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Remotely Connecting by Satellite To the Hospital - 2005

Hospital's and the Medical Professionals associated with them across America have discovered during the last few years that a great deal of efficiency can be accomplished by utilizing the World Wide Web to connect Doctors, Surgeons, Medical Transcribers and remote or mobile Clinics together. A specialist can instantly review an X-Ray or medical chart half way around the world or from a very remote area. Although most of this connectivity is accomplished utilizing high speed terrestrial internet connections like a T1, Cable or DSL connections, there are many areas in the U.S. where this type of internet connection isn't available.

Satellite internet connectivity has advanced enough during the last year or so to allow a specialist to view highly detailed graphical information (x-rays or scans from MRI equipment) in a HIPPA compliant internet environment that can be deemed "high speed". The equipment needed to accomplish this is more expensive than a DSL or Cable connection and there are somewhat more complicated security measures needed; however, more and more medical group's are seeing the benefits from this type of connection and adding satellite internet "ground stations" at the remote homes of resident doctors, medical professionals like transcribers and smaller clinics they serve.

The early efforts to provide satellite internet to this field were frankly miserable failures??either not HIPPA compliant or speeds so slow you could have gotten a courier to bring it faster! DirecWay and Starband solutions just don't have enough upload speed to handle this type of activity. When you add nearly 2 seconds of latency inherent in this type of satellite connection, you have a bunch of frustrated folks!

The equipment which will be the standard for several years to come includes an outdoor dish (1.2 meter is now standard), coax cabling no greater than 200' to an indoor unit which handles routing, modem functions and provides the required security. The upload transmitters are much more powerful now??up to 4 watts (compared to 1 watt or less in earlier solutions). They are capable of instantly "ramping up" the wattage during inclement weather to all but eliminate rain fade and can provide sustained speeds in the T1 or better range if required.

What does all of this magic cost? The costs have dropped precipitously during the last year as a result of two main factors: underutilized transponders on many Ku band satellites covering North America and good ole competition between the hardware manufacturers. In 2002 a .74 meter dish setup with a ½ watt transmitter ran over $2,800 for equipment and upwards of $150 per month?..and did a miserable job! In 2005, the same basic cost will bring a 1.2 meter dish and speeds of nearly 1200 kbps download and a sustained 128 kbps or better upload??including a Quality of Service (QOS) guarantee of speed from the internet service provider! Higher speeds are available for additional cost (as high as 2040+kbps downloads and 1028+kbps uploads).

These speeds combined with much lower latency (these internet providers use IP technology throughout the trip through space ? not Digital Video Broadcast translated into IP) provide a reliable, secure and fast experience. For the professional or clinic unable to obtain terrestrial high speed internet, it is a great solution.

About the Author:
Randy Scott has been involved in the bi-directional satellite internet industry from it's beginning as a Sr. Sales Engineer, consultant and business owner. Randy is the founder of VSAT U.S., a consulting and sales agent, representing the most prestigious satellite internet providers in the U.S. For more information about mobile VSAT products or current VSAT satellite internet offerings, visit or email

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