:: What is wireless broadband?

Wireless Broadband brings high-speed Internet into your home or business using radio waves instead of a phone line or cable TV line. All traffic is transported with wireless technology utilizing high capacity radio transceivers and antennas.

:: Is wireless the same as satellite?

No. Wireless uses ground-based antennas to transmit data to your location. Satellite systems have higher "latency" (the time it takes data to travel between 2 points) since the data has to travel from your location up to the satellite 22,300 miles over the equator and back down to the Internet. Typically, satellite systems have a 5 second lag time. This can make surfing seem sluggish and video-conferencing, gaming, and telephony difficult.

:: How much does internet access cost?

Read complete details of the rate structure here

Installation cost for a new connection here

A broadband (high speed) connection is $60 per month.
Note: a deposit of $500 toward infrastructure equipment is required. Please contact us for an estimate.

The commercial rate for broadband is $100 per month.

Part time residents rates: The base rate is $30 per month if you are here, up to 15 days per month. If you are here for more than 15 days, the monthly rate of $60 per month will apply.

:: How much does it cost to be a co-op member?

A one-time fee of $30 is required to become a co-op member. All users of the service must be co-op members. Read the Saturna Net Co-operative Rules of Association here.

:: When is my monthly payment due?

Payments are due before the 15th of each month.

:: How can I troubleshoot my connection if it's down?

Please see the Troubleshooting guide on this site ("General Support" menu).

:: Whom do I call if I have a problem with my connection?

If your web browser (Explorer, Firefox, Safari) AND email client (Outlook, Apple Mail) will not connect to the internet, first try restarting your computer. If you still can't connect, find a neighbour who shares the same connection and ask if theirs is working. If both of your connections aren't working, please call Lee Middleton or Harvey Janszen to report the problem.
If only your connection isn't working, please see the Troubleshooting guide on this site ("General Support" menu).

:: Is there free technical support available?

If a problem arises as a result of malfunctioning hardware supplied by Saturna Network Co-op, our technicians will fix the problem at no cost to you.

If you have a problem with your own hardware (such as your computer, router, modem), or your software, support is billable to you.

:: Does Saturna Net provide an email service?

Yes. We have email accounts available for any Co-op member. For further enquires please contact Harvey Janszen by by phone at 250-539-5150 or by email at techservices@saturnanet.net.

We do not presently have additional domain names available - all Saturna Net Co-op email addresses are in the form yourusername@saturnanet.net.

You can access your Saturna Net email from any computer with internet access via Saturna Net's Round Cube WebMail, SquirrelMail or Horde Mail interface. Auto responder, forwarding options and Spam Assasin are available for any saturnanet.net mail account.

:: Is Saturna Network Co-op the same as SaturnaCAN?

No. About 1/3 of our subscribers use the Saturnacan email service but we are not associated with SaturnaCAN (Saturna Community Access Network). For further information, please visit the SaturnaCAN website.

BareMetal, a hosting company in Victoria, is SaturnaCAN's email server. They use the SquirrelMail interface to provide web-based email access. You can access your SaturnaCAN email from any computer with internet access via BareMetal's SquirrelMail interface.

:: What is SquirrelMail?

SquirrelMail is a web-based email interface. It is similar to your own email client (Outlook, Apple Mail) but it is accessible via your web browser (Internet Explorer, Safari).

:: Who is Orcas On Line? (or EastLink in a few cases)

Orcas On Line is the company that supplies the bandwidth for Saturna Network Co-op's broadband connection to the internet in the Lyall Harbour, Boot Cove, Saturna Beach, Gulfside and Tumbo Channel. EastLink (previously Delta Cable) is the supplier for a few members high up in the David Elford Group and along East Point Road on the Gulf Side.

Bandwidth refers to how much data you can send through a network or modem connection. It is usually measured in bits per second, or "bps." You can think of bandwidth as a highway with cars travelling on it. The highway is the network connection and the cars are the data. The wider the highway, the more cars can travel on it at one time and, therefore, more cars can get to their destinations faster. The same principle applies to computer data -- the more bandwidth, the more information that can be transferred within a given amount of time.

In these terms, OOL and EastLink provide the wide highway for Saturna Network Co-op's broadband subscribers. This costs us approximately $US750. per month. We appreciate subscribers paying their monthly fees on time and, please. If you're not willing to pay the toll, don't use the highway!

