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Experiences with DirecWay Satellite Internet

CmdrTaco posted more than 10 years ago | from the had-it-up-to-here-with-56k dept.

The Internet 771

Since moving outside Ann Arbor almost 2 years ago, I've had only a 56k modem to tether my home to the net. Cable, DSL and ISDN are impossible in my location. DirecWay now offers the DW6000, which appears to be an operating system agnostic router for satellite internet access. I already use DirecTV, so this might work well. I'm aware of the game crippling latency, but that's not a huge deal to me. The monthly price seems reasonable, but is there a catch? I'm abusing my power as Slashdot editor to ask for experiences with this (or similiar) services. Does it bog down during the day? Not work with common hardware? Hidden costs? Does it cost a fortune for the required professional installation? Is ssh completely unusable?

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Don't forget... (-1)

SCO$699FeeTroll (695565) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089853) pay your $699 licensing fee you cock-smoking teabaggers.

No way (5, Funny)

mr.henry (618818) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089862)

WTF.. the editor of Slashdot is on dialup?

That explains (5, Funny)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089893)

why he doesn't read his own site ;-)

-anonymous 56k user

Re:That explains (1)

WIAKywbfatw (307557) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089956)

That's the funniest shit I've read on this site for ages. If I had read that thirty seconds earlier, half my keyboard and screen would be covered in Coke right now.

Re:No way (3, Funny)

GoofyBoy (44399) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089897)

How much speed do you need to cut-and-paste a story from 3 hours ago?

Re:No way (1)

destiney (149922) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090002)

Now that was funny.

Re:No way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8089898)

This is choice! No wonder there are so many dupes! Can't wait for the download to check for already submitted posts...

Re:No way (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8089922)

You know, people make the statement that taco is out of touch with the slashdot community, and I dont think anything illustrates this point as much as the fact that he's on dialup.

Probably uses AOL from his winme box too.

Re:No way (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8089936)

New AOL Express cuts his page loading times in half!

Way (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8090034)

I heard that he's still on a BBS at 300 BAUD and he just likes to boast that he gets 56k.

Seriously though, I was shocked. But it may explain something that I was musing about a few days ago - Slashdot's avoidance of huge graphics, the evil JavaScript and vile Flash. Maybe we need to keep TACO at 56K. is decently 56k-friendly (0)

RLiegh (247921) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090076)

and I doubt with all that cmf money that Rusty Foster has to settle for dialup access.

PEI (4, Informative)

xenocyst (618913) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089878)

a remote co-worker has it up in prince edward's island and it seems to work pretty well for her

Satellite internet (4, Funny)

pardasaniman (585320) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089887)

Features: Space age technology Really means your ping times will be comparable to that of the mars rover.

I find it odd... (3, Funny)

The_Rippa (181699) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089890)

That the only guy on Slashdot with a 56k is the guy that started it

Re:I find it odd... (4, Funny)

LnxAddct (679316) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090009)

Why wasn't this an option in the "Failure as a Geek" poll last week :)

Re:I find it odd... (1)

gandy909 (222251) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090113)

Unfortunatly, not the only guy... :(

The local cable company refuses to put cable modem in, and as the city farts recently extended their contract by another 10 years, it doesn't look too good for getting it anytime in the forseeable future. SBC won't upgrade their equipment in our town either. All I can ever get is a blah blah not scheduled blah blah. Except for the last time I spoke to a rep on another matter she screwed up I think because she specifically said they weren't expanding the service much anywhere, because legislation they wanted didn't get passed.

Weather related problems.. (3, Informative)

JayPee (4090) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089908)

The only thing I would be worried about is if weather affected it as it does Direct TV.

Everyone I know with Direct TV is basically screwed when any amount of rain or snow is falling.

Re:Weather related problems.. (5, Informative)

spronk (712662) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089950)

It takes MASSIVE amounts of rain or snow to interrupt a DirecTV singal to the point where it's unwatchable. In all of 2003 I think I've had maybe 3 times where I had and outage and then only for a matter of minutes. Overall it's far more reliable than my old Timer Warner cable was.

Re:Weather related problems.. (4, Informative)

tbase (666607) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089970)

I used to have rain fade problems until I took the time to get my dish pointed properly, and got it out of the direct path of raindrops. For some reason, it seems that keeping rain directly off the dish seems to help. I live in Florida, and I rarely loose it even in the rainy season during torrential downpours.

Re:Weather related problems.. (3, Informative)

SillySnake (727102) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089979)

I work at Sears where we sell Dish. As far as weather related problems, we usually only run into them in the kind of storms where you wouldn't want to have your machines on most likely anyway. Im not 100% sure about Direct, but I would imagine that installation is free, they tend to want you to get their product and like it without having to go through the hassles that would initially create a hostile relationship. With that said, I had a friend that had Sat. internet a couple years ago, and while I'm not sure who was hosting his $80/month service, it was extremely fast for doing your average web browsing and downloading.

