© Brooke Clarke 2007 - 2010
New Nova Starband antenna above now obsolete better 360
OE-254 antenna in background
8 June 2007 - Still not available - I guess that's a good sign
that they know it's broken and it's getting fixed. My usage is
way below 139 MB/day and on average way below their 7 day limit, so it
was wrong to "throttle" me based on the wrong usage count.
1 Sep 2010
Canceled service - moved to "Basic DSL
". Although the DSL download
speed is 600 k bits/sec compared to the Starbnad "1500 service" speed
that peaks at 2,400 k bits/sec and sustains 1,500 bits/sec the DSL ping
time of 100 ms is much faster than the Starband (or any satellite based
service) ping time of 800+ ms.
20 Aug 2010
at&t finally got the DSL to
work. The problem seems to have been a truck connection between
the DSL box and the crossover box at the foot of my street. 608 k
bits/sec is about half the speed of the Starband 1500 service.
at&t is $15/month, Starband 1500 is $100/month.
at7t ping time is about 100 ms compared to Starband 800+ ms.
Web pages load noticably faster.
25 June 2010
Swapped the dish, arm and feed horns of
the old (bottom unit in photo above) and new (on roof in photo above).
Prior to the swap the Rx signal was 6.9 and after the swap it was
8.9! This was done by removing the arms from both dishes and
swapping the Tx and Rx units (leaving the feed on the arms then
removing the dishs from the mounts and swapping them.
The Nova dish has a longer arm (31.5") than the older better 360 dish
|Starband Nova Antenna Arm
|Starband 360 Antenna (25 June
2010) replaces Nova Antenna
16 June 2010
By using a green laser pointer aligned
with the support arm I could see that there were tree tops in the beam
(assuming that the beam points along the line of the support arm,
anyway that's what Starband told me. After using the laser
pointer to identify the tree that was the most in the beam and cutting
it down, the next day the laser pointer showed another tree also in the
beam. On 18 June there are not trees in the beam, but are just
below it. The Rx signal EbN0 is in the sixes. It's hard to
tell if this was the cold problem until next winter.
22 May 2010
48.7 deg F outside and s/n 5.51 i.e.
system on the ragged edge of working.
12 May 2010
I received an email from Eric who told
me of the problem of warped
dishes (he has the reinforced plastic dish like mine, not a metal FTA
type dish). As the temperature gets
colder they can distort lowering
the signal strength. Now to come up with a way to test for
This makes more sense since it's hard cold would effect other problems
like water, i.e. water is a disaster when liquid and the temperature
may not be cold enough to freeze it.
28 April 2010
This has been the wettest winter in
about a decade and StarBand does not work in the rain (either at the
base station in Georgia, or my location in N. California). So
ofter, like right now, I'm using a dial up modem to connect to the
internet. Still have not taken apart the microwave parts to
clean, dry and reassemble them using Silicon grease to make sure all
the joints are water vapor tight. That needs to be done when it's
24 March 2010
Inside a Gilat (Starband) LNB
The input is at the upper left, followed by three stages of
amplification that includes some band pass filtering.
The white disk in the lower left is the dielectric for the local
oscillator which is tuned by the metal screw in the lid.
After the three stages of amplification there's a band pass filter and
following the LO there's also a filter. The IF output is fed to the
type F connector on the right which is also the 24 VDC input.
There's no heater.
14 March 2010
FCC broadband internet access on line test.
My test resutls with the 1500 service (best of the Starband offerings)
|1538 k bits/sec
|105 k bits/sec
|293 ms *
|345 ms *
* this is the problem that really slows things down and makes VOIP
13 March 2010
Most of this morning with a clear sky,
it was near freezing outside and the Rx signal
EbN0 was about 3.47 around noon, i.e. no internet connection. So,
LNB from the old (wall) system and the active (roof) system. The
system works after the LNB swap.
It looks like a heater would greatly
improve the signal strength. Starband does not know about a
heater or radome, but suggested that there may be some small item
trapped in the waveguide plumbing.
12 Mar 2010
The problem may relate to a degrading
LNB. Here are some Rx signal EbN0 readings from SkyManage:
As the outside temperature gets colder the LNB seems to be
degrading. Note the pointing is good (i.e. signal is 8.32 at 11
10 March 2010
Frost on roof and ice in gutters.
System off since 3 am. Back on at 8:30 am not shure why.
Drying feed with towel did not fix it. Heating with hair dryer
did not fix it. Strange. After an hour or so the signal
came up and the system started to work again.
20 Feb 2010
Repointed to new sat. But problems with
browser not showing all of page. Fixed early March by Starband
changing a setting.
