Satellite internet explained

Satellite internet is provided through the interchange of data signals between the dish at your home and the satellites in space
A representative image illustrating space satellites in orbits around the Earth globe. — Canva
A representative image illustrating space satellites in orbits around the Earth globe. — Canva

Satellite internet is a type of broadband service that delivers internet content to remote and sparsely populated regions by using satellites revolving around our planet's orbit.

Moreover, contrary to conventional cable, fibre-optic, and Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) Internet, satellite internet does not use any wires or cords linking your residence with the ISP. It instead utilises a satellite dish, a modem and a router to transmit as well as receive data signals from satellites.

How does satellite internet work?

Satellite internet works by sending and receiving data signals between your satellite dish and the satellites in space. The satellites are located in a geostationary orbit, which means they stay in the same position relative to the Earth. This allows them to provide consistent coverage to a large area.

When you request a web page or stream a video, your satellite dish sends a signal to the nearest satellite, which then relays it to a ground station operated by your ISP. 

The ground station processes your request and sends the data back to the satellite, which then beams it down to your dish. Your modem converts the signal into a format that your router and devices can understand.

Why you should opt for satellite internet

Below we've listed down the factors for which you should go for satellite internet.

  • Satellite internet offers faster speeds and more data than some DSL or dial-up services. Some satellite ISPs offer speeds up to 300 Mbps and unlimited data plans.
  • It's available almost anywhere in the world, as long as you have a clear view of the sky. This makes it ideal for rural and remote areas that lack other options.
  • Satellite internet can be easy to install and use. You only need a satellite dish, a modem and a router, which are usually provided by your ISP. You don’t need to worry about wires or cables running through your property.

Like any other technological innovation, satellite internet also has some disadvantages where it fails to efficiently serve the purpose when compared to other types of broadband services.

Downsides of satellite internet

Satellite internet can be more expensive and less reliable than other types of broadband services. You may have to pay higher monthly fees, equipment costs, installation charges and contract penalties than cable or fibre customers.

This kind of internet can suffer from latency, which is the delay between sending and receiving data. This can affect your online activities that require real-time responses, such as live gaming, video conferencing and voice calls. 

One of the discouraging factors of satellite internet is that it can be affected by weather conditions, such as rain, snow, clouds or storms. These natural calamities can interfere with the signal quality or cause interruptions to slow down your service.