HIGH SPEED INTERNET ACCESS VIA SATELLITE

This webpage addresses the present situation of two-way satellite high-speed internet access for the D owner on the road.

With the explosion of information on the internet, high speed affordable two-way internet access while on the road is high on the "wish list" of RV'ers.

There are presently two "solutions" for high-speed mobile satellite internet access.   (The old DISH system went bankrupt, and was never legal for mobile use.)  Before you commit your dollars to a system, you should read this:

HUGHES / DIRECWAY

The only true two-way internet system on the market is the system that utilizes the Hughes Direcway satellite and the MotoSat TFES (Temporary Fixed Earth Station) antenna.  This system is being sold by several resellers, including Optistreams, Ground Control and others.  This is the only legal system and it is authorized and licensed by the FCC. This system costs approximately $6000 installed on your RV.  For an extra $300, the dish can be outfitted to also receive DirecTV. The MotoSat dish is fully automatic and will get you on-line automatically.  The monthly service charge is $99.95/month which allows you unlimited internet access.

I use the MotoSat system and am generally pleased with its performance. Download speeds are typically 250k - 1000kbps.  Upload speeds are typically 20k - 40kbps.  In each case, speeds can sometimes be lower or higher.  However, there are some limitations that you should be aware of.  First, Hughes and MotoSat are still working on the software that finds the satellite.  The subroutine that adjusts the skew for proper cross-polarization needs some work as it frequently fails, and the routine that adjusts the azimuth and elevation seems to take a bit long.  At best, it takes around 7 minutes to get on line, but usually manual intervention is required and at it takes at least 20 minutes to get online.  This system is essentially still in Beta testing although it is actively being sold.  Also, the MotoSat controller only has a 9-pin serail interface - and most new laptops only have a USB interface.  This requires a serial- USB adapter, and only a couple of the many available on the market seem to work.  Some laptops will not work at all because of their USB port implementation.  This system is also not for the computer novice.  However, it is the best option for the person that needs mobile internet access.

KVH

The KVH sytems uses the Hughes satellite for the ISP downlink and a combination satellite / cellular phone for the ISP uplink.   This is similar to the initial DirecPC home offering, except that the uplink is provided by a cell phone and the downlink is received by an RV rooftop, domed dish.   The dome, roof-mounted antenna will receive regular TV in addition to the satellite internet downlink, it is auto-positioning, and it is capable of being used while moving for both internet and TV.   Cost of this system is approximately $8700, plus the monthly $80 ISP fee AND the satellite or cellular phone airtime and access charges (typcially 60 cents to almost $2 per minute).  This system is capable of viewing satellite TV and being connected internet while moving down the road.  However, the usage charges make this system very expensive for monthly service.

Bob Cook