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Satellite Internet

Satellite internet offers high-speed data service from a geostationary satellite located at a distance of 22,300 miles above the equator of the earth. This service enables the users to transmit and receive data from a dish via a location on Earth called the Network Operations Center (NOC). The NOC will be connected to the internet and all communications from the satellite dish at the user side to the geostationary satellite will flow through them, before reaching the internet.

From the standpoint of satellite internet users, the transfer of data through the satellite is not much different from that used by a land based internet provider. The important point to keep in mind is that once the technician configures the system and its connections, the satellite internet service acts almost the same as any other type of internet service. Satellite internet service is the only high-speed internet option available for millions of Americans living in rural parts of the country.

Improvements in satellite internet technology and the rapid increase in competition have led to the introduction of more reliable and better satellite internet services. Many of the internet service providers in the country offer satellite internet packages that provide speeds comparable to those offered via DSL and cable.

In addition, innovations and technologies in satellite internet services have resulted in a steep decline in the cost of data accessible per GB. The below graph will better illustrate the changes in the cost per GB over the years. Experts in telecommunications say that this will rapidly decrease in the coming years also.

Working of Satellite Internet

As said above, satellite internet service makes use of geostationary satellites rather than cable or telephone lines to transmit and receive data. These satellites will remain fixed relative to a location on the Earth as the revolution velocity of the satellite matches with the speed of revolution of the Earth. These satellites offer two-way data communication between the small dish antennas mounted on the home of the user and the NOC hub of the internet service provider.

When the user accesses a website, a request is sent from the user’s computer to the satellite via the dish. The satellite upon receiving retransmits this request to the service hub (NOC) of the provider, which is connected to the internet. The details of the website requested by the user will be beamed back to the satellite by the NOC from where the data will be sent to the dish antenna of the user. The modem connected to the dish will translate the data and the website will load on the user’s computer. The internet signal will have to travel enormous distances back and forth but will take only a few seconds for the complete process to happen.

Users will be able to connect all the internet-enabled devices in their home to the World Wide Web by making use of satellite internet. In addition to having the necessary equipment, a clear view of the sky is also required to get uninterrupted satellite internet. This is because the dish will need a clear line of sight to the satellite for proper transmission and reception of the signal. This means that extreme weather may affect the service in rare situations.

Benefits of Satellite Internet

Satellite internet can be the fitting option for remote, rural, and isolated areas that do not have access to any other internet service options. None of the businesses can afford to remain disconnected from the internet these days and satellite internet offers an excellent way for them to access the high-speed internet at virtually any location. Besides, satellite internet offers the users with many benefits over other internet options like cable and DSL.

Global Coverage

One of the important benefits of satellite internet service is its extensive coverage of any location on Earth. A single geostationary satellite can be used to offer coverage across continents. This wide area coverage of the service makes it the best option for remote and underserved locations. A clearer line of sight view of the geostationary satellite, communications equipment, and a power supply is all that is required to establish a successful satellite internet connection.

High-Speed Access

Speed is another important benefit of opting satellite internet. Most of the satellite internet providers operating in the country can offer speeds that are much faster than many of the terrestrial internet options available. If only limited internet options like dial-up and slow DSL are available in an area, satellite internet will be the best option, as it will offer high-speed internet access.

Cost Effective

Studies show that it will cost between 10,000 and 100,000 dollars to lay a mile of optical fiber cable in an underserved location. Apart from the high investments, it will take many months to finish the deployment of the fiber completely to make the service available to different locations. If reliable terrestrial connectivity is not present, then satellite internet will be the most cost effective way to provide high-speed internet service in an area.


As the satellite internet only consists of a satellite, NOC, and receiving dish, chances of network outages will be very low. When compared to terrestrial internet options, the chances of outages are very limited. In case of terrestrial internet services, network outage can happen at any point in the infrastructure that can hinder the connectivity. A satellite internet service can work independently of any terrestrial infrastructure to offer connectivity as long as power is supplied to the equipment.

Bandwidth Availability

Telecom experts say that the geostationary orbit can have about one hundred and eighty ‘parking spots’ for accommodating different satellites. Even though there are only limited parking spots for the geostationary satellites, many satellite service providers can offer gigabit speeds across the entire continent. This bandwidth will be available throughout the footprint of the satellite that is offering high-speed internet access at any area.

Easy and Quick Installation

Installation of the service just needs a satellite dish, modem, and power supply and can be finished quickly, as there is no need to lay down cables or any other network infrastructure. After the user signs up for the satellite internet service, the provider can send their technicians who can finish the installation in just a matter of hours.

Satellite Internet Equipment and Setup

There are three main components of a satellite internet service, a geostationary satellite located in orbit around the Earth, a satellite dish mounted on the user’s home, and a modem to translate the signals from the dish to the computer and vice versa. When users sign up for a satellite internet service, they will receive a satellite dish and the modem. Some of the service providers cover the equipment cost and installation charges when users sign up for long-term contracts, while the others may charge an activation and installation fee separately.

To set up a satellite internet connection, the following equipment is required:

  • VSAT (Very Small Aperture Terminal) dish
  • Transceiver
  • Modem

The equipments needed on the side of the satellite internet service provider are:

  • GEO (Geosynchronous Earth Orbit) satellite
  • Gateway and earth stations
  • Network Operations Center (NOC)

Satellite internet service might not be the fastest internet connectivity option in the world. However, it is capable of offering data speeds that are ten times faster than the normal dial up connections available in a region. Moreover, satellite internet can be a great way to offer high-speed internet to the rural areas of the country.


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