# What kind of internet access is most reliable in natural disaster?

yungman
Hi,
I decide to get rid of all ATT. I am looking at internet provider. I know Hughesnet and Viasat are satellite that "supposedly" immune to natural disaster like storm, earthquake that can break the electric or F/O cables underground. BUT, is it true?

I don't know how satellite connection works, if there is a land connection in the path in local area, then it's not reliable. I just want to hear from people that has knowledge on this.

Satellite internet provider seems to be more expensive if I want higher speed, so it's a big sacrifice to get that. I need to be sure it's reliable.

Thanks

alan

Staff Emeritus
Have a look at SpaceX Starlink. It is probably the most modern one. But it is not inexpensive.

Mentor
There's always the dish antenna aiming to worry about. It connects you to an internet provider who most likely uses landlines to connect to other network nodes and of course the undersea cables which connect the continents.

https://www.cnet.com/home/internet/satellite-internet-explained/

https://computer.howstuffworks.com/question606.htm

Speedwise cable wins:

https://www.optimum.com/articles/internet/satellite-internet-vs-cable

Basically there are a lot of fail points. If you recall someone had accidentally dredged up an undersea cable disrupting the internet for a while until it was fixed.

https://www.submarinecablemap.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_submarine_cable_disruption

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2007/01/how-do-you-fix-an-undersea-cable.html

https://www.wired.com/story/submarine-internet-cables-egypt/

yungman
yungman
There's always the dish antenna aiming to worry about. It connects you to an internet provider who most likely uses landlines to connect to other network nodes and of course the undersea cables which connect the continents.

https://www.cnet.com/home/internet/satellite-internet-explained/

https://computer.howstuffworks.com/question606.htm

Speedwise cable wins:

https://www.optimum.com/articles/internet/satellite-internet-vs-cable

Basically there are a lot of fail points. If you recall someone had accidentally dredged up an undersea cable disrupting the internet for a while until it was fixed.

https://www.submarinecablemap.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_submarine_cable_disruption

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2007/01/how-do-you-fix-an-undersea-cable.html

https://www.wired.com/story/submarine-internet-cables-egypt/
Thanks for the information. I understand there can be accident in other areas like undersea cables and all that. But that will happen on other internet providers.

I am mostly concern BLACKOUTS in my house if there is say earthquake(living in Calif) or storms that is LOCAL. That's the time when I need to be connected to get live update on the situation. From reading the CNET and the other article, sounds like the Satellite internet is good for this situation as the signal is directly from air. Local disaster would NOT affect the internet.

That's the answer I am looking for.

Thanks

yungman
There's always the dish antenna aiming to worry about. It connects you to an internet provider who most likely uses landlines to connect to other network nodes and of course the undersea cables which connect the continents.

https://www.cnet.com/home/internet/satellite-internet-explained/

https://computer.howstuffworks.com/question606.htm

Speedwise cable wins:

https://www.optimum.com/articles/internet/satellite-internet-vs-cable

Basically there are a lot of fail points. If you recall someone had accidentally dredged up an undersea cable disrupting the internet for a while until it was fixed.

https://www.submarinecablemap.com/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2008_submarine_cable_disruption

https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2007/01/how-do-you-fix-an-undersea-cable.html

https://www.wired.com/story/submarine-internet-cables-egypt/
The CNET article also talked about speed needed for video streaming. 4K needs to have 25MBPS download. So if I go with say Hughesnet, I can only stream one TV.

I am new to all these, I truly do NOT care about the clarity of the TV picture. I am hifi person, I still using RCA composite video even though I have HD tv. I really don't care. Is there any way to just getting say HD or even SD streaming so I can stream to multiple tv stations in different rooms with just 25MBPS download speed of Hughesnet provider?

Thanks

Staff Emeritus
I have never lost cell service during a blackout. Obviously, this depends on the area blacked out I;ve plugged a laptop into a phone and connected that way.

The question you will need to ask is what level of disaster are you protecting against? The solution I outlined will probably protect against a once a year event but not once a decade. Is that enough? Do you need to go to once a century? Longer?

russ_watters
Mentor
I don't think you can do that. Video signals aren't like electricity or water where you can divy them in different ratios. HD video signals are for HD devices and you can dumb them down. There is a notionof upscaling and downscaling but I think that happens locally on your device.

yungman
I don't think you can do that. Video signals aren't like electricity or water where you can divy them in different ratios. HD video signals are for HD devices and you can dumb them down. There is a notionof upscaling and downscaling but I think that happens locally on your device.
That's what I am afraid of. Kind of know the answer, but hoping I am wrong.

The reason I ask is ultimately, I want to replace my DirecTV. I can go to Xfinity or Dish Network. But friends kept telling me about streaming device to save money on cable or dish. If I go to Dish Network, I don't need fast internet.

I know I can get most if not all the programs using streaming device as most of my friends are doing. But they all have very high speed internet.

