Astrasat Blog

Satellite Broadband vs Traditional ADSL Comparision

concrete block_smRemember back in the day when you would hear a connection noise on the line if you wanted to use the phone while someone else was on the internet? Well with traditional broadband it’s still the same today. Data is transmitted back and forth from your property using the same copper telephone lines that enable you to make phone calls, the only difference is that a DSL (digital subscriber line) splitter is used to allow this single telephone connection to provide both the ADSL service and voice calls at the same time.

ADSL can generally only be distributed over a short distance from the telephone exchange, typically less than 4km, and the further away you are from the exchange, the worse your connection speeds will be. The upload and download speeds on ADSL broadband tend to differ greatly due to a desire to avoid ‘crosstalk’ creating interference on the line where multiple lines meet, for example at the exchange.

In comparison, satellite broadband sends your broadband signal to a satellite 35,786km above the equator and due to its location in orbit; it can provide equal quality of coverage to every home or business within its footprint. It doesn’t matter how far away you are from the satellite, or how remote your property is, as long as the receiving dish can get line of sight to the satellite.

Traditionally, ADSL broadband is promoted as being faster and more reliable, however we looked into the service provided Business man_smby France based providers and found that on average, subscribers are receiving download speeds of between 1-15 mbps, with only 512 kbps guaranteed and upload speeds less than 1 mbps unless you are within 1km of the exchange.

With satellite technology improving exponentially, satellite broadband customers can now expect download speeds of 22 mbps and upload speeds of 6 mbps for less than the lowest packages from Orange.   Whilst the initial outlay is more expensive, the reliability and speed more than compensates, especially for multi-dwelling properties or those in remote locations.

Astrasat.tv is offering up to 50% off* the cost of hardware on Tooway ‘own your kit’ packages this autumn. With a wide range of tariffs, flexible packages and no long term commitment satellite broadband is an excellent alternative to anyone struggling with ADSL broadband.

Visit www.astrasat.tv for more information.

*customers account must be active for a minimum of 6 months from the activation date. Downgrading not permitted in the first three months.


Tips & Tricks for fixing satellite problems

Since the digital changeover earlier this year, many homes have lost or have poor or intermittent signal on their Freesat, and SkyTV dishes.   With lots of misinformation on the internet, many are left confused about what to do so the expert team at Astrasat.tv have come up with a handy list of tips and tricks to try before calling out an expert.

  • Check the rotation/position of your low-noise block downconverter (LNB).  The LNB is the receiving device mounted on your satellite dish that collects radio waves.  It will be attached to an arm facing back towards your dish and look like this. dishpointed

For details on how to position this properly, visit http://www.dishpointer.com/

  • Check the Db rating of the LNB which will be written on the head, it should be 0.1Db.
  • Check all your cable connections are correctly and securely screwed in.
  • Make sure there is no dialectic wire is touching the copper signal body.
  • Reduce you cable length as much as possible and make sure there are no kinks, or that it has perished anywhere.
  • Use in-line amplifiers to re-generate signal when long cable is required.
  • Update box software.
  • As a general rule to receive Freesat or SkyTV in France you now require a 1.25m ground mounted dish installed away from the elements.

If you have no success with the above, we recommend contacting a registered professional to check your equipment and advise the best result.

Astrasat.tv specializes in fast satellite broadband and SkyTV, product installations and support.  For more information and advice, visit www.astrasat.tv or call Andy on +33 6 24 68 17 28


Lost your signal? Satellite issues, your questions answered

Satellite Astra 2E has now reached its final position with all UK channels making the change early last week. It’s taken a week for everything to settle properly, but we can now report on the following:

The confirmed footprint for Astra 2E features below with the numbers 45 and 60 referring to the satellite dish size required to obtain the signal.  This is not guaranteed 100% for those living in France, but for the most part seems to be correct.

Image

So what are the options for those who have lost signal throughout the rest of the country?

The first and potentially easiest fix is to check the quality and potentially replace your low-noise block downconverter (LBN).  For more information on what an LBN is, click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Low-noise_block_downconverter

If this doesn’t help, then the next step is to increase your satellite dish size.  The map below highlights the size of dish used with success in various parts of France.  For the most part, all channels are fully recoverable and with good reception by installing a 80-150cm dish.  The exact size is very much dependent on your location.

Key - Yellow – 85cm dish, Red – 100cm dish, Green – 120cm dish

Image

As with Astra 2F, Astra 2E is likely to change seasonally, decreasing from April to September, meaning the dishes that work now, may not work then.

Other alternatives to installing  a larger dish:

  • Get UK SKYTV installed by a registered provider in France, such as www.astrasat.tv.  Monthly plans cost the same as in the UK, with an additional £120 + vat per year for the viewing card and installation costs.  This is a guaranteed fix and provides you with all the UK programming permanently with no loss of signal.
  • Use a proxy or VPN server to obtain a UK IP address and watch UK programming on demand via BBC iPlayer, ITV player, 4 on demand etc
  • Watch via internet tv using sites such as http://www.filmon.com – signal is not great via the free service but is significantly improved through subscription.
The last two options require a reliable, high speed internet connection which unfortunately, is not available in many areas of France.  If ADSL is not available or unreliable in your area, we recommend looking at getting satellite broadband installed (http://www.astrasat.tv/satellite-broadband/) and selecting a package with a 20mb/s download speed and minimum data limit of 10GB – this will ensure a fast, reliable internet connection enabling you to watch all your favourite programming online in HD.
You can also watch through your television by connecting with via a set top box or HDMI cable.  For more information, contact us today on connected@astrasat.tv.

