Direcway, originally known as DirecPC, provides high speed satellite internet to business and consumers all across North America. Satellite Broadband offers comparable download speeds to 720K DSL and many wireless providers. Upload speeds can vary between Direcway models and region to region.
To understand how Direcway does what it does, you should understand how satellite internet works. A satellite internet modem connects your computer to a Network Operations Center (NOC). The NOC is your gateway to the World Wide Web. When your web browser request a web page. The request is up to a satellite 22,3000 miles above the equator. The satellite retransmit the request down to the NOC. The NOC uses high speed internet connections to contact the web server. The server sends the requested data to the NOC, where the NOC sends the data to the satellite and down to your satellite modem. These steps do not vary much from any other Internet Service Provider (ISOP). If you use a traditional dial up phone modem to connect the internet, your modem dials to your ISP's modem and they serve the same function as the NOC. With a NOC, the connection is made via satellite as opposed to a phone line.
There are some critical differences between dial up, DSL, or a cable modem. A satellite signal traveling 22,300 miles up and down and then back up and back down takes about 480 milliseconds. This is called signal latency. This same effect can be seen when you talk to someone on a phone call which uses satellites. Most phone calls today use fiber optics thus greatly reducing this lag effect.
When you add up the Direcway satellite signal latency to the normal signal latency between the Direcway NOC and the World Wide Web, you will have an average overall latency (in internet terms this called ping times) of at least 600ms and common ping times up to 800ms. This compares to 100ms to 250ms for other, non-satellite, broadband methods. As long as a user understand that satellite internet will appear to have slower page loads then other broadband options of the same download speeds, most users accept this as normal. Direcway Latency does not have an appreciable affect on file transfers, or large page loads. In fact, file downloads on a Direcway Satellite Internet system can greatly exceed a 720Kbps DSL connection. This occurs due to optimized data packet management.
Upload speeds are affected by location and weather. Just like a flashlight beam drops intensity as you look from the center of the beam to outer edges, a satellite signal becomes weaker as you move to the fringes of the beam. There are several satellites used by Direcway to provide satellite broadband to North America. Every satellite provides difference service performance as you move from one area of the country to another. The signal coverage area a satellite is called its foot print. The efficiency of a satellite to receive signals from your satellite dish also varies from region to region. Direcway models 3000, 4000, 4020, and 7000 have common upload speeds between 20Kbps and 50Kbps. The newer Direcway 7000 (released in the winter of 2005) uses a new NOC and compression technology to produce upload speeds between 70Kbps and 100Kbps.
Direcway has offered several options for consumers, Small Home Office and Enterprise users. There were other Direcway models, but they are no longer used and not worth consideration.
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