If you are located in an area that is too remote for cable and DSL service, you are not locked out of higher-speed internet service. Satellite internet provides service that is much faster than the dial-up connections that continue to be used in rural and remote locations. Enter your ZIP code in Wirefly's broadband comparison tool to compare satellite internet providers and satellite internet plans to find the best one for your needs.
Satellite internet, on the other hand, is a much faster product that serves as a real alternative for every home that has a clear sight line to the southern sky. No matter where you are, you can access satellite internet and take advantage of improved speeds.
Many satellite providers - much like cable internet providers - bundle their services with phone and satellite television products. These bundles can help you to save money, as they can provide significant discounts as well as ease of billing. These bundles are commonly available in the continental United States.
Satellite internet service is experienced by the home user much the same as other internet connection technologies. However, the signal itself is provided by an orbiting satellite through a dish installed at your home, which connects to your provider's network center.
When you use satellite internet, you have an always-on connection; there's no need to dial up or sign in. It's a major step forward over dial-up internet that provides the transfer speeds needed today for many major websites and programs.
How Satellite Internet Works
There are three major components that help to provide your connection to the internet via satellite:
Satellite dish - This is the hardware installed locally at your home to receive the satellite signal and to send data requests to the satellite in order to transfer information from websites, software and email programs.
Geostationary satellite - The satellites that provide internet service orbit the earth in the direction and speed of the earth's own rotation. These satellites are located 22,000 miles into outer space, directly above the equator. This means that the satellite is positioned in a stationary, fixed location in relation to a particular location on the Earth. This helps the satellite to clearly relay the relevant signals between customers and the internet service provider.
Modem - Like with other forms of internet connection, a modem relays the internet data from the satellite connection to your computers, smartphones and other devices. Internet service providers offer different plans with different internet speeds.
Availability of Satellite Internet
One major advantage of satellite internet is its ability to reach where cable and DSL internet providers cannot. In rural and remote locations, cable television service may not be available and telephone wiring is often limited and not suitable for DSL internet. This has meant that for remote rural locations, dial-up has continued to be a major source of internet service. However, satellite internet allows rural residents to bridge the gap and access higher-speed internet with a suitable signal for interacting with today's most popular websites, apps and cloud software. Satellite internet is available almost everywhere in the United States, without restrictions.
Speed improvements - Like other forms of internet service, satellite connections are getting stronger and faster as technology improves, meaning a better and faster experience for satellite internet end users.
Data access - Because of the means used to transfer data, satellite internet plans are rarely unlimited and do often have a bandwidth cap. An automatic tracker of your monthly data usage is generally included with satellite plans, as is access to software to minimize bandwidth usage. Many satellite providers allow free and unlimited late-night browsing and internet access between specific hours.
Adding necessary bandwidth - If you exceed your monthly limit, you can usually purchase access to extra bandwidth for a monthly fee. In addition, you can usually continue to browse the Web and send and receive email, sometimes at lower speeds, after you have exceeded your monthly limit.
Satellite Internet Concerns
The major concern for satellite internet subscribers is latency, which means the delay between your requests and their delivery over the satellite network. Due to the distances involved, latency or "ping time" is often higher with satellite than other types of internet connections. This most frequently impacts gaming or VPN services online that rely on instantaneous data transfer. However, latency is far less than with the dial-up connections that satellite generally replaces.
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