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Old 05-24-2016, 01:43 AM   #1
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Directv Internet

If our boat has the proper KVH dish/ antenna on board can we contract with Directv for their satellite internet service? Has anyone out there looked into this? Seems too easy given the cost of the other satellite data services out there. Thanks!
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Old 05-24-2016, 04:31 AM   #2
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It has been a few years since I looked into this, but my understanding is that a fixed base on land is required to capture the signal.
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Old 05-24-2016, 06:56 AM   #3
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It's a different antenna than the TV dome/dish. We have this at a cabin in California, one dish for DTV, one for internet, which is actually provided by Excede, though a discount on our DTV bill applies. On the boat, you have to get a separate dome as well, and subscribe to a service like Vsat. Very pricey, though there are some TF members who use it a lot for business.
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Old 05-24-2016, 09:40 AM   #4
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The hassle is pulling down a signal from the sat is fairly loose in terms of aiming,

But the tiny output up to the sat must be precision on to work.

Sat TV is a snap, on a moving boat , but internet requires a big buck setup.
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Old 05-24-2016, 01:01 PM   #5
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As others have noted the Hughes/DirecTV internet service requires a different dish that focuses tighter for better gain. But as a result, it has to be pointed tighter. The TV type marine dishes such as KVH cannot hold that precision on a boat. It has to be land based and it has to be aimed by a technician.


There are other marine based internet services but they require big dishes and big bucks.


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Old 05-24-2016, 01:22 PM   #6
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We have yet to come across an affordable broadband boat based internet solution.
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Old 05-24-2016, 02:31 PM   #7
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We use a Verizon Jet Pack. No problem with WiFi access up and down the eastern seaboard. Seems ok a few miles off shore as well.
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Old 05-24-2016, 03:30 PM   #8
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The good news is the boat we are buying has a TracPhone FB500 antenna onboard- just need to decide what level of Inmarsat service to select.

What kind of cell service- if any- do people experience in SE Alaska and along the west coast of USA?
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Old 05-25-2016, 06:11 AM   #9
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"It has to be land based and it has to be aimed by a technician."

Actually the RV rooftop units do an OK job of locking on for internet .

But the RV must be parked , and no trees can be in the way.
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Old 05-25-2016, 06:30 AM   #10
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I talked to the KVH guy at the boat show last weekend. What it comes down to is that you either pay for the hardware - megabucks - or you pay very high download rates and/or get crap speeds. There is no decent solution yet. I had hoped it had improved over the last couple of years, but if it has then it isn't noticeable. When the sat guys talk in Mb/month I lose interest very fast. My current use is Gb/month not Mb, and I don't want to compromise/change lifestyle.

Fortunately there was a product at the boat show I will try. The Cel-Fi GO. Its a 3G/4G amplifier capable of autoselection and up to 100dB gain. Its a boat buck, but that's just beans in comparison to what sat internet would cost. Sure, I'm likely to be out of range some of the time, maybe a lot of the time when out on the Great Barrier Reef. I may yet add a Satphone for emergency contact capability.
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Old 05-25-2016, 08:42 AM   #11
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We use a Verizon Jet Pack. No problem with WiFi access up and down the eastern seaboard. Seems ok a few miles off shore as well.
Our JetPack arrives today. Our current marina FINALLY put wi-fi in, but it is basically just home service spread over 500 slips. While that is fine in the winter when there are less than 10 people in the marina, now that Spring has sprung, the speed has TANKED! I hope this will improve things.
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Old 05-25-2016, 09:00 AM   #12
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Our JetPack arrives today. Our current marina FINALLY put wi-fi in, but it is basically just home service spread over 500 slips. While that is fine in the winter when there are less than 10 people in the marina, now that Spring has sprung, the speed has TANKED! I hope this will improve things.
They work great just be very careful with things like Netflix. Can gobble up your whole month in an evening.
Check the settings on your streaming devices and turn off the HD otherwise it's 3gb for a movie.
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Old 05-25-2016, 10:48 AM   #13
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Over the past several years, compatability of KVH antennas with Direct and Dish has evolved. When I commissioned 7 years ago, I had a KVH M7 installed. The only difference between it and the other M's was antenna size -- the larger the antenna the further into fringe areas you could receive recpeption. M7 was large enough to receive the US Direct signal down to almost Cabo.
Shortly thereafter, Direct changed its HD signal to the Ka band. Since the M7 works only with Ku band, I had to choose between SD with Direct or HD with Dish. Dish entailed a large monthly fee (with Direct, which I had at home, I only paid an extra $5 per month for an extra receiver), but I wanted HD so Dish I went.

About 2 months ago, my KVH stopped working with Dish. Seems Dish has now changed its signal (not to Ka band but in some other way that is hardware incompatible with my M7). KVH has stopped supporting my antenna (I am not expecting anything free, but they won't even sell a part to allow my KVH to work with the new Direct signal -- if my serial number were 3 months newer, they would), so I am replacing it with an Intellian S6.

That said, last I checked, KVH is still compatible with the DirectTv SD signal. It isn't really very difficult to configure (you may need a different LNB), but there is no assurance that it will continue to work in the future as standards evolve.
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Old 05-25-2016, 11:16 AM   #14
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As others have indicated boat based internet is expensive.

Here's how we do it.

We have a Cradlepoint MBR1200B router on the boat (www.cradlepoint.com)

What this device does is choose between AT&T and the KVH Vsat system.

