Communications Experts

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SUPPORT HELPDESK - FREQUENTLY-ASKED QUESTIONS

 
VSAT Internet Service - General
 

What is "shared bandwidth"?

What is "dedicated bandwidth"?

What is Committed Information Rate (CIR)?

What is "TCP acceleration"?

Can I use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) with my VSAT Internet Service?

How does VSAT Internet Service compare to terrestrial broadband services?

What does VSAT mean? What about other VSAT technical terms?


VSAT Internet Service - iDirect
 

Is iDirect service shared or dedicated?

Does iDirect service have a Fair Access Policy?

Can I use Voice-over-IP (VOIP), webcam, and videoconference services with iDirect
  service?


Viruses and Worms
 

What kind of viruses can affect my VSAT Internet Service?

Can my VSAT Internet Service be suspended for virus traffic?

Is there a fee for reconnecting service that is suspended for virus traffic?

How can I keep my network clean of viruses?

I already have a virus infection. How do I remove it?


Customer Support
 

What does the customer support plan cover?

Will I be charged for a site visit?

What hours are customer support available?

How fast will customer support respond to my problem?


Terms and Conditions of VSAT Internet Service
 

How long is my VSAT Internet service contract?

How can I make payments for my VSAT Internet service contract? (updated!)

Is there a fee for reconnecting service that is suspended for non-payment?

Are there any other terms and conditions?


 

VSAT Internet Service - General                                     
Q: What is "shared bandwidth"?
A:

 


 

 

 

Shared bandwidth is network service that is not dedicated to a single customer. For instance, if the customer purchases service of 1024kbit download by 128kbit upload (1024x128) shared, the system may not actually perform at full 1024x128 speeds at all times. Different providers have different schemes for how they share bandwidth.

Providers use shared bandwidth schemes in order to lower the cost of providing internet service. By predicting how frequently a channel will be used, they can split usage of expensive dedicated channels among multiple customers. Shared bandwidth systems typically cost the customer 1/4 to 1/10 as much as dedicated bandwidth.

Shared bandwidth is best suited to small business and home users, and sites supporting less than 30 users on a single VSAT.

Q: What is "dedicated bandwidth"?
A:








 
Dedicated bandwidth is network service that is dedicated to the customer. For instance, if the customer purchases service of 256kbit download by 256kbit upload (256x256), the system is guaranteed to have that service at all times. The channel is reserved for the use of that system.

Dedicated bandwidth is very flexible, and usually comes in a number of upload and download levels from 32kbit to 8mbit, depending on the hardware. It is also possible to purchase a dedicated channel and share it across a number of systems that belong to the same customer.

Dedicated bandwidth is best suited to large-enterprise customers such as Internet Service Providers (ISP's) and sites supporting more than 50 users on a single VSAT.

Q: What is Committed Information Rate (CIR)?
A:





 
Committed Information Rate (CIR) guarantees a minimum level of service (bandwidth). For instance, a shared bandwidth system that is advertised as "128 kbit upload" does not guarantee 128 kbit speeds. Although such systems have published averages, no guarantee is offered that this is always available. With CIR, a customer is assured that available bandwidth never drops below a certain point.

Some providers offer CIR on systems with shared bandwidth for an additional monthly cost. IraqSat only offers it on iDirect systems.

Q: What is "TCP acceleration"?
A:





 
Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) uses a "three-way handshake" to initiate reliable data connections between two points in an IP network (such as the Internet). Because of the long round-trip times involved in VSAT communications, many commercial VSAT units "spoof" this process to initiate the TCP connection quickly. This spoofing is called "TCP Acceleration". It is performed by most systems sold by IraqSat, including Hughes DirecWay, Tachyon, and iDirect. Typically, hardware for dedicated bandwidth service lacks this feature and it must be provided by separate hardware at both ends of the VSAT link (at the customer site and at the Network Operations Center.
Q: Can I use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) with my VSAT Internet Service?
A:

 

Yes. However, because VPN traffic is encrypted, TCP cannot be accelerated. Therefore VPN traffic will be 50% slower (or less) than accelerated traffic, and may be unreliable when used at the same time as non-VPN traffic. This problem can be overcome by VPN accelerator hardware installed at both ends of the VPN link.
Q: How does VSAT Internet Service compare to terrestrial broadband services?
A:

 

 

 





 



 

The primary differences between terrestrial (DSL, cable, and modem) and satellite services are round-trip times, vulnerability to weather and radio interference, and cost of subscription.

