Information on Satellite Internet

by Andrew Latham
Satellite broadband is available from anywhere with a clear line of sight to a provider's satellite.

Satellite broadband is available from anywhere with a clear line of sight to a provider's satellite.

If you live in an isolated or rural area, the chances are you do not have access to DSL, fiber-optic cable, Wi-Fi or cable modem Internet connections. These technologies require an infrastructure investment that is not cost-effective for areas with a low population density. Thanks to satellite broadband, this does not mean you cannot have access to high-speed Internet from your home. Learn how satellite Internet works and how it compares to other broadband connections.

Coverage

Coverage is one of the strong points of satellite broadband. Unlike cable modems and fiber-optic, which require a dedicated network or DSL, which needs a central hub within 18,000 feet of your home, satellite is available wherever there is a clear line of sight to an Internet provider's satellite. Satellite is especially useful for businesses that operate in areas with little or no infrastructure, such as non-governmental-organizations that work in developing countries or areas hit by natural disasters.

Speed

Satellite broadband provides a download rate of transfer of around 1 Mbps. Although this is much faster than dial-up, which has a maximum of 56 Kbps, it is slower than DSL, which has a maximum speed of 6 Mbps, or cable modems and fiber-optic, both of which can reach speeds of up to 100 Mbps.

Cost

Satellite connections may be your only hope for broadband Internet in areas where no other service is available, but it comes at a price. Compared to other broadband services satellite is expensive and requires a larger investment. For instance, you will need a satellite dish and a special Internet modem. Also, because there is much less competition among satellite broadband providers, prices remain high.

Reliability

Satellite broadband is an always-on Internet connection. This means that as long as your modem is switched on and the weather is not scrambling your signal, you will be connected to the Internet. This is a big advantage over dial-up, which requires you to call in every time you want to go online. However, satellite broadband providers will usually set limits on the amount of bandwidth you have a day, however, and cap your download speed if you exceed your limits, so it will not meet your needs if you regularly download large files.

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