Sky Manage /Status shows HTTP Acceleration as OFF.
Jan 27 2010 -
Need to get the antenna repointed
to a new satellite prior to 1 March 2010
Sat Finder - device to aid in pointing dish. Designed for 13 - 18
VDC using a 10 volt Zener diode and pass SOT-23 transistor, but should
work OK with the 24 VDC Starband Ku band receiver.
16 Dec 2009
I've received two letters via USPS
about getting my antenna repointed to a different satellite before 1
Feb 2010, but so far
have not been scheduled.
Got this error message today:
|Access Denied (license_expired)
|A license has expired on the Proxy,
and your request is not permitted:
"The SGOS license has expired"
|A new license must be obtained.
For assistance, contact your network support team.
Cycling power on the Sky Edge modem fixes the problem.
There are faster satellite services offered by the parent company of
Starband, called Spacenet.
There are two broad classes: a dedicated channel all to yourself called
thier "Performance" series, very expensive. The "Broadband"
series is a shared channel and is considerable lower in cost, but still
many time more expensive than the top of the line Starband 1500
service. They claim download speeds in the 1024 or 2048 k
BYTES/sec range. The Starband 1500 service is 150 k BYTES/sec
(i.e. 1500 bits/sec).
17 Oct 2008
This problem has been with the Nova for
almost a year that I know of, see:
Red Xs on
Network Error (dns_server_failure)
|Your request could not be processed
because an error occurred
contacting the DNS server.
|The DNS server may be temporarily
unavailable, or there could be a
For assistance, contact your network support team.
This error seems to be caused by a memory leak in the Nova operating
system. The fix is to power down (unplug the power supply from
the box) for about 10 seconds then reboot. Note this can be done
without doing anything to the PC, unlike the 360 that required software
istalled on the PC. So after the Nova reboots you can just
refresh the browser windows showing the Network Error
(dns_server_failure) and they will then load properly.
20 March 2008
The error message when trying to get to
a web page is something like "Server is Refusing
Connection". In this case the "server" is the Starband
modem since it has been set as the proxy. See the 14 March 2008
info on how that was done. This seems a confirmation that the
Nova box has a memory leak since unplugging it for 10 seconds fixes the
3 Apr 2008 - In addition to the Network settings below you need to add
exceptions to access the router and to access SkyManage so their
address' as 4 octal digits need to be added.
14 March 2008 Red Box instead of Photograph Problem aka Setting
Proxy Server in Browser
As long as I've had the Nova this
problem has occurred. The fix has been to unplug the power to the
Nova for 10 seconds and then it's good for some number of days, sooner
with heavier usage. Today Mario at Starband support suggested:
1) Run - cmd <OK>
in DOS window enter ipconfig
write down the default gateway address
2) Windows - Tools - Internet Options - Connections - Lan Settings -
check the third box down "Use a proxy server for your LAN (These
settings will not apply to dial-up or VPN connections).
Enter the gateway address into the HTTP: box and the Port box should be
copy the above into the Secure: boxes
OK all the way out and close Windows.
Reopen Windows and check to see that the above settings are still there.
Only time will tell.
7 March 2008 Solar Outage
The signal gets weaker for more than 10 minutes either side of the most
Photo taken during 7 Mar 2008
Notice that the old antenna
(bottom one) has a couple
of inches of shadow at the top
edge. Since the feed is located
below the antenna the actual beam to the satellite is higher, so
the old antenna was seeing a lot of the metal rain gutter.
The upper antenna is totally in the clear.
6 Mar 2008 Solar Outage
Cloudy so ceiling sun dial not
working. Tried and failed to send email. Then noticed the
time was 12:51 and checking the signal strength showed none.
Within a couple of minutes it was back.
I has hoping that the Nova antenna now on top of the roof (see photo
above) would work much better than the old antenna that was aimed at
the metal rain gutter, but for Solar outages they are about the
same. Taking a photo of the two dishes would be interesting is
done at the center of an outage. The suns shadow on a dish would
mean a lot of signal blockage, but no shadow would not mean a clear
view because of the offset type feed.
5 March 2008 Solar Outage
4 March 2008 Solar Outage
My celing sundial
mark for the 360 system is showing an outage now and the Nova has no
Based on the outage area 12:50 am is about the center of today's outage.
18 Feb 2008 - Upgraded to the highest level service
For a number of years Starband has not
been taking new orders for the older 180, 360 and 400 series
modems. The new modem called the Nova has replaced them.
