How Does Satellite Internet Work?

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Are you looking for a type of internet connection that you can use even when you’re in rural America? If so, using satellite internet is a good prospect for you.

The internet is now an essential need, especially during and after the current health crisis. In the United States, 53% of adults say that the internet had been a great personal necessity for them. If you live in a rural area, you’ll need satellite internet to get online.

What is satellite internet and how does it work? We’ll answer these questions and more about satellite internet below. We’ll also discuss its pros and cons, as well as few tips on how to pick the best provider of satellite internet.

What Is Satellite Internet?

Let’s begin by addressing the question, “what is satellite internet?”

Unlike other types of internet, it isn’t a land-based type of wireless connection. As its name goes, satellite internet uses the beam from satellites in the Earth’s atmosphere. It is a type of connection that sends data through a satellite.

Because it uses satellites, it’s the only internet connection type available nationwide. This feature makes it the best connection type for people in the rural parts of the United States. Although it has a good reach, it has some disadvantages, which we’ll discuss in-depth later.

How Does Satellite Internet Work?

First, your internet service provider (ISP) sets up a connection with a satellite in space. The communication between the satellites occurs through radio waves. These waves carry data, using a communication network to send and retrieve them.

The ISP will also set up a modem and satellite dish in your home, often on high places like rooftops. This device allows your home to send and receive data. The outgoing data will return to stations on earth known as network operations centers (NOCs).

The data from the NOCs travel back to space and then your satellite dish. It happens to the data when connecting to satellite internet. Also, all this data sending and receiving occurs in a flash.

In short, satellite internet uses a five-part relay system, including:

  • Internet-ready device
  • Modem or router
  • Satellite dish
  • Space satellite
  • Network Operations Center (NOC)

The internet-ready device is for accessing the internet, like a smartphone. A modem/router translates data moving between your device and satellite dish. It’s often the device using Wi-Fi or Ethernet cable.

The home satellite dish is for sending and receiving signals from the provider’s satellite in space. The space satellite acts as a bridge that connects you to your NOC. Finally, the NOC will tap into the internet backbone and gather your data before it sends it back through the whole system.

Benefits of Using Satellite Internet

In January 2020, the United States held 288.1 million internet users, giving the country an internet penetration rate of 87%. The good thing about satellite internet is that allows you to go online regardless of your location in the country. You could be in the most rural areas of the United States and you’d still have an internet connection.

Satellite internet isn’t only for homes but also business owners. Almost all businesses need round-the-clock internet access, especially if they have a website. Satellite internet is a good choice for your business in the country.

Satellite connections also offer the standard speeds for video and audio streaming. Most satellite internet speeds range from 12 to 100 Mbps, enough for most activities. With those speeds, you can check your email, browse, and work on your online education.

Also, there’s a wide availability of satellite internet providers. You don’t need to worry about moving to a new place and finding no ISPs there. There’s always at least one in the area, no matter where you go.

Drawbacks of Using Satellite Internet

Before you start looking for the top satellite internet services, understand that satellite internet has some drawbacks. Let’s begin with speed.

One of the top drawbacks of satellite internet is that it’s not as speedy compared to fiber or cable internet. Because the data has to travel through thousands of miles, you may get some delay before receiving it. When comparing the types of connections, satellite internet has slow upload and download speeds.

Another drawback of using satellite internet is that it isn’t always consistent. Weather changes may affect the speed and strength of your internet connection. The same occurs if structures, mountains, or trees block your satellite connection.

Because it uses satellite technology, it’s also more expensive than the other internet options. The typical satellite internet plans will range from $50 to $200 per month. Then again, what can you do if it’s the only available choice in your county?

How to Find the Best Satellite Internet Options

Let’s say you understand the pros and cons of using satellite internet. Now, you’re looking for a satellite internet company that offers the best options. Here are things to consider when you’re shopping for a satellite internet provider.

First, consider the speeds that you need as well as your budget. If the most that your employees will do at the office is check emails, then you don’t need to get the fastest internet. It’s also important to note that satellite internet can get pretty expensive the faster you want it to be.

Determine your online activities while using satellite internet. Will you stream on Netflix or play online games? If you are, then consider connections from companies like Yellow Jacket Broadband.

Keep in mind that even satellite internet has data caps. Thus, it’s good to learn how much you’ll be using your Internet and for what activities. It allows you to pick an ISP that offers a plan with the right data cap.

Get Satellite Internet Today

We hope that you enjoyed learning the answer to “what is satellite internet and how does it work?” You’ll now have a wider understanding of its pros and cons.

Are you hungry for related knowledge? Check out our other guides to learn more about other internet connection options.

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