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28 Jun

How to Find the Best Satellite Internet Provider in your Area

Best Satellite Internet Providers

Best Satellite Internet

Internet service options provided in most urban areas in the country fall under three types: cable, DSL and fiber-optic. However, when you move into the rural and remote regions, this scenario changes. Most major companies offering cable or DSL services skip over these parts when setting up their networks, which means people living or and working there do not have these same internet options available to them. If they want internet access, they have to turn to satellite internet, or dial-up.

There are many reasons why consumers sign up for satellite internet, which brings its own set of major pros and cons. Following is a look at how it works, and whether you should choose it as the answer to your internet needs.

How Satellite Internet Functions

The name gives it away – there is a satellite orbiting the Earth, which forms the most important equipment used by the service provider. The company sets up a satellite to revolve in geostationary orbit above the equator, around 23,000 miles over the ground. It holds a stationary position relative to the Earth’s surface.

Satellite internet customers have a dish set up in their homes, which receives signals sent down from the satellite before transferring them to your router. The router feeds these signals to your computer so that you can get on the internet. Signals from the dish can be sent in through an Ethernet cable, or to a Wi-Fi station. It goes without saying that the former delivers better speed.

Reasons for Choosing Satellite Internet

The major driver behind people signing up for satellite internet service is the absence of a ground-based alternative. This happens mostly with rurally based people. Sometimes customers are able to negotiate the construction of a connection singly to their residence, assuming they are dealing with one of the best satellite internet providers in the country. However, that works only if said residence is close enough to one of the provider’s network points. Otherwise, the company would have to lay new cables to the subscriber’s location, which they usually will not do because it’s expensive and impractical.

Normal installation of satellite internet is remarkably easy, with the technician spending just a few hours mounting the satellite dish on the home and aligning it properly. After that and connecting it to the router, their work is done, and your connection is ready to use. The best satellite internet providers make it a point to ensure you do not have to face delays in this, and the technicians they send over are skilled, efficient and courteous.

Wireless Internet Providers In My Area

Internet Service Options

While dial-up is one of the options a rural customer can go with, it pales in comparison with satellite internet in terms of speed. When connected via dial-up, streaming and gaming can slow down to a crawl, with some games simply failing to work at all. Satellite internet, while it cannot fully remove these issues, can sure mitigate them. Moreover, you can comfortably utilize a decent data allowance of 20 GB or such. Inside that, a customer gets to watch 30 hours or more of video of standard definition quality on a streaming service. If it is HD video, you can watch seven hours of it. The pricing on plans would vary based on the provider you choose, but as a rule, satellite internet costs more than dial-up, even when it is from the best satellite internet providers in the country. If you need fast and copious data flow, it definitely beats dial-up on both counts.

Technical Limitations

Other than the problem of data allowance being limited with a satellite connection, there are some limitations as well, which you need to be aware of before signing up. These have to do with the type of service delivery. The foremost of them is “latency”, which is caused by the distance, which data signals have to travel among the satellite, your computer, and the ground servers.

Latency is technically the amount of time from the instant a command gets sent from one end, such as when you click on a link, to the instant the intended function takes place. Remember, the satellite that is providing you internet is 23,000 miles in the sky, and that the signal from your computer has to reach it and get sent back down to the NOC or Network Operations Center. The NOC processes it and sends it back up, after which the satellite sends it to your dish. All of this happens pretty quickly, but not instantaneously; so you normally see many slight delays while using the internet. These become more pronounced for gamers, who generally require near-immediate responses while playing. High latency is an issue that hounds even the best satellite internet providers and customers.

Bad weather too can wreak havoc with good signal delivery. If there are highs winds or rainstorms in your area, it is usually a given that satellite internet reception will poor, if available. Bandwidth can be a problem as well after you have used up a set amount of data; even the best satellite internet providers in the country throttle speeds in keeping with Fair Use Policy. Some of the best satellite internet providers make this easier to swallow by offering daily bandwidths instead, which only inconveniences you for a day, instead of the remainder of the month. Satellite internet also precludes the use of VPNs, owing to their high latency.

