Thoughts from experienced satellite users on if I should change my secondary connection to Viasat

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In my (very rural) area we have two internet options: satellite (couple vendors) and another service called AirFiber which is something with a radio dish & access point towers. I'd never heard of it before moving here to the backside of beyond, haven't found much on the internet about it. I'd always heard satellite was not great & also expensive, and plans in this area topped out at maybe 18GB when we moved here a couple of years ago. 18GB was a total non-starter as I work from home. The AirFiber people had 100GB plans / 25Mbps, which then went to "unlimited" with 150GB pre-throttle. However, they had a couple of outage incidents within a couple of months that lasted most of the day during the week, so I had Exede satellite installed as a backup, with their base plan of 10GB and unlimited 3am-8am.

The Exede connection turned out much faster than rated most times I used it, but I mainly used at off hours due to the tiny data cap. Then they offered unlimited plans in my area (150GB, then throttled at peak times). I switched to using the Exede connection as my personal surfing & entertainment connection, with AirFiber just for work. Exede/Viasat is still zipping along, with my lowest speed test so far at 19.8Mbps. Side note - the AirFiber seems to throttle all large downloads, whether over or under the cap. First 200Mb or so, fine, then pace crawls. I need to get large files from customers fairly regularly, so that's a hassle. Other side note - I have a company-issued IP Phone and router, which is not optimized for satellite.

What do the more experienced think? Should I get a second Viasat connection hooked up to replace AirFiber one? It's a decidedly non-standard install here, so kind of a chunk of change to hook it up then find out it won't work, leaving the contract aside. The only advantage the AirFiber one seems to have is low latency on the ping (26, 27ms). The Exede/Viasat is satellite-typical 600ms or so. I'm guessing this will lead to very annoying IP Phone conversations? Is this the worst of it? Also - do I wait for the Viasat 2 equipment to be offered, as it looks like it will be next month, or does it matter? Or is February for the first areas available, and it could be a year to complete rollout? I'm in Northwestern California, if that helps. I have used the Exede/Viasat connection with my work VPN, so no issue there. I need to verify that the physical router will work with Exede/Viasat with my IT guys, but they have no guidance saying satellite won't work.

Sorry for the long-winded post, but I am grateful for this forum and the great advice I've seen so far, so I am really hoping for recommendations, caveats, any comments you want to share. Thanks all!

Photo of redheadkara


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Posted 2 years ago

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Photo of Michael McDowell

Michael McDowell

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I have Exede Voice with a SB2 modem and the external voice adapter and I can say that it works pretty well.  We use it as our only phone service at our cabin in Middle Tennessee.  Sometimes you will notice a slight delay, other times it is almost unnoticeable. Don't know how well it works with the integrated adapter in the SB2+ modem. I assume it is integrated in the new modems for the Viasat-2 plans also. 
Personally, I would wait to see what is offered.  I think installations in the Northwest may be trickier for Viasat- 2 because of its orbital location, but if feasible, you would have a system on each satellite.  Kind of a fail safe plan in case of problems on one or the other!
Photo of BBwithdrawls


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Sounds like a local wisp, airfiber is the brand name of some of the wireless equipment and technologies , if you have a good wisp id keep it and use your sat as a backup or secondary , a lot of the smaller wisps can have extended outages as they don't keep equipment on the shelf , id make and appt and sit down and talk to them and ask the hard questions , if you can salvage that i would
Photo of Markgc

Markgc, Champion

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Since you are doing a lot of your satellite work during the off periods have you looked at the Liberty Pass plans. I see that some of them are now offered with LNFZ (Late Night Free Zone).  This plan has worked very well for me with large FTP downloads.   

The speed of these downloads does not appear to be throttled by size.  I found a free FTP program with a scheduler that  saves me from having to be up at 3am to activate my LNFZ downloads..
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steve heller

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I have used my Exede connection for voice calls and they are generally of very high quality, better than the (not very good) landline connections or cell connections in my rural area.

Until the unlimited silver plan came out (which is what I'm on now) my service was often not that great but now it is very good, even during off-peak hours after I ran out of priority data halfway through the last month.

I'm still thinking about switching to the new satellite when it is available, but there won't be any rush as long as my current service stays good.
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Michael McDowell

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Exede Voice doesn't count against your data allowance like other VOIP plans do.
Photo of VeteranSatUser

VeteranSatUser, Champion

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VOIP uses little data and now unlimited plans are out. Does it matter?!?!?!