A colleague recently asked me the following question. I would appreciate
your own comments on the issue.
Jeff @ Washington
> During that time, we will have a need for reliable broadband access to
> the internet (www) for research, communications, and file download
> For our purposes, especially research and file downloads, we would
> have the need for mobile broadband access and the best means I
> envision are through a satellite connection.
I'm not familiar with field implementation of mobile satellite
technology. I hear actual throughput of the more popular
implementations are in the range of 2400 to 9600 bps. Cost runs
something like $1.25 per minute, or so I'm told. The per-minute charge is
why I don't bother with it -- unsuitable for my particular clientele.
I myself use the IPASS alliance access through SITA X.25 lines (in
most countries), which again provides real throughput (as opposed to
"connect speed") in the range of 2400 to 9600 bps. There's a dialup
number in almost every African capital. Cost is generally 22 cents US per
minute. You must subscribe first to a provider member of the alliance,
e.g. www.mtwest.net, or igc.apc.org.
9600 is perhaps a passable speed for what you call "broadband"
access, but again you don't always realize that throughput in practice.
You'll find megabyte file downloads (without file recovery from lost
links) to be extremely frustrating.
If you're in a particular country for more than a day or two, then it
becomes feasible (though often expensive) simply to open Internet access
accounts with the local provider. Throughputs closer to 14,400 bps are
generally realizable in many countries. A decent list of providers is
available at www3.sn.apc.org/africa.
If you have contacts through a particular international organization (e.g.
the World Bank), with a letter of introduction from their home offices
they might let you use their established facilities, which often include
leased dedicated links at high speeds.
If you have really big bucks, some kind of higher bandwidth solution via
satellite might be feasible, but I don't generally bother with them since
I don't have a big budget.
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