Satellite Internet Service Provider

Cheap Internet Providers

It is important to have a good idea on how satellite internet can affect your daily internet use, and whether you are ok with that. Living in a rural area with no available ground-based internet service can limit your options for fast internet considerably, and when that is the case, getting satellite internet may be your only way forward. Sure, it is expensive, but not being able to go online can get unbearable pretty quickly, so you take what’s on the table.

Optimizing the Connection

Satellite broadband is often more complicated to optimize than fiber, cable, or DSL. The system has two main parts: a home network system and a satellite system. This may confuse users at first, but clears up sufficiently after you grasp the basics of line-of-sight transmissions. When you have that concept down in your mind, it is easy to see that optimizing a satellite internet setup in your home carries much the same specifics as doing the same with a landline-based home network. Below are the basic steps you need to know how to carry out in case you cannot reach the company for some reason.

  • Ensuring that the dish is not faced with any physical obstructions, or improperly oriented
  • Ensuring that the router or modem is loaded with and operating flawlessly on the latest firmware
  • If you are using Wi-Fi in your home, placing the router in an open space and close to where your computer is
  • Using a wired connection to squeeze out the most speed, especially if you are big on streaming and gaming

Factors Affecting the Signal Reaching the Dish

There are two key components to your satellite dish receiver: the receiver and the dish. The latter performs the function of focusing radio signals and reflecting them back onto the receiver, which is placed in front of it. A signal from a satellite is basically what you call a line-of-sight signal, which means there needs to be a line of sight extending from the dish’s center to the satellite that’s in the sky. Loss of this would always degrade the signal. Maximizing the quality of your satellite internet depends on giving the dish proper orientation and placement, which requires having accurate information about the geostationary satellite. The service technician always has the information with them, because it is the main thing they need to help you fix a dropped connection or slow speed.

A broadband satellite, as mentioned above, is placed in geosynchronous orbit at 23,000 miles above ground, which means it will not move with respect to a person standing directly below it. There is no need to keep checking where the satellite is, but you do have to keep the view in front of your satellite dish free from physical obstacles that could block signal flow.

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Satellite Internet Coverage

When a professional installer sets up your satellite dish, they make sure it is properly oriented. If it came with a self-installation kit and you were the one to put it up, there is a chance you will experience service issues. At these times, do not simply assume it is your network hardware that is at fault. First, call your satellite internet service provider and ask them for assistance with aiming the dish. They would normally ask you for your location and easily tell you the satellite’s bearing. While stateside you are in the Northern Hemisphere, and geosynchronous satellites are placed directly above the equator, which means you will usually need to aim the dish South.

Accurate tuning can be done with help from your internet service provider, by getting the direct bearing with respect to the satellite. For instance, if you are in Tampa, Florida, and the internet signals you get are beamed down from a satellite placed at 115.1°W, it would have a bearing of approximately 235 degrees. All you need to do is download a compass app on your phone and using this, stand behind the dish and keep turning till you are facing 235 (roughly Southwest). At this point, you are facing the satellite. Point the dish in that direction as well, and angle it at 30 degrees from the ground. After this comes the part where you remove any obstructions blocking the dish from a full direct view of the sky ahead. If there are trees or buildings blocking the path, the dish will need to be moved to a better place and oriented once more.

Optimizing the Home Network

After ensuring that the satellite dish is facing in the right direction and has an unbroken view of the sky, you will need to move onto optimizing the network equipment that will be set up inside the home. This will comprise a router-modem combination, or a separate modem with router boxes. Both can be optimized in the same way, with the main goal being ideally placing the wireless router and ensuring that the firmware on the devices is updated.

Your modem or router will have a sticker that shows its IP address as well as other information. The IP address is specific to each device, and will be in the 192.168.xx.xx format. In some cases, the prefix may be something other than 192.168, but you do not find a lot of that these days.

