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Sky Muster NBN ~ Review Of My New Satellite Internet

The Australian Government promised the new Sky Muster satellite would provide improved internet services to Australians in remote and rural areas. My home is one of the first connected to Sky Muster via the Australian Government's NBN initiative.

For those who are still waiting to experience the NBN Sky Muster satellite, here's my review of the installation process of the new satellite dish, and the internet service it provides.

Sky Muster Modem is Bright and Easy

The first, most obvious difference between the new Sky Muster modem and my old satellite internet modem is how simple and easy it is to see if you have an effective connection.

My old satellite modem had a number of different lights, all small and difficult to see unless you walked close. If three lights were steady and one was flashing, the internet connection should have been working. But that wasn't always the case. I was often forced to turn the modem off and on again, hoping for a successful internet connection.

I had the modem connected to Wi-Fi so we could use the internet on a number of devices throughout our home, but even if I was in the same room as the modem it was often impossible to figure out just what was happening with the lights and the connection.

The new Sky Muster Modem makes it incredibly easy to identify whether or not you'll be successfully connected to the internet. A large circle on the face of the box changes colour as it searches, and then connects to the satellite.

If the circle is bright blue on your Sky Muster modem, you are connected to the satellite and can confidently expect your computers and other devices will have access to the internet. Simple and easy to see.

Sky Muster Amber Light

The amber light flashes on the Sky Muster modem (along with a white light) when power is first turned on. If the amber light is constant, it indicates the satellite modem is in 'sleep' mode. When properly connected to the internet, the light is blue.
The amber light flashes on the Sky Muster modem (along with a white light) when power is first turned on. If the amber light is constant, it indicates the satellite modem is in 'sleep' mode. When properly connected to the internet, the light is blue. | Source

Signing Up For Sky Muster Satellite Internet

After five years suffering the frustration and inconvenience of satellite internet with limited download and connection as slow as old-time dial-up internet, I was desperate for faster service. As soon as I heard word of the launch of a new satellite to provide improved satellite internet connection to Australians in remote and rural regions, I signed up for the new service.

If you are currently connected to satellite internet using old technology, sign up for connection to the new Sky Muster satellite through the NBN (National Broadband Network) initiative.

You cannot request the NBN connection through your current satellite internet provider, but you nominate a provider on the NBN registration form. You can choose to list your current provider. But it is worth making enquiries about the packages offered by a number of different service providers.

New Satellite Dish for Sky Muster Internet

New satellite dish ready for connection to NBN Sky Muster satellite.
New satellite dish ready for connection to NBN Sky Muster satellite. | Source

How Long Does Installation Take?

The process of installing the new NBN Sky Muster satellite can take up to four hours. In addition to erecting the new satellite dish on the roof, the cable has to be fed down your wall (inside the wall cavity) and a plug for the cable attached to the wall. The modem is also attached to the wall, then connected to the cable.

My Sky Muster modem was attached to a new wall, not yet painted. But that's okay. It is easily removed by twisting the modem a little (clockwise) and then sliding it off. I asked the technician to demonstrate it for me, so I can paint the wall later.

I had hoped the existing cable to my previous satellite for internet would be used, but no. It is a new cable and you have no option other than accepting it.

No concerns about possible damage to my brand new wall. The technician drilled the appropriate small hole, then fed a firm plastic tape (the kind wrapped around large boxes during transit) through the hole and upwards.

We firmly packed insulation into that wall, and I feared it might be obstruct progress. But when the tape didn't smoothly travel all the way to the top of the wall, he simply taped a piece of garden hose to the end and tried again. Success. A bit of old-fashioned innovation came to the rescue.

Feeding Cable Through Wall

To feed the satellite internet cable through my wall cavity, the technician used a flat packing strip taped to a short piece of garden hose. Job done.
To feed the satellite internet cable through my wall cavity, the technician used a flat packing strip taped to a short piece of garden hose. Job done. | Source

Does Sky Muster Satellite Have To Stay Turned On?