I guess I am kind of a survivalist. I am planning to put solar panel and battery backup in case of power blackouts and disasters like earthquake..........Yes, I double earthquake reinforced my house already. I want to be able to connect to outside even under those situation.

Thanks

Staff Emeritus
Homework Helper
Why not pay for a fast fiber or cable connection for everyday use and for a slow satellite connection to be used as a backup in case the fast connection goes down?

yungman and Wrichik Basu
Mentor
That's what I am afraid of. Kind of know the answer, but hoping I am wrong.

The reason I ask is ultimately, I want to replace my DirecTV. I can go to Xfinity or Dish Network. But friends kept telling me about streaming device to save money on cable or dish. If I go to Dish Network, I don't need fast internet.

I know I can get most if not all the programs using streaming device as most of my friends are doing. But they all have very high speed internet.

I guess I am kind of a survivalist. I am planning to put solar panel and battery backup in case of power blackouts and disasters like earthquake..........Yes, I double earthquake reinforced my house already. I want to be able to connect to outside even under those situation.

Thanks
Survivalist? Haha... I'm thinking cheapskate.

Sometimes I think that way too so you're in good company.

Staff Emeritus
I guess I am kind of a survivalist.
LOL. Maybe we're all a bit like you. But the biggest survival priority is video entertainment. Don't you see any irony in that?

russ_watters
yungman
LOL. Maybe we're all a bit like you. But the biggest survival priority is video entertainment. Don't you see any irony in that?
I don't care about entertainment, more on latest news and what's going on.

Homework Helper
2022 Award

Vanadium 50, Wrichik Basu, russ_watters and 2 others
Mentor
Maybe you can watch some apocalyptic movies to get a sense of what you won’t have.

demolition alley
legend
zombie movies

vela, russ_watters and yungman
yungman
Why not pay for a fast fiber or cable connection for everyday use and for a slow satellite connection to be used as a backup in case the fast connection goes down?
$$yungman How about an FM/AM radio? Maybe in your car?? I cannot ask questions here, I cannot make VOIP phone calls. Science Advisor Gold Member Do I detect a "Requirements Creep"? I am mostly concern BLACKOUTS in my house if there is say earthquake(living in Calif) or storms that is LOCAL. That's the time when I need to be connected to get live update on the situation. How about an FM/AM radio? Maybe in your car?? I cannot ask questions here, I cannot make VOIP phone calls. As @anorlunda noted, Starlink would be a good option as they use a bunch of LEO (Low Earth Orbit) satellites, and the user antennas have a wide beam pattern. That combination avoids the critical antenna aiming needed for satellites in geo-synchronous orbits. There are also satellite phones available, but I hear they too are 'not cheap.' Last edited: yungman Do I detect a "Requirements Creep"? As @anorlunda noted, Starlink would be a good option as they use a bunch of LEO (Low Earth Orbit) satellites, and the user antennas have a wide beam pattern. That combination avoids the critical antenna aiming needed for satellites in geo-synchronous orbits. There are also satellite phones available, but I hear they too are 'not cheap.' Starlink is not available in the bayarea yet. What's wrong about Hughesnet or Viasat? They are the only two available for my address. So the antenna pointing is more critical. Question is does it work? Thanks Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Education Advisor Do I detect a "Requirements Creep"? Oh, there's a creep all right. We've been down this path before. Ill-posed problem, which we eventually figure out. Solutions are proposed, which are subsequently ignored. When it doesn't work out, it becomes our fault. Ben2 and berkeman Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Homework Helper Education Advisor$$$You're looking for an insurance policy against a natural disaster. You're not going to get it for free. If you sign up for satellite, it's relatively expensive and slow, so you're limited in how you can use the internet 99.9999% of the time. You pay in the form of opportunity cost, which you're probably underestimating. On the other hand, you can pay for cable or fiber, which is relatively inexpensive and fast, so you can do things like stream TV, movies, etc. Your everyday experience is vastly improved, but you risk that you might lose service during a natural disaster. But even if you do, there are other communication channels, as others have mentioned, through which you may be able to get information. russ_watters and Vanadium 50 Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Education Advisor "I want it just as fast, more reliable, and not cost a lot more" is not likely to work out that way. The way we improve reliability is with redundancy. You want a setup where if one connection fails, it falls over to another. Maybe that's a different internet provider, like satellite. Maybe it's a different technology altogether, like a radio receiver. russ_watters and vela Ben2 Vanadium is absolutely right. IMHO any social medium needs a subroutine to kick "Auld Lang Syne" queries back to the original thread. The high-powered experts here shouldn't be wasted on "What's my best deal?" questions. Tom.G and berkeman Homework Helper Education Advisor Gold Member Not sure if this helps or not: Mobile device ("smartphone") and plenty of paid-for cellular data - you would be able to use internet; and some people know how to use the device to make internet signal available for other mobile devices. yungman Why not pay for a fast fiber or cable connection for everyday use and for a slow satellite connection to be used as a backup in case the fast connection goes down? Actually after weighting all the options, this might be the best route. Instead getting cable TV and satellite internet, I get another high speed internet and stream tv. One problem satellite is the LATENCY is long, my grand kids play games when they stay over, I need internet with short latency for them. With that in mind, I am think about what is the CHEAPEST way to get TV and internet that everyone is happy. Here is a way I come up: 1) I am getting TWO internets, one land based(cable or F/O) that is fast and high GB/mo for tv and game. One basic satellite internet like Hughesnet cheapest 25Mbps 15GBmax for$64.

