My ViaSat Review

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  • Updated 8 months ago

I don’t post on this forum much at all though I did post
more on the old forum since I preferred the old forums functionality.

My story:

Though I had a local WISP, I signed up with Viasat (then Wild Blue) for redundancy in 2013 not long after Viasat 1 was put into service.

 

I chose the Liberty 10 plan that was later changed to Liberty 12 for no extra cost as well as the lifetime single payment lease on the equipment that was later discontinued.

 

Early on, they had quite a few bugs to work out including a problem where certain routers would not acquire an IP address from the modem including mine. This was fixed for my router and I shared data with TPlink (not my router) as they went about to solve the issue on their end.

 

On the old forum, I asked if an “buy more data” functionality could be added to our web portals for people who rely on their internet connection and they included this option.

 

Some months passed and a major flood hit the tiny town of 380 in the valley below me destroying many houses, killing one man, and obliterating the roads.

 

It was months before power was restored to them and much longer for phone and internet.

 

Since we are off grid, the couple of dozen people who chose not to be evacuated by Chinook helicopters climbed the mountain to our place for lots of things including using our VOIP phone and internet via Wild Blue.

 

Because the town had no communications, I contacted Wild Blue and they came not long after the first road was made passable and installed two dishes and modems along with VOIP phones for the town without cost that they used for many months until temporary communication and internet lines were laid out by helicopter and connected.

 

My internet priority download speed has between six and seventeen Mbps over the years and more often than not around fourteen Mbps and I can stream standard definition video content just fine even after using my priority data and have not needed a site visit in nearly six years.

 

I can’t speak for ViaSat 2 other than to say I understand the deployment problems and I’m not interested in the plans that they have put forth so far.

 

I don’t “game” and understand the physics of satellite internet as well as the inherent latency. I know what I purchased when signing on to Wild Blue (Viasat) and have not been disappointed.

 

All ISP’s have down times, but Viasat has been pretty bullet proof for many years other than snow accumulation in the dish reflector.

 

So, would I suggest others use Viasat?

 

Yes, I have on several occasions.

Within the limitations of necessarily limited bandwidth and 0.600 to 0.700 second latency of any higher orbit satellite ISP, it is a solid service and company for people without other options who live rurally as we do and wouldn’t ever live elsewhere.





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PlugNickel

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Posted 8 months ago

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fmj77

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Great review. If Viasat's residential service had remained focused on the truly rural customers, those with NO other options, performance would be a lot better today and congestion would not have been much of an issue. But instead, they decided to go after folks with access to land based connections and in the process oversubscribed many beams.
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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The commercial air division really took a bite too.

On a completely different take, the national rural co-op convention starts next week. Talking to one of the attendees tonight. He was telling me the big push right now is wired internet. In areas where co-ops support big rural businesses and densities of customers, expect more infrastructure development for fiber. Not every where, but people that previously only had satellite internet as an option will see more options soon.
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Oliver

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Part of that is them subsidizing those stupid viasat unlimited internet signs. Those signs only get placed in high traffic areas and high-density urban neighborhoods that all have access to DSL or a WISP.
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VeteranSatUser, Champion

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Those signs can be very misleading.
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PlugNickel

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Hello FM77,

I don’t have any personal experience with overly slowed connection in years and I don’t discount the claims that some beams were in fact over sold.

As to whether ViaSat corporate actively over sold them though I have misgivings since in my area at least, there has been a dearth of advertising for ViaSat. Most advertisements I see are for their competitor.  

I have received many letters from third party installers though and it wouldn’t surprise me that they are less than honest.

Still, if this is the case and if oversold, ViaSat should have pulled the plug on further customers and if misrepresented, they should pull the salesman’s or salesperson’s if you prefer licenses to install if they have many complaints against them.

Perhaps they do; I have no way of knowing.

Of course, it's a damned if you do and damned if you don't situation. Over sell and customers will rightfully scream bloody hell; cut off new customers and the same will happen.

I do believe that a lot though not all speed complaints are due to poor install / misaligned dish. On the old forum, a lot of people were more technical but you hear little about checking SNR here.

Though not sanctioned, doing a “push, pull” test on a dish while looking at the SNR is a simple way to check alignment and a simple adjustment for people with a modicum of technical skills to avoid a service charge after the system has been installed.  

I do know a couple people on HughesNet who are satisfied though I “cat sat” for one of them last week and streaming standard definition on a PC stalled while loading about every ten minutes (gotta do something while cat sitting).

I did notice that HughesNet uses IPV6 and this is a deal killer for me since dual stack routers are almost nonexistent (dual WAN dual Stack even more so) and I need to be able to log into my security cameras and power system and such when away.

I only wrote this review to express my experience that being that the state of the art for Satellite technology is what it is and perhaps to reduce any PTSD that the ViaSat employees who read this forum might feel.

