Is there a way to access the internet via a satellite?

After last years hurricane season and Wilma cutting power to my Hollywood branch office for 4 days, I am looking for business continuity solutions.

Here is my scenario that I would have to work in...

My branch office has no power. And even if it did, all the phone lines are down including our T1. The branch administrator takes her laptop and backs up the server to it. Now she is sitting in her house that has a generator and hurricane shutters. She is safe and so is the laptop and company data.

But she has to make contact with other branches and corporate headquarters to stay in business. She needs to be able to talk to people outside of the disaster zone. Is there a card that I can put in her laptop that would give her access to a satellite? Or something that could pickup a wireless network outside the disaster area? With this, she would be able to use Yahoo voice and talk with whoever she needs to and would not have to depend on the local services.

Short of that solution, is there any other way of being in contact with others?

And lastly but surely just as important, I have a very limited budget to do this with. [read that as $0 and we can work up from there!]

thanks in advance!
RSchiererAsked:
Who is Participating?
 
jhanceConnect With a Mentor Commented:
Bottom line: There is _NO_ $0 solution to your problem.
0
 
CallandorCommented:
You're a little behind the times - there are broadband satellite internet providers out there: http://www.net2dish.com/.  It's not cheap, but if you're in the middle of nowhere, it will work; in fact less obstructions is better for reception.  See http://computer.howstuffworks.com/question606.htm
0
 
markps_1Commented:
 The problem with satellite internet is that to send an internet request you have to be connected locally via phone or wireless to a local provider... there is currently no way to send the signal up to the satellite from your tiny home antena ;o)  so, the information is only downstreem. You'll still need a local connection. You can't be on the middle of nowere. So that's not a viable solution for you I presume.

  I remember about 10 years ago they came up with the DirectDuo.. it was the second generation of satellite internet that actually worked... but it didn't cought up wht the times because it was only 14.4kbps. :o)  

I think Directway (net2dish) changed to Hughesnet. Here are a few choices..

http://www.hughesnet.com/
http://www.satellite-internet-vsat.com/
http://www.satsig.net/ivsat.htm
http://www.internet-via-satellite.atrexx.com/


0
 
CallandorCommented:
The telephone connection is necessary if you have a one-way satellite system, but there are two-way satellite systems available (as described in the link I provided).
0
 
markps_1Commented:
well disregard the bit I've said about local connection.. it seems that today's technology does allow two way satellite conversation.. cool :o)
0
 
simpswrCommented:
Direcway works pretty good . . I have two clients who use it.  Not nearly as fast as your T1 line, but passable when no other access is available.

Both tend to loose the connection in bad weather and support is spotty . .
0
 
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
There are two primary options:  DirectWay (now known as HughesNet) and StarBand.   Other providers use one of these two satellite networks.   You can also get mobile (NOT "in-motion" -- at least not at any reasonable price) systems that let you automatically re-sync with the satellite and set your timing parameters (very important for transmitting TO a satellite) => RV'ers use these a lot these days.

As for your "... very limited budget to do this with ..." ==> for a fixed system (not mobile), you're looking at around $500 setup and $69/month.   The connection speeds are in the 300k to 600k range => about 1/4 to 1/2 of your T1 line on the downstream side; MUCH slower on the upstream side (under 100k).

Note:  The mobile systems cost appreciably more to install (~ $3,000) and charge a higher monthly fee (~$100).   For what you've suggested above, you do not need a mobile system.

0
 
rliu1112Commented:
aside from two-way dishes, there are companies out there providing high-speed wireless wan services... cost and setup is about the same as fixed two-way dish but the speed could be as high as a 1.1Mb SDSL.  but connection speed and reliability depends on line of sight and distance with their cell sites...

an example of what's out here in LA, CA is a company called EXO Comm. (I am not recommending them in anyway, as my experiences with them are NOT good, but its an example.)

NOTE:
hate to bring this up... but all the solutions here (including mine about the wireless WAN) requires at the very least.... power (you have by generator), then there is the line of sight and obstruction issues...
- satellites are less affected by obstruction than highspeed wireless WAN. However satellite services still require unobstructed line of sight to the sourthern sky (in your parts, I think it is south-western sky).... With the hurricane going and everything blowing around, I am seriously not sure how reliable the connections are gonna be, and this is all if you dish or atenna stays fixed and attached to the building during this storm...

*Another suggestion is the wireless Internet PC Cards by wireless/cell phone providers.... Technically, Verizon has the fastest speeds, then Sprint, then Cingular, then T-mobile... but all speeds are dependant upon area coverage and reception in the shelter...
0
 
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
... it is certainly true that in seriously bad weather a satellite connection will not be reliable.  If you have satellite TV, you already have a good feel for this ==> in thunderstorms, etc. you likely lose your signal.   The 2-way Internet connections will lose connectivity at essentially the same times.
0
 
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Question:  "... Is there a way to access the internet via a satellite?"

Correct Answer:  "Yes"  (as provided by Callandor, with further details in later posts by other)

Accepted Answer:  "There is _NO_ $0 solution to your problem."  :-)  :-)   [not looking for points here -> just commenting on what seems a strange bit of logic;  you clearly wanted to minimize your costs; but I'm sure you knew that there was no free solution => and the question you asked was pretty well defined]

0
 
markps_1Commented:
Indeed strange accepted answer with not a single relation to the question.
0
 
RSchiererAuthor Commented:
I guess I need to clear up my awarding of the points...

I have always found extreme value in all answers from the 'experts' here. I just found it kind of odd that everyone's solution was centered on a dish or some sort of solution where 'power' was required.

I was looking for suggestions on 'what if' there was no power.

When I came back to award points, I again noticed this and after skimming over the answers that everyone took a lot of time to respond back with, I gave the points to the person that hit the nail on the head.

Not to mention, it has been 'one of those kinda days' .

thanks again to everyone.

ice cream is on me!

Rich
0
 
markps_1Commented:
what if there is no power?  :o)  wind mills? solar pannels? Gass generators? lol. You need power to power up your computer man ! ;o)
0
 
Gary CaseRetiredCommented:
Reader's Digest used to have a section called "Quote without Comment" ... so here are a few quotes with no further comments:

From your last post:  "... I was looking for suggestions on 'what if' there was no power. "

From your question: "... Now she is sitting in her house that has a GENERATOR .... she has to make contact with other branches and corporate headquarters to stay in business ... Is there a card that I can put in her laptop that would give her access to a satellite ..."

The main (title) question:  "... Is there a way to access the internet via a satellite? "
0
 
RSchiererAuthor Commented:
never said I was perfect. that is why I come here.
0
 
markps_1Commented:
Garycase: I guess not everyone works wtih the "logic flag" turned ON!  :o)

RSchierer: I'm glad you've fould the answer you were looking for. We are here to help. Anytime!
0
Question has a verified solution.

Are you are experiencing a similar issue? Get a personalized answer when you ask a related question.

Have a better answer? Share it in a comment.

All Courses

From novice to tech pro — start learning today.