VFR Internet Services

VFR Satellite Service

VFR is pleased to offer fast Internet download speeds without the hassle or geographic limitations of DSL or Cable.  How?  Via Satellite.  Using this system we can offer high speed Internet virtually anywhere in the United States.

Here is how it works:

    -You use your dial-up modem to dial in to the Internet like you always do.  The modem is used to send information TO the Internet.
    -You use our satellite service to download information FROM the Internet at fast speeds.
    -When you are finished you hang up like you normally do.  

    -The fact is that most users actually send very little information TO the Internet.   Most users send outbound e-mail TO the Internet and that's about it.  E-mail typically moves right along even at dial-up modem speeds.

    -On the other hand, most users download substantial quantities of information FROM the Internet.  For example, you turn on your Internet Explorer and are looking at a web page.  Every time you click on a link on that web page, the information that you see displayed is coming FROM the Internet.  Right now it comes in through your dial-up modem which is why it takes so long for pages to display.  With the satellite it comes in substantially faster.

    -Your incoming e-mail comes through the satellite also.  So it will download substantially faster than it used to with the dial-up modem.

    -There are a couple of distinct benefits to Satellite service over DSL or cable.  

        -First, it is more secure.  You disconnect from the Internet at the end of your session.  With DSL and cable you are hooked up all the time.  The "hackers" and others who cause mischief on the Internet cannot get into your computer to look at your personal files when you are not on line.  

        -Second, it is transportable.  If you decide to move across the street or across the country, you can take the equipment with you.  You install the antenna at your new location, change to one of our local dial-up numbers in your new area, and you are back on line with the same user name and capabilities as before.  Unless we have to install the equipment for you, there would be no additional cost for moving from one location to another.

How fast does it work?

    -Dial up modems are usually rated at 56kbaud (or 56k for short).  But they rarely connect at that speed.  Typically a modem will connect somewhere in the 40's.

    -The satellite can download at speeds up to about 400 kbaud.  There are many things that affect download speed so no particular speed can be guaranteed.  But generally you will find the speed to be substantially faster than your dial-up modem.

    -Atmospheric phenomenon can affect speed.  We have a demonstration unit set up in our office.  We have found that it works well almost all of the time.  However, when a heavy rain storm comes through (not a drizzle or a steady rain, but the kind that shows up in yellows and reds on the local TV station weather radar), then the signal slows down or gets cut off altogether.  Wait a few minutes and it is back.  We assume that a heavy snow fall would cause the same problem.

What does it take to get hooked up?

    -This only works on PC's at this time.  So if you have an Apple computer, we're sorry but we can't serve you at this time.  Please check with us in a few months to see if we have developed the ability to serve our Apple customers.

    -Your PC must be running at least Windows 98 (Second Edition).  Windows ME, Windows 2000, and Windows XP will work fine.  Our system will not work with Windows 98 (first edition), Windows 95 and particularly not Windows 3.1.

    -VFR will install a small satellite dish at your home, a card in your computer and some coax cable between the two.  Some software is then installed on your configured, the system configured and you are on.

    -You must have a location on your property where the dish can be mounted and be able to see the sky slightly south of due east.  This can be on your house, a barn or a fence post.  From Placer County the satellite is located at a true heading of about 103 degrees and an elevation of 22 degrees.  Get out your compass and set it for north then look at a heading of about 119 degrees (that is the 103 true heading plus 16 degrees for magnetic variation).  If you can see the sky looking that direction and slightly upwards you should be OK.  If you have many tall trees in the way, this won't work.

    -You must read and agree to our Terms of Service.  You can find the terms by clicking here.  

What does it cost?

    -The installation cost is $249.95.   This includes installation of the antenna, running the coax cable to your computer (100 feet or less), installation of the PCI card on your computer, installation and configuration of the software to run the system.

    -The monthly recurring charge is only $49.95 per month (this includes the cost for the dial-up portion of the service).

    -Any taxes are in addition to this cost.

    -The price also includes a subscription for one e-mail address to our spam and virus filtering service.  You can learn the details of this service by clicking here.

Are there any limitations?  Yes.

    -First, if you are a game player (meaning those who play fast-action, interactive games against others via the Internet), you will not like this system.  Because the signal has to go from the earth out to a satellite some 26,000 miles in space and back to the earth, there is a small time lag involved - a fraction of a second.  Most users don't even notice this lag time but the heavy game players will.  If you are a game player, don't sign up for this service - you won't be happy.

    -Second, the amount of information you download (referred to as "bandwidth") while ample for most users, is not unlimited.  Users are subjected to a "reasonable use" limitation on bandwidth.  For details on exactly what this means, click here.  This is basically an amount of bandwidth somewhat in excess of that which history as shown the average user uses per month.  Right now that figure is about 500 megabytes.  Once that use limit is reached the satellite does not turn off - it just slows down.  Most users don't use near that much bandwidth.  This limitation is intended to limit the abuse caused by those who get on the Internet and download massive quantities of data (such as movies or music files) all day long.  Those users who use it for e-mail, browsing the web, Instant Messaging and perhaps listening to radio stations, shouldn't have any problems with bandwidth usage.

    -Our installation cost assumes the usual mounting of the antenna on a building, routing of cable to the computer and installation of the card and software on your computer.  Anything different than this must be discussed in advance.  This would include any trenching that might be required to bury the cable, or other unusual requirements.

    -We are asked if you can install the equipment yourself.  Yes, you can.  The equipment comes with a CD of software and an instruction manual on how to install the PC card and configure the software.  We would be more than happy to discuss with you which portion you can perform yourself and which VFR needs to perform.  You may find that the most difficult part is the aiming of the antenna.  It is somewhat sensitive.  

    -The price specifically includes the internal PC card modem for your computer.  There is an external modem available which connects to your computer via a USB cable.  There is a separate cost for this modem.  Please call us for pricing information if you want this modem.

Technical information is available on our tech support page which can be accessed by clicking here.  

Please call us at 916-652-3888 or e-mail us if you have any questions.

VFR Internet 
PO Box 1246
Loomis, CA  95650
E-mail:  office@garlic.com