The Nova can run at different speeds controlled by what firmware is
loaded. The "Pro" entry level service I started with provides a
download speed that's controlled to be about 500 k bits/sec or 50
kBytes/sec. The upgrade speeds are 100 kBytes/sec and 150
kBytes/sec. Along with the faster download speed comes faster
upload speeds and a higher bandwidth allocation. My "Pro"
allocation was 1 GByte/7 days and that's now 4 GB/7 days. The one
thing that does not improve is the ping time which is limited by
physics and the speed of light. So altough web page load times
are noticably faster they still are not whay you see on a DSL, or Cable
When viewing a web page, like an eBay
auction page, I was seeing a number of red X marks where an image
should be, like in the photos section. I think this is caused by
a bug in the Nova software that's related to memory allocation.
The fix is to power down the Nova for 15 seconds, you can leave your
computer and browser windows open, and then let it reboot. This
zeros the RAM in the Nova and for me fixed the problem. 28 Oct 2007 -
need to see when this is needed again.
30 Oct 2007 - an eBay acution with 12 photos showed 8 X
instead. Pressing the browser refresh button did not help.
After power cycling the Nova and prseeing refresh all photos were
Starband Nova and Linksys WRT350 Router
In order to share the service I've
added a Linksys WRT350N Router and a WUSB300N which is a USB device for
the upstairs computer. The router includes a 4 port hub so you
can use CAT5 (or better CAT6) to wire up local computers. The
installation software that comes with the router handles all of the
configuration. It's very close to plug and play.
The cable between the Starband Nova and your computer is a crossover
cable (that way you don't need a hub when connecting the Nova directly
to a computer). So the crossover cable needs to always be
connected to the Nova and when a router is used the crossover cable
goes between the Nova and router. Then a standard CAT6 cable
connects the router and your computer.
After awhile the performance seemed to degrade. Starband
recomended periodic resetting of the router using the following
- power off the PC, router and modem. (PS. CAT6 cables are not
designed for hot plugging so it's best to power down equipment before
- power on the modem and wait for 4 solid on LEDs
- power on the router\
- power on the computer
This fixed the problem.
If you have just a Nova connected to your PC you can reset the Nova by
just powering it off (leave the computer on and leave your browser
open), wait 15 seconds then power the Nova back on. If there's a
software update this will allow force it to load, but more important it
cleans up the memory and DNS routing table in the Nova.
They have fixed the usage graph.
6 June 2007 - the message on the Starband web page:
|View Bandwidth Usage
||The graph is
temporarily unavailable. The graph will return 7/1/2007.
The graph is temporarily unavailable. The graph will
5 June 2007 4:52 - maybe they have fixed the counter.
The data for yesterday is within a few MB of my count. But for
today 6/5 the Starband count is around 100 MB and my count is 73 MB so
there's still something no correct, but it's way better than before.
2 Jun 2007 8:48 pm - Starband only showing 6/2 on the graph,
but still with no usage, so it's looking like the plots are based on
Eastern Time midnight. Although the first page shows -41.4 MB,
yet DU Meter is showing 48 MB for today and 126 MB total download since
it was installed on 31 May at 9:14 am. So there is a big bug in
how they are counting usage. At 9:07 Pacific Time the plot now
shows 6/3 confirming midnight Eastern Time for the new day.
1 June 2007 9:30 pm - Starband is showing data for 2 June, so
they probably are using midnight Eastern Time for their count. My
DU Meter is showing 54 MB downloaded today Pacific Time.
But Starband is not showing MB value for 1 June. Maybe they
turned it off while working the problem?
1 June 2007 - For the partial day 31 May DU Meter shows 22.85
MB and Starband shows almost zero this morning. But yesterday
afternoon it was showing 195 MB. I was on the phone to them
yesterday for a long time, so maybe they zeroed it?
31 May 2007 - the download of DU Meter was at 9:11 am this
morning and my usage prior to the download was at a lower rate than
after the download where I could see the usage. At 2:28 pm the DU
Meter showed a total download volume of 10.7 MB and the Starband
Bandwidth web page is showing:
and the daily detail page is showing about 195 MB for today!
Between the download and 2:28 the rate of use according to DU Meter is
0.03375 MB/min or in 9 hours for today would total 18 MB. I'm now
thinking that the data being reported is Mega bits/second, not Mega
Btyes/second. With one start bit, 8 data bits and one stop bit
the translation from bits to Bytes is 10 so 195 Mega bits turns into
19.5 Mega Bytes which is about right.
31 May 2007 - Have downloaded DU Meter
and have it run+ning. The
idea is to compare my download volume to the Starband reports.
Note: Bandwidth is a technical term that related to data rate,
not the amount of data. So the Starband (and common internet)
usage is technically wrong. My account has a bandwidth limit of
50 kBytes/sec and a 7 day usage total of 976.6 M Bytes. 976.6 MB
/ 0.05 MB/sec = 19,532 seconds or just under 5.5 hours. A
download that lasted for 5.5 hours all at 50 kBytes/sec would us up the
total usage for a week. Or 46.5 minutes per day.
