Astra Connect, Q & As

I have Sky [or freesat] … can I use my Sky [or freesat] dish for broadband by satellite? It’s got a four output LNB … can I use a spare outlet? I have an old unused or redundant dish [or multi-LNB dish] … can I use that?

No. Your TV dish receives signals only. Satellite broadband equipment transmits and receives and in a different frequency band.

I have NordNet [or VivĂ©ole] system at the moment, it’s got Astra2Connect written on it … can I use any of that equipment for Astra Connect?

No. The equipment specification is completely different.

What direction is the AstraConnect satellite?

It’s Astra 2, well known to UK satellite satellite viewers and is located at 28.2 degrees East of South.

Does the dish need to be positioned high up?

No. Height makes no difference to the signal … you can put the dish on a pole in the ground if you wish.

Does the dish cause interference to an adjacent tv dish?

Astra Connect, no. An Astra Connect dish can be positioned next to a tv dish without any interference problems.

How do I know I can get a signal?

If you’re receiving Sky or Freesat now by satellite, then you can be sure that you will get a signal as it’s the same satellite. Otherwise, use … enter your address and the satellite you are looking for (Astra 2 at 28.2 degrees E) and you’ll see a Google Earth photo with the satellite direction superimposed. Zoom into your house and check for obstructions.

Does the recent satellite coverage changes on Astra 2 effect satellite broadband coverage?

No, the Ka band footprint covers the whole of France.

Can I get British tv, Sky or Freesat, from the Astra Connect dish?

No. French suppliers of Astra Connect do say that you can get tv from the dish but they are talking about TNTSAT which is a French tv service.

Does the Astra Connect system provide a UK IP address?

Yes, as long as you are on EuropaSat airtime. (EuropaSat is our supplier)

Can I use Skype on this system?

Yes, you can.

Is there a telephone option?

Europasat are trialling a VoIP service at the moment.

Can I connect this system to my home network?

Yes, you can. The modem has an ethernet port (RJ45) and you can connect that direct to a computer, a wired network or to your wifi router so that other computers can use the system.

Do you include a wifi router with the Astra Connect kit?

Since June 2017, yes. We offer a wifi router which has proven to be reliable and compatible with this system

Can I use my own router?

Yes, you can.

Can I install the AstraConnect kit myself?

Yes … it’s designed as a DIY system and, for the installation, a signal beeper is cunningly built into the dish equipment so that you can point the dish perfectly. You’ll need a decent drill and some basic tools but you won’t need a satellite meter.

Can you (Big Dish Satellite) supply the AstraConnect equipment?

Yes, we have the equipment in stock here for our local installations, for collection and for Mail Order across France.)

How do I pay for my airtime?

By card, debit or credit, Visa Mastercard or American Express.

If I choose to pay in Sterling, can I change to Euros at a later date?

No … you have the choice between euros and Sterling right at the very start but, once chosen, you must keep to that choice.

Am I guaranteed to receive the advertised speeds?

No, you are highly unlikely to get the headline speeds 24 hours a day, 7 days a week … speeds will vary according to the demand on the system. Demand is normally high from late afternoon until late evening. Astra Connect also take steps to make sure that their service is fairly and equally available to all and can therefore reduce the speeds accordingly. Those who have used more than half of their monthly quota will experience this, although it usually goes unnoticed.

Does my system stop if I reach my allocated limit?

Not stop, it will slow down to around 256 Kb/s in both directions. You can reset your monthly allocation of quota with a payment of half your monthly tariff.

If I don’t use all my allocated quota in the month, is it carried over into the next month?

I’m afraid not … it’s use it or lose it.

Does a VPN (Virtual Private Network) work on AstraConnect?

The VPN experience can be poor due to the latency and encryption technology employed on many VPNs. No two company VPN set ups are exactly the same and some will work fine, some won’t. If VPN is important to you, you should try it out first on our demonstration system.

Can I monitor my CCTV cameras on AstraConnect?

Ports are open on an Astra Connect modem so, yes you can.

Can I play games on AstraConnect?

You can … but certain games where you have to be ‘fastest on the trigger’ will be a problem because of the delay on satellite broadband. The distance travelled from your home to the satellite and back again is many thousands of kilometres and that means an inevitable delay of 700ms or so.

Can I upgrade my subscription at any time?

Anytime. You can upgrade at any time and that upgrade will take effect at midnight the same day or possibly next day depending when we get your request. There is no financial penalty for upgrading.

When I upgrade, is the usage counter set to zero?

No. Whatever data you’ve already used is carried across to the new data allowance.

Can I downgrade my subscription?

Yes, but the rules are different. Firstly, downgrades only take effect at the end of the month. Secondly, a penalty will be charged and that penalty is equivalent to the monthly amount of the package that you are downgrading from. It’s not possible to downgrade to the ‘S3′ package … that is a Starter Package only.

How do I place an order for AstraConnect equipment?

If you want to come and collect it from us or have us install it, then get in contact directly by phone or email. We can also ship the equipment to anywhere in France by Mail Order.

Can I see the system working before I purchase it?

Yes, we have the system set up here so you can come and try it out for yourself.

Do you offer help for enthusiastic DIY-ers?

If you’re collecting equipment, we’ll show you how straightforward it is to point the dish using the built in pointing software.

If I ever have a problem, can I speak to a real live person who knows what he’s talking about and will actually help me?

Yes … for help with installing the system, ring me … John Sidwell at Big Dish Satellite. I’m a jobbing installer so often out during the working day installing broadband and other satellite systems. Once installed and you have a problem, then also ring me or you can speak to EuropaSat in the UK … you’ll be pleasantly surprised how helpful we both try to be. Europasat technical help is also available on Saturdays and Sundays.