Re:Weather related problems.. (4, Informative)

midifarm (666278) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090047)

OK, I live in Minneapolis, which gets an ample amount of bad weather (lots of snow and rain) and I can truly say that I have only had a disruption in service twice. These said instances were during VERY bad storms. So the rhetoric spread by the failing cable companies is totally false, besides NFL Sunday Ticket is the greatest thing! I would just think the 56K upload speed (I'm assuming this is rate) would drive me crazy.


Works in CO Snow Storm (3, Informative)

Eyah....TIMMY (642050) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090058)

I went through several storms and was surfing the net quite well, while airports and road were closed.
The only problem I had was when snow got in the actual dish, then I had to get it out. I only had to do that once though. Most of the time the wind blows the snow away.

Re:Weather related problems.. (1)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090094)

The only time I had Direct TV go out was during an ice storm that literally encased the dish in ice & snow and during a really heavy thunderstorm.

Any "fact" that Time Warner repeatably points out via cable advertising should be taken in context. (ie Direct TV costs like 40% less than TWC)

Re:Weather related problems.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8090095)

We had directTV for a while, at first it had sucked, but after two years they had improved their service during bad weather...the only problem was i had to get out on the roof and shovel the snow away when we (often) got alot

Re:Weather related problems.. (1)

jandrese (485) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090115)

You might want to try one of the other satellites, or double checking how accurately you pointed the dish. I was one of the first people to get DirecTV, and I think it's gone out due to weather maybe a dozen times since I've had it (in West Virginia). It's probably harder to get a good signal in someplace like the Northwest Territories (more atmosphere to go through), but I think you should be able to get a good signal if you take your time and aim the dish correctly. Also, avoid pointing at satellites behind trees/mountains/homes, as the high frequencies used by DirectTV tend to be line of sight only.

Got a T1 line to your house! (0)

Bombcar (16057) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089910)

"Always double-clickin' on my mizzouse"

It might not be that expensive to drop a real T1.

Re:Got a T1 line to your house! (1)

deadhead80 (745195) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090120)

I wonder how many people can place that line?

Abuse?! (1, Funny)

conner_bw (120497) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089912)

Cmdr Taco abusing his power as Slashdot editor?

What a scoop!

DW6000 and Router/Firewall Problems (5, Informative)

Eyah....TIMMY (642050) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089913)

The main problem I found was installing a linksys router I had behind the DW6000.

The DW modem acts as a outer/firewall too. It will assign IPs and the only thing you need is a switch to connect multiple computers to it.

The problem is you can't really configure the modem/router. So you can't disable the router feature for example. If you want that kind of control, you'll need the pro version which is quite pricy (although it gives you a static IP).

Here's a forum [] I found that addresses the DW6000 and linksys router problems.

Am I an old fart already to quote this song? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8089915)

And I must be an acrobat
To talk like this
And act like that
And you can dream
So dream out loud
And you can find
Your own way out
You can build
And I can will
And you can call
I can't wait until
You can stash
And you can seize
In dreams begin
And I can love
And I can love
And I know that the tide is turning 'round
So don't let the bastards grind you down

SSH over satellite (5, Informative)

sterno (16320) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089918)

I'm not familiar with DirecWay service, but I have done quite a bit of remote work using SSH over satellite. It's rather painful, but it is usable. I usually get about 1/2 second of latency and it is irritating, but you can still get stuff done if you have to.

If you're expecting to do hours upon hours of work this way though, I imagine it will drive you nuts.

DirectWay 2-way (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8090010)

A neighbor of ours had the service for two months. Every time the neighbor on the other side left his radar detector on in his car (forgetting to turn it off), the directway internet wouldn't work.

Temporary solution was the neighbor leaving the car unlocked so he could go turn off the radar detector when the neighbor forgot. Passing cars with radar is another problem tho. Overall it seems it doesn't work more than it does. For the price and the slowness I'd probably put up with dialup instead.

Re:SSH over satellite (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8090012)

hours upon hours of work this way though, I imagine it will drive you nuts

Alright. One more time. He is the editor of Slashdot ;)

Is this a two way system? (4, Interesting)

Fnkmaster (89084) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089919)

It sounds from their site like the DirecWay is a two-way system. While in theory that might sound more convenient than the older downstream-only satellite systems that used 56k dial-up for upstream, I'd imagine the latency would be substantially worse, with two satellite hops in the round-trip. Is this the case in practice? Honestly, how much upstream bandwidth do you really need for casual use, given that you aren't going to be doing any serving or gaming on a sat link anyway? Is the subjective experience better or worse with this system?

Re:Is this a two way system? (5, Informative)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090024)

It doesn't matter, the upstream to the satellite isn't much faster than dial-up.