For myself, I'm fine with ViaSat both in performance as well as it compliments my existing but fragile terrestrial WISP service with a non-terrestrial connection.



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Bradley

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While you write well and aren’t wrong on all points, any PTSD a mod or employee may feel is solely caused by ViaSat and their policies rather than anything that resulted from a forum post as retaliation. Glad you have great service with excellent speeds after priority data is exhausted. Certainly not the normalicy a lot of us experience.
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Jab

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@Oliver

One outfit I'm aware of has their internet site, which peddles Viasat.  Viasat may provide templates, but I suspect that's locally done.  Do a phone search on the number...if not Viasat, then you know.

Years ago, there were internet "bounty hunters," which got a piece of the action for each user subscribed.

I've never seen a direct mailing via Viasat, but I'm in NRTC's turf.

@fmj77

In areas like Montana, Idaho, etc., I don't hear complaints
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fmj77

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Probably because the beams in Idaho and Montana are not crowded like those in the eastern US.
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PlugNickel

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I grew up in the foot hills of Appalachia and I know that there are more people tucked away in every nook and cranny than anywhere else.

If I were to have made the decision, I’d have allocated more bandwidth in that region to those beams but apparently no one there thought of that or it wasn’t technologically feasible; I don’t know.

Not sure what the compromised coverage or utilization of ViaSat 2 is in the region to help with this, but hopefully for all the folks there, ViaSat 3 will deploy properly and help significantly.

There are not a lot of options when you live in the holler.





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fmj77

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I'm one of those that live in a holler. My property and my neighbor's property are surrounded by thousands of acres of national forest and nothing else.
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PlugNickel

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Growing up I was surrounded by mining company land that I wandered upon every day but these days I'm surrounded by National Forest Service land though on the other divide and on my own mining land.

For us, things change and not always for the better since most technology targets the urban areas and not the rural.

Cell phones go digital and are considered an improvement though in rural areas we loose the signal and they become useless.

Television is improved by becoming digital and now we have no signal.

Connectivity is a moving target when you live in the hills or hollers.

Though far from perfect, the options we have for internet and VOIP are arguably better than the alternative no?

Again, though not perfect, ViaSat as well as HughesNet for that matter gives us an option that we didn't have before.

Hopefully for folks there, ViaSat 3 will help in the heavily  populated hollers and hills.
There are no other options.

(Edited)
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Jab

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@PlugNickel

Around early 1970s in Carbondale, Colorado area, a couple I visited a few miles away from that city had books, and a record player.  No cellphones, no internet, no computers, no VCRs, etc.  Just books/magazines, and a record player.

But, they did have "conversations" with humans, face to face, and they were literate.
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fmj77

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Times have changed. Reliable internet access is becoming a necessity. As necessary as electricity or phone service.
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Jab

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@fmj77

Spice300 (DSL), living west of Flagstaff,  terminated Wildblue some years ago, and uses a laptop via Wifi hotspots.  Living off-grid, he makes trips to Flagstaff, and brings laptop. In other words, laptop is not be used daily. Wifi hotspots are more common these days, and most all libraries would have them.

Government, and other entities would prefer a computerized public for transactions, but I think most all transactions can be accomplished within most communities without being computer literate.  Is it convenient to use a computer, yes...Amazon, eBay, paying utility bills, etc.  Of course, the "virtual assistance" can suck royally...just think about the day when only VAs will "speak" to you.

Yes, Internet is a powerful search tool for information, just as Smartphones are, but when people en masse loose the ability to read a road map, etc., this begs a question.  Lots of diversionary activities on Internet, and wasted time.

With younger generations, news awareness is lacking...in pre Internet days, reading newspapers was common.  In smaller papers (smaller towns), just about everyone was aware of the local news...in Internet days, these papers have seen subscription drops.  A democracy depends upon an informed public for its well being.

Internet should be used as a tool, not being engaged for a lifestyle....Smartphone addiction is real.

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fmj77

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My neighbor, who has been retired for the last 12 years, cancelled his dial up internet about 10 years ago and never bothered with satellite. He gets along fine doing all his transactions the old fashioned way: the US Post Office. Occasionally he'll go into town and pay a bill in person, with cash. His cellphone is a Samsung flip phone with no internet connectivity. Just calling and SMS.
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Jab

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@fmj77

I"m not opposed to "progress," but like at the dinner table, a balanced meal is better.

When people carry on with the old fashion ways, many times, its due to their learning curve not being optimal, so they can't learn new tricks, and/or they oppose others teaching them. In 1981 IBM PC world, it took learned skills...when GUIs and mouses were the norm, its mostly point-n-shoot world, for the typical person.  But, when they can't see the other side of this learning curve, they may mentally think complications.

But on another note, for those smartphone engaged like this, its time to bring out this device at the dinner table.