/ Satellite Broadband

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'Hilda' - on 05 Apr 2013
We are probably going to be moving to rural Aberdeenshire in the near future, and will probably need to use satellite broadband?

Does anyone have any experience of this and recommendations / advice that may be useful?


yorkshireman - on 05 Apr 2013
In reply to 'Hilda':

I've used it for a couple of years down in the French Alps.

Its expensive. The main thing to remember is that although it is very fast in terms of top line speed, the latency is quite high. So clicking on a link you'll expect a long response (a few seconds) but when you get the response, the page or video or whatever downloads extremely quickly.

However this means that a lot of modern web pages that rely on AJAX loading in the background like Facebook and Twitter, can be quite cumbersome to use.

We bought it because the ADSL isn't great in our village and we work from home. However the ADSL has improved so we only keep it as a backup. We've had maybe four or five storms in the last 18 months that have knocked out the phone lines anything from a couple of hours to a couple of days.

To be honest, once the contract is over in a couple of months I'm probably going to cancel the contract and flog the equipment.

I bought the kit through Bentley Walker, and its a Tooway system. I installed it myself, its quite simple if you can do a bit of DIY and are happy to tinker for half a day. BW are OK, their payment system is a bit antiquated but their support is helpful and friendly. If you use them PM me and you might get a discount if I refer you.

The key thing to remember is that you (obviously) need line of sight with the satellite, so check this first. We've got a huge mountain close by and if we were 50 metres closer we wouldn't be able to use it.

The dish is very big and heavy. We're not talking a Sky dish here. Its like some kind of ex-Soviet military hardware.

You'll need to check the footprint band as different locations use different ones - you might need a bigger dish being so far north but I don't know.

You will get a dedicated satellite modem with an ethernet port, so you can either wire a computer directly, or more likely you'll want to then attach a wireless router to connect everything else. Its not the same as the combined ADSL modem/routers you might be used to.

On balance, it works if you need it and have no other options. Might be worth double checking with the locals to see how bad the connection really is for ADSL. Also I think there might a grant you can get if its your only option (in the UK) as part of the government plans to get everybody wired.
a lakeland climber on 05 Apr 2013
In reply to 'Hilda':

We've got wide area wifi as our internet connection. Very little latency and decent speed - we pay for 10Mb and get around 9Mb (both downstream and upstream) - but you can get 20Mb if you so desire.

The one caveat is that you need to be line of sight with the main transmitter or one of its repeaters. I think we have two repeaters between us and the point at which the system becomes wired rather than wireless.

Probably gets promoted as "rural broadband" or "rural wifi" or similar.

Mr Lopez - on 05 Apr 2013
In reply to 'Hilda':

Stay well away from t-mobile/orange. I've used it for years happily, but ever since they merged to form EE it has been pathetic and largely unusable, plus their customer service only goes as far as asking you to open a twitter account and twit your problem to them (!!!)

Have a read through here http://www.recommendedbuys.co.uk/services/mobile-broadband-suppliers/t-mobile-broadband.htm
DNS on 05 Apr 2013
In reply to 'Hilda':

Like Yorkshireman (above) I've got a TOOWAY system installed by Avonline. I'm in Cumbria. There's no chance over the landlines and the 3G coverage is rubbish.

The dish is a monster.

It works very well. It's not exactly super-fast; but it's reliable. latency is an issue, so I struggle to use my company systems; but for general internet use; it's fine

It's worth checking out 3G and also seeing what others in the locality use. We've now got access to a locally provided microwave system which is faster, but less reliable.
Toby S - on 05 Apr 2013
In reply to 'Hilda':

My colleague uses Q-Sat (run by Niall Quinn!) in Abriachan just outside of Inverness and seems to think it's ok. It can be pricey and not as quick as through the telephone line but for normal browsing it's ok.

Mike H SNG - on 05 Apr 2013
In reply to 'Hilda':
We have it installed in our house in The Peak as we're unable to get reliable broadband. It's with Avonline. We buy into a speed of 20mb at £35 per month though you can get 10mb at £25 month. There was an initial layout of £250. It took a week from ordering to being installed.

Welsh Kate - on 05 Apr 2013
In reply to 'Hilda':
He's a friend (so I'm biased!) but you could give Dick a ring at Simply Balanced and get his opinion. I think he's just come on shore so is probably around.

Gavin - on 05 Apr 2013
In reply to Welsh Kate:

I think the Tooway offering is probably your best bet for this.

As for comments about the dish being a bit industrial it is, when compared with a Skydish, but I currently work with the mechanical designer of the MK1 version of this system (I did the electrical design) and also know a little bit about the MK2 version. Both systems needed to meet some quite rigorous design requirements, which would not be met with some of the more 'domestic' looking systems people use for TV reception.


yorkshireman - on 05 Apr 2013
In reply to Gavin:
> (In reply to Welsh Kate)
> Both systems needed to meet some quite rigorous design requirements, which would not be met with some of the more 'domestic' looking systems people use for TV reception.

Also the LNB (or whatever its called on an internet satellite) is extremely heavy so the struts that hold it have to be quite substantial. Since its just not passively receiving data, its actively beaming it thousands of miles back into space, I assume this is fairly necessary.

That said, I have to go and realign my tv satellite dish every couple of months after high winds, where I think I've only had to do it once in two years on the Tooway dish.
itsThere on 05 Apr 2013
In reply to 'Hilda': The seaguls in aberdeen apparently have a habit of putting things inside the opening of the transceiver so they all have covers on.
Gavin - on 05 Apr 2013
In reply to itsThere:

That is quite a common problem with some older covers - they were reflective so birds perched on them, saw their own reflections and then pecked holes in them...

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