Only benefit it not paying for another phone line.

I have starband, I use a regular dial-in modem in addition to it. Dial-in modem is the default route on my box, and I set up proxies to a proxy server connected to the satellite for web and ftp downloads.

That way I can ssh out without horrible latency, but still download at the faster satellite download speeds.

To his other questions, rain fade is real. If you have a strong enough signal normally, you won't drop service unless it's really coming down outside. Installation for starband ran about $700 or so.

Directway is slower than Starband, but if you want the OS agnostic modem, you currently have to get the small business package, which is $120 per month. Standard service still uses the 360 windows-only modem, but it's $60 per month.

In the future, there will be robots. I mean in the future, there will be a "telecommuter" account type that will assumedly allow people to get the hardware-based 480 modem without paying so much per month.

Re:Is this a two way system? (5, Informative)

Afrosheen (42464) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090111)

My brother lives out in the boonies and I'll relay what he's told me about his satellite.

1. Latency is horrible. He gets a 1000ms ping to anywhere, so that's a 1 second delay after he clicks anything before the remote server he's hitting even gets his attention.

2. Download caps. I think he's limited to a few gigs a month, maybe one.

3. Bandwidth throttling. This is time dependent as in time of day also. If you download too fast during certain hours of the day (internet prime time if you will), you get throttled waaaay down to a few KB/sec for hours.

4. Complicated software that's windows only. Everytime he calls me for tech support, I cringe. It's always an XP problem and always hard to troubleshoot. I've been wanting to get him on linux for years but with the satellite it's just not an option. He has the 2 usb boxes setup for his connection, maybe this new router would help.

5. Awful browsing. Since the latency is so high, some servers timeout before you can get a page from them. I had him install Opera awhile back (the lightning fast caching helps alot when navigating sites on a high latency connection) and he loves it, uses it exclusively. Without Opera, surfing the web is painful.

6. Unplayable online games. With that kind of ping, you can't play anything online, except maybe Yahoo Java Chess or something where reflexes don't count. Flash games may be playable too, not sure.

It basically sucks for anything but leeching big files, and for that it sucks too thanks to throttling and bandwidth limits. It's hard to believe that in this day and age people in remote locations have to suffer with crap like this. Then again, bandwidth isn't a god-given right...but it should be.

You asked, I answer (-1, Troll)

Sexual Asspussy (453406) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089920)

Hi Malda,

It seems you're trying to get your faggot geek compound in rural Michigan set
up with some internet access (probably so you can skip coming to work and do
nothing from your house instead of doing nothing from your workplace). I'm
glad you applied to Slashdot to help you -- we as the Slashdot community really
give a shit about this, as opposed to the recent censorship-related demise of, which you and the other janitorial cockhuffers refused as a story about
a hundred times.

So. Internet access. No DSL or Cable, because you are in the sticks. You don't
like 56K dialup.

Your choices are: satellite (which you mention), or no fucking net access at all.
Why did you waste front-page space on this again? It's your only choice -- does
it matter if you get fucked? You ain't got shit you can do about it, so buckle the
fuck down and give it a try. You've already got DirecTV so you can get all those
premium hentai channels -- how about you try the service out, and YOU tell US if
it sucks or not.

I'd kick you in the balls if I had the fortune of saying this to your ugly, geeky
face. You'll probably die of "pneumonia-related complications" in a few years
anyway, so whatever.


P.S. This post was a shoo-in for FP; however, due to "excessive bad posting" I have
to post this from lynx on a shell account. I love your anti-troll code.

Does anyone use SSH or TSC over this? (1)

JustJoking (535170) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089923)

I am also considering this. Has anyone used Terminal Services Manager or SSH over this, and is it something that you could do day-in/day-out without throwing your keyboard out the window?

Re:Does anyone use SSH or TSC over this? (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090127)

is it something that you could do day-in/day-out without throwing your keyboard out the window?


It's terrible. Maybe in an emergency, but not normally.

Fair Access Policy (5, Informative)

NinjaPablo (246765) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089925)

They have a policy which basically allows you to download at high speeds up to a point (600MB or so I think), after which you are throttled to sub-56K speeds for 18-24 hours. This was the main reason for me cancelling the service. The limit is slightly higher if you sign up for 'Commercial' service.

Re:Fair Access Policy (1)

wcdw (179126) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089967)

I had a friend who canceled his service for the exact same reason. Sounds great, right up until they throttle you...

That explains the dupes ;-) (1)

mark*workfire (220796) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089926)

The topics come by so fast, that you don't have time to realize it....

wait..... you're on a *slow* speed connection....

Well, guess the dupes are still a mystery!!!