31 May 2007 - Jason (#7107) recommended a bandwidth meter to run on
my computer. A firewall or router is not the tool that will do
31 May 2007 - a long call to tech support. The claim is that
the reporting web page is new and the graphics are not accurate.
The tech looked at his 30 day graph and read off the following numbers
for the 7 days shown below:
136.0 + 81.5 + 81.2 + 86.1 + 224.8 + 0 + 86.5 = 696.1 still well under
the limit. Notice that they are reporting numbers to 0.1 MB yet
claiming that the numbers are not accurate. If the problem is in
the reporting of the numbers, i.e. the web page that's displaying the
numbers to me shown below is wrong by 71% (my numbers below) or off by
43% (the numbers I got today) then there needs to be a way for me to
audit what's going on. The suggestions were to look at the
incoming data in a firewall or router. I'll learn how to do that.
They also said that I was not in the penalty box, but that was hedged,
i.e. no one really knows.
The penalty box may work by restricting the number of open TCP/IP
connections you can make.
30 May 2007 - NOT OVER LIMIT -- Starband can not add!
An hour or so ago I started getting a lot of "Page Not Found" errors,
and this morning and for the last few days I have only seen a very
small number of them, so I took a look at my activity page. Here
is the message saying I'm over the limit, it's located at the bottom of
the "My Account" page you get right after you log in. This page
is for Nova users. Don't know about 360 users.
The following screen shots were captured in IE6.0.2900 on 30 May 2007.
At first it looks like I went over the limit and they have started to
"Throttle" my access, hence the "Page Not Found" errors. But
today I've been paying attention to what I do and no way have I been
using a lot of bandwidth.
My service has a limit of 976.6 MB which divided by 7 days is just
under 140 MB per day. So lets have a look at the daily data by
clicking the activity link. I've added a line for the average
daily limit in red.
The way I figure it the total area needs to be below the red
line. What do you think, am I over
the limit or maybe Starband
can not add.
If I add up what's shown I get 135 + 70 + 70 + 70 + 170 + 2 + 65 = 582
leaving a positive balance of more than 390 MB. Another way to
say it is that the activity is about 40% of what's allowed.
30 May 2007 - I've over run the 976 MB limit again. Not
watching video, but just srufing the USPTO and Google patents web pages
where the old patents are images, not text. Since 976/7 = 139
MB/day that's the rate of make up if I don't use the computer for a
day. The "Page can not be displayed" errors are now pretty much
gone, maybe one per week. So they must have it fixed.
14 May 2007 - This is an email I sent a friend asking about my net
10 May 2007 - The system got really slow a few days ago.
To the point I was considering moving into motel or renting time on a
computer to get decent access. I complained to the installer of
my system and he mentioned that there was a bandwidth limit and if I
went over the limit I would be throttled. That word has it's
origins in beating someone, and that's just how I felt. A call to
Starband confirmed that in fact I was being throttled. The limit
is 976 MB per 7 days and I was at 2000 MB. So now I know to look
at the bottom of the My Account web page to get a clue. But so
far that page has not changed even though I've backed way off on the
rate of web page updates. I think the upper limit is 2000 MB
because it has not changed for 3 days and my usage is way down.
A few months ago I upgraded (more like
getting a completely new) Nova Pro system. This is the single
user home bottom of the line system for $ 49/mo. I think they
name these like pickle <also olives> sizes. There's an
installation fee of some $ hundreds. see photo at: <top of
The first system was installed on the wall, and since it's an offset
dish is looking at the metal gutter. Twice a year for about a 6
day stretch it would shut down for up to 10 minutes as the sun got into
the beam, see my ceiling sun dial where I've marked the starband
The new system uses the same 2x3' offset feed dish and some of the
microwave parts as the old system so i'm keeping it for spares.
The big improvement is the indoor box. The old 360 system
required software on the PC to work and was a PITA. The new
system has it's own PC and you just run a LAN cable to your PC or
The good news is that big file downloads go at about 50 k Bytes/sec
(500 kb/s). And if you don't exceed the 976 MB/rolling 7 day
limit you're OK. Going over the limit is very very painful.
