What is satellite internet?

When you think of internet service, chances are a satellite doesn’t initially come to mind. The same could be said for satellite—it tends to get associated with television programming and the international space station, not with powering your online connection. 

These days, internet options exist for every kind of situation and location. While it may seem complicated and extremely technical, satellite internet makes for a simple and wholly adequate broadband solution for those who may live slightly off the grid. You shouldn’t have to forgo a connection because the cable, fiber-optic, or DSL services available to you are stretched too thin. So how exactly does satellite internet work, and what sets it apart from other broadband options? 

How does satellite internet work? 

Satellite internet doesn’t rely on a physical connection. The signal is transmitted via three separate dishes spread between the earth and space. Your home has a satellite that receives signal requests from your computer modem, then sends them up to an orbiting satellite which beams the signal back down to your internet provider. The whole process then happens in reverse: the provider transmits the translated signal back to its satellite, and from there it travels to your own satellite dish, through your modem, and back into your computer.  Satellite does have higher latency than other forms of internet, which means the signal takes a bit longer to pan up to space and back. But Viasat is constantly working to improve its network technology and trim that latency down.

The pros? Satellite internet can be accessed from nearly anywhere in the country. The dish fixed to your home doesn’t have to swivel back and forth to catch the best signal. It’s wireless and doesn’t rely on a phone line to run, so you don’t have to worry about what plugs in where. Your signal simply transmits through the air. And you’ll still be able to perform normal web activity, such as browsing, uploading and downloading, streaming, and even some gaming at up to 100 Mbps download speeds—though multiplayer gaming and heavy streaming are not recommended. Satellite even beats out dialup, generating speeds up to 35 times faster than its wired opponent. 

Who is best suited for satellite? 

Satellite internet is best suited for customers who live in rural areas, its reach extending well past that of traditional services. Connections generated from wires and cables tend to slow down the farther from the source of the connection you live, whereas satellite exists everywhere you go. And if you’re worried about the amount of bandwidth your household takes up daily? Don’t be. A satellite connection can handle multiple connected devices and heavier online traffic, so the quality of your connection shouldn’t be adversely affected. 

No more waiting for your dialup to connect. No more patchy, unreliable service. If you’re a customer living beyond the reach of copper or glass cabling and mainstream internet services have failed you in the past, satellite is here to make life easier for you.