Ben Hanzel

Last Updated: April 21st, 2020

In the summer of 2015, the Pew Research Center conducted an analysis of Internet use. Among the findings: 85 percent of Americans are regular Internet users.

This data is probably not surprising to most. The Internet is a regular part of daily life. We use if for work, shopping, entertainment, education, news, research and simply passing the time looking up a wide variety of information.

One can access the Internet through DSL or cable. Some still log on through dial-up, though this is an increasingly small percentage. Another common way is through satellite connection.

Is you reside in an urban area, you almost certainly have DSL or cable options to get the Internet into your home. But what if you live in a rural town, far from major cities or suburbs where cable and DSL have reach? You certainly shouldn't have to be left out in the cold.

If you're a small-towner, you can surf the Internet using dial-up or satellite, and satellite internet is a much better option.

Satellite Internet is a wireless connection that uses three satellites to get the Internet to you. One of these satellites is situated at your home, usually on a rooftop. Another is located at your Internet service provider's place of business or central hub. The third satellite is found high above the earth, more than 22,000 miles over the equator.

This isn't the only equipment you'll need for satellite Internet. To complete the connection, you'll need a modem with cables running to and from your onsite dish.

Once your setup is complete, you can access the Internet and browse to your heart's content. Here's how it works:

  1. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) will send a signal that will travel to the satellite dish in space.
  2. The dish from space relays the signal to your dish at home.
  3. Each time you download a file, request a new page or send an email, your request is sent via signal to the dish in space and then to your ISP's dish.
  4. Once the requested is made, the signal goes from the ISP dish, to space, to your dish and then to your computer.

The advantages of satellite Internet

  • Satellite Internet is considerably faster than dial-up, so it can be viewed as an upgrade to this method.
  • Satellite Internet can be used to connect to the Internet from virtually anywhere in the world, provided you have the right equipment and everything is set up properly.
  • You don't need a phone line to use satellite Internet.

The disadvantages of satellite Internet

If you live far away from highly populated areas, satellite Internet is easily your most effective and convenient way to log on to the Internet. But if you live in a metropolitan area where DSL, cable or fiber optic connections are available, there's really no reason to use satellite Internet. Here are some reasons why:

  • During poor weather such as rain or snow, your connection will be adversely affected. In some instances of bad weather, you may lose your connection entirely.
  • Because satellite Internet relies on sending signals back and forth between three different dishes, the time it takes to communicate with other devices is much longer than with other types of Internet connections.
  • File transfer is slow, so if you like to stream movies or play online games, satellite Internet will fall substantially below your needs.
  • Obstructions-even small ones-will block your signal. Trees, bushes or buildings can get in the way, thus hindering your signal and connectivity. This poses a serious obstacle if you live in a forested area.
  • Satellite Internet has bandwidth restrictions.
  • Satellite Internet will generally cost around $100 or more for 2 Mbps of speed. You can spend half that for much, much faster connections with cable connections.
  • Satellite Internet and VPNs are not compatible.

Deciding whether to get satellite Internet should simply be a matter of where you live. If you don't have cable, fiber optic or DSL in your area, go with satellite. It's a no-brainer over dial-up. But if the faster connection types are available, the choice is easy: skip the satellite.

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