The bad news is that because of physics it takes 23,000 miles/186,000
mi/s of a second for a signal to get from your transmitter up to the
satellite, then another 1/8 second to get from the satellite to the big
dish in Georgia. From there everything is fast, but then it takes
another 1/8 second for the reply to get from Georgia to the satellite
and another 1/8 second to get from the satellite to your
receiver. That's a minimum of 1/2 half second for each
transaction. Every icon or link that requires your browser to do
something is a transaction. So loading a page, like eBay or
commercial pages with a lot of fancy imagery can take up to a couple of
The base service is not suitable for VOIP. I can set a URL in my
browser to the IP address of the indoor box and the SkyManage web page
has information about the Nova system. There's a page for
telephony. I've been told that if I upgrade to the $100/mo system
I get 100 kB/sec download speed and can then use VOIP. But that's
too expensive for phone service.
The upload speed is about 3kB/s. I haven't tested it on the Nova,
but if you think about the dish size and Tx power it can't be very
fast. It's a classical Vsat system like you see on the roof of
most gas stations.
I was complaining to eBay about the bugs they introduced with the new
feedback system this morning using the live help where you get to talk
to a computer, and during the 20 minute session there were maybe 3 or 4
"connecting to the server" messages. That may have been Starband
dropping the connection because of a software bug. It's not
uncommon to try and go to a page and get a "Page can not be displayed"
error. Upon trying again it often connects.
When there's a problem the two "tech support" answers are:
1) Reboot the Nova by unplugging (there's no on-off switch) the brick
power supply cord from the indoor box for 15 seconds. This resets
the CPU in the Nova box and if they have downloaded any firmware will
This is where the Nova has it all over the old 360 where you needed to
shut down and reboot your computer. You can leave browser windows
open while you reboot the Nova box and continue where you left
off after the reboot. (maybe a few minutes).
2) Reboot your PC. This has helped when the system refused to
Since I can't get DSL or cable modem here in the forest and dual
channel ISDN is expensive, this is the best I can do. When it's
working it's better than dial up, but when it's not you suffer.
There's a remote possibility that a tower mounted Wi-Fi beam antenna
would allow connection to the very high speed Wi-Fi my ISP provides to
subscribers that are downtown, there's no way to know. The ISP
does not want to talk about where the antennas are which the path
analysis guys need. < To look into this I installed Google
Earth. You can see amazing detail in these photos and get the
elevation by just moving the cursor. There's probably a way to
turn on contour lines, but I don't know how. That would help in
interpreting the photos when looking for paths.>
10 Apr 2007 - It seems that removing the power plug for 15
seconds can be done leaving open browser windows. After the modem
reboots you can continue where you left off. No need to change
anything on PC since the Nova works by itself. Still having a lot
of "Page Cannot be Displayed" errors.
5 March 2007 Update
My first Starband system used the Gilat 180 modem which I think was the
same modem used in their commercial VSAT operations.
Later there was an upgrade where I traded in my 180 box for the 360
box. The 180 box was a stand alone system but the 360 requires
some software on your PC to work well.
A couple of months ago I got the new Nova Pro Starband system (not
upgrade so I still have the old system, a couple of the antenna parts
are the same so it provides some spares). The Nova is a stand
alone box that does not require any software on the PC. There's a
computer in the Nova box. Some mornings my network connection
icon in the system tray shows a yellow triangle and the message that my
connection has been lost. This can be fixed by unplugging the
power connector on the Nova box for more than 10 seconds and rebooting
it. I think this is part of the way the software is upgraded.
The front of the Nova has 4 green LED that are normally on and another
one that blinks when transmitting. Since there is no software
running in the PC, there is not system monitor program in the PC.
But if you direct your browser to the IP address of your Nova box a web
page comes up titled SkyManage. The default Status page has green check
marks for various system elements. The Telemetry page shows CPU
utilization and Rx signal/noise ratio as bar graphs. On my system
the Telephony screen is blank, but I think on the more costly version
it supports VOIP and the telephoney page would show something.
Unfortunatly you can not access this page when there's a problem like I
had this mornig.
5 March 2007 both the Boot and Active Software versions are 18.104.22.168 on
the Info page.
27 March 2007 - still getting "Windows can not display web page" error
messages that are because of a Nova-StarBand problem, not due to
problems at the server. Confirmed that in Win XP Tools\Internet
Options\Advnaced\Phising Filter is unchecked.
A Router can be added to the Nova system to drive multiple computers.
Sometimes the Nova hangs. You can stop the current page transfer
and reload and then it usually works. Later today I'll see how it
does during the sun blackout time.
Recently we had light snow and the Nova system went down. I don't
think it was becasue of the snow on the dish, but rather it was that
there was snow in the signal path, just like rain in the signal path
will stop communications.
Pegasus Broadband - coming on line 21
March 2001,maybe will be better than StarBand - now at TigerDirect.com
$700 installed + $70/mo.
