Wildblue Stimulus Package Review

On 12/05/2012, in Review, by Norman Dean

Wildblue Stimulus Package Review

Now that ViaSat-1 is flying, and on line subscribers have 2 new services to purchase from ViaSat’s residential division, WildBlue and Exede. While the flagship service Exede comes in 2 flavors 12Mbps & 5Mbps depending on your location I will be focusing on the WildBlue Stimulus package today.

Unlike the Exede pans that are all the same speed, the stimulus package speeds are tiered like the older legacy systems.  Starting at $39.95 per month for 1Mbps, there are also a 3Mbps and 8Mbps plans, each tiered speed also buys you more monthly usage. 10.3GB, 27GB, & 60GB per month respectively. Usage allowances compared with the Exede & Legacy plans and even the Hughesnet stimulus packages are generous to say the least. The most you can purchase with any of the other standard plans is 25GB per month!

The caveat about these plans are that you must live in an area where there is no other broadband choice and that you currently do not have broadband service with either of the participating companies (WildBlue & HughesNet). The great part is that standard installation and setup are free, compared to $149 for the standard packages. Also there is no equipment lease fee amounting to another savings of $10 per month. For the basic package the service usage term is only 12 months compared to 24 months for the standard packages, and the price is fixed for as long as the service is active.

WildBlue Dish

So on to the good stuff.

I am currently using the 1Mbps service with the probable need to upgrade to the 3Mbps or 8Mbps plan in the future, not just for the speed but the usage allowance. Because the 1Mbps service is running of the new ViaSat-1 satellite it is verry snappy compared to the legacy system rated at the same speed.

Video

ViaSat-1 was designed specifically to deliver multimedia much better than existing systems. So even though the service is relatively slow compared to the standard packages Youtube, Hulu, Netflix and itunes runs perfectly without much buffering. High Definition videos definitely do not work well on this service as it is just not fast enough. I usually turn down the resolution to 280p on videos just to save bandwidth but 320 and 480 videos play just fine.

VoIP

I have been using a Magic Jack for the past year at my office down in town. I have a 25Mbps cable connection at my office, I have been extremely satisfied with it. So I decided to see how it works on my new WildBlue connection. The first thing I did was switch to the 3G setting witch lowers the audio quality a bit so it can be used on slower connections. Quality is much like speaking on a cell phone, a little scratchy but over all not bad. The delay takes some getting used to, the round trip to the satellite and back is just under a second so there is a noticeable delay. You get used to the delay and adjust your speaking rhythm to it. My overall opinion of using a magic jack or any other Voip service with this package is a thumbs up. I can conceivably see someone canning their land line and only using a Magic Jack and a cell phone for all their phone calls.

Browsing

ViaSat-1 is build on a standard called Surfbeam 2, the system is not only the satellite but 15 new ground stations where the internet trunks are located. On the legacy system when you request a web page the request is sent from your modem to the satellite down to the ground station then to the corresponding web server. The new ground stations have data centers build in that store recently viewed web pages requested by subscribers. If you request a page that has been recently viewed the ground station doesn’t need to go to the internet to get the page it is immediately uploaded to you cutting the travel time dramatically. Compared to legacy systems wait time is drastically slashed, however there is quite a bit of lag 1-4 seconds per page if the page is not cashed in the system you know when you get one. But for the average user that views a few major pages like yahoo, google, facebook, youtube, hulu, and others the lag is negligible. 

 

I give 2 thumbs up for WildBlue Stimulus packag!

 

For more information about Exede & WildBlue services click here

Happy Computing

Norman M Dean

TECH SWAT

 

 

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