Satellite Internet-STARBAND

Discussion in 'General RVing' started by legalbeaver, Jan 27, 2005.

  1. legalbeaver

    legalbeaver New Member

    We are currently full timers and in the process of building our retirement home in an area where we will never be able to get anything but dial-up or satellite Internet. We are getting serious about getting satellite Internet for our RV since we will also need it for the house later on. We are especially interested in the STARBAND system and want to hear from others who are using Starband. Besides wanting to hear your general experience and recomendations, our specific questions at this point include: Can we can currently get satellite TV reception (we have DirecTV at this time) and get Starband reception through the same "hole through the trees"? Also, when you are setting up the system after a moving your coach, how long does it take to get it set up and operational? How long does it take to do the training to be authorized to do your own installation?
  2. bajadudes

    bajadudes New Member

    Satellite Internet-STARBAND

    The starband service will only work as a one dish solution with dishnetwork. It uses a specially engineered bracket that allows the LNB to be offset from the focal point and receive signals from the DN Sat's at 110 and 119.
    The Starband Manual Flyer program has been in beta testing with one dealer for about 10 months and they started officially rolling it out this past weekend at the Charlotte RV show. This is a good thing because competition will drive the prices down from where we see them now. Doing some searches on Ebay for Starband will find you significantly lower prices for legal company approved transportable systems. Starband has several very competitive dealers that once in the program are likely to slash prices to the bare bones. Look for systems in the $899 to $1,300 range with monthly prices as low as $54.99. They even have a month to month no contract plan where you can turn off the account and reactivate for $49. At the Charlotte Show they were offering a show special for a complete system at only $650. They will likely repeat that offer at upcoming RV shows, especially the Raleigh NC RV show and the FMCA show in Georgia next month.

    The certification process is very easy and involves taking a free online course and 2 free certification exams, about 2-3 hours ( ). Once you pass the test an authorized dealer in the program or one of his trained installers will work with you to give you close personal support the first few times you use it. The first few times you set it up it can be a bit frustrating but after a bit you will be amazed at how long it used to take you. I can have the system set up and be online in less than 30 min.

    There have been many discussions on countless forums about the difference in service between Starband and DW so I am not going to get into it here. Both have their strong points and weak points. I am a starband dealer so I have a bit of a bias and don't want to be seen as making a sales pitch. The best thing to do is research a lot and become an informed consumer before you purchase so you know what you are getting into and will be certain of what you are getting.

    Hopefully some actual users that have no vested financial interest in either system will chime in here to offer their experiences. If you really want a comprehensive no holds barred look into either systems faults then do a google on Direcway sucks and then Starband sucks. Strong language but very informative ;)
  3. legalbeaver

    legalbeaver New Member

    Satellite Internet-STARBAND

    Thanks for all the helpful information. I'm thrilled to hear that finally prices are going to be coming down. :laugh: It's about time.
    Thanks again.
  4. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    Satellite Internet-STARBAND

    I am a user of Starband and one of the customers of the origional Starband dealer and also a retired electronic tech. after 40 years in field service. I have been a certified tech for warranty service for computers from IBM, Dell & Compaq and also for several different data terminals as well as a very wide range of other equipment. I feel that I am better qualified than the average customer to judge what I am looking at. I chose Starband mostly because they do authorize a portable dish to be moved by the user if the user takes the installer training. The package that the origional dealer sells is somewhat higher priced than is the equivilant from a Directway dealer because they supply far more and better support and training as well as a meter that is fairly expensive, but which will identify what satlite you are looking at as well as the signal level and quality. It can recognize up to 37 different satlites. But it does make the package more costly. Also, each time that you move the Starband dish you call the Starband tech support for the readings from the satlite to fine tune the dist for accuracy and for noise surpression. And so doing also allows Starband to know that you are not interfearing with some other user. Ron, the dealer, will spend as much time as is needed to train you to do this so that you won't have difficulty in setting up, or to cause Starband to shut you down for interfearance. He gives you two nights of free RV parking to complete your instalation and training. I took the installer's course on the computer before we went over, testing with Starband via the internet and getting my installer's certification and pass code to the tech. support line prior to going over. Ron's installer spent all day working with me to set up my dish, go through the required tests with the Starband center and get it commissioned. I have now moved the dish twice and taken it down and back up for practice three additional times. I can not do a set-up in about 1/2 hour.

    I know what test equipment costs, as well as the price of a quality surveyer's tripod and special bracket to mount the dish so that it is stable and so that it stays aligned properly. You may be able to buy a cheaper set-up. You won't find a better one or one with the level of support that Ron has. He even has an on-line user's group that is only open to his customers. It doesn't get any better than that. I have watched many other users set up many times. I would not take a cheaper system because the quality and tools are well worth the price.

