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Old 06-05-2021, 12:02 AM   #1
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KVH V30 Global Satellite communications got your boat

I just got done upgrading to the new KVH V30 mini VSAT satellite communications system.

I found the installation to be very easy, and straightforward. The tech support folks at KVH that I talked to were very fast to get on the phone even on a friday night and they are very helpful in turning up a new system. The airtime support rep was just as great to deal with. I cannot say enough good about the KVH team.

Now to the system...

What KVH is supplying is global satellite communications. I measured 6 mbps download speeds and I am at 60' north lattitude.
The voice line was crystal clear.

I was super impressed when I plugged in my SIP business phone and it came right up, with perfect voice quality.

This is the gold standard for global maritime satellite communications. Fast internet and crystal clear voice calling. Wether a recreational or a business user KVH's new V30 system allows you to stay online and in touch wherever you travel.
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Old 06-05-2021, 08:25 PM   #2
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Hate to ask but how much ??
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Old 06-05-2021, 10:23 PM   #3
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Hate to ask but how much ??
Satellite systems for a boat are Very complicated.

You have an antenna that has to adjust azimuth (on the horizontal plane), Elevation (vertical) and Roll, all in real time.

The goal is in any sea you maintain connectivity.

That is VERY tough to do

The Minimum Advertised Price for the gear is $11,995 but dealers will cut a break off of that.
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Old 06-06-2021, 08:55 AM   #4
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Used a Fleet One on our travels. Was an early adapter so paid ~1/2 of Ksanders cost with a tech doing the installation. Was a major step up from prior iridium and globalstar devices we had. Totally delighted. Even with rain, lightening and 100% cloud cover in the sky it worked! We used it for weather, banking, remote monitoring of the house and an occasional phone call. If you go this way be very careful who you give out your phone number to and set up an email just to be used for this device. Data tends to be a bigger part of your bill so it’s worthwhile to everything possible to have only the emails you really want go through this portal. We also had one mail and also Sailmail on the SSB through a pactor modem. Got our key alerts and weather routing through both satphone and SSB but our routine emails only through the SSB. People have been walking away from SSB. Think if you’re not running a business just cruising it sure does keep your costs down and is worth the initial investment and training.
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Old 06-06-2021, 09:43 AM   #5
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The data plans are the other part of the equation with KVH and other sat providers.


With the V30, the minimum plan is $50/mo which gives you phone, but only 50MB of data which is essentially equal to no data. A semi-usable plan, if you are really, really careful, would be $1000 per month for 2GB of data. With typical internet use you would probably consume 2GB in 1-2 days, not a month. We used this exact plan for a while, and with all devices locked out of access except for two, and all data locked out on those two devices except email and texting, and automatic loading of all attachments and remote content disabled for email and texting, we just got by on 2GB per month. They now have some combination plans that include and unlimited, but very slow link that you can use for certain applications. That helps, but complicates management of you network and devices.


KVH allows you to switch between plans, so can be on the $50 plan while cruising in cell phone coverage areas, the switch to the $1000 (or other) plan when off the grid, so to speak. But there is a $100 per change service fee, and some other hoops and restrictions. But it works, and you just need to include it in your plans.


On KVH as a company, by experience has been similar to Kevin's. They are very responsive, and a single stop to resolve whatever issues you might have, even if a bit on the formal side with process and procedure. But a stark contrast and relief compared to another sat providers like DirectTV, Hughes, etc who are nothing short of torture to deal with.



As a caution, I know a number of people who were not aware or mindful of how their on-board data service was being routed and consumed and were surprised by bills that were 10s of thousands of $$.
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Old 06-06-2021, 10:10 AM   #6
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The concept of data usage is one to be very aware of.

On the old satellite system we had zero controls except for what we did ourselves. For example one time it cost me $800 during a off season month because my cellular was down at the exact same time my Apple TV decided to do an update.

With the new hardware the user has much better controls. For example things like software updates, icloud photo syncing, etc... are restricted.

The photo shows the user control panel for the new system.

This panel takes care of most data hogs at the protocol level. I went a bit further and blacklisted most of my "fixed" devices to not be allowed on satellite. Things like the cameras, and the Victron system monitor, etc...