After locating the IP address of the hardware you are going to set up, you will be able to get on the network using a web browser. You will first be taken to an internal web page that the device generated. From here, you need to take the option that lets you update the firmware. Just search for “firmware” on the page, and click on the link. Follow the instructions you see, and you will have the latest firmware installed in no time.

With regard to the Wi-Fi connection inside the home, you need to understand and remember one thing: Wi-Fi signals do not require a line of sight between the emitting and receiving devices, but can weaken after passing through solid objects. The fewer walls and floors these need to go through to reach your computer or tablet, the better. In other words, you would do well to place the router in an open space and in the upper third, as well as preferably in the same room as your PC. If that is not possible, and the speeds you get are disappointing, maybe it is time to start thinking about the hard cable alternative.

Local Options for Satellite Internet

Wireless Internet Service

Locating IP Address

If you want to know whether your area is being serviced by a satellite internet service provider, the first thing to do is call up the best satellite internet providers you know about. If that gets you nowhere, Google “best satellite internet providers” along with your zip code, and call up the ones that show up in the results. Every service provider is outspoken about satellite internet being providable in areas open to the southern sky, but that does not mean they will service every area in the country. Confirm which companies bring internet to yours, and start researching and comparing their plans. When comparing the best satellite internet providers servicing your area, go by speed, pricing, contracts, early termination fees, and data caps. This will shorten the list and hopefully let you pick from no more than a handful of options.

The Best Satellite Internet Providers in the Country

  • Viasat: An established provider of satellite internet, Viasat has been steadily improving its offerings over the years it has been in the business. If you have been a customer for some time, you do not need to be told that they are now giving faster speeds for less money, as well as the highly enticing option of unlimited data. Some areas get up to 100 Mbps, thanks to a recently launched satellite, effectively making Viasat one of the best satellite internet providers in the country. In some areas though, the speeds are as meager as 12 Mbps. Viasat is not taking on new installations in some areas, but you are generally likely to get access to their services considering current coverage. The main problem with choosing Viasat is that it raises the bill after the first three months, even though you would still be paying a lot less per GB. Another downside is that the company imposes steep early termination fees, which kick in if you stop paying before the mandatory 24-month contract ends.
  • HughesNet: HughesNet is Viasat’s main competition in the satellite internet arena. While initially derided for slow and pricey plans, since launching a satellite in 2017, the company has upped its game and started offering a minimum speed of 25 Mbps across all plans. Coverage is not very wide though, and the plans come with data limits beyond which the speed gets throttled, which is annoying. Pricing is pretty standard and transparent. After your connection slows down post exceeding the data limit, you can buy a data token to raise the speed to what it was. However, this coupled with the already high price of satellite internet can be very expensive. HughesNet does automatically adjust the quality of your streaming videos to the available speed, which means you do not have to do this manually. There is also bonus data of 50 GB, which you can use on off-peak hours every month, but you would need to stay up between 02:00 and 08:00 am, or schedule your downloads for that time. This is good for large downloads like games, movies or software updates. HughesNet also mandates a 24-month contract, and charges up to $400 if you cancel prematurely.
08 May

Types of Internet Service to Consider for Business Connectivity

High Speed Cable Internet

Business Internet Types

 

These days everything you do on the internet demands faster speeds. This holds especially true where businesses are concerned; employees require faster services, and for that, the chosen connection should have ample bandwidth. If a business ensures this, it can retain a competitive edge. If not, there will be no end to the complaints from employees. Below is a look at your options, and when you should consider upgrading to high speed cable internet.

Best Internet Service Types For Your Business

  1. Broadband
  2. Cable Internet
  3. Fios
  4. Satellite
  5. Fixed Wireless

Broadband

Broadband service (also called DSL) is a common feature in homes and small business offices. Internet is delivered through copper wires, and reaches speeds of up to 8 Mbps. This speed is not nearly enough to accommodate video streaming of all kinds. If the latter is a requirement in your office, you should consider upgrading to high speed cable internet, or at least Ethernet.

