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Old 02-15-2020, 09:27 PM   #1
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Bad time to buy WiFi/4G LTE equipment, outdated technology in a year or so?

I'm about to take delivery of a new to me 2005 43' Newmar Mountain Aire. I've been noodling WiFi / LTE options while waiting for it to be completed and picking it up. I have been leaning to the newer WiFi Ranger Converge setups.



Today I went to the Houston RV show, and an installer gave a presentation on WiFi, 4GLTE, all of today's equipment, etc. I certainly learned a lot from his presentation.



What took me by surprise was his information on the 3 new satellite based WiFi networks currently being set up by Elon Musk, Amazon and some guy named Wylie from Britain. I had vaguely had heard about this in the past, but the information he presented made it clear that this isn't just coming, it's firmly actually in progress, and seriously so. Musk/SpaceX has already launched 200+ satellites and is launching 20 per month for the foreseeable future. According to this guy, it's conceivable that this network could be operational by the end of the year, almost certainly in 2021. It's going to offer speeds light years ahead of any LTE based speeds we have now, and it'll be significantly faster than what most of us have at home now. It'll be unbroken worldwide coverage, 100% of the time. This will kill off satellite TV almost instantly. I've been planning on spending a few bucks bringing the satellite system on the coach up to date, even that is in doubt now.



I'm seriously considering putting off the $800+ purchase of a WiFi Ranger Converge system, and just going for now with a cheap hotspot device to inexpensively bridge the gap between now and such time this system becomes operational. If it's just rumored to be coming, that's one thing. However, to have 200+ birds up there already and shooting up another 20 per month is a whole 'nother story.



What do you guys think of all this?
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Old 02-15-2020, 09:39 PM   #2
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Iím content with the cheap hotspot device. When I donít have service, I always feel itís for the best somehow, and at times even read something on paper. Things could be worse....
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Old 02-15-2020, 09:56 PM   #3
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as a casual observer my gut tells me that Musk is long on promise and short on delivery. what's the new system going to cost? how fast do you need it to be to stream Law and Order re-runs? ��. a sat based system is bound to have issues...tree cover, latency and so on. me? i'd look for a 'today' solution, maybe not the WiFi Ranger but i would not wait 'till to tomorrow.
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Old 02-15-2020, 10:11 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rk911 View Post
'today' solution
What a novel concept....
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Old 02-16-2020, 04:29 AM   #5
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Save your $800
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Old 02-16-2020, 05:16 AM   #6
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This has been a topic at our house recently. I kinda agree with RW. But not yet . My wife is still working and needs fast, reliable wifi, or, the top of her head lifts about 3 inches and flames start shooting out. Not pretty!
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Old 02-16-2020, 05:23 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janjim View Post
This has been a topic at our house recently. I kinda agree with RW. But not yet . My wife is still working and need fast, reliable wifi, or, the top of head lifts about 3 inches and flames start shooting out. Not pretty!
Thanks for that visual! I'm glad I didn't have my coffee cup in hand when I read this!
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Old 02-16-2020, 06:11 AM   #8
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I am waiting patiently for the satellite wifi setups to get started to see how much they cost and how they work. IMHO it could be great for RV's if it does not cost to much. I am sure it will have the tree restrictions that satellite users have now. But for right now I will continue to use my Mobley.

It also would be great for rural areas. There has been several times that I love a piece of property, but getting dependable internet shot it down.
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Old 02-16-2020, 07:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Janjim View Post
This has been a topic at our house recently. I kinda agree with RW. But not yet . My wife is still working and needs fast, reliable wifi, or, the top of her head lifts about 3 inches and flames start shooting out. Not pretty!
Yes, well, we certainly donít want that. It can be dangerous for anyone in the proximity
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Old 02-16-2020, 07:56 AM   #10
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Strongly suspect that when it comes, it will not be cheap.
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Old 02-16-2020, 08:25 AM   #11
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I have no info other than what was presented at the seminar. Poking around on the net, however, does reveal a few things.



It's abundantly clear that this is absolutely definitely happening. It's well under way. This isn't just an Elon Musk pie in the sky vanity project. Musk's SpaceX is a well known legitimate commodity now. The have absolutely spent mega dollars already, having launched approx 200+ proprietary network dedicated satellites that are already in orbit as we speak. I can't begin to imagine what those satellites and the launching of them cost. Clearly, this thing is coming, and it's coming FAST. It's planned to be activated in phases. I'm no expert, but from the number of satellites needed to introduce phase one of the service, the number in orbit now, and the 20 per month planned (they've already exceeded the 20 per month in past months so that seems to be a legit number), having some service by the end of the year seems very possible.