Page 8 of the User Guide supplied by the installer of my new NBN SkyMuster Satellite states the modem must remain plugged in and switched on at all times. But that doesn't suit me, so I phoned the NBN contact team to find out more. I wanted to know why the modem has to be left turned on.

I'm sure I'm not the only user to have concerns about leaving an internet modem (and satellite dish) switched on at all times.

  • I live off the grid with 100% solar power, so I don't like to waste power. If I'm not using the internet, I turn off the modem as well as power to the satellite dish.
  • I am wary of EMFs generated by the technology. Exposing my family to unnecessary electromagnetic radiation makes no sense to me.
  • All electrical items including our television, Foxtel, phone chargers etc in our home are turned off at the power switch at some time each day. Stand-by mode is convenient for prompt connection, but wastes power and generates avoidable radiation.

After explaining to the person on the NBN contact number that I am connected to Sky Muster Satellite, I asked her why it is necessary to leave the satellite and modem connected at all times. She insisted if I disconnect the modem, I'll lose my telephone service.

I don't use Sky Muster for telephone connection. I have a conventional land line telephone service. So that's not a problem for me. I only use the satellite for internet connection.

She then said it would probably be necessary for me to reset the modem every time I reconnected it. Told me to look for the reboot/reset button. I corrected her with the news my service provider insisted our modem must never be reset. Resetting the modem would wipe the settings necessary to connect to my service provider.

Her third warning was that I'd be required to re-enter my password every time I freshly connected power. That's not the case either. I have already disconnected power to the satellite system multiple times. It simply reloads the same way my previous satellite did for years and years.

By the end of our conversation, she was confident there's be no problem with turning the new NBN satellite system on and off when required.

My only real concern when I first rang was if I would somehow 'lose my place' as more and more homes and businesses continue being connected to Sky Muster. Seems unlikely, but could the day come when new connections struggle to gain access to the satellite?

The voice on the phone never raised that as an issue, and I didn't bother specifically asking. I'm one of the first to receive the new service and the day of heavy burden on the new Sky Muster satellite may never come. So I'll continue turning my NBN modem and satellite on and off at will.

NBN Sky Muster Satellite Connected

The bright blue circle indicates NBN's Sky Muster Satellite is connected, and internet is available. Easy to see in daytime, and you can't ignore it at night! (No danger of me forgetting to turn it off when not wanted.)
The bright blue circle indicates NBN's Sky Muster Satellite is connected, and internet is available. Easy to see in daytime, and you can't ignore it at night! (No danger of me forgetting to turn it off when not wanted.) | Source

Review

The new NBN satellite service connection via Sky Muster is brilliant. I love it. For the first time ever, we can watch videos online. Instead of getting a glimpse of a couple of seconds of a video, then waiting five minutes for the next few seconds to load, we can simply click and watch videos play.

Websites with lots of photos display quickly and easily. In fact, I've not come across any website or page that has caused difficulty. I am very pleased with my new internet service. If you are waiting for your connection to the Australian Government's NBN satellite, get excited. It works really well, and your life is about to change!

© 2016 LongTimeMother

12 comments

Jodah profile image

Jodah 3 months ago from Queensland Australia

Thank you for posting this review of Sky Muster, LTM. We are signed up for it and originally it was supposed to be connected in July but that had to be put back..to later this month or early September at this stage. It sounds like a big improvement..wow...imagine being able to actually watch a movie online...currently it takes me 15 minutes to watch a three minute YouTube video during peak hours.


LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 3 months ago from Australia Author

If your satellite internet is anything like ours was before it was upgraded, Jodah, there's no point even dreaming about watching a video that runs any longer than 3 minutes. But with the new Sky Muster satellite, we can actually watch lengthy videos without any problem. No waiting. I look forward to hearing your reaction when your new satellite is in. Hope they don't make you wait much longer. :)


teaches12345 3 months ago

This is all new to me. I am going to have to pass this on to my hubby who is the tech expert in our family. Thanks for the infomration.


