ViaSat-1 Satellite Pings WildBlue Network Gateway: Faster Sat Internet Is Coming

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News Posted: Sat, Dec 10 2011 10:35 AM
Satellite internet isn't exactly something people usually get excited about. In reality, it's a worse-case scenario type of option for many rural homes. But nonetheless, it's an option, and an option at all is better than none. Particularly when that option is getting better by the year. ViaSat has transmitted the first data over the ViaSat-1 high-capacity satellite and the WildBlue high-speed data network, and this new bird should allow for greater speeds and more online fun than ever before. The initial transmissions and receptions were completed the evening of December 2 from a SurfBeam 2 terminal at ViaSat's Carlsbad campus, through the ViaSat-1 satellite and a gateway located in Milford, Utah. The test included email, web surfing, and video streaming, proving the power of the integrated network. The satellite, designed and owned by ViaSat, is the highest capacity satellite in the world.

Once in-orbit testing is complete (planned for mid-December), satellite manufacturer Space Systems/Loral will hand over operation of the 140 Gbps capacity satellite to ViaSat and partner Telesat. ViaSat will then begin the final phase of integration with the network of 20 SurfBeam 2 ground stations that connect the satellite to the Internet backbone. Commercial service is expected to begin prior to the end of calendar year 2011.

"We have advanced satellite technology to the point that satellite can now be a better alternative for broadband Internet than DSL, and 3G / 4G wireless offerings for fixed home use - an enormous leap for satellite broadband technology," said Mark Dankberg, chairman and CEO of ViaSat. "The ViaSat-1 satellite will help bridge the 'digital divide' in the U.S., and we're confident that this new service has been designed in a way where it will be attractive to a large segment of the U.S. population - delivering both speed and value to the underserved."

The ViaSat-1 high-capacity Ka-band spot beam satellite includes coverage over North America and Hawaii, enabling a variety of new, high-speed broadband services for WildBlue in the U.S., Xplornet in Canada, and JetBlue Airways on its domestic U.S. fleet.
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I wonder if LATENCY will be an issue still?? The reason I stuck with dial-up for the longest time is cause I had a choice of dial-up or satellite..Satellite had much better download/upload but the latency in games were HORRIBLE. Would be between 500ms-800ms compared to my 150ms-300ms on dialup (I hit 120ish on some servers in quake 2 on my dial up :) ) But now I am able to get DSL which 3mbs/512kbs is my cap, could go higher on upload but AT&T is lame and won't use any caps but their PACKAGE caps, even though I'd pay more $. And well my download wouldn't go much higher anyway because of distance from CO.

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rapid1 replied on Sat, Dec 10 2011 5:07 PM

This is actually good to hear as it is actually a much better solution. DSL is kind of ridiculous in several way as in your distance from CO one. Of course fiber to home would be nice but in the way most do it in the US it is still pretty much DSL as the fiber contact points in a neighborhood are generally not directly to a house but usually 3-10 houses depending from each connection point then sub addressed. Fiber to curb for each house would be much better. I remember when I first started playing games online over dial up I would use 2 lines. I generally did it when everyone else was asleep so it did not cause any issues. Of course Coaxial/cable internet is better in general but it has it's issues as well although not as detrimental as DSL's so a nationwide satellite network that had speed and throughput both up and down would be very nice. It would also over all be much cheaper to maintain. A satellite may be expensive but compare it to 330 million users and all the hardware between the houses and the broadcast/intake servers etc. and it would be or is cheap I am sure.

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Very cool, This will be nice for those who cant get the traditional internet service and dont want to pay an arm and a leg to a cell provider.... 

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Very good news for people in rural areas. Delay has always been an issue with Satellite broadband, I think as long as thy can achieve close to the 140 Gbps they claim it will drive adoption quickly.

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the increased speed is amazing yes...those who don't play games or games that require a decent latency will greatly enjoy this. i would still like to see an increase in fiber optic across the country though, i've never been a fan of wireless, inconsistant at times and bandwidth seems to vary too much.

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Internet for more people is always a good thing :) I am sure the latency is still going to be a slight issue with this after all the signal does have to travel all the way through the atmosphere and back.

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realneil replied on Sun, Dec 11 2011 12:40 AM

Latency is the real issue with this tech. It will make it or break it. Problem is that to try it, you'll need to sign an outrageous contract that guarantees the Sat company a lot of money, even if you don't like it.

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AKwyn replied on Sun, Dec 11 2011 2:15 PM

Well, If I had moved to a rural area I'd shudder at the thought of satellite internet. Now, not so much thanks to this satellite; though from the stuff I've read about, I'd either have to give up gaming completely or hope that it provides very decent latency.


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geeknik replied on Sun, Dec 11 2011 11:44 PM

Latency will ALWAYS be an issue. It doesn't matter if the satellite can send a billion terabits a second, it still has to travel up 35,786 km (22,236 mi) and back down 35,786 km. =) They can pretty much put a satellite up in geosynchronous orbit and forget about it. Good luck finding someone to put satellites of this type in Low Earth Orbit. Would take too much fuel keeping them in orbit.

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