Pegasus, EarthLink and Juno use the DirectPC
systems made by Hughes. "The new
offers return channel speeds up to 128 Kbps, optionally 256 Kpbs,
with StarBand. But that's comparing advertised performance to
performance, who knows what the actual uplink performance is?
7 Oct 2003 - Earthlink has taken over the Pegasus 2-way satellite
For quite a number of years there have been VSAT (Very
Small Aperture Terminals)
used for business purposes. For example the credit card readers
gas stations are connected to the credit verification center using
has been in this business for some time. The indoor box used for
the StarBand 180 is the same unit used for the Skystar and Video
units. It has three slots for the addition of custom
The StarBand has the left slot for the USB interface. In a normal
StarBand install a plate is installed that covers the DIP switches and
the LAN port.
Recently Gilat joined up with Dish Network, Radio Shack and
to offer a home internet connection service called StarBand
using similar (if not the same) technology as used for business VSAT
Gilat holds many patents
on sattelite related technology. The oldest is:
Commercial satellite communications system, Amiram Levinberg, Uzi Ram
(Gilat Communication Systems Ltd.), Dec 13, 1989, 342/352 ;
This system was designed for credit
card verification like at gas stations were a VSAT antenna is on the
roof of the station. It assignes each user a time slot.
This is NOT an optimum system for general internet use. For more
on the implications of the long ping times associated with satellite
other white papers on the isode site.
The Starband Uplink is in the South East U.S. and they get
severe weather that shuts down the system. This is deceptive
because here in California is a nice sunny day. Too bad they
located the uplind in such a poor weather location.
If you're shopping satellite systems, one of the questions to ask is
how many hours of system down time is caused by bad weather?
This may not really be the case, I don't know.
If you are working on your system and
is not configured with a proxy enabled, your computer is naked on the
Anyone who knows how can access your hard drive and send you a
I think that's how my C: drive became erased. You may need to
a "firewall" package to protect your computer.
- Radio Shack sells a computer with two PCI cards, one for receive
- StarBand sells the Model 180 desktop unit that has two coax
(one for receive and one for transmit) and connects to the computer
- StarBand may offer in the future the two PCI cards for
- Dish Network will be offering a system with a second LNB mounted
StarBand dish, this saves having two dishes but really is not otherwise
- On their FAQ/homenetworking web page StarBand describes how to
either the Radio Shack or Model 180 systems to a local LAN, but does
tell how to use the LAN connection on the model 180.
- All of these systems use the same 2'
dish. (trivia test, how many antennas are in the photo?
bottom of page)
Although they claim 500 kbps download (=50 KBytes/sec = 50 KB) and 150
kbps (15 KBytes = 15 KB) upload speeds, I have never seen it.
The best for download is about 20 KB and upload about 3 KB. In
addition there are long delays between when you ask for a connection
that connection is there. The effect is that you are better off
an internal modem (or better if you have it). I can now connect
modem at 44 K baud (= 4KB) and can do more faster than with the
I have only had the system for a week and have called tech support
478-2722 #4) almost daily, and they keep saying that they are aware of
the problem and working it. I don't know if the system worked
I signed up, or if it never worked.
When trying to use FTP to move jpeg files from my computer to my
StarBand is impossible. There are many short data packets and the
turnaround time is so long that the FTP program fails to work. In
order to get the jpeg image loaded using FTP I needed to disconnect the
StarBand USB cable and use my dial up modem. It took less that 10
seconds to make the FTP connection plus the file up load time of
10 seconds, whereas the StarBand timed out after a minute or two.
I have heard that cable modem and xDSL also suffer when trying to use
Mid Dec. 2000 - Box arrived but Starband scheduled and rescheduled
16 Jan. - Once I was able to upload a photo using FTP, but other
I could not.
I thought that I was uploading web pages and got a "successful upload"
message, but when I tried to view them, the bottoms were cut off.
I have disconnected the StarBand, and will try again some time.
My phone line modem is much faster for all but very large file
18 Jan. - They have fixed the Model 180 dropout problem, caused by
NIC being set for auto detect. The fix is to set a fixed IP address of
192.168.0.1 with a sub mask of 255.255.255.0. I am getting download
around 577 KB, but the latency is so long that I have disconnected the
Model 180 and use my phone line.
26 Feb. - I started to use the system about a week ago. I was
getting about 300 K bits/sec (30 K Bytes/sec) downloads and was able to
send and receive email. On a few occasions I could use FTP, but
always. Today the system crashed. It came up after about 15
minutes, tech support did not the system was down until I told them.
This defiantly should not by your only link to the internet.
needs to be redone so that it can work in parallel with with a wired
28 Feb. I was not able to upload *.TIF graphics files, when trying
view them there would be a message like bad data in line 38. 1 of
6 files would upload.
