Can You Track the IP Address on Satellite Internet?

By Geoff Whiting

Satellite Internet does not provide you with anonymity online.
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Satellite Internet service providers assign your PC a dynamic IP address that changes each time you log on to the Internet. This may make it seem like you will be untraceable, but your IP address can still be determined and some general information about your connection can be found. Using satellite Internet should not be viewed as a tactic to mask illegal or inappropriate online activities.

Dynamic IP Addresses

A dynamic IP address is an address that changes each time a customer logs on to an Internet service. Many satellite providers use this type of IP address for their residential customers. Even though these addresses change, if someone traces your online activity by a dynamic IP address they will still get an approximate location for your PC. Satellite users will have a consistent IP address for each Internet session; these are ended by turning off your Internet adapter or when your router resets.

IP Tracing

Satellite Internet connections can be traced by IP address like any other type of connection. Your Internet session is still tied to an IP and your service provider, so normal methods such as the “>netstat” and “tracert” commands in Windows, locating IP addresses in emails or using domain tools to determine IP addresses accessing a website will all still work.

ISPs Track You

Even though your IP address will continually change, your ISP keeps a record of what IP address it assigns to you. This means that if someone can locate your IP address they can use sites like MyIPTest, HostIP, and WhatIsMyIPAddress (links in Resources) to determine who your ISP is. If someone commits a crime, law enforcement or those taking legal action can request to get the user's name and information from their ISP; this sometimes requires a court order.

Tracing Limitations

An IP trace typically won’t provide someone with information about you or your PC. If you use a router, the IP trace will point to your router, not to your specific device. IP traces don’t install any software on your PC so you they do not allow someone else to gain access to your PC. If someone uses a geolocation service to track your IP address, they may receive the approximate location of the satellite or a wrong address because these services use databases of static IP addresses to determine the location of a connection.