Satellite should be just one of several internet sources your boat chooses from based on their quality and cost of data. For example I added good external antenna to my router this spring and was suprised at it's ability to pick up cell signal in places that before had zero or spotty signal strength.

This switching between internet connections should be fully automatic so that the user gets the best connection available.

Right now, like Twisted tree we are on the 2 gig plan for the satellite. This is a bit over a grand a month. We'll see where my usage goes with the new system and adjust from there. One great thing about the new data plans is that you can switch plans for free within the first 90 days as you get a feel for your usage. Another great feature of the new plans is "suspend" mode. This is free and turns off your data plan during extended times off the boat.

Some will scoff at the cost of the hardware and the data while others will see value in being connected. For us it is not a choice. We have run a business out of our home for two decades. That business made it so that this wage earner could afford a boat and a lifestyle that few people that make a salary at work can afford. We are not that busy at our business but our clients expect near real time communications from us. As we age the business is making the difference between a retiree being on a fixed income and our lifestyle. So we have to stay connected. This is for us a cost justified expense.

I think a lot of big boat owners need or want to be connected, and this need has driven the "leisure" market for global communications solutions.

In coming years there will be other maritime solutions hit the market, we all know that. The Low Earth Orbit satellite systems will be a game changer eventually. Probably not for a few years but eventually things will change and technology will evolve.

That said, right now for me, KVH offers the ability to be in touch when away from the cellular network, and i am super happy with the equipment, and the support they provide.
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Old 06-06-2021, 01:20 PM   #7
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Satellite should be just one of several internet sources your boat chooses from based on their quality and cost of data. For example I added good external antenna to my router this spring and was suprised at it's ability to pick up cell signal in places that before had zero or spotty signal strength.
Agreed. The up and coming satellite options may change things at some point, but currently satellite is the last resort for when you regularly want to venture to places where a good cellular setup with big antennas and probably multiple carriers can't get you connected.
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Old 06-07-2021, 08:18 AM   #8
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Not in TTs or KSs league. But if you’re traveling internationally even if fully retired you still have obligate needs. It can be divided into communications that need to be totally secure and those that don’t have that requirement. Those that are urgent and those that aren’t.
Telephone is usually more secure than internet. VPNs and security systems help but you also need to educate the people with whom you communicate with to keep your sat bill down.
To keep things under control used
Local phone and chip. One for French islands (orange) and kept attention to which vendor was best that year for the others( usually digicel) Interestingly it varied year to year.
WiFi booster but also there’s services catering for just cruisers WiFi throughout most of the eastern Caribbean.
Internet cafes.
Internet in bars, restaurants, laundries etc. for surfing. Collect the PWs and use them from the boat.
SSB internet. Slow but when the SSB doesn’t work the satphone does and vis a versa so while on passage where keeping in touch with your weather router is key this is a godsend. Also allows chatting with buddy boats when outside vhf range.
Independent way to leave breadcrumbs. Have used them all. All work and there’s no real functional difference between them. All with send out emergency alerts and pre packaged messages to your family/close friend circle so not much to choose between them.
Multiple ways to SCREAM for help. Even though USCG doesn’t monitor SSB the same way they use to that’s one, carry ships epirb but also 4 on personal devices, dsc, vhf and satphone. We preprogrammed all the various east coast CG stations and all the various islands SAR services into the satphone.
I wasn’t in the position of spending $12-20k/y on satellite services. Changed plans frequently or even went dormant (allowed briefly without reactivation fees) . Big realization is hardware isn’t the big deal it’s service contracts that’s the killer drain.
BTW- once you have a dome which can lock on effectively you’ll never want to go back to any hand held device. Day and night.
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Old 06-07-2021, 08:35 AM   #9
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I agree about all the alternatives, and everyone needs to figure out what THEY need/want.

Personally, I really got twitchy without at least modest internet for more than a week or so. Email, texting, and TF on the phone app goes a long way for me. Also weather and research information when cruising new areas.

