Current satellite internet options?

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Frank B

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We are Canadian snowbirds that prefer to Boondock in BLM sites in Arizona and California for 3 months during the winter. We have been using cellular Plans from AT&T or T-Mobile.


Satellite internet is available from Hughes, and possibly some other carriers. We are interested in being able to get internet coverage in areas that are not serviced by any of the cellular carriers. We absolutely do not care about satellite TV in any way, shape, or form.


I am led to believe that some monthly satellite internet plans are available in the $80 range. We currently pay $65 for each of our phones, but that is an essentially unlimited data plan. First 22 gig full speed, and throttled after that.


What can anyone tell me about satellite internet startup costs, three months a year costs, (that is, paying for just three months, and not signing a year-long contract) and long-term viability of satellite internet vs. Cellular internet?


Thanks.
 

Old_Crow

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I don't know anything about plan pricing, as the company pays for ours, but I do know that Hughes won't mount a dish to an RV.  Has to be on a pole cemented into the ground.
Our other host last year had to call Hughes and have them come to the campground to install a pole.  The managers didn't mind because it was installed at the host site and could be used again, but I'm not sure many campgrounds will let you concrete a pole into the ground at a regular campsite.
 

zulu

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Frank B said:
We are Canadian snowbirds . . .

Satellite internet is available from Hughes, and possibly some other carriers. We are interested in being able to get internet coverage in areas that are not serviced by any of the cellular carriers.

I use a HughesNET Gen 5 on a tripod. This is a manual setup dish, but I've found the Gen 5 surprisingly easy compared to manually aiming a satellite TV dish.

Here's my setup: https://rvseniormoments.com/projects/hughesnet-gen-5-satellite-internet/.

You can get a HughesNET Gen 5 setup through a couple of places:
- Houston Media Systems (https://txdish.com/gen5/)
- Mobile Internet Satellite (http://www.mobileinternetsatellite.com/mis_shoppinglist.php) -- I bought mine here. Ask for Barb Nolley.

With a Gen 5 setup you have several data/pricing plans which will typically be under the VAR/Mobile category:
The Business Internet Mobile 35: 10 GB Anytime / 25 GB 8 am-6 pm . . . $89.99/mon
The Business Internet Mobile 50: 25 GB Anytime / 25 GB 8 am-6 pm . . . $119.99/mon
The Business Internet Mobile 75: 50 GB Anytime / 25 GB 8 am-6 pm . . . $169.99/mon
The Business Internet Mobile 100: 75 GB Anytime / 25 GB 8 am-6 pm . . . $219.99/mon
The Business Internet Mobile 150: 100 GB Anytime / 50 GB 8 am-6 pm . . . $289.99/mon
The Business Internet Mobile 200: 150 GB Anytime / 50 GB 8 am-6 pm . . . $389.99/mon

The Gen 5 setup is NOT your father's HughesNET. They are two different systems.
- With a Gen 5 system (Ka band satellite system) you can expect download speeds up to 20 Mbps.
- With the older HughesNET (Ku band satellite system), speeds will be under 4 Mbps. BTW, the $6500 RVDataSat is a Ku band system. Slow.

Finally, here's a summary of RV Internet satellite options: https://rvseniormoments.com/tech-docs/satellite-internet-for-rvers/.
 

Frank B

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Thanks, all, for the input.


Old_Crow: Yeah, we don't stay put, so cementing a pole in the desert each week would not be practical for us.  ;)


NY_Dutch:  I had heard about the automatic dishes.  Great idea, but MAN, what a pile of dough!!  Would be fine if I was a national TV reporter, I guess, and could justify that kind of cost.  Good to have the link, however.  Information never hurts, and hey, maybe I'll find one used somewhere?


zulu:  Thank you for the comprehensive information.  I found those prices AFTER I posted here, but good to have them confirmed.  Do I understand correctly that the pricing is trying to reduce evening Netflix binging?  25 GB anytime between 8 am and 6 PM, but then only 10 of those GB after 6 PM?  Would have to download during off-peak hours and then play back in the evening.  Do I also understand that the absolute maximum (on the lowest plan) is 25 GB total, and not 25 + 10?


So, how much time and muscle does it take to set up and aim the dish each time you move?  Where do you stow it when traveling?


Do you have issues with download speeds?  Even the Gen 5 system shows about half of what one can expect from a good LTE cellular connection.  I get about 85 mbps download here at home with cable Internet.  Not comparing apples to oranges, I know, but interesting nonetheless in how big the difference is.


I will now have to mull this over.  As mentioned above, we don't stay more that a couple of weeks in one place (as long as our holding tanks last).  We will also have to maintain both phone plans just for Internet when on the road, and texting between the two of us the odd time we get separated in a mall.  We could certainly take a much cheaper plan for that if we had 25 GB of satellite data to use when at the trailer.  Now to decide if the added cost is worth the added convenience of never being out of touch.  Most places where we stay have enough cell service to get by with, but that is often because we avoid places that don't have service.  Would love to spend more time in the Mohave National Preserve where AT&T is non-existent (gonna try T-Mobile this year).