Using the phone line to do the upload was faster and worked 100% on
the first try.
1 March - after clicking on a link there was no response, I waited
seconds, but still no response, the poor latency problem is as bad as
28 April 2001 - FTP has not worked for some time. Have added Norton
Personal Firewall and Norton Antivirus 2001. They work as part of
my hard drive backup system that uses Norton Ghost and a removable D:
drive. Currently I do not use 127.0.0.1, i.e. I have IP Agent turned
To use the phone connection I just double click my dialer, very simple
Note that START\settings\control panel\Internet Options opens
the "Internet Properties" dialog box that you can also access through
These settings are global on your computer, not just for IE.
3 Jan 2002 - received the 360 upgrade package and sent back the 180.
after 4 hours with SB tech support thought that it was working.
4 Jan 2002 - after leaving the system on all night, it was not working
in the morning - after 13 hours with SB tech support it was not
5 Jan 2002 - after using START\Run\msconfig\startup and unchecking IPA,
TaskBarClient and WgWLocalManager and rebooting it works.
- The first problem was that my computer would see the new 360 as a
180 and so did not connect to the 360.
- The second problem was that the monitor would turn off (crash)
only way to bring it back was to reboot.
The 180 uninstall manual on page 8 says Mission Control
patch can be left on your system, but tech support insists it MUST be
who is correct? I was told things like "you must use IPA with the
360 it's different from the 180" and "the supplied USB cable is
from a standard USB cable" , are total Bull****! This just confirms the
incompetence of the starband tech support system (including a number of
"escalation" level support people). When the first level support
tech gives you wrong information or has you do wrong things, like
an older version rather then keeping the newer version of some software
that is already on your system it is almost impossible to
I ended up reinstalling WIN98, WIN98SE upgrade, my printer drivers, and
there will be more to install as I need it. (IOmega ZIP drive, HP
exter serial ports, etc that were removed because they may have been
The things that are conflicting are the three programs listed above.
monitor crash problem seems to go away when WgWLocalManager
off in START\msconfig\startup, but this slows the download speed from
KB/s to 50 KB/s based on http://www.pcpitstop.com download tests.
A friend that reads the starband forum told me that the 360 USB
has a lot of incompatabilities and to use the LAN port instead.
The procedure that worked was:
The system is now working! 1:15 pm
- Uninstall the SB 360 software
- Install the LAN card (removed it yesterday) - confirm it's OK
- reinstall the SB 360 software
- in mission control/tools - configure modem
- In Nortan Peresonal Firewall/options/advanced options\firewall
block portal of doom trojan" disable 9874 and 9875.
- When configuring Norton Firewall rules do not use all ports,
check the single port shown.
4 Oct. 2003 - system working very poorly and each day gets noticeably
worse. Download speed at PC Pit Stop
was about 200 kB.
7 Oct. 2003 - Installed a new LNB. The old one was marked:
Gilat Satellite Networks Ltd.
Low Noise Block Down COnverter
N.F. 0.5 dB
This amplifier was installed with the notch filter that was removed
when the new LNB is installed. The replacement amp is marked:
N.F. 0.7 dB (0.2 higher noise figure than the original)
Notch Filter and the signal reflection angles.
Download speed was 452 kB after replacing the LNB and removing the
You can see that the metal rain gutter is blocking the upper part of
the dish. This may no only degrade the signal because of the area
blocked, but might also degrade more because of reflections canceling
signals. The white material wrapped around the gutter is
microwave absorber that stops reflections. Need to relocate the
The dish is feed off axis. The feed horn is 45 degrees below a
line from the center of the dish to the satellite. So the dish
points 22.5 degrees lower than the signal path. In my case the
dish points in such a way that it clears the rain gutter, BUT the
signal is 22.5 degrees higher and so is partially blocked by the metal
All geostationary satellites are located over the equator
and so twice a year, in the Fall as the Sun crosses the equatorial
plane and again in the Spring there will be a time when the Sun is
exactly behind the satellite and the microwave noise from the Sun will
overpower the feeble signal from the satellite shutting down
service. How long this lasts depends on the beam width of the
dish which in turn depends on the frequency and the dish size.
Starband uses satellites at 101, 125 and 129 degrees Longitude.
On 7 Oct. 2003 my StarBand service was blacked out about an hour and a
half after I installed the new LNB. It was about 1:30 PDT when I
noticed the Mission Control icon was black.
Using the calculator at Learfield Engineering
and my location. Used Ku and 1 meter dissh diameter.