    As to getting TV from it as well, you can get Dish Net from a Starband dish or Direct TV from a Directway dish, but not the other way around. That is because the Dish Net is the same company as Starband and Direct TV is the same company as Directway. But the catch is that neither one gets the TV from the same satlite as the internet access. So there is an offset bracket for the LNB of the TB signal and it will work better than the TV dish if you don't move it. But if you move around, the angle of the offset will change as you move north and south so it isn't very practical for use in a portable dish system. I had planned to go to it, but since becoming a certified installer for Starband I have concluded that it would not be worth the extra trouble just to do away with the second dish.

    Directway is a good company and a quality product. But the ones using the portable ground tripods are not authorized to move them and if they should cause interfearance for other users, they will one day be turned off. And if you read the disclaimer on any Directway seller's site, you will find that to be so stated there. Will it ever happen, or has it? I really do not know. But I do know that Starband will give you technical support every time you move your dish, while Directway will not. The monthly rate is the same and the equipment is not a great deal different if you get the same quality of equipment. The dealer who posted says that he can sell for a lot less than I paid. Unless he plans to give some things away he isn't likely to give the same level of service and quality of equipment and tools as does Ron, who is the person who got it all started and who got Starband to authorize this type of service. I wish him well as would Ron as more dealers can only be good for all Starband dealers since they are the new kid on the block. But I suggest to all readers and to the new dealers that quality is worth the extra cost. A cheap product is not cheap if you can't keep it working!

    One other thing, if you can complete the certification course in 2 to 3 hours you must be a darned good electronics person, if you take the time to understand it, not just memorize some answers. I suggest that you take longer and make sure that you understand what you are doing as it will only help you when the time comes and you are setting up all alone, far from any support.
  5. bajadudes

    bajadudes New Member

    Satellite Internet-STARBAND

    well Kirk thanks for your perspective. Since several items in your review directly address the other authorized dealer (me)I would like to respond.

    Commercial posts are not allowed on this forum and I intend to respect that so the following is just an informational post responding to some of your excellent points and correcting some falsehoods you may not be aware of.

    First, I am the original dealer to propose to Starband the manual mobility project, My original concept e-mails to Howard Lossing date back to Oct 2nd 2003. Ron (who is a nice guy) is located in AZ so it was more logical to start the Beta program out there with him. Not a problem for me since I am a very heavy large volume dealer with an excellent support record. In fact I have one of the lowest Churn rates of any dealer. I have also been with Starband since it's inception almost 4 years ago. I have spent the better part of my professional life (over 25 years)providing remote energy and communications solutions to rural customers in the USA, Mexico and other areas. I am a bit dismayed that you would paint me with a brush that implies lower cost dealers are lacking in customer support or equipment. The fact is that volume trumps that hand and I have the volume to justify my equipment discounts. The installers I work with in Yuma, Barb and Joseph Nolly, were the original inventors of the offset bracket you see Ron and others using. They were among the very first DW users to perfect and use the DW tripod systems. They offer the very same high quality help Ron's installers offer and together we can offer a superbly high level of support on both the west coast and east coast, something Ron cannot match.

    I have always maintained that in this great country we live in competition is the biggest driving force behind product innovation and affordability.

    As to the tripods. Both have their pros and cons. The surveyor type tripods are large, heavy, bulky and hard to store, the legs tend to spread apart as it sinks into the ground unless you make some sort of T shaped wood cross to put under the legs. If a gust of wind lifts a leg it flops in and resettles in a different spot. If you want to move it to a different location at your campsite the whole thing collapses as soon as you lift it. The nice thing about the surveyors tripod is that it has a wider base and is therefore more stable with less ballasting or anchoring effort.
    The other tripod you can use with this system is very lightweight (16.5 Lbs), disassembles and very conveniently stows into a small gym type tote bag. In the tote bag you can fit all the accessories, cables and the feed arm off the reflector. It makes for an easy to stow lightweight package. The foot print of the super portable tripod is almost 4 ft (47.5")between leg tips as opposed to 60" on the surveyor type tripods. This is the same tripod our armed forces are using in Iraq and that disaster recovery teams are using in Indonesia. When properly set up and anchored (it comes with a complete anchoring kit suitable for all types of terrain) it is virtually impossible to tip over. The other nice thing about it is that you can easily pick it up by one leg and move it around without worry because it is super rigid and works on the same principle as Buckminster Fullers tensegrity construction concepts.

    In short both have their pros and cons but both work equally well when properly set up.

    If a customer wants the surveyors type tripod a dealer should be able to add it for an additional $55. If a customer want the more expensive Birdog meter a customer should be able to substitute for $300. In any case, now that there is competition out there a consumer that shops around would not find it hard to get the same exact package Ron has been offering with the same or better support for several hundred dollars less.

    I think it's wonderful that you are happy with Ron's package and service, I just wonder why you would imply without knowing that anyone selling for less would somehow be inferior. Starband is only going to allow select dealers that have a proven record of excellent service and support into the program.