Cable Internet

Delivered through coaxial wire, this form of internet service gives greater speeds. However, the speeds vary based on the time of day you go online. Undeniably great value for money, high speed cable internet is used by small businesses that do not compromise on speed, but can look the other way when it comes to uptime. If the latter is an important issue for your company, you can upgrade to FTTP or Ethernet.

FiOS

Satellite Internet Providers

High Speed Internet

Short for Fiber Optic Service, FiOS uses FTTP delivery to get you your internet. This ensures superior speeds, regardless of the distance the signal needs to travel to get to your location. Small businesses and home users are picking it up eagerly, owing to its cost effective nature. The provider usually removes the home phone and replaces this with VOIP, so you do not have to pay for a phone line.

Satellite

When your situation does not allow for a regular wired connection, satellite internet is one way out. It is especially helpful if you are located remotely, or if you need the connection to be instantly available. However, even the best satellite internet providers charge exorbitantly, and what’s more, the speeds are not fast enough to justify it. You would also be dealing with the issue of high latency.

Fixed Wireless

The Internet can be provided through microwaves sent between base stations; which is how subscribers to fixed wireless get their internet. One station will be on your premises, while the other will be linked to a wired internet connection. The main requirement is that the stations are positioned in a line of sight.

 

An awareness of various internet connection types, their features, and speed variations will help you find the best internet providers for your small business. Before you lock your company into any contract, consider these facts and choose wisely.

05 May

Comparing Internet Services from AT&T® and Charter®

Best Satellite Internet Providers

Comparing Internet Services

AT&T® is among the best satellite internet providers in the country. It is rivaled closely by Charter® in terms of internet service delivery, although the latter offers cable internet. If you are going to be choosing between the two, you will need the information given below to get started on the decision.

The gist of the matter is that Charter Spectrum® is better in terms of speeds as well as availability, with reasonable pricing to go with that. The fastest internet speeds AT&T® delivers is through its fiber service, which is not available in many places. Additionally, AT&T® puts a data cap on its services, but Charter® does not.

Charter Spectrum® Internet

Charter® is big on the basics. There are no more than a couple of internet plans, which can be seen as either good or bad based on where you are standing. While it certainly simplifies mattes, it limits choices, unless you live somewhere where the 100 Mbps Ultra Internet is being provided.

There is not much flexibility either. You cannot, for instance, find an option where you pay for slightly less speed than the 100 Mbps they normally offer. Many consider this money wasted, which in a way it is. Neither can you get faster speeds by paying more, for that matter. Still, you will not find 100 Mbps to be slow by any means.

AT&T® Internet

One of the best satellite internet providers in the country, AT&T® is as different from Charter® as can be. It overwhelms subscribers with choices, as well as offers and promotions. They also offer fast fiber internet.

Fastest Internet

High Speed Internet

The Gigabit fiber from AT&T®, which is the one with the Internet 1000 plan, is unavailable in many markets. However, if it were being offered in your area, you would do well to partake. This is the fastest fiber service in the country, with unparalleled speeds. There will no longer be the need for worrying over a slow connection. You could be streaming multiple shows over the same connection, while someone in the house is gaming online or downloading huge content and the connection would still be blazing fast.

Data Caps

Charter® does not impose a limit on the data that subscribers get to use. They can download and stream the desired content and not have to worry about overages and such. AT&T®, although one of the best satellite internet providers, sets an acceptable 1 TB cap, which most people do not have an issue with.

25 Apr

Points to Note When Installing Satellite Internet Connection at Home

Satellite Internet Service

Satellite Internet Connection

There are two components to satellite internet, including a satellite system, signal receiver, and other equipment, that forms a part of the home network. For satellite internet service, you would need a satellite dish that is set up in a way that it works around obstructions to line-of-sight signals and a router or a modem having up-to-date firmware. If you are planning to access Wi-Fi, you should put the router in an open area where signal strength is adequate. For fastest connection and the best streaming service possible, it is advisable to use wired connections for internet such as fiber optic.