:: How can I make my computer more secure?

It is always wise to have a Firewall running with your system and to make sure any applications you use are updated with the software manufacturer's latest security upgrades. If there have not been any specific updates but a newer version has been released it may be the case that security has been improved in the latest software version. The following types of software (in particular) should be checked periodically for updates:
  • Operating System (i.e. Windows, Mac, Linux etc.)
  • Internet Browser (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari etc.)
  • Email Client (Outlook, Windows Mail, Apple Mail, etc.)
  • Instant Messenger / Chat Software (MSN Messenger, AOL Instant Messenger, ICQ, Kopete, Gaim etc.)
  • It would also be prudent to have Anti-Virus and Anti-Spyware / Adware software installed on your machine.

In very simple terms, a Firewall prevents unauthorised access to your computer from other machines which are connected to the Internet or the same network as you. Some firewalls can also be configured to prevent certain programs from sending data from your computer to another machine. Firewalls can either take the form of hardware or software.

Hardware Firewalls:
It is becoming more common for Broadband Routers to have basic integrated Firewalls which will provide ample protection for a personal or small office connection. For more intensive security monitoring and advanced protection, dedicated hardware Firewalls such as the ZyXEL ZyWALL range are available.

Software Firewalls:
Windows and some versions of Linux or Mac Operating Systems come with a basic firewall, however, should you wish to have more control over the protection system there are many popular programs designed by companies such as ZoneLabs' ZoneAlarm (a free version is available for personal use), Symantec's Norton Personal Firewall or McAfee's Personal Firewall. It is wise to do some research and read as many reviews on the various software firewalls to see which will best suit your needs.

Unfortunately, computer viruses are more common than ever. As the Internet grows in popularity so does the number of users who have no knowledge of basic virus prevention and cure. The threat of virus infection is well publicised, however, research shows this danger is often ignored and that the number of computers with insufficient, out of date or no security is alarmingly large.

The golden rule of infection prevention is to never open an attachment which you are not expecting or has come from someone you do not know.

Quite often infected emails purport to come from an official source such as your Internet Service Provider, employer or financial institutions. If you are at all unsure or suspicious of the origin of the email do not open any attached files. If you wish to determine the validity of the message you should contact the supposed sender via a reliable method, such as an email address or telephone number which is supplied on any official paperwork or the company's website.

Many viruses are spread by users who open and run an infected attachment - the attachment then compromises the system and could spread itself through any email which is sent out. In most cases the user will be unaware that they have been infected.

Anti-Virus Software:
Viruses primarily tend to target machines running Windows (which is a vast majority of the machines that connect to the Internet). It is highly recommended that Windows users should install Anti-Virus software and regularly update the virus definitions (a task which can be automated in most cases by adjusting the program's preferences).

Popular examples are: Grisoft's AVG Antivirus (a free version is available for personal use), Symantec's Norton Antivirus or McAfee's VirusScan.

Spyware (also known as Adware) has been a growing concern over the last few years. In many cases Spyware is designed to monitor an infected computer's usage and report this information back to the Spyware author or a central 'data collection point'. The information that is sent back can be anything from a list of the websites you visit through to data stored on the drive (which could include email addresses, passwords, personal details and credit card details). The user will most likely be blissfully unaware that this information is being leaked from the system.

A computer can be infected by various means ranging from Cookies (which are largely harmless but could, in theory, lead to a security leak - for more information see below) to programs which can be run on the computer by the user.

Cookies are text files which can be used to store information such as which sites have been visited, if a site has been visited before or even to hold personal information (i.e. if the user has chosen to store personal details so that when a site is revisited they will not have to input the details again). As you can imagine, cookies can be used to store a wide variety of information.

It is important to state that not all cookies are necessarily bad or leak information from the system.

Some websites require cookies to be enabled to operate properly, such as a Webmail system which uses 'session' cookies - once the user has successfully logged in a cookie is placed on the user's machine to confirm a successful login. This type of cookie is temporaily placed onto the computer by a website and is removed from the system once the user has logged out of the web page or when the web browser is closed.

Nearly all modern web browsers allow the user to control which sites may place cookies on the system and what type of cookie is accepted. Many browsers are enabled to accept all cookies by default to allow for compatibility with websites which require them to be placed on the machine. It may be worth taking a look at your browser's security settings to see how much information your computer is allowing to be stored (and possibly shared) without your knowledge.

