Satellite Internet Service Vs. Laptop Connect Card
By Elijah Chau
When it comes to connecting your computer online, you have many options. Depending on your computing needs and budget, going with satellite service or mobile broadband cards offer benefits and disadvantages for your home computing.
Broadband laptop cards work similarly to a cell phone. The card connects to the Internet through the carrier's mobile network. However, if you're in an area that lacks coverage, your computer's Internet performance will be poor to non-existent. With a satellite Internet connection, your computer's performance will be constant. Since the connection is hardwired to your home or office, you have to connect your computer to gain Internet access. Thanks to the hardwire connection, Internet speed and reliability will also remain constant.
Most laptop broadband cards rely on carriers' 3G networks. Speed can vary greatly, depending on your current location, but on average, you'll see download speeds of around 1 MB per second. In contrast, most home Internet connections range from 6 MB to 30 MB per second. Some carriers have faster 4G networks, but coverage and performance can be inconsistent, depending on your current region.
Mobile broadband cards usually rely on tiered pricing plans through carriers. In these plans, you'll typically pay for a maximum monthly data cap, which refers to how much content you can upload or download per month. The cost for a data plan can vary, depending on the cap, but you'll typically be paying around $30 for an entry-level plan. Satellite Internet plans can also vary in cost, but you'll typically be charged a flat rate based on connection speed, as opposed to data consumption. However, on average, satellite plans will usually cost slightly more than mobile broadband cards.
Satellite Internet offers reliable coverage and speed, but you'll also have to sacrifice portability. Even if you use a Wi-Fi network in conjunction with your satellite Internet connection, you'll lose online access once you leave the range of your router. In contrast, laptop connection cards rely on their carriers' mobile networks for Internet access. Since most mobile carriers have nationwide coverage, you can obtain Internet access from virtually any location.
Elijah Chau has been writing professionally since 2007 and has worked as a writer at publications such as "LAPTOP Magazine" and "The State News." He currently attends the University of Chicago and is working towards a bachelor's degree in political science.