Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Gaming over Wild Blue Information

Here is my wikipedia article on my broadband ISP written mostly by me. I'll try to descibe my MMORPG experience over satellite in Wisconsin. The Winter cold does not affect my connection!

Wild Blue Communications is a relatively affordable Ka-BAND satellite internet service provider in the United States covering most of the geography. The Ka band (kurz-above band) is a portion of the K band of the microwave band of the electromagnetic spectrum. Ka band roughly ranges from 18 to 40 GHz.

The headquarters is in Greenwood Village, Colorado even though local transmissions are licensed out to stations in other states such as Wyoming.

The maximum bandwidth subscription is 1.5 Mbit/s down (256 kbit/s up) and always slightly less than that. The basic package of 512 kbit/s at $50 USD is approximately three times as expensive as dialup. The satellite equipment is approx $299 without professional installation. WildBlue claims superior performance both in terms of upload and download speed and also latency through its use of newer satellite technology.

First Person shooters are a big problem because of the 2 to 3 second latency between satellite and ground server, but MMORPGs for some reason are quite playable with no slowdown most of the time. The first person shooter requires the location of the node, what weapon and health the node has, and who she/he is firing at all in real time. MMORPGs are turn based combat so the player node bandwidth isn't as much. The recommended web browser for Wild Blue is Mozilla Firefox because WebPages load faster when surfing internal hyperlinks. Internet Explorer, Netscape, and Opera are fully supported.

WildBlue uses a 28 x 26 in (508 x 660 mm) mini-dish and external satellite modem to bring their service to customers anywhere in the USA. The modem connects to a PC or Mac much the same way a cable or DSL modem would, via RJ-45/ethernet to a network card. The modem updates it's firmware automatically.

The orbital Ka-Band commutation satellites used for Wild Blue is WildBlue-1 with some additional help from Anik-F2 satellite. WildBlue-1 was launched into low orbit early 2005.

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