The seminar presenter mentioned a number of times to expect the service to cost in the $80 per month range. Again, it's supposed to be way faster than what we even have at home right now. Concern about trees, etc should be a thing of the past. Your internet, satellite/cable and phone bills should all be positively affected by this in one way or another.



I understand the skepticism expressed here, but even a cursory examination of the information regarding this system that's readily available on the internet detailing the confirmed work done and enormous amounts of money already spent on this system would show even the most skeptical among us that this is real, and its coming fast.
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Old 02-16-2020, 08:26 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug427 View Post
What took me by surprise was his information on the 3 new satellite based WiFi networks currently being set up by Elon Musk, Amazon and some guy named Wylie from Britain. I had vaguely had heard about this in the past, but the information he presented made it clear that this isn't just coming, it's firmly actually in progress, and seriously so. Musk/SpaceX has already launched 200+ satellites and is launching 20 per month for the foreseeable future. According to this guy, it's conceivable that this network could be operational by the end of the year, almost certainly in 2021. It's going to offer speeds light years ahead of any LTE based speeds we have now, and it'll be significantly faster than what most of us have at home now. It'll be unbroken worldwide coverage, 100% of the time. This will kill off satellite TV almost instantly. I've been planning on spending a few bucks bringing the satellite system on the coach up to date, even that is in doubt now.
With all due respect, there are significant uncertainties regarding how the SpaceX system is going to impact individual users. The first thing is timing--it's likely to be at least 2021 before coverage of all of North America is provided and that's assuming that all the planned launches go as planned and everything works as designed. Those are big assumptions.

Then there's the issue of price. Yes, Musk has used an $80/month swag to publicize the concept but that's a long way from being willing and able to provide unlimited internet service to everyone at that price. I would expect to see higher prices initially and, potentially, tiers of service at a range of prices.

Lastly, for RVers there's the question of how much open sky will the system really need on your rooftop in order to work properly. No doubt the antenna will be a flat "phased array" system where nothing physically moves. Compared to today's satellite TV and internet it won't be connecting to a satellite fixed in a single location. Rather, there will be lots of satellites whizzing around in the sky and your connection will automatically jump from one to another. That means that you may have to have a relatively large open sky above you otherwise your connection may jump to a satellite that is being obscured by trees or a building or whatever. Until more is known about this, how the system will be affected by trees, etc, won't be understood.

Any electronics you buy today probably have, at most, a ~5 year life before they've been made obsolescent by technological progress. For example, most of today's cellular hardware will become obsolete as the 5G network expands over the next decade. But that doesn't stop people from buying today's new phones even though virtually none of them are 5G-capable Personally, I wouldn't defer a near-term purchase just because of what SpaceX may or may not be able to provide in the next couple of years. JMO

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Old 02-16-2020, 08:42 AM   #13
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My vote is save your money, for now. I agree there is some uncertainty, however a lot of that will be resolved in the next 3-6 months, when Starlink goes live for early adopters. As to that launch rate, it is closer to 60 per month, not 20, with the 3rd lunch of 60 satellites so far in 2020 scheduled for 9 am tomorrow morning, which will bring the total to just over 300 if all goes well (though a handful of those failed to operate correctly). Roughly 600 are needed to begin limited service, with a planned 12,000 satellites for full global coverage, in multiple overlapping tiers by 2026.



Starlink is claiming they will have limited coverage for the southern US in time for hurricane season this year, which starts in June. It is unclear when coverage will be available for the general public though, as initial coverage may only be offered to government agencies, large organizations, etc. which makes sense from an early adopter tech support perspective. The thing about limited coverage when this system goes live is that it will depend on clear line of site, without obstructions until the constellation fills up over the next few years, progressively allowing better coverage.
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Old 02-16-2020, 08:54 AM   #14
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There a few inaccuracies in this

Elon is launching 60 sats @ a time hopefully 2 times a month.If one does a google search of starlink you will find lots of info -here is one about tomorrows launch. https://spaceflightnow.com/2020/02/0...bruary-launch/
There have been other posts about what the antenna looks like and so on
Hope this helps !

NB. this was done before Isaac-1 posted
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