I live just far enough into the country that I am not able to get either a DSL or Cable modem connection, so about 9 months ago I got a satellite connection to the innernut. After this much time, I feel I can give a quick review.
Service provider DirecWay, using some interestingly brain-damaged technology provide by Hughes, provides two way (round trip) internet connectivity. So, no phone lines, just a line of sight to the southern sky plus parts and professional installation.
The biggest gripe everyone has about this system is the latency, which is basic physics (the signal has to go to outer space and back, and even at microwave speed that takes a while). It takes some getting used to after having good connections (DSL), but it’s not horrible, just noticeable.
Latency isn’t a problem with big file downloads, where this system actually does well (see above picture), but it’s painful while surfing. For instance, CNN’s site is made up of about 45 different things, and the satellite loads them in order, but the latency involved makes it take forever to load them all. I just open the page and go do something else while it loads.
The other gripes I can confirm as well: horrid customer support and much slower than promised upload speeds.
Overall, I’m OK with this system, for what it is, where I am. If I had another option I’d jump at it (you should, too), but for now, for the price, it’s as good as I’m going to get.
Before you decide to get one of these systems, look at others’ experiences:
Broadband Reports Satellite Forum, and DirecPC Uncensored. Tweaks I found in both places helped me get off telephone support and online with my connection and my network.