The more dangerous type of spyware infection is caused when a user unwittingly installs a program onto their computer which can send data from the machine to a pre-determined destination or even allow a remote user to take control of the system (when the machine is connected to the Internet).

Not all spyware is destructive - you may find that after installing a particular program some monitoring software has also been installed which returns your web browsing habits to a central database (although this is an invasion of privacy). If you are installing a program which you are unfamiliar with you should always investigate to see if any extra software is installed (as well as scanning the installation file for viruses).

Extra, unwanted software which is running without the user knowing can cause the machine to slow down (or become unstable). The speed of an Internet connection can also be reduced by any 'hidden' programs which use up bandwidth to transmit data.

Spyware can also be installed by running an unsolicited email attachment or installing illegitimately copied software. Illegally obtained applications could be altered to damage or allow access to a system - by installing and using this software the user is risking the security of their personal information and computer as well as breaking the law.

Anti-Spyware Software:
Popular Spyware prevention and removal programs include Lavasoft's Ad-Aware (a free version is available for personal use), Giant's Anti Spyware and Spybot-S&D (a free download is available).

Passwords are tricky things to get just right - with the user having to find a 'word' or set of characters that is both easy to remember but difficult to guess.

Surveys show that an alarming number of passwords are easy to predict, with choices often including obvious words such as 'mail' for EMail accounts or other passwords such as "12345", "qwerty" etc.

One report by Infosecurity Europe, for example, found that one password out of every eight was the word "password" and that one out of six was the person's name. The local sports team equated to about 10% of the passwords submitted and the person's birthday was used by 8%. If you consider how many millions of users access the Internet that's a lot of people who use very guessable passwords.

The Computer Industry Almanac estimates that 934 million people access the Internet. As a lighthearted attempt to put these figures into perspective: if we assume that Infosecurity Europe's report is relatively accurate and use it as a rough basis we could guesstimate that at least:
  • 154 million people use their own name as their password
  • 116 million people use the word 'password'
  • 93 million people use their local sports team name
  • 74 million people use their birthday
Obviously, the figures listed above are merely hypothetical based on one study, however, even if you reduce the percentages the numbers are significant. Either way, the people who were interviewed by Infosecurity Europe were obviously happy enough to give up their password to a simple survey! This was also certainly not the only survey of its type to successfully extract passwords from their users.

What makes a good password?
As stated earlier, the most secure password is something which can not be easily guessed. It is often a good idea to use a mixture of letters, cases, numbers and symbols. Two web based password generators are Strong Password Generator and Windows secure password generator

As long as you maintain a secure system and ensure that other users of your computer act responsibly you should be well protected against any of the aforementioned issues. This will improve your system's stability which means less 'downtime' and will keep the cost of maintenance down.

:: My email settings have mysteriously changed

If your email client's settings have changed mysteriously (without you altering them) or the program has 'forgotten' your Username / Password, the two most likely causes for this are:
  1. You may have installed or upgraded an Anti-Virus program which has upset the settings. This is a surprisingly common cause of email program 'misbehaviour'. If the email client's connection settings have changed you will need to re-input them. Please refer to the menu item "Outlook Express" (Windows Support) or "Mail Settings" (Macintosh Support) to check your email settings. If this does not solve the problem you should see if there is an update for your Anti-Virus software via the software manufacturer's website or the program's update feature. If you are still having problems try removing the Anti-Virus software completely from your system (while doing this do not open any email attachments). You may find you still need to setup your email client's connection settings again. If things work fine then the Anti-Virus software is the fault of the problem. Otherwise move onto the next step:
  2. If you have not installed any Anti-Virus software or you can find no other fault it is possible that some important files which are needed by your email client could have been corrupted. This has been known to occur with Microsoft's Outlook Express and Outlook programs. To overcome this you will need to re-install the email software - you can either do this from a disc if you have one or you can download the latest version from the software manufacturer's website.

:: I have broadband but my computer keeps trying to dial-in

There is a setting in your Internet Options that is causing your computer to try to dial in. To change this, open up Internet Explorer and do the following:
  • Select Tools from the menu options at the top of the screen.
  • Go to Internet Options. In Internet Options there are a series of tabs.
  • Go to the Connections tab.
  • Midway down the page select the Never dial a connection option.
  • If you keep a modem connected to a telephone line you may want to check the dial whenever a network connection is not present option instead.