Similarly - Mobile internet in big rigs? (3, Informative)

back_pages (600753) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089927)

Is this the same type of setup used in tricked out semi tractors? I've had a few people (automobile accident assessors, etc.) ask me what they should get so that they may have internet access that's truly mobile. Satellite is the easy answer, but beyond that all I could say was, "Uh, figure out what truck drivers use."

Re:Similarly - Mobile internet in big rigs? (2, Interesting)

tbase (666607) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090091)

Flying J truck stops are all supposed to have 802.11b access shorty (many already do). That's probably what the trucker's are using if they aren't using cell modems. You couldn't use DirecWay for mobile use because you have to have the dish "professionally" pointed. I don't think the marine and RV antennas work for the internet access the way they do for Sat. TV.

PM to the spam-unarmoring guy (-1)

Captain Goatse (715400) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089931)

Please give up, not even the most mean and lean trolls care about your crapflooding.

And people will stop using e-mail in a few months time anyway, spam does not matter.

editor abuse (3, Interesting)

donutz (195717) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089935)

I'm abusing my power as Slashdot editor to ask for experiences with this (or similiar) services.

I agree completely Taco. Notwithstanding the fact that many similar (do the research yourself) questions make their way to Ask Slashdot, at least I'd think you'd not set this to appear as a front-page story -- it would have been better (less abuse, on your part), I think, to just let it pop up only in the Ask Slashdot section.

Oh well.

Re:editor abuse (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8090080)

Oh for the love of god, it's his own damn website.

i've had it (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8089940)

I had it when i was living in tuba city, arizona. expect lag to be awful, when pages need several requests to the server to load properly, it will take a *long* time to load. once you start downloading something, that goes by quickly though. alos, since the uplink is on the east coast, if they experience bad weather, you will experience zero internet, even when it's sunny for you. useful service i guess if you want to up your max download speed, but i would definately reccommend a dialup backup service for when it craps out.

Dupe this immediately, Rob (0, Flamebait)

doc_traig (453913) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089941)

The next front-page article needs to be

"Slashdot Editor-in-Chief is a 56k-er"

Theres no catch (4, Insightful)

emkman (467368) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089943)

The thing about satellite internet is that there is no reason to ever get it unless you have no other options. It is more expensive than DSL or cable, yet slower. And the higher latency as you mentioned. But it sounds like your kinda situation is the semi-niche market satellite internet aims at. As far as installion goes, since you already have a dish on your roof, any half-competent installer will be able to do the job in a half-hour.

Re:Theres no catch (2, Interesting)

mbrinkm (699240) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090108)

DirecWay (Spelling?) requires a second dish.

What about the price? What about T1? (5, Interesting)

wowbagger (69688) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089951)

What is the price of the sat service per month, exclusive of the equipment cost?

What would the cost be of buying a dry pair from the phone company and having them terminate a T1 at your house?

After all Rob, you could very easily write off the cost of a T1 at home as a business expense on your taxes, and worst case, I would think that even if the phone company won't terminate a data connection on it, your could route it to the cage and have it on the back end of the Slashdot router - just think, direct access to your servers from behind the firewall!

Re:What about the price? What about T1? (1)

GigsVT (208848) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090083)

Good luck getting said "dry pair".

It's not like you can just call and order one up.

Re:What about the price? What about T1? (0, Troll)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090100)

All the IRS would have to do is read /. and see that he doesn't edit the site. That would ruin his business expense right there!

Re:What about the price? What about T1? (3, Interesting)

aheath (628369) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090110)

According to the DIRECWAY FAQ [] "The DIRECWAY system with the DW6000 modem retails for $599.98 (includes dish, modem and standard installation), and you pay the regular service monthly rate (currently $59.99 per month)." There's an alternate payment plan of $99.99 up front followed by $99.99 per month for a 15 month contract. After 15 months the fee drops to $59.99 a month.

The cost figures make me wonder whether a WISP might be less expensive. Sprint and AT&T Wireless have been advertising cellular based WISP service in the Boston area. I don't know if this type of service is available in the Ann Arbor area.

Speaking of dry pairs and T1 lines, I have heard that if you can order Switched 56 or ISDN from the phone company, you can be assured of obtaining a dedicated copper pair. Once you have the copper pair, you MAY be able to switch over to ISDN service.

Watch out for speed-of-light latency (1)

nweaver (113078) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089953)

With a dialup for the outgoing packets, incoming packets still have a round-trip-time of 200 ms to get from the ground station to the geosynchronous sattelite and back.

I don't know about you, but an extra 200 ms of latency kills my typing skills.

In related revelations... (-1, Flamebait)

TrollBridge (550878) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089954)

CmdrTaco: "I'm abusing my power as Slashdot editor..."

...the sky is blue, grass is green, and shit stinks.

You forgot one. (-1, Flamebait)

BoomerSooner (308737) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090085)

Your ass is hairy.

