Sunday, November 28, 2010

crippling the Internet

Above us in orbit are satellites and many of them are used for communication.
Like the SatMex 5 satellite.
It is the one used by the Internet system of the Fuso Szulc.
On the roof of the expedition vehicle is a satellite disk to which is connected a modem.
The satellite disk and modem can send and receive signals that are linking to the control center of the company HughesNet somewhere in the USA.
This is made possible by the SatMex 5: it receives and transmits from the one party to the other.
HughesNet put the signals on the regular Internet system and voila, the daily blog is published and fervent and loyal blog readers can read it on their computer screen.

Basically it is a good system.
Because one can be anywhere in parts of Canada, the USA and Mexico and with the satellite disk and modem remain on the Internet.
In the case of the Fuso Szulc, the modem is powered by solar energy, hence literally anywhere access to Internet is guaranteed.

Sometimes there are problems though with this system.
For example, HughesNet can suddenly change the transponder without warning and then suddenly access to Internet is gone.

But the main complain is the speed.
Every fervent and loyal blog reader can Google on the word SatMex5 and find many horror stories about the slow speeds that are suffered.

This is the case with the Fuso Szulc as well.
Certain times of day loading web pages is extremely slow.
Watching TV through website simply impossible.
Skype calls breaking off.

This is at certain times of days because the cause is twofold.
One is that the satellite SatMex5 by now is of outdated technology.
More modern satellites have higher speeds.
But the main reason for the slow speeds is that too many people are put on the satellite.
The more people use the system, the more down the speed goes.
For example, watching TV from a website is only possible after 9.00 pm when most people on the East coast of the USA have gone to sleep and are off their computers.

This situation also demonstrates how business is done in the USA.
When one sees the publicity HughesNet is making for their satellite Internet system transmission speeds are promised that are luring and impressing.
But the reality is that those speeds can never be experienced.
Because HughesNet is not limiting the amount of people using the satellite.
The more people on the satellite the more money HughesNet makes and when this means the speed drops dramatically they can’t care less.

Meanwhile in Europe something exciting has been happening.
A British company called Avanti Communications Group has launched on November 26 the HYLAS 1 satellite with a French Ariane 5 rocket from French Guyana.

This satellite will offer 10 Mbps speeds to some 350,000 customers.
10 Mbps !!
This compares to what HughesNet is fanfaring on their website. They offer: 1 Mbps..
Saying in small letters: “When you connect to the Internet using HughesNet, the upload and download speeds you experience will vary based on a variety of factors including the configuration of your computer, the number of concurrent users, network or Internet congestion, the speed of the Websites you are accessing, and other factors. Stated speeds and uninterrupted use of service are not guaranteed. During peak hours, actual upload and download speed will likely be lower than speeds indicated”.

In other words, and this is based on personal experience, forget about the 1 Mbps.
It is more likely to be 79 Kbps.

10 Megabytes per second or 79 Kilobytes per second: it is a world of difference.

Avanti is also developing a second satellite, called HYLAS 2 set to launch in 2012.
Which is to provide wireless high speed broadband in the Middle East and Africa as well as Europe.
Meanwhile in the USA the people remain in the Stone Age: while next year in Europe and in two years in Africa and the Middle East they happily surf the Internet at 10 Megabytes per second, the Americans are still digitally challenged at 79 Kilobytes per second.

Hey Avanti, put one up here, please!


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