Overview of Satellite Internet
If you live in an area that lacks high speed internet access, such as in a rural community or in an area that is extremely remote, satellite internet access may be a solution for you that is both economical and effective. High speed internet is no longer an optional commodity or luxury product, as the modern world dictates that high speed internet access is a requirement for computing online. Websites such as MySpace, YouTube, and Newgrounds.com are all highly popular locations that require an ever growing amount of bandwidth so that they load quickly.
Unfortunately, dial-up internet is no longer able to compete with high speed alternatives. Five or six years ago dial-up was still an option, as the majority of the internet was housed on standard HTML based websites that were fast loading and required little in the way of downstream bandwidth. A standard image, for example, was usually less than 100 kilobytes in size, which on a 56.6 kps dial-up connection (the standard for dial up) usually took less than 10 seconds to download. For most people, that was acceptable, and considering the price disparity between dial-up and high speed, it was also livable.
Alas, that is not the case today. Today websites are crammed with streaming video and audio, flash movies, interactive games, and bandwidth intensive applications. Today, surfing the internet with dial-up is akin to going for a drive down the freeway in a bicycle- it’s an exercise in frustration.
What is Satellite Internet?
Satellite Internet is an option for people who want high speed internet service but are out of the service range of traditional high speed outlets. Cable and DSL, the two major high speed standards, both have a limited operating range. Cable high speed internet can only be present where there is cable television service, and that type of service is not offered in rural areas. Conversely, DSL is offered via a traditional phone line. However, DSL service is dependent on the distance from a central routing server, and you can bet that there are no routing stations that are local to rural areas.
Satellite internet exists in three different forms, and each of them has their own characteristics and pricing.
One-way multicast – This type of satellite internet connection is used for data, video, and audio distribution. This type of internet connection is severely limited in its application, and it is not suitable for residential internet access.
Most internet content, such as web pages, will be displayed without a problem. However, interactive content will not function correctly as the amount of available bandwidth to be sent back is restricted, meaning that the user has little meaningful input.
One-way with terrestrial return – One-way terrestrial return satellite internet systems can be described in a similar way as a hybrid car. The satellite internet access acts as an electric motor, designed to boost the performance of the gasoline engine. Dial-up internet access, acting similar to a gasoline engine, maintains the brunt of outgoing bandwidth, while the electric motor (satellite connection) significantly boosts the incoming bandwidth.
In other words, one-way with terrestrial return requires you to have two separate internet connections: one dial-up connection, used for outgoing bandwidth, and the satellite internet connection, which is used for incoming bandwidth
While upload speeds are identical to that of a dial-up internet connection, the download speeds are nearly identical to common high speed internet access. Customers located in rural communities will find this type of internet access convenient and refreshingly responsive.
Two way – Two way satellite internet connections are highly advanced, but they are not suitable for residential connections. While they offer suitable bandwidth, they are generally high latency, meaning that there are substantial delays in the responsiveness of the connection. So while a two-way satellite internet connection may be suitable for large file transfers or simple internet browsing, it is not suitable for any kind of interactive content.
Comparatively speaking, most broadband connections have latency is that is less than two-tenths of a second, and even dial-up internet connections hover around the one second range. The expense of this type of satellite internet connection would easily outweigh the advantages, and the severe latency would become annoying quite quickly.
Is Satellite Internet For You?
Satellite internet for residential use is a bit more expensive than standard high speed internet connections. However, that expense is often small compared to the inconvenience of having a slow internet connection that under-performs and leaves you constantly waiting. If you are a casual internet user who lives in a rural area and has never had high speed internet at home, making the step up to satellite internet is akin to moving from a bicycle to a motorcycle. The difference in performance will leave you wondering how you ever managed to use the internet without it.
Generally, satellite internet is a rather obtrusive way of obtaining high speed internet as it requires the use of a dial-up internet connection. In urban areas, where high speed is available in the form of Cable or DSL connections, satellite internet is simply not competitive. However, change the location to a rural area, and satellite internet is no more an imposition than what dial-up is already imposing.
If you don’t mind having to pay for two internet connections, satellite internet is a very real option for those who really don’t have another choice. With download speeds being close to most forms of broadband, and considering that 95% of your internet usage comes in the form of downloading websites, movies, music, and other files, satellite internet can provide a solid browsing experience and finally bring high speed internet access to your home.
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