My recollections from a prior google (1)

A nonymous Coward (7548) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089955)

I was interested in this several years ago, altho I think it was directpc. I wouldn't be surprised if things are the same, or even that they are the same company and/or equipment.

This was just after they came out with new equipment that was satellite in both directions. Before that, satellite was for downlink only, you still needed a modem for uplink.

The outstanding complaint was crap customer support. In general, for just about any complaint you had, they blamed it on the weather. A single cloud in the northern sky? Well, wait until it fails on a clear day and call back, buster.

Even those who liked the service otherwise had nothing good to say about the support. It was enough to persaude me to keep my slow modem.

Submit Story (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8089957)

2004.01.26 10:02:00 Experiences with DirecWay Satellite Internet (ask,slashdot) (rejected)

Better than dial up, but not much (5, Informative)

johnmat (650076) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089958)

My girlfriend has this service at her house, and my experience with it is that the latencies are very noticeable. Web sites certainly load faster than dial up, but not as quickly as the slow (400K) DSL service I have at my house. I have not run ssh over it, but running xterms over my employers VPN service is fairly painful. In fact, the standard Nortel VPN service did not work at all as it timed out - the IT guys had to put me on a beta Cisco server. We have also had a couple of outages over the last 2 months, where the whole service went down for a few hours, and their tech support acknowledged a system wide problem. This service is only worth it if your only alternative is dial up.

Satellite Usage (5, Informative)

Merlinium (678576) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089960)

We had a Remote Worker that was in or near the spokane area, he had to Admin our Network here in Seattle during a Family Crisis. He was able to complete his work without any shortcomings, time of did not matter, it worked well for the remote admin work that needed to be done. And as you already stated this type of setup is not for gaming, but Admin stuff it works. SSH, PHP, Remote Admin, all worked without any problems.

Simple Physics (3, Informative)

swordboy (472941) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089971)

Distance to geostationary satellite: 22,000 miles (44,000 total round trip)
Speed of Light: 186,000 miles/second

Total delay: 44/186 = 0.23 sec = 0.46 for response a two way conversation


Let me go ahead and do it for you (0, Flamebait)

The Ape With No Name (213531) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089973)

a dupe. []

56 k modem? ... (1)

LnxAddct (679316) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089976)

So that explains all the dupes... He must not be seeing the articles until 6 hours after they are posted.

In all seriousness though satellite isn't the greatest but it's good and a ton better then dial up. I've had to use it before and if that is all they have in your area then I'd go for it. The latency is not too bad and you get used to it quick.

ISDN (2, Interesting)

gtrubetskoy (734033) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089977)

Cable and DSL won't ever happen where I'm located.

I believe the telcos are still obligated by regulations to provide ISDN no matter where you are.

Have you though of ISDN (1)

pcjunky (517872) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089981)

ISDN is great if your not downloading loads of stuff. Great ping times below 40ms if you use a router.

see if wireless is availible (5, Informative)

Indy1 (99447) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089985)

recently i moved to a small town about an hour north of denver. No cable here, and dsl wasnt availible until last month (slightly off topic rant: qwest you suck balls). Surprisingly all the neighbors had microwave based internet access. For about $50 a month, they get 1mbps up and down, with 10 gigs a traffic per month. You may want to see if that is availible in your neck of the woods.

snow (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8089986)

I personally have never had a satellite internet connection, the reason being everyone I asked said, "they stop working in bad weather, especially snow storms." Assuming you are still in MI (k-zoo or something last I heard) you may wish to ask people about it's performance during heavy snows. Take this with a grain of salt as it is all third hand now. Good luck.

Bad bad evil bad! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8089989)

I work for, well, for now work for, Earthlink. We sell the DirecWay product and I supported it on the TS end. BAD!%$ DirecWay is evil beamed into space. Its extremly latent, 20% packetloss is typical, and everything is cached through proxies. Oh, and it breaks more often then its up. Just my 2c.

No major problems.... (1)

master_xemu (618116) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089995)

I live in east texas and I got it a while ago. Other then the latency of almost a second (don't even think of gaming and terminal sessions are

I have DirectWay (5, Informative)

md27 (463785) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089996)

It's not bad considering the only alternative is dialup. The latencies are noticed in things other than games, web browsing has a noticeable lag between the link click and the page loading. But the page comes down almost complete in one big burst, so the total time for page load probably averages out close to DSL, you just notice the gap more on the satellite. Our version has a USB connection that hooks the modem to the computer and appears as a USB Ethernet connection. We had to run W2k Server to share this connection out using Routing and Remote Access, but that works pretty well. I'm not sure about the newer hardware, we've been on satellite close to 2.5 years.

Download limit (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8089998)

From what I understand, there is currently a download limit (150 MB I think) for a 4 hour period. I hear they are working on repealing this policy due to customer backlash..

