CONSUMER ELECTRONICS SHOW: CNET editors cover the Next Big Thing
RaySat brings satellite Internet to your SUV
January 6, 2005; 1:15 p.m.
The product: RaySat announced at CES that later in 2005, it will begin shipping a two-way satellite link that will let a moving vehicle connect to the Net. Like the TracVision and Winegard products, the RaySat antenna is a 5-inch-high, pancake-shaped, hybrid phased-array unit that's small enough to fit on top of a van or SUV but not on a car.
The company expects that service agreements will offer download speeds up to 4MB per second, with a maximum of 128Kbps upstream. There is a half-second of latency (round-trip time) with satellite communication. That's not a blocker for Web browsing or media streaming, but it would affect online gaming or VoIP use.
Audiovox will resell this product. Future satellite units will be smaller and may even be built into car roofs.
The price: $3,495 for the hardware; installation and service fees extra.
The prospects: Businesspeople who work out of their cars could justify this if they frequently work in areas without cellular data coverage. And it's an awesome car toy for people with unlimited funds. Over the long term, the company will have to ensure that the satellite service complements the growing high-speed cellular and Wi-Fi data networks.
By Rafe Needleman, editor, CNET Reviews
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