Up & Down

Internet connectivity and performance via satellite will wow you and your customers ... when it works.

We last reported on our experiences with satellite Internet service from Tachyon back in November. Since then, our results have been a mixed.

On the plus side, when the system works, the setup delivers very fast Internet connectivity. Theres a little latency—on the order of about a second or so—but when performing a file download, the system absolutely rocks. Its equivalent to a T1 or better in that respect. We noted that the speed test told us that we had 6.8Mbps bandwidth. That speeds been confirmed by others, as well; Tachyon guarantees different asymmetric service levels ranging from 64Kbps to 2,048Kbps and cautions that speeds can vary with traffic, etc.

The problem for us, at least, has been keeping the connection running. Contributing factors have been malfunctioning hardware and miscommunication among the three parties involved. That, of course, is nothing new to most of you.

Round and Round After installation, the connection was up and running for a few days. Then it failed. Tachyon dispatched a technician to our site in Templeton, Calif.,who diagnosed the problem and departed, saying that the "problem would be taken care of." Our interpretation was that the problem would be resolved. We didnt realize that there were additional steps necessary on our part to initiate further action. The holidays came and went. We then realized that we needed to contact Tachyon. A new Tachyon Access Point, or TAP, was delivered, which we installed. Service was restored.

But problems have persisted. The TAP would work one day, and not the next. At one point there was some concern that an animal had come by and knocked the dish out of alignment. Unfortunately, theres no mechanism for a customer to verify that the antenna is aligned correctly. The personnel at our site have become experts at using the Web-based administrative interface into the TAP, as well as the diagnostics. At present, Tachyon (www.tachyon.net) indicates that signal acquisition is failing in the TAP. It may be time for another service call.

At least one other site has not experienced our problems, enjoying reliable equipment and service. But that site (also on the West Coast) cautions that heavy rain and snow, factors outside of Tachyons control, can knock out the service. Once the weather clears, service returns.

Weve seen what the system can do, and are hoping for the return of sunny weather at our site real soon. Well update you in a future installment.