Terrestrial broadband services have faster round-trip ("ping") times, but similiar actual download rates. Geosyncronous satellites orbit at an altitude of 36,000 km. Because round-trip traffic must make this trip 4 times for each two-way communication, ping times are commonly 500-2000 ms as opposed to the 50-200 ms times seen in terrestrial data links. This means that every single web page loaded requires a minimum of 500-2000 ms to begin loading. However, the data rates are comparable - once a file download begins, it runs at speeds similiar to terrestrial traffic. This limitation is most visible when sending and receiving small data packets.

Because VSAT Internet Service is transmitted as radio waves through the atmosphere, it can be affected by weather conditions at the customer site, the Network Operations Center, and in space. Interference by solar wind and solar flares is a rare occurence, but does happen a few times a year for a few minutes.

Finally, the subscription cost for VSAT Internet Service is typically more expensive than terrestrial services. Terrestrial lines are subsidized by governments and have lower operating and install costs than expensive orbital communications satellites.

Q: What does VSAT mean? What about other VSAT technical terms?
A:

 
Industry professionals use many technical terms and acronyms to describe the various components of VSAT hardware - IDU, ODU, OMT, antenna, etc. For a list of common terms, see our Knowledge Base article, VSAT Terms and Acronyms.

VSAT Internet Service - iDirect
Q: Is iDirect service shared or dedicated?
A:


 
iDirect service is available as either shared or dedicated bandwidth. iDirect shared service uses a "share ratio" plan. Each channel is shared among multiple customers, who contend for service as needed. For example, a customer with a share ratio of 10:1 is using a channel that may have up to 10 other customers on it. Service is available in many ratios between 4:1 and 50:1. Please see your service plan for details.
Q: Does iDirect shared service have a Fair Access Policy?
A:

 
Yes. The NOC reserves the right to throttle users who significantly exceed system use averages for their level of service. The Fair Access Policy (FAP) may be enforced by sharing ratios, traffic-shaping techniques, or other limiting factors, at the NOC's discretion.
Q: Can I use Voice-over-IP (VOIP), webcam, and videoconference services with iDirect service?
A:






 
Yes. However, quality depends on the service level purchased and we do not guarantee that these services function on shared service. To guarantee service, purchase dedicated service or an appropriate amount of CIR.

VOIP service through IraqSat VOIP requires 7 kbit upload CIR to guarantee voice quality. This price is specially noted on the iDirect pricing options.

To find the CIR needed for other VOIP, webcam, video, or other services, please consult the documentation for that service.


Viruses and Worms
Q: What kind of viruses can affect my VSAT Internet Service?
A:












 
Many viruses can infect your PC and degrade performance, but only a few of them actually affect your network connection.
  • Worms that flood the network seeking other PCs to infect, and infect them automatically due to a vulnerability in MS Windows. MS Blaster and its derivatives are an example.
  • Spam-sending software that "zombies" a PC, causing it to send spam to potentially thousands of other people without the PC user knowing it.
  • Microsoft Outlook viruses that spread via email attachments, causing Outlook to automatically mail copies to other user in your addressbook, MSN chat list, or at random. This mail may even be faked to appear to come from your email address or from someone else in your addressbook.
  • Any virus that spreads over a network and consumes bandwidth.

All of the above viruses are detectable by a network scan by your ISP, and can result in your service being suspended.

Q: Can my VSAT Internet Service be suspended for virus traffic?
A:


 
Yes. Our service providers routinely scan outgoing customer network data for virus traffic. Customers that are infected will be suspended until such traffic ceases. In some cases, IraqSat will contact you before this happens. However, it is not always possible to notify us first, and in such cases the customer will be shut off immediately. If your service has been suspended for virus traffic, you must contact the IraqSat Support Helpdesk to restore service.
Q: Is there a fee for reconnecting service that is suspended for virus traffic?
A:


 
Yes. There is a reconnection fee of $75 for any system suspended for virus traffic. We strongly recommend that customers clean their network completely before contacting us to be reconnected. Customers who are still infected when service is restored may be suspended again, with another charge. Our virus policy can be downloaded in PDF form here: IraqSat Virus Policy (PDF, 149K)
Q: How can I keep my network clean of viruses?
A:


















 
The nature of the Microsoft Windows operating system makes it vulnerable to viruses. It is impossible to ensure your network stays clean, but you can take steps to significantly reduce the chance of infection. No firewall can protect you, only software installed at the PC.

Users who follow these steps will keep their network free of 99% of viruses.

  • Run Windows Update regularly, and set your PC to automatically download and install updates.
  • Install commercial antivirus software such as Norton AntiVirus, and set it update regularly and automatically.
  • Install Lavasoft Ad-Aware and regularly scan for trojans, spyware, and other commercial tracking/spam software.
  • Do not allow your users to visit software pirate warez sites, pornographic sites, or others that attempt to install "download accelerators" or other "tools" that infect the PC with viruses, trojans, or spyware.
  • Consider browsers and mail readers that are less prone to viruses or vulnerabilities, such as Mozilla Firefox and Thunderbird. Avoid Microsoft Internet Explorer and Microsoft Outlook, or install third-party software that prevents pop-ups, bad javascript, and other vulnerabilities.
  • Strictly enforce all of the above policies with mobile (laptop) users, who regularly carry viruses from one site to another, even causing virus suspensions and moving on without knowing it.

