Caribbean Satellite - Setup Questions

K

keeco

Thread Starter
Member
Jun 9, 2008
7
0
Greetings,

My family and I are missionaries in the Caribbean and are trying to find a reliable internet service and possible VoIP solution. We are currently spending hundreds upon hundreds of dollars a month on prepaid cell phone cards, internet cafe cards and other forms of communication.

I've done a little research and come from a technical background, working with networks, the web, and the like, however I have never worked with satellite equipment. In addition, I've never owned or used satellite service.

While in the states we have great cable internet and TV, so satellite has never been a thought. Now that we are outside of the reach of the cable, we wanted to see if satellite would be an option.

I've seen iDirect and a few others offering equipment and have seen a few places with decent monthly prices. We realize that the equipment may be pricey up front, but that may be offset by what we currently spend each month for our horrible internet/phone service.

Pegaso Broadband and VSATUS are two that I've seen - I'm not sure what their access limits are, they may be miserably low.

Anyways, I am really just looking for some input from the pros here. Is there an option in the Caribbean and if so, what prices am I looking at for hardware and monthly fees? Anything to stay away from or something to look for?

At this point we put out around $250/month or more in phone cards and internet fees - so we are open to even going the high-end route if there are better options.

We look forward to hearing back. Thanks!
 
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bajadudes

SatelliteGuys Guru
For 512 X 1024 commercial service with dedicated carrier grade VOIP expect to pay about $299 to $399 per month and about $1500 for equipment ( 1.2 meter dish )

Lot's of information on the commercial pages of our website
 
K

keeco

Thread Starter
Member
Jun 9, 2008
7
0
Hello! Thanks for the replies!

We are going to be on-site for three months at a time. We'll have a month or two between three month stays. The idea is the leave the equipment on-site for the locals to use when we are not there - so we are pretty sure we'll get our money out of the hardware/monthly fees.

After checking, we are probably paying an average of $300 or more each month in cell phone refills and internet cafe charges, not to mention that when people in the US call us, they incur a $1.00 per minute charge or more. In one phone call they sometimes are paying over $20. So, we are sure that even at $250-$300/month we will get our money's worth.

I'm just trying to figure out the best system/service to go with. I've gotten quotes from one place and am awaiting quotes from another few. The first came back with...

Your location will require a 1.2M Dish and 3W BUC (Transmit) for reliable Internet and VOIP. A complete IDirect System includes:
- Infinty 3100 Modem
- 3W BUC
- Norsat/NJR LNB
- Patriot 1.2M VSAT Dish w/XPol Feed
Available for Miami pick up = $1975.00
- IDirect Service Plans

So, I'm not sure if that is acceptable or not. The service plans were a little iffy to me. They gave me a few choices and a few satellites to hit off of - but I wasn't sure about which one would be the best...

- SatMex5 FAP SOHO Service 1.5m/256k Upload@160mb/day 40:1 ratio
- SatMex5 Non-FAP was over $500/month
- GalaxyXR Was about twice as much on both FAP and non-FAP plans

They gave me options for Hughes as well, if I didn't need VoIP - they were cheaper - but didn't offer VoIP. Is there a telephony solution via the computer over internet that would allow people to call from normal phones and it ring in my computer software if it was always on?

Sorry for being all over the place, I'm new at all of this stuff. =)
 
K

keeco

Thread Starter
Member
Jun 9, 2008
7
0
Where are the commercial pages at that you were referring to?
 
B

bajadudes

SatelliteGuys Guru
Orbital Enterprises - Commercial Class Satellite Internet Access and Networking

Orbital Enterprises - Connexstar for Business Satellite Internet Service Plans (click on one of the graphical links on the left hand side for details on each service level and pricing)

and for VOIP

Orbital Enterprises - Satellite VOIP Services ( disregard per call min price. it's all unlimited right now to anywhere.)

Equipment will be about $1500.

let us know if we can help

In order to really figure out what you will need, you need to make a realistic guess as too how much data in MB you will be moving over the link, both in the upload and download path in a given period of time.
 
HCI

HCI

SatelliteGuys Pro
Jun 19, 2005
2,580
1
land of the ice and snow
Hughes will have a VoIP solution by 4th quarter of this year. Hopefully.:haha

Not sure about any computer software for the setup you want. If you do absolutely need VoIP I would just go with the iDirect. I have heard nothing but good things about that system when it comes to VoIP.