Friend's experience with sattelite Internet (1)

sgifford (9982) | more than 10 years ago | (#8089999)

A friend of mine had sattelite Internet for a while, whatever DirecTV's old service was called. It was really bad, even for Web browsing. The latency doesn't seem like it would get that annoying, but it does. It seemed there was an extra wait for every image loaded, and normal browsing of the Internet felt slower than on dialup.

On the other hand, this may have gotten better. Browsers may be better about using HTTP pipelining so everything in a page can be loaded at once, and part of the problem may have been DirecTV's network. A way to experiment with it would be to use one of the various kernel modules for doing packet modification, and cause every packet to be delayed for 1 full second going out.

I always thought an interesting combination would be a proxy that routed everything over dialup until the connection was full, then started using the sattelite. The most likely scenario would be the HTML itself is fetched over the low-latency low-bandwidth dialup link, and the images are loaded over the high-latency high-bandwidth sattelite link. ssh would use the dialup link, so latency wouldn't be as bad. It seems to me like this would be the best of both worlds. Unfortunately DirecTV's old infrastructure was very closed, making it impossible (or close to it) to experiment with this sort of thing. If this new service is more open, maybe it would be possible to tune it to give quite good performance.

side effects (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8090001)

It will cause your wife to turn into a cum-guzzling slut. Of course, kathleen is already a dirty whore, so you probably won't be affected.

Wireless (2, Funny)

-tji (139690) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090007)

Find some slashdot fanboy in Ann Arbor, buy him a can 'o pringles, and set up a wireless link to you house.

By the way, with assloads of money from /.'s acquisition, couldn't you find a house a little closer to civilization?

T1 (0) (722366) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090008)

Just get a t1 Usually you can get hooked up for about $500/month for everything you need.

My Experiences (1)

Anti_Climax (447121) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090011)

I'm not sure which model we're using, but I had my boss setup DirecWay satellite at his night club, as it was the only broadband option available. The service goes down several hours every night, but we never lose our link. Since the actual ISP is earthlink, you can expect at least a 30 minute hold time for technical support, although that may be a little optomistic. If you can get something else, I would recommend it, unless your rig works out drastically different from ours.

Solution to latency (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8090019)

You can route interactive traffic out a dialup link to reduce latency, and all other traffic over the satelite link. See .. Simply use netfilter to mark packets, and policy routing to pick which interface to NAT the traffic out of. Not for newbies, but I'm sure the editor of /. can handle it ;)

Plenty of catches... (5, Informative)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090028)

Make sure you read the service agreement...

They keep a moving average of your bandwidth utilization. Exceeding the unspecified caps results in your downstream bandwidth being halved, (ie 100%->50%->25%->12.5%) and eventually cut off.

My parents used this with the previous generation hardware, downloading a Java SDK & Eclipse runtime (say 100MB) resulted in a noticeable decrease in bandwidth.

It is also way to slow for me to use ssh interactively.

Here's some snippets of the AUP, from

6.1 Prohibited Conduct

(g) to post information on newsgroups which is not in the topic area of the newsgroup;
(j) to damage the name or reputation of DIRECWAY, DIRECTV, Hughes Network Systems, Hughes Electronics Corporation or any of their respective parents, affiliates and subsidiaries, or any third parties;
(k) to transmit confidential or proprietary information, except solely at your own risk;
(l) to violate our or any third party's copyright, trademark, proprietary or other intellectual property rights, including trade secret rights;
(m) to generate excessive amounts (as determined in our sole discretion) of Internet traffic


To ensure equal Internet access for all subscribers, we maintain a running average fair access policy. Fair access establishes an equitable balance in Internet access across the DIRECWAY Services by service plan for all DIRECWAY customers regardless of their frequency of use or volume of traffic. To ensure this equity, you may experience some temporary throughput limitations. DIRECWAY Internet access is not guaranteed. This policy applies to all service plans including "Unlimited" plans where customers' use of the service is not limited to a specific number of hours per month.

two-way satellite (2, Interesting)

gordona (121157) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090033)

I think that you'll have a problem with VPN as well, due to the latency. I was using DirecPC, which was an asymmetric architecture with a phone line return. I saw an increase of about 500 msec in ping times using DirecPC over phone modem. For two-way satellite, the latency will probably be about 1 second. This kind of latency killed my VPN connectivity or at best made it unreliable. As an alternative, why don't you set up a neighborhood wireless cooperative sharing a T-1 line. See for example:

When you have absolutely no other options... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8090040)

...DW is the way to go until the next wireless tech is embraced.

56K?! (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8090050)

56k?! Let's show him the slashdot effect boys ;) Talking about a taste of your own medicine...

Satellite Experience (2, Interesting)

Evanrude (21624) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090051)

I assisted a friend of mine in setting up his DirecWay system about a year ago. I am not sure what the "professional installation costs" were, but they had no satellite service of any kind prior to the install. I know that at that time, you had to purchase all the hardware, which ran about $600.00.