If you do not have access to antivirus software, try using the Trendmicro free online virus checker.

Q: I already have a virus infection. How do I remove it?
A:















 
If your PC or network is already infected with viruses, follow the following steps:
  • Disconnect the affected PC from your network. If the entire network is affected, disconnect the entire network or power off the network switch.
  • Use any of the above antivirus software to completely clean the affected PC, or group of PCs one at a time. If your virus definitions are not up to date, connect it to the network and update your virus definition, then disconnect the network again and run the virus scan. If you leave an infected PC on the network, you risk having your VSAT Internet Service suspended.
  • Once clean, connect the PC to the network.
  • Run Windows Update and a Lavasoft Ad-Aware scan.
  • Repeat for each PC.
  • If you do not find any viruses but have reason to suspect you still have an infection (for instance, if you have been suspended for virus traffic), consider scanning with different antivirus software or the Trendmicro free online virus checker.
  • If your antivirus software finds a virus but cannot remove it, reboot Windows in Safe Mode and run the scan again.

Customer Support
Q: What does the customer support plan cover?
A:












 
Our standard customer support plan covers problems with VSAT service and configuration. This includes responding to outtages in VSAT service and performance issues related to the VSAT.

It does not cover problems with the customer's local network or PCs, or any performance issue that is caused by these systems. This includes PC performance problems, viruses, disconnected or malfunctioning network hardware, or user error.

Customers are responsible for performing the first line of diagnosis on a problem. This consists of running through the tests in the troubleshooting guide, and reporting all requested information and answers to troubleshooting questions to customer support. Customer support will not schedule a site visit without a proper problem report that includes the troubleshooting steps.

Customer support will contact the customer and attempt to resolve or diagnose the problem remotely. A visit is scheduled only after these steps are taken.

Q: Will I be charged for a site visit?
A:






 
Customer support visits for legitimate VSAT problems are included in the support plan and will not be billed to the customer.

If customer support determines the problem is related to the customer's local network, PCs, user error, or other non-VSAT problems, the visit will be charged to the customer. This includes any non-covered work a customer requests during a visit, such as configuration or repair of PC or network hardware. Minimum charge for a visit is $80, and may also include travel fees for customers outside the cities of Baghdad and Arbil. You will also be charged for long delays in search lines or for our team being denied entrance by gate staff.

Q: What hours are customer support available?
A:

 
Customer support is available from 0900 to 1700 Baghdad time (GMT+3), from Saturday through Thursday. Outside of these hours, support cannot be guaranteed. Additional support plans are available. Please contact us for details.
Q: How fast will customer support respond to my problem?
A:

 
Customer support will respond the same day to any problem reported during normal support hours, and the next business day to problems reported outside this time. This is not a guarantee that customer support will resolve your problem or schedule a site visit within this time.

Terms and Conditions of VSAT Internet Service
 
Q: How long is my VSAT Internet service contract?
A:





 
Service for all VSAT systems sold by IraqSat is by one-year agreement. Customers are billed in 3-month installments. However, you may not terminate service by failing to pay after only 3, 6, or 9 months. In such a case, billing continues but we will suspend service until the subscription is payed.

Early termination of a contract is possible by prior agreement between IraqSat and the customer. Early termination for any reason may require a fee of up to 50% of the service fee of the entire subscription. Please contact us if you require service for less than one year.

Q: How can I make payments for my VSAT Internet service contract?
A:





 
Cash payments can be made at our Baghdad and Arbil offices or by special arragement. To pay by SWIFT bank transfer, please contact us for banking details. To pay by PayPal, send to the address "paypal@iraq-sat.net". To pay by credit card (VISA or Mastercard accepted), please contact us and include your card number, expiry, verification code (3-digit code on back, VISA cards only), name, billing address, and phone number.

When paying by any electronic means, please include your IraqSat invoice number or Site ID in the subject or reference line

Q: Is there a fee for reconnecting service that is suspended for non-payment?
A:

 
Yes. There is a reconnection fee of $250 for any system suspended for non-payment. In addition, billing is not suspended during this time. New owners of systems that have previously been suspended for non-payment may also be required to pay any remaining fees on the old service.
Q: Are there any other terms and conditions?
A:
 
Yes. Our entire terms and conditions can be downloaded in PDF form here:  IraqSat VSAT Service Terms and Conditions (PDF, 197K)