I had a really hard time with the value in paying $1000 for 2GB of data, and refused to do it for quite a while just in principal. But I finally realize that cruising would be a lot more enjoyable if I could have the basics, so I bit the bullet. Itís a bit like going from sail to a power boat.

That said, I only jacked up the plan when I knew we would be in the boonies for more than about a week. So I probably had the $1000 plan for 2 or 3 months out of the year. The rest of the time I was on the $50 plan and that was worth it just for the phone.
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Old 06-07-2021, 10:00 AM   #10
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It's interesting but before upgrading to the KVH V30 I investigated the only other maritime global satellite offering Iridium.

They could offer a LEO satellite system with no moving parts and potentially better coverage since my primary boating area is so far north and we have a lot of high mountain terrain which blocks satellite signals.

Their offering was only 720 KBPS which wile slow is at least workable for what I need.

The problem is that the iridium data is at $3.00 per MB which about three times what the KVH data costs.

BTW I do what Twistedtree does. When I need the service which traditionally has been may-august i upgraded my plan for that time period. That cost me $100 each way.

With the new system I'll just suspend the service when it's not anticipated to be needed, which is now free.
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Old 06-07-2021, 10:25 AM   #11
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Unfortunately, we can't or won't or don't limit our usage perhaps as we should, but being in touch is so critical to us wherever we are and KVH has always provided us great service. We simply could not or would not boat as we do without the connectivity.
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Old 06-07-2021, 11:39 AM   #12
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Thanks for this update.

As our plans for full-timing evolve, my spouse and I are in a position where we each will be working part-time on training content contracts which don't require daily communication but where emails and semi-large file uploads and downloads will need to be periodically dealt with. Unfortunately, these contracts are not rewarding enough to justify the outlay for a system like this, so we're putting our eggs in the Starlink basket (and pricepoint) with deposit paid, in the hope that it will come online for mobile use sooner than later, and hoping that cell data with a booster and external antenna will do until then.

I'm curious if Starlink will develop their own mobile dish technology or if they will partner with a company like KVH or Intellian for that technology integration. There doesn't seem to be any Internet leaks on that yet
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Old 06-07-2021, 12:32 PM   #13
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Thanks for this update.

As our plans for full-timing evolve, my spouse and I are in a position where we each will be working part-time on training content contracts which don't require daily communication but where emails and semi-large file uploads and downloads will need to be periodically dealt with. Unfortunately, these contracts are not rewarding enough to justify the outlay for a system like this, so we're putting our eggs in the Starlink basket (and pricepoint) with deposit paid, in the hope that it will come online for mobile use sooner than later, and hoping that cell data with a booster and external antenna will do until then.

I'm curious if Starlink will develop their own mobile dish technology or if they will partner with a company like KVH or Intellian for that technology integration. There doesn't seem to be any Internet leaks on that yet
Taking the dome off of my KVH dish makes one quite aware of the complexities of keeping a dish pointed at the right place on a boat in motion.

There are very fast motors for all three axis of motion, a gyro, etc...

LEO is different. Intellian uses a less directional dish to talk to their satellites, eliminating the moving parts.
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Old 06-07-2021, 06:21 PM   #14
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I have been happy in the past with KVH for everything but the cost, and that made me look around a bunch for my current boat. And the result it that I'm going with Intellian for equipment plus SatCom Global for the data service. And it's all about the data plan.


The Intellian+SatCom package is based on Vsat HTS which is the same constellation used by KVH. So the coverage and speeds are all the same. The plan is structured more like the KVH V7 plan, and the equipment is similarly sized (60cm dish). Instead of paying for data, and getting up to 6mb downlink speed, you pay for speed and the data is unlimited. KVH offers something similar, but the costs a substantially more. I'll be getting 2mbs, unlimited data, for $1100/month. That, to me, is fully usable internet. Not fast, but fully functional, and being unlimited makes a world of difference. You can pay more for more speed, but I have lived on 2mb before. Even video streaming should work at lower resolutions.


Additionally, there is unlimited flexibility in increasing and decreasing the plan. You can change plans anytime with no fees. Plus calling is free to all the countries I would likely call.