Edit: I have not saw the offer bajadudes is talking about above me here. It looks like something you might consider.
 
K

keeco

Thread Starter
Member
Jun 9, 2008
7
0
Hello!

I've been charting my bandwidth usage over the past two days and have come up with around 250mb download and 50mb upload. This is under a pretty normal daily work load.

Thoughts?

The iDirect FAP plans don't look too bad if the FAC limits are only on the upload. I don't find download limits anywhere on the request sheets. I'll take a look at the ones that Baja posted now as well.
 
B

bajadudes

SatelliteGuys Guru
OK so that is about 8 GB a month on the download....that's not too bad at all and upload seems pretty reasonable also. You can get away with the spacenet broadband plan if you wanted.

I can tell you that call quality on a Spacenet gilat system is excellent and you would never know you were on a sat connection. Gilat equipment is used in about 90% of the world satellite telephony market. No part of your call goes out over the public internet and QoS and SAR are fully implemented and controlled in house over their space segment. Once your call reaches the softswitch at the NOC it is directly connected to the public switched telephone network.

Spacenet is also the only provider that gives you guaranteed min network speeds. No one else will

Remember also that idirect is an equipment name not an ISP provider. There are about 60 different Hub operators running iDirect equipment in the USA. Everything from a mom and pop shop in a storefront with a dish out back, to a full blown Hub with dozens of employees and 24/7 help desk.

Make sure when comparing prices that you also take a look at the operator...how long have they been in business, do they have 24 hour help, do they operate multiple hub locations in different parts of the country so there is redundancy in an emergency at any one location. Can they route traffic on the fly between Hubs. Is there multiple redundant backbone connections from the HUB NOC to the internet backbone? In other words is it a robust network that is able to take a big hit and keep on working or a cobbled together bare bones network with a lot of vulnerability.

Make sure you are comparing apples to apples when you look at pricing.
 
K

keeco

Thread Starter
Member
Jun 9, 2008
7
0
Thanks for more great info. Which plan is the Spacenet plan? I've looked at so many I don't remember where I saw them. Was that on the pages you sent to me?
 
K

keeco

Thread Starter
Member
Jun 9, 2008
7
0
Oh, yeah, thats what I meant. I was wondering if they were in the list you posted.

Is Spacenet the provider in this case? The broadband solution should work well? I'm still looking around for options and comparing.

If I do end up deciding on something, instead of keeping the equipment boxed until I'm on site, is it recommended to set things up here at home and test it out, make sure it is functioning, and then reconfigure when I get on site?

Thanks again!
 
K

keeco

Thread Starter
Member
Jun 9, 2008
7
0
Hello again! Thought I'd resurrect this thread.

I'm still looking for a Caribbean solution, but have yet to find anything I'm convinced of. The major problem we face is customs and many countries not allowing or very concerned when you bring satellite equipment with you.

So, I've been looking at some other options and have found a few interesting things that I'd like to get your opinions on...

First...

Stratos - The Power of BGAN | Inmarsat BGAN Broadband Satellite Internet Service

It looks decent...though I don't completely understand the upload/download speeds and there are no limits on the general info pages. The great thing is that it would fit in a laptop case or in a backpack, which is a bonus for me.

Are there any others like this out there? I saw a BGAN that was by Hughes as well, but am not sure of the specs.

Let me know what you all think. Thanks!
 
B

bajadudes

SatelliteGuys Guru
Bgan is extremely expensive and they charge you per min. speeds are not near as fast as you would find on the big dish solutions.

Have you discussed importing equipment with a freight forwarder that specializes in getting equipment from the USA to the Caribbean?

Most of them operate out of Miami. google search or look in your local papers in the Caribbean.

Don't try and do it yourself. let a pro handle it. they know the right hands to grease so to speak. typically they charge 25 to 35% of invoice or a flat fee.
 
Dgenx321

Dgenx321

Pub Member / Supporter
Sep 8, 2003
1,136
16
Calcutta, Ohio
Make sure you don't have a WISP in the area.

A Wireless ISP..

Thats what Im using and I live in the middle of the country with no DSL or Cable internet avaiable to me....
 

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