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Satellite Internet Service

by gymboz / September 24, 2007 5:35 AM PDT

I have enjoyed satellite ISP service for several years, primarily because I live in a rural area with limited alternatives. Recently, the service has seemed to slip beyond even my lax standards. Download speeds are so slow my system stops. My computer is a Dell Dimension 8250 (Intel 2.5G/512K ram which is about 4 years old). I have all the updates, have run all the virus/spyware programs, run Windows XP, with two different browsers, etc. I don't hog the band use but I have noticed that after 2pm and until 9pm (Central), my service is limited to the point that virtually everything I try time's out (time outs?). I have contacted the software vendors, and also the hardware (computer/satellite) people, but have received very vague answers. The basic suggestion is that I would need to have the satellite realigned ($450), which seems somewhat self serving (or replace the hardware, or be sure I have no viruses). I realigned the system about 2 years ago, after a modem problem, and this seems very different. All in all, my question centers around the basics of the service. I seem to be doing my part, but don't understand the solutions suggested. Is there anything from a technical or electronic standpoint (sunspots, band use limitations etc.) that I am missing? I seem to be backed into somewhat of a corner with very few alternatives. I would appreciate anyone's view. Thanks,

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They are right
by SuperMA5TER / September 24, 2007 5:45 AM PDT

This does seem to be an off-alignment problem. Bear in mind that signal strenght is directly related to download speed as the modem has to do error correction and if the signal quality is low, a lot of data is lost because off-alignment causes a lot of garbage data to get mixed with the signal and thus the modem rejects it as inaccurated.
So I suggest you go ahead with re-aligning your satellite dish.

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Time of Day (?)
by gymboz / September 24, 2007 8:52 AM PDT
In reply to: They are right

I understand the concepts of error correction and data flow, however it seems to me that this answer should be independent of time of day? Which is to say that if it were indeed the alignment uniqely, then time of day wouldn't matter, there would be problems whenever I try to use the system. My sense is that it is much worse (more data corruption?) from the hours of 2pm-6pm CST (times of peak system use). How would one address this? The location is 'relatively' static (of the base and satellite), thus the variable would seem to be either the software (ground or satellite), or the hardware (or both?). I certainly appreciate your answer and I'm not trying to be argumentative, just trying to locate a plausable direction to seek a solution. Wouldn't the data speed (accuracy) be directly related to time of day or more specifically system wide usage? Or is there an additional relationship that is not readily apparent to me? The system seems to be much more responsive after 6pm and later. I can download particularly large files books(60Mb)without many problems, but again, not like I could 6 months ago, and certainly not error free. On the surface it would seem that the more data required directly increases the error level, and subsequent problem development. On the other hand, if the system is in 'marginal' alignment, perhaps being a really weak signal is reflected in problems regardless of time of day, I just happen to notice it more when I'm waiting or rebooting? Is it unreasonable to ask the satellite alignment folks to 'ensure' a better signal (assuming all else is equal), or is this like the computers in the vehicles which are fine until they fail. Many thanks,

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It still makes sense
by SuperMA5TER / September 25, 2007 5:36 AM PDT
In reply to: Time of Day (?)

It is a common observation that Satellite signals are generally weaker at day times and get much stronger during night, or as the sun sets. It happens with Satellite TV reception as well. While it doesnt matter when the signal are strong enough, but if the system is just marginally aligned then you may completely loose signal during the day and get some reception as the day goes off.

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