John 7 weeks ago

Sky Muster™ Modem Startup Time

Severity : Degraded

Status : Notified

Started at : 01/09/2016 12:00am

Expected End Time : To Be Advised

We are aware that Sky Muster™ Satellite NTDs (modems) are taking an excessive amount of time to connect to the satellite when first powered on. nbn co has confirmed that it's a known problem and they are preparing a software upgrade to fix it, however that could be four or more weeks away. We're sorry there's nothing that can be done about it in the meantime.

Please keep your Sky Muster ™ modem powered on

This looks like the rational for always on

John


Jodah profile image

Jodah 7 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

Proposed installation of our Sky Muster is 21st Oct, so I will report on it after that, LTM.


LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 7 weeks ago from Australia Author

Thanks, John, for explanation about keeping the modem powered on. I'm wondering where you saw that notice. I've had a couple of instances where it took longer to connect than it should have, but I've not seen a notice like that one.

Hmmm. 4 to 6 weeks away from the date of 1st September should be about now for them to have fixed it. I've had enough sunshine lately for me to be running on uninterrupted solar power, so I've not had reason to disconnect in the past couple of weeks. Will be interesting to see what happens in the future.


LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 7 weeks ago from Australia Author

Not long for you to wait now, Jodah. That's exciting. I hope they don't delay you again. (It is a long time since July!) The thrill of watching videos is so close. :)

I look forward to hearing how it works for you. Are you solar powered too? I suspect the new Sky Muster satellite system is pulling more power than our previous satellite did. I haven't taken a close look to figure out just how much it is using, but I'm quietly pleased we got it after we'd upgraded to bigger solar storage batteries. I think it may have been annoying when our system was smaller.

If you want me to measure the draw when only connected with Sky Muster modem (everything else turned off), I could do that if it will help you.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 7 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

No, LTM, not long to wait. We had to move from our property to another a little closer to town with a regular electricity supply some time ago due to my wife's physical condition. Apart from her fibromyalgia, hyperthyroidism, scoliosis, she recently also tore two ligaments in her knee and is using a walker, wheelchair, or mobility scooter. It was too difficult where we were. We have put our property on the market as everytime I had money saved to do extra work or upgrade the solar something else happened to take it. Thanks anyway, though we are still on Satellite Internet and getting Sky Muster there is no need to record the draw.


LongTimeMother profile image

LongTimeMother 7 weeks ago from Australia Author

Closer to town must make a nice change, Jodah. But such a shame your wife's health has deteriorated. I hope things settle down for you both soon.

I am familiar with disappearing dollar. We still haven't built the house we planned when we bought this place. Instead, our temporary small home has become more permanent. The orchard keeps expanding. Soon there'll be no room left for a house!

Let me know when your SkyMuster is up and running. :)


Jodah profile image

Jodah 2 weeks ago from Queensland Australia

Sky Muster is up and running, 35 gig peak, 60 gig off-peak. It is better than what we had that's for sure. the first bill was a bit of a shock because we now get charged in advance so cobined with the previous nbn and phone bill it was around $200. Did you get my recent email?


Hmmmmm 7 days ago

The Sky muster service seems great with the high internet speeds and all but it seams very expensive for such a small amount of internet. The 40gB looks the best value for money with this specific service but they don't give any good options for families who will use that amount in no time without noticing. The service looks good with the so called off peak hours which is just ridiculous 1am to 7am who will use this internet and it is the majority of the internet so if you want to do downloads you will have to stay u to 1am to initiate them... this seems very impractical. They really highlight the high speeds but with only small gBs to back that up you will run out in no time it is a catch 22 because the bad internet i use at the moment (iPstar satellite ) has a few less gBs and much slower speeds but at least with those speeds we can actually use our data to the end of the month but with the NBN service i know my kids would use it all up.


Jodah profile image

Jodah 7 days ago from Queensland Australia

It is better than what we had and 95gig allowance sounds ok, but only 35gig of that is in peak periods. Who can ever use 60gig between 1am and 7am (12mn to 6am QLD). It seems unfair what we have to pay for satellite when city dwellers get unlimited downloads for less money. We went over our peak download allowance with a week to go the first month.

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    LTM's small farm is completely off the grid. Her family uses solar and alternative power sources for lighting, cooking, animal fencing etc.



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