2) Satellite won’t go down in storm or local earthquake. I use the satellite internet for email, VOIP using my old home phone number and internet search that will work when everything else goes down during storm or earthquake.

3) I use the fast land line internet for streaming tv and for GAMING(land line has much shorter LATENCY)

4) Instread of getting cable tv like Xfinity, I am looking into streaming boxes like Amazon Fire stick or Roku depends on free channels available. So I save money on cable TV and put it on the extra internet.

5) I use on air antenna and converter box to get local tv channels to drive tv when the land line internet is down so I still get local tv.

With this, the estimate cost is about roughly $65 for satellite, about$60 for fast internet, $10 for VOIP each month. Which will be about$140/month. I just hope the cheapest Hughesnet that provide 15GB total data/mo is enough for internet and VOIP phone. I searched, usage is about 100MB/hr, sounds like that should be enough. I don't download music or video.

Channels I want are basic channels:
Foxnews, Fox Business, Newsmax, TBS, SiFi, USA, TNT, Lifetime, Hallmark, E!, FXM, AMC, IFC, CMT
I hope I can get these free. I know Fox News has free aps.

Last edited:
Wrichik Basu
Mentor

Wrichik Basu
Mentor
Thread is reopened after several posts were deleted (resulting from a confusion about the meaning of a comment in a post). Let's be civil in this thread please.

yungman, Wrichik Basu and jedishrfu
Gold Member
$10 for VOIP each month. What is the trick for that price? The suppliers here in Southern california want$30 per month!

the estimate cost is about roughly $65 for satellite, Just some thoughts. - Since you want satellite internet as backup, it might be more optimal to account it as some kind of community investment instead. Then (in need) do the sharing with local devices. - all those electronics would worth nothing without electricity. Disaster preparedness should include backup power too: generator (with regular maintenance and regularly replaced fuel) and UPS to power your devices. One time cost (well: mostly), but far higher than just the monthly fee of the internet connection. Last edited: Wrichik Basu and jedishrfu Mentor Yes, we just an hour experienced a power outage due to an ice storm in Texas once again. No local power means relying on cellphone service for internet and battery conservation not knowing when power will return. The funny part was I decided to call in my outage on the phone. Old school automated system asks for home phone and callback phone for when power is restored. The very moment I press the red button to hang up, the power comes back online. Fastest customer service ever. There are a lot of good books out there on how to prepare for any disaster. If you're worried about these kinds of things as everyone should be. They will tell you what you need on hand and how to prepare. One such book is The Preppers Guide to Surviving Natural Disasters by James Nowka. The author has experienced many disaster events from working as a salvage diver, fire fighter and rescue specialist and disaster relief worker for hurricane events. I have a few others. The key is actually reading them and remembering what they said. Wrichik Basu Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Homework Helper Education Advisor What is the trick for that price? The suppliers here in Southern california want$30 per month!
The last time I checked, phone service is only a $10 add-on with Spectrum. I thought it was the same with AT&T, but I might be misremembering. I recommend looking into Ooma for phone service. At the cheapest level, all you have to do is pay taxes and government-required fees each month for phone service. Staff Emeritus Science Advisor Education Advisor This thread suffers from ill-specified requirements. (Will the grandkids be playing Resident Evil while there is an actual zombie apocalypse outside?) Two important factors are "how long will this go on?" and "how widespread is it?" If the reason you lose internet is because you've lost power, and the POP has lost power, and indeed everything for a hundred miles around has lost power that's a different kettle of fish than cable going out for your block. Science Advisor The kind that still works. (answer to OP question) yungman Just follow up of what I've done. I went with Dish Network and already installed and working. I go with Xfinity 75Mbps(cheapest) internet. They are coming to install it tomorrow. I settled with OOMA VOIP phone to replace the landline. Next step for me is looking into Solar panel with battery backup. That is a big ticket item. I am not going to even looking at satellite internet until the solar panel is done. I am also waiting Elon Must low orbit satellite internet available later this year. That should reduce the latency time. Not sure whether it's fast enough for grand kids video games, will see. Might find the cheapest satellite internet and keep the Xfinity internet also. Believe it or not, I cut the cost from$285/mo with Directv, AT&T internet and landline to about \$150/mo going to Dish, Xfinity and OOMA VOIP. I'll be totally getting rid of AT&T by the end of the week.