If you’re looking for satellite Internet access for the Mac,
may have the solution — if you can afford it.
Located in Fresno, California, the company is a partner with Hughes Network Systems. Their emphasis is on business applications, though they can also take care of home “power users.” OptiStreams was the first company in the U.S. to take delivery of the two-way satellite dish over a year and a half ago.
“At that time we developed a router to facilitate the use of satellite Internet connectivity for multiple users, and that router is being used successfully for both PC and Mac in installations across America,” Edith Curtice Johnson of OptiStreams told MacCentral. “Indeed, the router accommodates both PC and Macs on the same network. This has been especially useful in the many education facilities that were initially equipped with Macs.”
Companies that are HNS resellers (such as EarthLink, AOL and Pegasus) are basically focused on the home user, who typically don’t have more than 1-2 computers online and can accommodate some Internet sharing. Such customers don’t need a router. Any installation from three users or more can successfully network Macs or PCs using the OptiStreams router to obtain satellite service, Johnson said.
“Satellite can provide the Internet access you require for surfing, research, e-mail, and will shortly be able to provide Web hosting as well,” she added. “In truth, it isn’t great for online gaming, as it adds .5 seconds to a latency of .75 seconds.”
Unfortunately, the OptiStreams’ solution is out of reach of most home users due to its price. The HNS’ DW4020, a multi-user solution, is a self-hosted network terminal that provides a broadband Ethernet LAN interface to Mac, Windows, UNIX and other platforms using IP protocol. It costs US$1,695.
The terminal passes IP data packets to and from any IP device on the LAN in the same manner as an IP router. The HNS’ DW4020 contains an integrated 4-port hub/switch that provides a direct Ethernet interface to four different devices. It’s anticipated that one or more Postal kiosks could connect directly to the HNS’ DW4020 via an Ethernet cable, without the need for hubs, routers or dial-up modems. The HNS’ DW4020 system consists of an elliptical satellite antenna less than one meter in size, associated outdoor electronics, and the indoor equipment that attaches to a customer’s workstation.
The company claims the speeds are over 14 times faster than a typical 28.8 modem, eight times faster than a 56K modem, and more than three times faster than a dedicated ISDN line. When it comes to downloading large files, like installation programs or .PDF files, data that would normally take 20 to 30 minutes to receive only take 2-3 minutes to finish downloading, the company claims.
If you’re interested in their products, you can give them a call at 866-438-6784 or visit the Web site.