If I'm on the 129 deg W satellite the outage would be from 1:18 to 1:35
If I'm on the 125 deg W satellite the outage would be from 12:59 to
So I looks like I'm on the 129 degree bird.
LAN Settings & IPA
When the StarBand "Mission Control" software (Version 2.00) is
on your computer is also installs an Internet Page Accelerator in the
C:\Program Files\Spacenet\Internet Page Accelerator folder. In
order for this program to help you need to point IE (or Netscape) to
Tools\Internet Options\Connections\LAN Settings
-> Check Use a proxy server and Bypass proxy server for local
-> clear all the Proxy address to use boxes, in the HTTP: box
127.0.0.1 and the Port should be 9877
I think that Use the same proxy server for all protocols should be
-> Check Manual Proxy configuration
set the address to 127.0.0.1 and Port to 9877 in all the boxes.
27 Feb 2001 - Got an "internal error" separate window when trying to
upload from Netscape Composer.
The fix (supplied by Starband tech support) is to go into Netscape:
make blank the Address and Port for FTP. This fixed the problem.
It turns out that the version of IE that gets loaded with Mission
messes up my computer. In order to continue to work without
I needed to uninstall IE (which brought me back to the prior version
lost all favorites added) of IE).
If you go to START - Run - msconfig - OK
select the startup tab at the top
unselect the boxes for: IPA and TaskBarSvr
reboot your computer
Unfortunately this is something that I can do in autopilot mode.
Note: If you are not running IPA then you will need to go back
to automatic proxy settings and not use IPA.
There are two programs that do not seem to do anything useful,
C:\program files\StarBand\Mission Control\SatStatusServer.exe and
You can kill these using <CTRL><ALT><DEL> and
and select End Task.
The Browser seems to work fine without them. I have seen the
system working with the icon black and the icon green and the system
This makes it easy to change from phone to Satellite, by changing the
You can Start\Run
-> enter the program name WINIPCFG
This will bring up the IP Configuration window,
Select the Gilat communication device then,
it will tell you your IP address (and in my case the default gateway
(Model 180) is just lower by 1 in the last place)
You can try "Release" to break the connection and then "Renew" to
Using the LAN port
How to remove the
card so as to enable the LAN port.
describing how to connect a router to the 180 LAN port to serve a
Note the router protects your computer from hackers. If you do
not use a router and connect your computer directly to the LAN port on
the 180 you must run firewall software on the PC.
When using the 180 for FTP be sure the Address and Port proxy fields
The AS_Agent does a good job of speeding up your browser by omiting the
link to determine the DNS of your target, letting the computer at
headquarters do this. You do not want to do this when using FTP.
28 July 2001 - Today is the first time that I was able to uplink
File Transfer Protocol. I used WS-FTP LE (freeware)
Ping is when you sent a small packet to some IP address and they send
back to you. The round trip time is measured. Search on
and you will find many web sites that will ping you, East Coast, West
Europe, etc. The theoretical ping time up to and down from a
is about 1/2 second. I am getting 0.8 to 1.8 seconds. But
must be something else wrong because sometimes I wait miutes for a page
This web site has "Tweak" and I added the DefaultRcvWindow registry
at 65535 and tried to turn on MTU using DrTCP, but it did not seem to
a lot of difference.
Implications of Uplink
Because there is a transmitter involved in the uplink the
setup needs to be much more accurate than for a normal Satellite TV
only system. In particular the rotation (polarization) of the
feed is very critical so as to not be transmitting in the opposite
"cross pol". This also means that a qualified installer must set
up the system. It also means that you will not see these systems
on platforms that can move for some time to come.
- all kinds of tips for users -to use the Forum requires a paid
Satellite Reports! -
News about a number of different Satellite based Internet links
After reading these pages there are inconsistencies:
Starband Central -
too much here, but free forums
Announces Additions to Senior Management At Its
Spacenet Subsidiary; Satellite Industry Veteran Nick Supron Joins
as President and CEO
- If the Mission Control software does nothing, then why should
On the StarBand web page they requested that all 180 users leave their
boxes powered up for a week in Feb. 2001 so that StarBand could
new firmware into the 180 boxes. I think this is where the
comes from, not the Mission Control Software.
Effective January 1, 1999, GE Spacenet merged with Gilat Satellite
Limited (Gilat), and operates as a wholly owned subsidiary of Gilat.
new company name will be Spacenet Services, Inc. Please visit
new web site at www.spacenet.com
and update your browser's bookmarks to navigate to the new web site.
March 2001, I get server error and can not connect to them)
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created 15 Jan. 2001
Trivia test . . . 4, 2 each Starband + 1 each OE-254
and 1 each AS-1405 or maybe the Eggbeater in the new photo