Aside from that, the equipment at that time had to be plugged into a computer via. USB and setup via Windows only software. If you wanted any kind of routing done, it had to be done through Windows.

The hardware/software may have changed since then and they may now offer an ethernet port and a more OS friendly configuration.

Aside from those things, the speed was nice for web browsing and any other low impact services. I do recall using ssh and it seemed to work ok. The latency isn't as noticable as it would be playing a game.

That's my experience...

The most important 3 words are ... (5, Informative)

PaulK (85154) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090052)

Fair Access Policy. Learn them, love them, leave them. Here is one war story [] .
There are sites dedicated to the incredible level of FAP abuse that is piled on customers.

Here is a place for you to study [] .
This may be more relevant to your needs, here [] .

Move to Livonia (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8090062)

That's what I did when I graduated and got the hell out of A2

Run while you still can! (1)

camt (162536) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090063)

I have no experience with the DirecWay service, but I had used StarBand when they were still around.

Honestly - I would prefer 56K dialup. You just don't understand how bad the latency is on satellite service until you've used it. I would wait 14+ seconds at times for responses. It's like the tortoise vs. the hare. Slow and steady beats fast with long naps between laps.

Stick with your dial-up or try convincing someone to start a good wireless ISP near you.

A Bad Experience (2, Informative)

Odonian (730378) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090066)

I'm in the same boat, no DSL or Cable. I tried DirecWay dial return service. The latency is pretty horrible (500ms and up) making things like ssh excruciatingly painful. The 2 way DirecWay sat is supposedly even slower in temrs of latency, since you pay the 22,000 mile up-and-down penalty twice. Web browsing as well can be slow due to this latency, since multiple requests get made per page load. You can fiddle with the settings on your browser and packet sizes etc to help this, but to me browsing felt slower than on a reliable 56k line. Things that require bigger downloads like flash animations are faster, though. If it's bandwidth you are after, then you have to worry about FAP - the Fair Access Policy. This limits your BW usage by throttling you down once you exceed some magic threshold for some period of time. If you web browse only, you may not see it but if you download stuff, you'll probably hit it. I also had problems due to trees. DirecTV is an order of magnitude less finicky than DirecWay in terms of positioning, and I struggled to get a good signal when my DirecTV was just fine. Could have been by location though. If you get the Dual dish, you will have to play fancy games with dish rotation to pull in both internet and TV. I'd recommend pro installation unless you really enjoy mucking with setting up dishes, etc.

Don't do it! (3, Informative)

mo (2873) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090071)

I've had the misfortune to use satellite internet. Here's a quick summary on how it behaves:

- ssh sessions or terminal server are unusable so if you do any remote access of any machines, forget it.

- web browsing is about the speed of a dialup unless you're looking at pages that are one huge chunk of html with no images. Most pages these days are lots of little images which totally lags on satellite. Note that you may reduce the pain with caching proxies and/or HTTP keepalive/pipelining but it's a lot of work, and at least one of your daily reads will not improve with this.

Anyways, unless you're out in the middle of the jungle, I'd just stick with cheap dialup. You can save your money up and build a long range wifi link.

Do Unto Others... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8090090)

I'm abusing my power as Slashdot editor to ask...

Good point. I'd be much more inclined to tell you about my experiences if just one of my Ask Slashdot questions about topics that effect my job had ever been posted.

better than nothing... sometimes (2, Informative)

A moron (37050) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090093)

I've been using it for about 4 months now.

It pretty much sucks, but until there's a better option, it's usually better than dial-up.

You'll probably find a more informed discussion at forums. Also check out their Satellite FAQ []

SSH sessions are pretty bad. However, in pinches they are possible by "typing blind". ie. typing your slew of commands and waiting for them to appear/happen. Can be a bit dangerous. :)

Reliability is pretty bad. We have regular snow and rain storms which usually knocks it out of service.

Speeds, http download is alright, although there is always a slight delay before things happen due to latency. Other download speeds suck, especially anything is encrypted. Upload speed is as slow as if not slower than modem.

But, we don't have any other options at the moment (come on airships!)

BTW our setup two way direcway using a dedicated w2k box with crappy internet connection sharing.

What about ISDN? (0, Redundant)

gwynnebaer (319816) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090099)

Everyone ignores ISDN and leap frogs to other technologies. Dual-channel ISDN is quite usable for what it sounds like you need.
Can you get that at least?

Tried it (1)

IamNotAgeek (708764) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090104)

We got it so my wife could work from home. As for just surfing the net it seemed to work OK (better than dialup). But we found that VPN speed was the same as if she dialed up to work and the main application she used didn't work at all. And when the wind blew the signal went to crap. (could be how the dish was mounted but it is a larger dish than what is used by direcTV). So since we couldn't justify the cost we cancelled it. (we had to eat the installation cost ~$200).

