv has good sat TV and they cost less then comcast!
Re: Give more funding to satellite tv.
said by Joe12345678:But DirecTV isn't supplying internet service - which is the topic being discussed.
Directv has good sat TV and they cost less then comcast!
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| || |said by Joe12345678:DirecTV is fucking garbage, C BAND is where it's at
Directv has good sat TV and they cost less then comcast!
Re: Laws of Physics
said by BiggA:There's no way to possibly (at this present level of technology) keep Aircraft in geosynchronous flight over the globe. To keep it at a practical speed would essentially cause a stall and the plane would drop like a brick.
Satellite is going up against the laws of physics. At the speed of light, it will take 250ms for the signal to go from dish to satellite to dish. It will never work. Aircraft at 100,000 feet might do the trick that are solar powered and maintain their own position...
I also am not sure as to the practicality in terms of cost with regards to Solar Powering them. Solar Panels are expensive. Storing the power is even more expensive, plus you have to account for between 8-12 hours of no sun.
That's just in typical areas. We haven't even counted in areas such as Alaska which is potentially prone to a solid month or longer of darkness (and likewise of light during the summer).
It's complicated, to say the very least. Makes BoPL sound oh so much better if it had actually gone somewhere.
| There have been small plane proposals, and they have a way to make them work, but probably not a business model. If the antennas have a 2.9 beam width, and the planes are 20 miles up, the planes could fly around in a mile figure 8 and still keep in contact. Of course these would only cover maybe a 50-100 mile circle at best, and you'd be pushing it for LOS beyond a 50 miles circle, as that's roughly equivalent to the look angles for satellite.|
The ground-sat-ground latency is 239ms, but yes, if you wait for a reply from the server, then its 478ms, not counting network delays, plus the fact that the traffic is often offloaded hundreds or thousands of miles from where you are, so web content from your area will be that much slower, while stuff from CDNs would feed from the node nearest the satellite offload point, not near your actual location.
The issue is latency, not bandwidth. Wildblue has 1.5mbps with 22GB/mo. Granted, that's nothing compared to my school connection at 50mbps and 16GB/week or my home connection at 12mbps and 250GB/mo, but still, it's not horrible. The latency IS horrible. Even the latency on AT&T's EDGE makes me a little nuts, and that's ~900ms, compared to my usual 22ms connection.
Verizon could largely solve the problem single-handedly with a $50/mo 100GB/mo plan without overage charges that would be permanently mated to the five towers closes to the service address. The vast majority of these locations can get EVDO service, and in areas where its present but too weak, a masted repeater could get EVDO up to the mbit mark. Of course you could just do add-a-line, and get a tetherable phone and effectively get unlimited internet for $40/mo- on par with the cable and DSL companies...
EVDO is about 160ms ping, but that's mostly because once it gets to the tower, the data gets bounced all over Verizon's network before it hits the public internet. With some additional software to route fixed point traffic directly to the internet at the tower base, Verizon could become a really big player in the rural broadband market with their existing EVDO investment...
Re: Satellite used not to be so pathetic.
said by Tige:Good times. I can play a game of halo on my DW300 (I think the model)
Cramming people on the satellite(s) is what lead to traffic shaping which led to 1-2 sec latency which led to timeouts on secure sites, disconnected downloads and overall degradation of performance. Trying to listen to a 30 sec song preview on itunes or amazon is many times an exercise in futility now.
Prior to wildblue doing this the ping times where in the 400-600 hundred range which made most internet activities doable. Wildblue even reached out to gamers saying they where doing all they can to make most internet game types playable.
Since the infamous firmware update a few years ago wildblue has acted as if their customers have no other choice, caps on speed and data with pricing plans that are over even the most expensive dsl or cable data plan. Unfortunately they are right, we don't have another choice.
Going to hit the post button now and hope I don't time out
HN7000S 184.108.40.206 - 99 West 1370 MHz -Transmit 1 watt - .74m Dish - Pro Plan - installed October 2007 - WRT54G V6 DD-WRT V24
·Time Warner Cable
·Verizon Online DSL
My Experiences I've (forutnately) never had to use sat internet as my primary connection, but I certainly know what it feels like; many folks in my area have WB because they can't get fixed wireless and either don't know about 3G or are paying $50 instead of the $60-$70 that 3G requires.
As others have said, latency used to be better, but overloading has slowed connectivity down to a crawl. A few years ago one of the local telephone cooperatives hailed WB as the answer to rural broadband, citing DSL as too expensive. As of this time last year, they had had enough of WildBlue, and were deploying DSL to all of their customers.
As for the "gamers" argument, I'm really tired of it. Gamers don't need high speed as much as they need low latency and connection reliability 100% of the time. Downloading games (versus playing them) is another deal, but if you're just playing 'em latency is paramount, though 768 kbps down and 384 kbps up is nice, or more if you're hosting your own game server (a few Mbps symmetric should do the job). Of course, sat systems can't do low latency, particularly anything above LEO, so the "gamers are disenfranchised by satellite" argument is true, just for a different reason than 100 Mbps download speeds.
Speaking of download speeds, I find it interesting that the Sat folks didn't even bring up upstream bandwidth as a sticking point. Neither HughesNet nor WildBlue (for 99.9% of people the only sat companies they know of) offer upstream speeds above 300 kbps, which is absolutely pitiful in this day and age. 1-1.5 Mbps down isn't so bad, paired with low latency and high reliability, but 200-256 kbps of upload speed is downright crappy.