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[Discuss] satellite Internet vs. fixed wireless

On 01/09/2013 04:54 PM, Tom Metro wrote:
> Edward Ned Harvey wrote:
>> Matthew Gillen wrote:
>>> Another option: 
>> ...latency is about a half a second.
>> They say that's not good enough for gaming...  Rightly so...  But
>> they say for voice, it's perfectly fine.  Which is ... bogus.
> Right, not to mention that it only has 1 or 2 Mbps upstream, so it is
> another "entertainment focused" solution.
> Satellite Internet has been an available option for a while, with
> coverage for most of North America, yet does anyone know anyone who has
> it around here, or seen any marketing for it? (Ed might be the only
> person on this list who has used it. Did you have it while in the
> greater Boston area?)
> The big expense is getting the satellites into space, and once you've
> done that, you would expect them to aggressively market the service to
> all of the US, as more subscribers spreads their fixed costs, and lower
> cost per subscriber means they should be able to undercut terrestrial ISPs.
> But that hadn't happened. Because it isn't a viable option. When I visit
> rural parts of Canada they make some use of satellite Internet (although
> even there I've only heard about it 3rd hand; no one I know has it), but
> it's a 4th choice behind cable, DSL, and fixed wireless.
> Satellite only makes sense when the population density is so low that
> even fixed wireless, which can serve a radius or 10 or 20 miles per
> tower, is not cost effective.
> I have some experience with fixed wireless in Canada, and it seems to be
> a pretty good solution. They used cell phone-like towers, with multiple
> transceivers mounted in a circular, omni directional pattern around the
> tower. The equipment I've used is made by a company acquired by
> Motorola, and is related to WiMax technology (might be compatible with
> the standard). It's marketed as being usable with a mobile end-point,
> but I've only seen it used for fixed point-to-point links.
> The infrastructure is relatively inexpensive, quick to install, can
> offer speeds exceeding DSL, low latency, and seems to be impervious to
> weather (the outside transceivers seem to have a small heater built in
> to them). (A link I've been monitoring for 12+ months seems to have
> downtime comparable to DSL service - a few hours per year.)
> It makes you wonder what happened to fixed wireless around here? People
> were all excited about it back around 2000. I think there are still a
> few companies in the Boston area doing expensive fixed-wireless links
> for medium+ businesses. Nothing for consumers or small businesses. It
> seems like we got distracted by Wimax, which had more technical
> challenges dealing with mobile end-points, was undercut by cheap cable
> Internet, and increasingly cheaper 3G and now 4G cell data.
> About the only wireless option you hear mentioned these days is 4G cell
> data, such as Clear, mentioned earlier in this thread. This is more
> complicated and expensive than the fixed-wireless I described above, and
> by the sounds of it, less reliable.
> Has anyone heard of any efforts to create a community owned
> fixed-wireless ISP?
My former boss moved to North Carolina, and got fixed Wireless. I recall
that his system was a community owned system. I might be able to locate
the URL for his system later today.

Jerry Feldman <gaf at>
Boston Linux and Unix
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