You could try this.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8090107)

My dad lives near Bay City and they are set up with something simular called Speed Net ( Seems to work quite well.

Speednet (1)

bjmorel (203325) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090109)

I have had Speednet for almost a year and a half. If you live anywhere near Saginaw I would highly recommend it. It blows away the Satillite service I had before it.


I was almost blighted (1)

xrayspx (13127) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090112)

I almost bought a house (put an offer on) in an area with no cable and no DSL. I went to work researching DirecWay, and all I got from DSLreports was complaint after complaint. Well, I thought, no one ever writes in about how GREAT their service is, right?

So I looked at all the literature from DirecTV, and it didn't look much better from that angle. $600 UP FRONT fee for equipment, plus $60/month for a service which MIGHT give you 500kbps downstream and ~100 up. I do a lot of remote administration using Windows apps, and although I've done it on dialup, and it's not /that/ bad, it's not something I'd look forward to.

Plus, and here's where your problem would come in, they have TOC enforced caps. If you pass your given download quota for a given period (ie you transfer down a set of Debian .ISO's and it takes a day), blam, you're cut off. You have to call in and get them to undo it, which can take days. I wasn't prepared to call someone else when I was on call and say "hey, I know it's 1:30 am, but would you mind going on and fixing this server, DirecTV cut me off, again".

In the end I was going to just get dialup, maybe get 2 accounts and team 'em up to get a bit more speed, rather than deal with the flakiness I saw inherent in DirecWay and its competition. I looked HARD for any answer, and the best I could do was dual-dialup. (unless I wanted to spend $175/month on ISDN, or several hundred more for a full T).

Direcway (1)

Nerdy (314261) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090114)

I have the professional version of direcway so that I could get a static ip and a large bucket ( 350 MB I think ) before I get fapped as they call it. For the most part it's ok, my downloads average between 100K and 150K ( Kilobytes ) using internet explorer and if I use one of those download accelerators I've hit 500K a sec. Uploads are pathetic... about modem speeds. If you don't get a static ip, your stuck behind their NAT.

HTTPS is really really slow. I still use the older DW4000 which requires a PC to run their software. I put together a mini-itx system with windows xp running winroute. It looks like a router to the rest of my network. I have not upgraded to the newer DW6000 systems.

Consider wireless with that T1 suggestion? (1)

Toad-san (64810) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090117)

Consider locating others with your same problem in your neighborhood or area.

All pool together in a T1 line (or convince a local business to do it).

Then use radio links (which can reach kilometers these days with the right antenna) to connect the members of the group to the T1 owner.

Might be well worth the effort / coordination, you'd all get high speed, the T1 owner would become a mini-ISP.

My stepson and I seriously thought about this before we finally got Roadrunner (and now DSL).

Unaccetable caps (1)

iantri (687643) | more than 10 years ago | (#8090119)

DirecWay has insane caps -- you get to download 600MB, then they throttle you to about 3kb/s for 24hours. The 600MB cap slowly increases from 0 (you used it up) to 600MB over that period.

Also, latency is terrible. we're talking 600-100ms. SSH would not be fun.

And it's expensive too.

I'd say look for a wireless provider in your area, if there is one. Or maybe (and I don't know if it is even available anymore), if speed is less of an issue but you need good latency, ISDN service? The speed isn't great (11.5kb/s), but it's better than nothing..

Speaking from experience... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8090125)

I live about an hour out of Minneapolis, and for a long time satellite was the only option we had other than dial-up. We used the direcway two-way satellite system for about two months, and I gotta tell you, it was a truly horrific experience. For starters, there's the speed. Not only is the ping terrible (quarter to half a second), but the speed was only double or triple what we were getting over our free 56k modem connection. Now, for some people that modest speed increase is worth $100 per month, and I was willing to tough it out at least until the one-year contract expired and I could quit without paying the $600 early contract cancellation fee. That was until the damned thing simply stopped working. It was pretty intermittant to start off, being down for a few hours every day, but one day it just died. I called tech support to try and figure it out, and that was when I learned about download caps. I'm pretty sure you won't find anything about this in any of their literature, but if you download more than 200 megabytes over any 4 hour period, they severely restrict your bandwidth. If you manage to download more than 250 megabytes over any 5 hour period, they simply cut you off for a few days. So basically, you're paying $100 a month for bandwidth that you're not allowed to use. So, I found myself with no service for a few days. Then for a week. I called tech support back, and they told me there was no reason why my connection shouldn't work. I spent 12 hours on the phone with tech support over the course of 3 days until I finally decided to just cancel my "service." After all of that I still had to pay the $600, just to cancel my service that I wasn't getting.

By the way, I also have DirecTV, which works fine, so that shouldn't be any indicator for how well the satellite internet will work.
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