Of course, optimizing satellite internet service starts with setting up the two components mentioned, namely the satellite dish, and the receiver that reflects radio signals that are focused by the dish. To get the best possible connection, you should place and navigate the satellite dish in a certain direction into the sky that receives line-of-sight signals.

Since geosynchronous satellites orbits on the Equator, the bearing of a satellite dish or its aiming should be toward south direction if you live in the Northern Hemisphere, and to the north, if you are in the Southern Hemisphere. To get an exact bearing of the dish, it is best to get in touch with a satellite internet service provider for assistance on that. Note that these things vary as per the location as well.

Best Satellite Internet Providers

High Speed Internet

The internet service provider should be able to tell you the precise bearing angles and coordinates as per the city you live in. If you have got a professional installation, this aiming of the dish will not be a concern, but not if you are using a self-installation kit. You should also ensure things such as foliage does not obstruct the satellite signals. If there are trees in the skyward path, you should move the satellite dish to an open area so that the connection can be optimized subsequently.

The equipment for the internet connection would comprise of a modem-router combination or separate modem & router boxes. No matter which equipment you have, make sure that its firmware is up-to-date and place the router in an open area. For the best possible signals, wired connections are advisable to a Wi-Fi router, since the latter will not pass through objects such as walls, cabinets, etc.

For optimizing the home network, get the IP address of the modem or router that the satellite internet service provider has provided you, and enter the same into the address bar of a browser. This would take you to a router configuration page, where you can sign in using your username and password. You can also find the option for updating the firmware of the modem & router on that page.

22 Jan

AT&T® Expands Fixed Wireless Internet Service in Select Locations of Kentucky

Fixed Wireless Internet Service

Fixed Wireless Internet Service

AT&T® upgrades their Fixed Wireless Internet in rural and underserved areas of Kentucky. AT&T® Fixed Wireless Internet was debuted in Kentucky earlier last year. The recent build out is done by the Telco giant as part of their FCC Connect American Fund commitment. AT&T® Fixed Wireless Internet comes from a cellular tower to fixed antennae placed on the subscribers’ homes or business premises. The wireless internet service without satellite from AT&T® is now accessible in select locations of up to 51 counties of Kentucky State, including Anderson, Cladwell, Henry, Owen, and Washington County.

“Access to reliable broadband internet service is critical in today’s increasingly digital economy, so I’m pleased to see this sort of investment from the private sector,” said House Speaker Pro Tempore David Osborne. “By expanding ultra-fast fiber connections in Louisville and Central Kentucky and closing the access gap in our rural communities, we are able to compete for the best jobs and grow economic opportunity for all Kentuckians,” said AT&T® in a recent press release.

Wireless Internet Service

Upgraded Fiber Network

“I am thankful for the leadership of our elected officials who work to ensure a pro-consumer business environment and am delighted to see so many residents benefiting from this innovative technology made possible by private investment,” said Kentucky Chamber of Commerce’s President and Chief Executive Officer Dave Adkisson.

Besides expanding wireless internet to mostly rural locations of the state, AT&T® has also upgraded their fiber network backed by AT&T® Fiber, to over 10000 areas in Central Kentucky and Louisville. Subscribers are buying AT&T® Fiber all thanks to the connection speed of up to 1 Gbps. The high-speed internet service will enable customers to download twenty five songs in a second, says AT&T®, or watch their favorite HD movies of 90 minutes running time in less than thirty four seconds.

AT&T® markets the 1000 Mbps Fiber internet connection to more than 7M areas across 67 nationwide metros as of now. Besides, AT&T® plans to reach out to 12.5M areas at the least by mid-2019. Commenting on the fiber network expansions in the U.S. State, AT&T® Kentucky President Hood Harris said, “The more than 2,700 men and women who work for AT&T® and call Kentucky home, are proud to work with our local, state and federal leadership to provide the connectivity Kentucky’s residents and businesses demand.”

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