Loss of Freesat in France – latest update

As of midday today, ASTRA 2E has reached its final position and all UK channels have been switched over, enabling ASTRA 1N to relocate to its new position.  There have been mixed reports of varied signal strength but for the most part, unless you live in North France or Belgium you will no longer be able to receive UK channels with a standard 60cm satellite dish.

It is possible many will be able to regain the signal with a larger satellite dish and we have had reports of good (not perfect) signal as far as Antibes with satellite dishes in excess of 110cm. However, remember that in France, planning permission must be sought from the local Mairie for mounted dishes exceeding 1m.

Failing success with a larger dish, the remaining options include watching via the internet or subscribing to UK SkyTV or Satellite Broadband in France via a registered provider, such as http://www.astrasat.tv. 


Loss of BBC, ITV and Channel4 in Europe….permanent or temporary?

On February 1st, ASTRA 2E, the replacement satellite for the soon to be recommissioned ASTRA 1N, reached its final destination in the orbital arc of 28.5/28.5 degrees East with the switchover occurring in the early hours of Thursday morning. Extensive in-orbit tests have confirmed that the satellite is now fully operational and performing to specifications, however, it is expected that fine tuning will not be complete until Feb 12th so at this stage, its best to wait and see what happens.

If, by Feb 12th, signal has not returned, then a larger satellite dish (circa 90cm-110cm) will most likely regain signal (although not guaranteed). If not, then you can subscribe to SkyTV and get them back.

coverage map

No one knows the exact answer right now because final tuning and changeover is not complete, but if you want more information contact Andy at www.astrasat.tv on +33 6 24 68 17 28.

Or check out official sources:

http://www.satellite-calculations.com/Satellite/Catalog/catalogID.php?39285

http://www.ses.com/4628866/astra-2e

http://linkis.com/buff.ly/TirX0

http://www.bbc.co.uk/reception/news/news_item25.html


Freesat, we have a problem….

On September 30th, 2013 International Launch Services successfully launched the replacement satellite, Astra 2E for satellite services company, SES.  Astra 2E has now reached its final destination at the 28.2/28.5 orbital arc and over the coming weeks, the channels currently presiding on Astra N1 will be relocated to Astra 2E to allow Astra N1 to return to its permanent location at 19°East.

Watch the launch here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=plpsodmQ2oc&feature=youtu.be

The channels currently located on Astra N1 include those provided by the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV.  Channel 5 has already taken up its permanent location on Astra 2F, so if you currently receive Channel 5 with no problems, then this latest switch over should have no affect, other than perhaps, the need to retune generic (non Freesat or Sky) free-to-air receivers.

If you have permanently lost Channel 5, it will not be possible to receive BBC, Channel 4 and ITV when these channels move to Astra 2E as it has the same reduced spot beam coverage of Astra 2F.  Whilst SES suggests access to this new, tighter spot beam focused on the UK will only be available in areas identified in the map below, this is based on a satellite dish size of up to 60cm and doesn’t take in to account larger dish sizes.

 

ASTRA_2EFG_UK_ku_band_spotbeam

It is likely that expats outside this area may still be able to pick up the signal with dishes of 80cm or more.  The exact dimension requirements are, unfortunately, varied based on location and line of sight to the satellite.  For expats living in the Languedoc area, you can test your line of sight to the new satellites using applications such as DishPointer – available on both Apple and Android phones.

It is likely that Astra 2E is still going through a period of location adjustment before the signal settles, however, rule of thumb is, whatever has happened to Channel 5 at your property, the result for the remaining channels will be the same.  The only solution to which is either installation of a larger satellite dish, or subscription to a pay to view service such as SkyTV.

If you currently receive SkyTV channels via freesat, these will remain available until the launch of Astra 2G, expected in the first half of 2014, after which point these will also move to the same orbit as 2F & 2E, with the same outcome expected.

For advice or more information on the alternative options available, please contact us.


What’s SAT about?

Recently there have been an increase of reports in expat media outlets and forums throughout France and Europe regarding British expats, second home and holiday home owners losing Freeview access to UK Channel’s 5 and often 4.

This follows the retirement and replacement of the SES satellite Astra 2D with Astra 2F.  Astra 2F has a tighter and more focused UK spot beam which has reduced the accessibility for views not based in the UK.  Whilst this currently only affects channels 4 and 5, it is likely to reduce the availability of other channels later in the year when Astra 2E goes in to commission and even more so when Astra 2G is launched in 2014.

More information can be found in this blog from the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/blogs/aboutthebbc/posts/Changes-to-BBC-Satellite-transponders-in-2013