When within range we use AT&T. We have a 60GB shared data plan that we use for all our devices and currently pay $3.50 per GB. Data rates are coming down, and we expect that rate will decrease over time.

When out of range of AT&T, which is often in the summer we use the KVH MiniVsat service. The cheapest rate we have been able to get from them is $0.49 per MB, and that requires a 2GB monthly commitment. At a thousand dollars a month or more for that service the only way we can justify it is to run our business. We consider it a cost of doing business. It allows us to conduct business while at sea, keeping us from having to staff the office.

I am going to guesstimate that 90% plus of boaters here on TF will be within cellular range 90% of the time. That makes cell based internet a viable option.
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Old 05-25-2016, 02:27 PM   #15
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Over the past several years, compatability of KVH antennas with Direct and Dish has evolved. When I commissioned 7 years ago, I had a KVH M7 installed. The only difference between it and the other M's was antenna size -- the larger the antenna the further into fringe areas you could receive recpeption. M7 was large enough to receive the US Direct signal down to almost Cabo.
Shortly thereafter, Direct changed its HD signal to the Ka band. Since the M7 works only with Ku band, I had to choose between SD with Direct or HD with Dish. Dish entailed a large monthly fee (with Direct, which I had at home, I only paid an extra $5 per month for an extra receiver), but I wanted HD so Dish I went.

About 2 months ago, my KVH stopped working with Dish. Seems Dish has now changed its signal (not to Ka band but in some other way that is hardware incompatible with my M7). KVH has stopped supporting my antenna (I am not expecting anything free, but they won't even sell a part to allow my KVH to work with the new Direct signal -- if my serial number were 3 months newer, they would), so I am replacing it with an Intellian S6.

That said, last I checked, KVH is still compatible with the DirectTv SD signal. It isn't really very difficult to configure (you may need a different LNB), but there is no assurance that it will continue to work in the future as standards evolve.
Pretty clear indication that KVH is not interested in their reputation. I will steer clear. KVH is now in my Westerbeke file. Thanks.
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Old 05-25-2016, 04:13 PM   #16
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For the casual user where cost is a consideration and you're frequently operating close to shore where there is cellular service. Cellular data plans are hard to beat.

As an example, I use my T-mobile phone as a "WiFi hotspot" which provides acceptable internet access for my on board PC. For around $80 per month unlimited service. Much safer than the free marina WiFi. You can also buy an Internet dongle which plugs into a PC's USB port for dedicated data service.

Very simple and affordable, but both have their limitations ie. no cell service, no internet.

If you need more than that on board, as others have said, then get out your wallet.
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Old 05-25-2016, 04:39 PM   #17
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I use my t-mobile android phone as wi-fi hot spots. Drawback - only 7G a month and they will cut the speed down to 2400 baud modem. I do have unlimited data.
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Old 05-25-2016, 04:52 PM   #18
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About 2 months ago, my KVH stopped working with Dish. Seems Dish has now changed its signal (not to Ka band but in some other way that is hardware incompatible with my M7). KVH has stopped supporting my antenna (I am not expecting anything free, but they won't even sell a part to allow my KVH to work with the new Direct signal -- if my serial number were 3 months newer, they would), so I am replacing it with an Intellian S6.

That said, last I checked, KVH is still compatible with the DirectTv SD signal. It isn't really very difficult to configure (you may need a different LNB), but there is no assurance that it will continue to work in the future as standards evolve.
FYI, we have an Intellian I-4 antenna that's about 4 years old. When dish made the change noted in the post quoted above, we had the same connectivity issues. I called Intellian and was told to give it 2 weeks and their engineers should have a fix.

2 weeks later I called again and to my pleasant surprise they had a free, downloadable software package that made my Intellian once again compatible with Dish. + 1 for Intellian's customer care.
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Old 05-25-2016, 06:03 PM   #19
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FYI, we have an Intellian I-4 antenna that's about 4 years old. When dish made the change noted in the post quoted above, we had the same connectivity issues. I called Intellian and was told to give it 2 weeks and their engineers should have a fix.

2 weeks later I called again and to my pleasant surprise they had a free, downloadable software package that made my Intellian once again compatible with Dish. + 1 for Intellian's customer care.
I have heard nothing but good things about Intellian. They are clearly working hard to gain market share. Conversely, other's appear to have become complacent about even keeping what they have.

When I was a kid my dad commuted so we were at the airport every night to pick him up. On the way to the gate (not a very long distance), we passed the Hertz and Avis rental car counters. Hertz (or was it Avis), had a jar from which you could grab a tin button. They were written in a bunch of different languages but they all said the same thing. "We are number 2. We try harder." That made a real impression on me and over the years I have noticed how often that is true, not just in business but in everything. After a while, being number one sometimes looses its luster and people get complacent.
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Old 05-25-2016, 06:26 PM   #20
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That said, last I checked, KVH is still compatible with the DirectTv SD signal. It isn't really very difficult to configure (you may need a different LNB), but there is no assurance that it will continue to work in the future as standards evolve.
This is what is key. Standards do evolve. Most of us are old enough to have seen all kinds of expensive electronics made useless by the march of technology. The manufacturers of the sat antennas are not providing the signal. At some point, when change in the transmission makes a hardware change necessary, they have to make the decision that they can no longer support legacy equipment. It sucks, but that is the way of the world.

Good luck finding a manufacturer that will continue to make hardware changes indefinitely to cover changes in the industry.

FWIW, I have an M5 on the boat that I just bought. Maybe I can fit a solar panel in its place?
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