Thanks again, all, for the input. 


Zulu, please do let me know how you find setting up, aiming and stowing the dish week in and week out.


Thanks!
 

pz

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We have AT&T cell phone service, and DirectTv satellite at home. Because we have both, the package allows us to watch anything DirectTv with no limits (no charge to data on the phone), and we Chromecast the phone to the TV.
 

NY_Dutch

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Between our Verizon and AT&T unlimited data cell hotspots and our Maximum Signal Max Amp RV cell booster/repeater, we've never felt the need for a satellite Internet service. The Max Amp has kept us online even in some areas where the carriers coverage maps show no service.
 

Frank B

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NY_Dutch

Yeah, we have a cell booster as well, which we are happy with -- as far as it goes.

https://unidencellular.ca/booster_kits

I mounted the directional yagi on our batwing TV antenna mast so I can adjust it from in the trailer. However, in the REAL outback, even that is not always enough.
 

NY_Dutch

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Obviously we can't reasonably do a side by side comparison with your Uniden, but I can say our Max Amp has gotten us usable cell signals in locations where our previous WeBoost Drive 4G-M could not. That does not mean there aren't "dead zones" someplace where it can't work of course. It does need at least a minimal signal to work with. The Max Amp does however, work at a lower threshold than most of the other cell amplifiers by design.

As for satellite Internet, note that the second system I listed above is the same one that Zulu is using. Much lower coast than the first one, but also not automatic aiming. The system Zulu has is what I would use if I found I needed one.
 

Frank B

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>The system Zulu has is what I would use if I found I needed one.<

My thoughts as well. I am hoping that he will respond back to my questions about setup and stowing.

And, BTW, I wasn't trying to tout the benefits of one booster over another.  :)  My only reason for showing you the Uniden link was to let you know that I am already using a good cell booster. Most of the time it works well. But there are times, as you say, when there is no signal to amplify. It is for those times that I was looking for a satellite option.


 

NY_Dutch

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Frank B said:
>The system Zulu has is what I would use if I found I needed one.<

My thoughts as well. I am hoping that he will respond back to my questions about setup and stowing.

And, BTW, I wasn't trying to tout the benefits of one booster over another.  :)  My only reason for showing you the Uniden link was to let you know that I am already using a good cell booster. Most of the time it works well. But there are times, as you say, when there is no signal to amplify. It is for those times that I was looking for a satellite option.

Understood... I mentioned the Max Amp's lower signal threshold because it's the primary reason I bought it. It works better in places where most the other brands don't do so well, cutting down on the times satellite Internet might be called for.
 

zulu

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Frank B said:
Do I understand correctly that the pricing is trying to reduce evening Netflix binging?  25 GB anytime between 8 am and 6 PM, but then only 10 of those GB after 6 PM?  Would have to download during off-peak hours and then play back in the evening.  Do I also understand that the absolute maximum (on the lowest plan) is 25 GB total, and not 25 + 10?
The "business" HughesNET Gen 5 plans have nothing to do with limiting Netflix use. The bulk of the data is between 8 am and  6pm because those are typical business hours.

No, you actually get 35 GB (10 + 25) with the cheapest business plan . . .
- 10 GB have to be used after 6 pm
- 25 GB have to be used between 8 am and 6 pm.

For example, let's say you streamed 10 GB one night after 6 pm. Then for the rest of the month, you would only be able to use the remaining 25 GB of data between 8 am and 6 pm.


Frank B said:
So, how much time and muscle does it take to set up and aim the dish each time you move?  Where do you stow it when traveling?
I'm 68 and it's no big deal. Probably the hardest part is hanging a 6 gallon gas can of water (50 pounds) under the tripod. However, if I moved the dish every day, that would be a major PITA. It's big and bulky.

For me, a HughesNET Gen 5 dish is easier to aim than the much smaller dish I have for satellite TV. I think that's because with HughesNET I'm just looking for one satellite with a very big dish.

https://rvseniormoments.files.wordpress.com/2018/07/hughesnet_11-dish-vs-hughesnet-front2.jpg

I have a Class A DP, so there's plenty of basement storage space available for the dish, tripod, etc.


Frank B said:
Do you have issues with download speeds?  Even the Gen 5 system shows about half of what one can expect from a good LTE cellular connection.  I get about 85 mbps download here at home with cable Internet.  Not comparing apples to oranges, I know, but interesting nonetheless in how big the difference is.
85 Mbps isn't going to happen with HughesNET Gen 5. You should see about 20 Mbps max. However, I only averaged 10 Mbps for my last test.

BTW, if other people with HughesNET Gen 5 systems tell you they're seeing 40, 50, 60 Mbps, be very skeptical. Ask them how they measured their speeds. Some Internet speed apps are "generous". I use three HTML 5 speed apps and average them together.
 

John From Detroit

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There are rumors of a new Sat Service coming out.. Now I know a bit more about this service than it wants me to. for one thing they are trying to infringe on MY Radio License thus the ARRL is opposing it. but this is supposed to be "100% Coverage" to mobile and even in motion devices.

Just now idea how long it will be before it happens.
 

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