My Xplornet Experience
UPDATE: Jan/2015. Xplornet is still in business and still trying to convince folk in rural areas that their services are something to consider. And getting government money to do so.
The speeds and data usage caps have been raised, but not to match the increased demand of modern (read twenty-first century) users. Latency is a bitch (you can't do much about the physics). Snow, clouds and storms bugger up transmissions. Need more ... google is your friend.
Just to save you reading the rest of this excellent (but, perhaps, dated) article ... do not use this service unless it is absolutely your only choice.
At one point in my life I decided could not survive on dialup connections! And I was convinced that a local group here in Wynndel would never get a wireless system off the ground and working. So, I spent a bunch of money and subscribed to Xplornet Satellite.
Certainly, this is not a perfect service ... but it beats dialup! Here's a picture of the dish mounted on the roof, just above my office. (Taken in March/2006 just after installation ... yes, that white stuff is snow.)
In case you are interested, here are a few points about this service:
- With installation and hardware the upfront cost for the system is about $900.00 (Canadian dollars). Since my installation, the price for hardware/installation has come down to about half of that. However, they have added system access fees, so it's not that much cheaper. But, if you don't have a choice ... well, it is cheaper than moving.
- The monthly price for the lowest connection rate is about $55.00.
- The service is "always on". Just like a cable or ADSL connection.
- The data rate is 128bps up and 512bps down. And, I've found that for the most part that this is a true rate. Certainly "just fine" for web browsing, mail, etc. A few speed tests show that I can expect 45 to 55KBs for downloads and 13 KBs for uploading. Assuming the maximum for the 512/128 package would be 64/16KBs that gives me around 80 to 85% for the "up to" rate advertised. It'd be nice to have 100% ... but when the only alternative is a slow dialup I'll not complain too loudly.
- The latency (delay) is a problem if you want to do real-time "shooter" games. My "pings" for remote sites average around 600ms.
- There are usage caps on the system. The caps are reset every 24 hours, so it's not the end of the world. But if you are downloading large files or trying to do a lot of P2P stuff you might be an unhappy camper.
I got lucky! The Wynndel Wireless group managed to get running and connect me. I don't miss having this service one little bit—but it was okay while it was a necessity. The wireless system I'm on is much, much faster.
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modified on Wed Jan 23 11:58:36 2019