    Also one point of clarification, DN and Starband are definitely not in any way the same company. There was a very nasty, litigious separation of the two several years back. The fact that the bracket exists to make it work with DN TV is a hold over from those early days. Charlie Egan is no friend of Starband and much animosity still exists between the two corporations.
  6. Kirk

    Kirk Senior Member

    Satellite Internet-STARBAND

    I had not realized that Dish and Starband were no longer together. But I guess it doesn't surprise me. But while I do not mean to imply anything about what you do, or do not supply, since we have never met and I have never seen your equipment, I do have some background in related fields to understand this type of system and equipment. Who was really first, or why is an issue that is of no concern to me, nor is it important. I do know that Ron was the first in the pilot program, and I also know that he believes that more dealers will better serve both customers and dealers alike.

    But my background of 40+ years of electronic field service has lead me to a few conclusions. One of those is that cheap is seldom most cost effective. This isn't aimed at anyone, it is just a fact that I have observed many times. I also spent close to six months researching dish internet before I chose to go with what Ron has and there are quite a few dealers who have off-set brackets to mount the dish to the stand and they are not all alike and I somehow have difficulty in believing that all were copied from you? Might it be possible that more than one person may have come up with a similar way to accomplish this? If not, the majority of larger dealers of any type of internet dish are using your design. And while you may well be able to do it for less, I still believe very strongly that quality is far more important than cost, if you are interested in a good end result. Competition is good for the customers and you may well be able to beat the price that Ron charges and I would encourage you to do so, if that is what you want. But I would also encourage all buyers, no matter who they choose or which dish service they choose, to look first to the quality of the product and the support that it has. For me, I can't see any way that you can provide any better suport than I have now, while you can possibly match it as more than one could do the same type of things. But you don't yet have the experience or the customers to join your user group that Ron has. I hope that you soon do have, as it would only benefit all of us for more of us to be out here. I did not intend to criticize your plan, only to point out that Ron has laid the ground work and he, like you, began by selling for Direct. This is not a saturated market so there is plenty of room for new dealers and customers and I am really glad to hear you are on line, and I would do what I can to help you. But you won't get my endorsement until I actually see you in action, as I have seen Ron and his people. The installer that I worked with will soon be a dealer too, so Ron is not discouraging others, but is actually helping them to get started. But please, do not sell short the training and the tools as both are very important to the success of this program and if we don't do what we have agreed to and do it well, the program could yet crash. Moving your dish behind the back of the service is perhaps better than nothing, but it just isn't the way of doing business that I am comfortable with. So let's tell people that to be installer certified does take some time and effort and that the proper equipment to do things well, and quickly will have additional cost. But the reward is worth the price. And if you can truely match what other dealers supply and for less money, go to it! When I actually see what you have and it proves to be be as good or better, you will get my support. But for now the most I can say is that you are there, and worth a look. But I know what Ron supplies and it was you who stated: quote:. Starband has several very competitive dealers that once in the program are likely to slash prices to the bare bones. To me you implied that Ron is over priced. Easy to say, when there is nothing to yet compare.
  7. bajadudes

    bajadudes New Member

    Satellite Internet-STARBAND

    Well fair enough Kirk but

    you say:
    "But you don't yet have the experience or the customers to join your user group that Ron has"

    Not sure what this means since I have been installing VSAT systems since well before Starband or DW were even a dream. If I were to count the number of VSAT installs or microwave links under my belt I would have to reach back to the time I was the director of installations for Seaboard Electronics in New Rochelle NY and was responsible for setting up microwave security links for companies and govt's as far away as Ghana Africa in the late 70's. My expertise is solid and my installs probably # in the thousands. As to user groups, I have been a participant in a different group with over 2400 posts on A forum dedicated to starband users of all stripes with over 4700 members.
    Not sure what Ron's group is all about but I am very glad his customers have one available. It's a great thing to belong to a community of users and share experiences.

    also you say:

    "please, do not sell short the training and the tools as both are very important to the success of this program and if we don't do what we have agreed to and do it well, the program could yet crash. Moving your dish behind the back of the service is perhaps better than nothing, but it just isn't the way of doing business that I am comfortable with. So let's tell people that to be installer certified does take some time and effort and that the proper equipment to do things well, and quickly will have additional cost."

    Certainly the certification and training does take some time and effort. Integrity is the name of the game, I agree with you on that without reservation, but to say that you need the more expensive equipment to do it well is simply not true.

    All I want to do is address the original poster and honestly answer their questions because an educated consumer is a good dealers best customer.

    The point is there is now a legal system for users to take advantage of and honest competition in the availability of the packages. I am just really excited and glad to see my idea to Howard Lossing finally come to fruition in a truly open market.
  8. Nigama

    Nigama New Member

    Satellite Internet-STARBAND

    Just reading bajadudes message about new dealers with new lower cost Starband setup. Where can I find out more? I'd love to get setup for under $1000 with the mo. to mo. service contract. Anything around Dallas? Thanks for any info.

Share This Page