Welcome to the WA9ALS StarBand page!
Live in the country? Never going to
get a cable modem? Think about StarBand! This page is not intended to be fancy - Just a quick glimpse of my initial
experience with StarBand. Use your BACK button to get back to this page after viewing the links. There are several
StarBand sites with info on networking etc. The main link to StarBand is www.starband.com.
Here are some links to my experience:
Speed test Some don't trust web-based speed tests. However, here is a practical example that impressed me: I downloaded the Writelog v10.24F upgrade file (2.44 MB) in 2 sec flat! Thus I believe the quoted speed tests which have run anywhere from 300-1500 Kbs when I've checked - usually around 1000 Kbs.
Photo of dual StarBand (Internet) and DISH Network (TV) dish, LNBs, and transmitter. Yes, I know the cables need dressing!
Closeup of LNBs and transmitter
The transmitter is seen below the long arm. Then from left to right you can see the feed horn and receiver, and then the 2 TV LNBs. Apparently there are 2 TV LNBs because it can use 2 satellites for HDTV.
Here is a quick blurb I prepared hurriedly in response to initial questions from others:
It started with the Gilat company. They are in a big consortium of some
kind that involves Microsoft and other big names. They first started marketing this system in Radio Shacks around
November. However, the rub here is that they currently make you buy a Compac computer that they configure with
satellite cards FOR you. And then you are tied to MSN somehow. Maybe Radio Shack thinks people aren't smart enough
to configure the cards themselves.
I had read Gilat would be selling components separately soon, and was even on an email list that was supposed to inform me when it was available. However, the Gilat2home operation apparently became StarBand at some point, and I never got the email. However, recently I heard that it was available and visited www.starband.com. There I found that I could buy the hardware from StarBand or get it through a DISH Network dealer. I ended up getting it through a DISH dealer, but in retrospect I wouldn't hesitate to just order it from StarBand, although I think I got it going sooner going through the dealer. I called to ask questions on a Monday, and on Thursday it was installed!
They gave me the TV receiver and TV part(s) of the dual dish for free, so giving up my previous RCA dish was painless. By getting the DISH TV system at the same time, they gave me $10/mo off the StarBand Internet service.
Overall seems like a pretty good deal to me. $60/mon doesn't look too bad to me because I was paying $25 per month for phone ISP plus another $15-25/month for a second phone line, both of which I can now give up.
They advertise the speed to be 150K minimum download and 50K upload, but it's faster! I've seen downloads between 300-2500Kbps. The WL 1024F upgrade file download proves the download speed if you're the type not to trust those web page-generated speed tests.
The modem communicates with the PC via a USB connection. However, it has an RJ45 ethernet connector on the back. Apparently you can remove an ethernet-to-USB converter card in the unit, and the RJ45 then becomes a standard network connection.
Networking - Cool! We have now networked the 4 computers in our house to the StarBand connection - 2 wirelessly! You haven't lived until you have surfed and retrieved your email wirelessly at StarBand speeds! I had no experience with this, but with the help of the StarBand Users web site, I was able to do it with little difficulty. Enough to pique your curiosity...?
Now my final link with the webclusters is RF! GUD DX! 73 - John, WA9ALS