Recently, MacCentral reported that a company called OptiStreams Inc. is offering satellite Internet access for the Mac, though it’s a bit pricey for the average person.
Some MacCentral readers, including Ed Sutter of SDS International Inc. in Arlington, Virginia have recommended a company called Skycasters Inc.. Sutter said he decided to go with Skycasters over OptiStreams because of “support and customer service.”
Like OptiStreams, Skycasters isn’t really targeted to end users, but eyes business customers as their main client base.
Starting in August, Skycasters became the first Hughes reseller to offer the DirecWay 4020, which is Mac compatible. The DW4020 is a standalone unit that purportedly requires no software to be loaded on user machines. It provides a standard Ethernet interface and will support a network hub or switch and/or connect directly to Macs, PCs, UNIX systems and other computers or IP enabled devices.
The 4020 in certain configurations can provide up to 13 usable static/routable public IP addresses. The basic 4020 with private IP addressing supports up to 10 connected users. The 4020 is also compatible with 802.11b wireless (or standard) routers including the Skycasters SNS (Satellite Network Server).
Even though Skycasters doesn’t provide service to residential consumers, they do offer service to home-based businesses and telecommuters at residential addresses “provided the service is billed to a legitimate commercial, educational, or government entity.”
Downstream speeds, which affect the viewing of Web pages or the downloading of files, are engineered for speeds up to more than 384Kbps. The upstream is a 128Kbps burst technology and generally operates between 32-64 kbps, the company claims. Skycasters also offers 750 Kbps and 1Mbps services, and can offer custom services with download speeds of up to 4Mbps.
Skycasters service plans for high-speed business-grade Internet service typically range from about US$100 up to around $250 monthly. That’s in addition to their turnkey equipment, engineering and installation package. The equipment package is also available via a monthly lease.