KVH is the safe choice, but in my opinion what I got from them was very expensive, barely usable internet. From Intellian+SatCom I expect to get very expensive, but completely usable internet. Fingers crossed. I should be up and running in a few weeks.
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Old 06-07-2021, 10:37 PM   #15
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I have been happy in the past with KVH for everything but the cost, and that made me look around a bunch for my current boat. And the result it that I'm going with Intellian for equipment plus SatCom Global for the data service. And it's all about the data plan.


The Intellian+SatCom package is based on Vsat HTS which is the same constellation used by KVH. So the coverage and speeds are all the same. The plan is structured more like the KVH V7 plan, and the equipment is similarly sized (60cm dish). Instead of paying for data, and getting up to 6mb downlink speed, you pay for speed and the data is unlimited. KVH offers something similar, but the costs a substantially more. I'll be getting 2mbs, unlimited data, for $1100/month. That, to me, is fully usable internet. Not fast, but fully functional, and being unlimited makes a world of difference. You can pay more for more speed, but I have lived on 2mb before. Even video streaming should work at lower resolutions.


Additionally, there is unlimited flexibility in increasing and decreasing the plan. You can change plans anytime with no fees. Plus calling is free to all the countries I would likely call.


KVH is the safe choice, but in my opinion what I got from them was very expensive, barely usable internet. From Intellian+SatCom I expect to get very expensive, but completely usable internet. Fingers crossed. I should be up and running in a few weeks.
Thast sounds fantastic!!!

If I can ask where are they price pointing the hardware?

do you have intellian as a backup to the HTS network?

I love competition... it brings costs down
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Old 06-07-2021, 11:33 PM   #16
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Thast sounds fantastic!!!

If I can ask where are they price pointing the hardware?

do you have intellian as a backup to the HTS network?

I love competition... it brings costs down

The hardware is probably double the V30, but keep in mind that it's equivalent to the KVH V7. Actually in between the V7 and V11. With the larger dish, fringe operation should be better. But the HW is definitely more. That said, it's really about the data plan. The equivalent plan from KVH is $5000/month.



Do you mean Iridium as back up to the HTS network? If so, no. The HTS coverage spans everywhere I expect to go over the next couple of years, plus I have an Iridium handset with cradle that I can activate if I need coverage outside the HTS coverage area which would only be the center of the NW passage, and a section of the pacific.
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Old 06-08-2021, 10:17 AM   #17
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Thanks for the updates, good info.
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Old 06-08-2021, 10:22 AM   #18
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The hardware is probably double the V30, but keep in mind that it's equivalent to the KVH V7. Actually in between the V7 and V11. With the larger dish, fringe operation should be better. But the HW is definitely more. That said, it's really about the data plan. The equivalent plan from KVH is $5000/month.



Do you mean Iridium as back up to the HTS network? If so, no. The HTS coverage spans everywhere I expect to go over the next couple of years, plus I have an Iridium handset with cradle that I can activate if I need coverage outside the HTS coverage area which would only be the center of the NW passage, and a section of the pacific.
Yes with your boat you can support the larger dish. On my boat it would I think be a bit much both in size, and frankly expense, since the smaller dish works.

I just looked up the airtime rate sheets for KVH for unlimited 2mbps service, and yes at $5K vs your $1100 that is a huge difference!

Is your plan throttled at some point?

My thoughts are that the carriers, (much like the cellular carriers had to do) will end up reducing the cost of data as more competition comes online, or they will loose their market share.
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Old 06-08-2021, 04:08 PM   #19
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Yes with your boat you can support the larger dish. On my boat it would I think be a bit much both in size, and frankly expense, since the smaller dish works.



I just looked up the airtime rate sheets for KVH for unlimited 2mbps service, and yes at $5K vs your $1100 that is a huge difference!



Is your plan throttled at some point?



My thoughts are that the carriers, (much like the cellular carriers had to do) will end up reducing the cost of data as more competition comes online, or they will loose their market share.


I am assured there is no throttling or limiting. If I discover otherwise, Iíll report back.
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Old 09-16-2021, 02:58 PM   #20
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Is there a link to the Intellion plan?
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