Sandy Cloud Bank

Sandy Clouds

Just some pretty clouds. Our snow is all gone. Fields are greening. Fences are mending. Animals are moving out of winter paddocks.

Turns out we can actually get satellite internet which is a whole lot faster than what we have. By an order of magnitude. I got a call from Exede which turns out to really be Via Sat / Wildblue. They sent a nice technician out and we walked around looking for a way to see over the mountain at the southern sky.

We finally found one near the upper whey tanks where the satellite peaks down at us from just barely over the top of the ridge. This was only possible because I clear cut the top of the mountain there to return the forest to fields a few years ago. Prior to that the satellite was completely blocked by about 1,000′ of dense tree tops.

Satellite Location

As you can see, the satellite used to be below the tree tops. Now it is clearly above the mountain ridge. Since these are pastures and an apple orchard now this should work fine as the trees will not be very tall in that sight line. Nick, the tech guy, said the satellite is at 224° and azimuth 22° from our location. Interestingly I thought it would have been visible from the top of the butcher shop but the grove of big pines and maples we left around the treehouse and Mystery Pond completely blocks it there.

Exede gets a free link above for having spent the time to check our sky view even though they knew ahead of time I wasn’t going to buy right now. I’m not sure if we go with the satellite internet or not. On the plus side it’s 12Mbps which is about an order of magnitude faster than I’ve ever seen. On the cons side they have a 10GB per month data cap and there is the half second or more latency as well as questions of weather interference.

We already deal with the weather, just as different problem. Lightning routinely kills equipment around here even with massive surge suppression and excellent grounding. Our equipment seems to be doing well now that I’ve got everything balanced but the phone company, our dial-up internet service provider (ISP) keeps getting their equipment blasted and killed by the lightning. It’s a hard problem.

The phone company has been promising to put fiber in for a long time. They’ve got it to within 1.5 miles of us. If they do that then I would rather have the land line connection on fiber. However, the phone company costs more than twice as much as the satellite with a phone.

So we’ll see. If you have Wildblue or Excede satellite internet or phone service I would be interested in hearing from you in comments below. Do you like it? Does it work for you?

Outdoors: 60°F/43°F Partially Sunny
Tiny Cottage: 66°F/63°F

Daily Spark: When we scald and scrape our pigs they’re white underneath no matter if they’ve got black skin, red skin, brown skin or white skin. Color really is much less than skin deep.

About Walter Jeffries

Tinker, Tailor...
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6 Responses to Sandy Cloud Bank

  1. Ben says:

    We are Exede customers and are very satisfied with their service. Sure, the data limit can be off-putting, but remember that they will just slow you down until the next Bill cycle. Sometimes you don’t even notice the difference. In addition, the interference with weather was a concern of ours, but with the past winter we are persuaded that their satellite system is plenty reliable. From one skeptic to another, if those are your only concerns I would encourage you to try it out.

    May the pork be with you,

  2. Glenn says:

    I was chatting with a friend, further up the road (Adirondacks of NY) and off the landlines who has internet service via Hughes Net. at about$80/mo. I need find out more about it. How much monthly data do you now consume? I’m on Comcast cable landline now, but am planning to move to a house off of the grid sometime soon and am beginning my search of the options. Do the telephone or cable companies monitor your usage and show it in the bill somewhere, I have never noticed it?

  3. Mike C. says:

    I used satellite internet (marketed as HughesNet here in Michigan) for about a year.

    Depending on your application, it might be ok. For me, it was awful. I needed to log into a terminal, and the latency was enough to log me off 8-10 times per day. It was a five-minute login process every time.
    I finally just started working at a coffeeshop!

    If email is your main need, probably no big deal. The “half-second” latency is your best case. One, two, three seconds was more normal in my experience. That’s pretty aggravating for every single interaction. Every click, every password, everything. (In my case, every single CHARACTER that I typed into the terminal.)

    Hughesnet was also lousy to deal with. Not nice, or helpful, or accommodating. And you’ve seen the prices. Hundreds to start, $60 or so each month.

    It was pretty bad for me, but if your needs are different, and if your vendor is better (I don’t remember the details, but the different companies are all selling the same service), then you might be happy with it.

    Good luck!

  4. L. Zell says:

    We have had HughesNet for about 2 months. I find it works about as well as the hard-wired internet at work. We did have a lightening strike take out the dish/modem last month. They charged us a service call, but did replace all of the above at no cost (we did not purchase the equipment, thank goodness). That same strike also fried the telephone, but nothing else. First time in 5 years at this location we have had lightening hit that close to the house, so YMMV. We now shut down/unplug during storms, so not sure how well it works during bad weather.

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