I’ve always wanted to get a faster, always-on connection and a few days ago on Wednesday 3rd I got my wish: Skymesh satellite broadband was installed.
We chose Skymesh as our service provider, mainly because they have very competitive plans and they don’t charge extra if the data allowance has been used up. Instead they do something called shaping which limits the speed of the connection to 64kpbs, which is about twice as fast as the dialup I’d been using.
Another two very useful features are data blocks, which allows you to buy extra data for the month, and the ability to upgrade to a higher priced plan, whenever you want at no extra cost (except for the difference between the two plan’s prices of course).
My modem and computer
Probably the only major difference between Skymesh satellite broadband and normal ADSL broadband is something called the ping speed or latency. This occurs because when I request a webpage, the request travels something like this: computer to satellite dish, 36,000 kilometres to the satellite, 36,000 km to a base station, base station requests webpage and transmits 36,000 km to satellite, then another 36,000 back to my computer.
That is about 144,000 km all up, not counting the route the webpage travels from a server to the base station. Add the time taken for the data to be processed properly, and you’ll be looking at over 1sec response rates. This might not seem like much but imagine that you’re playing an online game. Someone’s about to kill you so you defend yourself, but by the time your signal has traveled 72,000 km or so you’re dead.
This wouldn’t happen on normal broadband because there are no nasty 144,000 km stretches for the signal to travel. You can find out more about IPSTAR satellites here (Skymesh uses Ipstar satellites to provide service).
The satellite installer putting the dish up