September 30, 2004, 11:28 PM — Those of you gearing up for temporary sales sites and locations for the holiday season should thank your lucky stars you don't work for a paleontologist. Imagine your pain at getting a service request to provide Internet and voice connections for 30 people in eastern Wyoming. By the way (don't you hate that phrase?) the nearest road is 20 miles away, and running a single voice line to the site will cost over $3,000, which is (of course) not in your budget.
30 folks digging for dinosaur bones in the badlands of Wyoming last summer didn't want to lose contact with the modern world just because they were diving 65 million years into the past. Since our son has switched his major to archeology, keeping contact in remote areas has become important to me (and my wife).
Enter the Hughes Network Systems division DIRECWAY. Leveraging their huge DirecTV base, the folks are rolling out more tools aimed at small businesses and remote offices. DIRECWAY set up a system with a download speed of up to 1Mbps, enough to handle Internet connections for the dino diggers through a Wi-Fi router connection. They also had a steaming Web cam for students around the world to see, but their press info doesn't list the uplink speed.
Satellites now can route traffic up from the ground to the Internet, which was a major stumbling block to earlier installations which required a land line connection for upstream traffic. Upload speeds tend to be about the same as a v90 modem, however, averaging aound 100kbps and oftentimes slower.
Hughes and DIRECWAY aren't the only game in town, as you might imagine. A new company, StarBand (.com) offers the benefits of being new in town, er, space, and leverages their new equipment to get higher upstream speeds. Their new 484 Modem advertises upload speeds of 256kbps, but that includes "TurboMax" which tells me some compression helps their numbers. Still, when you're 20 miles away from the nearest land line and cell tower, any uplink is better than no uplink.
If you haven't check out the new satellite services for a while, you may be surprised at their speed, polish, and affordable pricing.