Monday, August 03, 2009

DataStorm RIP

By Jim

We are retiring our dish.


You who have been following us for a while know how much we love our Internet satellite service.  We had it installed in ‘03 before we left Florida, our first year out.


Back then, cellular broadband was almost non-existent and Wi-Fi was in its infancy.  Dial-up was out of the question for us.

Our fledgling business plan was based on the ability to be connected with high-speed Internet wherever we traveled.  Satellite Internet was the only viable solution at the time.


So, we bit the bullet and forked over the $6K for the (then) state-of-the-art F1 DataStorm with the 4020 Hughes modems and D1 controller.  Service with one static IP address was $115/month through Ground Control.

Over the years, we only had a few problems that were readily handled by MotoSat or Ground Control.  The DataStorm Users Group and especially founder Don Bradner were our lifeline and support.


I turned off service last fall while we were in Florida for the winter because our home park, Paradise Island, has good Wi-Fi.  Besides, our 3rd set of modems had finally bit the dust and I needed to upgrade.


Since we left Florida this year, I replaced the Upper Control Board on the mount, got the newest D4 controller and a new 7000S modem.  I figured I was all set.  Wrong.  I was not able to get everything working together.  Hours were spent on the phone with MotoSat technical support.  More hours were spent on site by a MotoSat tech at the FMCA Convention in Bowling Green.  They finally decided that a new LNB and arm might fix it.  But our dish was just too old, they didn’t have a replacement to send.


We could spend big bucks and replace the dish.


What we will do is use our Verizon cellular broadband and Wi-Fi when it is available to access the Internet.


Next year we might replace the dish for our travels west.   There are still lots of places we want to go where cell towers are scarce and Wi-Fi is not available.


Like we always say, “If you *Need* the Internet, you need all three ways to connect.  Satellite, Cellular, and Wi-Fi”


Anonymous said...

Isn't it crazy that you have to have 3 ways to receive the internet...and then i've still been without..but the $$$ still goes out of the account!!! I had too many problems and dealing with support was the most aggrevating thing i have ever come across in the RV life style. Crack that bottle and let the "Storm" past!!

Lynne said...

hey , by then there will probably more towers,full city hotspots and itti bitti dishes.... we are in an RV park right now that offers free Tengo internet(fast and dependable except on Saturday) If there is a new or inventive way to get connected you two will have it!

SunshinecruiserTN said...

What about signal boosters for the Verizon EVDO broadband USB modem? I haven't traveled out west yet so don't know what's facing me there for internet service. I would like to boost my verizon signal and am investigating the best way to do that.

Richam said...

We never sprang for satellite internet since we are only snowbirds. But for the last three years we have rarely been without an internet connection for more than a day or two with WIFI and our Verizon aircard. We were so surprised to be in Quartsite and have a faster connection than we do at our house in the Vancouver,WA area.

Marilyn said...

Sorry to hear about your Data Storm problems. We spent three days at MotoSat at the same time you were at the FMCA. Ended up with everything new on the roof plus D3 and HN7000S. Also went from 99 to 83. So far problems seem to have dissapeared. Hope it stays this way.

Jim said...

SunshineCruiser-The amplifiers and external antennas will help signal if it is available. Some places have nothing at all.
One day without is max for Chris.
It is getting better.