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Satellite Internet vs Broadband Internet – Which is Better?

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This is a very pertinent question if you’re looking for an ideal internet service in your area. If you live in a rural area your options are limited. What you’ll be stuck with is either a dial-up connection or the other option, which is usually satellite.

Defining Satellite Internet

How do you define satellite internet? It is a wireless connection with one satellite dish at the internet service provider’s hub, one in space and one attached to your property. There is additional equipment also that is needed such as a modem and cables running to and from the dish to your modem.

The Mechanics

Your ISP sends the signal to the dish in space, which then relays it to your home or office. Whenever you want to access a new page, download a file, send an email or watch a video the signal goes to the dish in space and then to your ISP’s hub. The typical cycle is the signal being sent to space, then to your dish and lastly to your computer.

Satellite Internet is for You if…

Satellite internet is perfect if you live in an area where other options such as cable or DSL aren’t available. For example, if you live in the suburbs and the countryside chances are you don’t have cable, DSL or fiber optics services present in your locality. In such areas, satellite internet will be a faster option.

Minuses

Bad Weather

Stormy weather has a major effect on satellite internet signals. For instance, if there’s excessive rain you’ll suffer poor quality or no internet at all.

Poor Latency

There are also chances of poor latency or high ping rate. That’s so because data has to be sent to the satellite in space, then to your ISP and back again. That’s a long route. Not good if you love online gaming or you use VoIP services.

Weak Signals

You can suffer weak signals due to obstructions such as buildings or trees. Pointing your dish in the south where all orbiting dishes are may help. Anything in the way can affect the quality of your signal, more so if you live out in the woods.

Restricted Bandwidth Usage

Every month ISPs can throttle your bandwidth if you go over your limit, which is in keeping with their Fair Use Policy. Some ISPs cut bandwidth daily, which is better, as you don’t have to wait the entire month if you use up your entire bandwidth at the start of the month.

No VPNs

If you use VPNs you’ll be in for a lot of suffering. They aren’t compatible with satellite internet as they require low latency and high bandwidth, which is not possible with satellite internet.

Expensive

Satellite internet is costly. You can end up paying around $100 per month for just 2 Mbps. That’s twice a month for cable internet, which is 25x faster.

Pluses

Faster than Dial-up

It’s much faster than dial-up. You can get speeds that are 10x to 35x times faster than dial-up.

Bandwidth stays same During Peak Times

It can handle high bandwidth usage, so you shouldn’t be affected even during peak times.

No Landline Required

There’s no need for a phone line.

Although the minuses far outweigh the pluses, you can’t complain when satellite internet is the only option you have. Faster than dial-up, it’ll provide internet access to areas that other services aren’t able to reach. At least, it’s better than not having internet at all.

Broadband Internet

Broadband Internet is the most sought-after service because of its high access speeds. DSL or Digital Subscriber Line, fiber-optics, cable, and satellite are all forms of broadband internet. One can easily say that dial-up is the only non-broadband internet among those other forms of service available to you. And although cheaper, most users are opting for faster broadband internet connection as it is much faster.

DSL

DSL uses your telephone line and your callers will never get a busy tone as it doesn’t interrupt your phone line. However, speed can vary depending on your distance from the switching station. It’ll be faster if you’re closer and slower if you’re further away from it. That alone can help your decision between DSL and cable.

Cable

Broadband cable connection like provided by Mediacom bundles or your local cable TV provider. With this connection, speed can be affected if there are too many users online at peak times. This will occur usually late in the evenings when people come home after work. But there are cable broadband providers that offer better connectivity and speed.

Fiber Optics

The latest and fastest technology these days, by far, is fiber optics. The only problem is it isn’t available everywhere, especially if you live outside the city as laying down of the fiber optic cable takes a while to complete. The cost is almost the same as that of DSL and cable, but it’s a much faster connection than both of those services.

Satellite

Coming in last is the satellite connection. Although a good replacement for dial-up for those people living in remote rural areas, installation is, bar far, not cheap, and the ongoing monthly charges are almost the same as cable and DSL.

Advantages of DSL and Cable

Higher Bandwidth

DSL and cable broadband offer a lot of advantages. You get higher bandwidth than other internet services. Great if you multitask with several applications performing in the background while you surf the net even while listening to audio.

Computer Networking is Easier

If you want to build a network of computers in the home, it is much easier with a broadband connection, by either using wireless or wired modems.

Well Worth the Cost

Although the cost of broadband is usually higher than dial-up, given the advantages and ease of a broadband connection, the benefits outweigh the cost.

Great for Gamers

Broadband is ideal for people who love playing multiplayer online games. A broadband connection relies on a fast internet connection that means no delay or lags when you’re playing your favorite games.

No Busy Phone Line

Unlike old dial-up with a broadband connection you will not get a busy tone in your phone line when in use. A great plus is you’ll get an internet phone service when you sign up for a broadband connection, which means you can do away with your traditional phone line.

Constantly Connected

With a broadband connection you are connected to the internet all the time. That means you can connect with your work’s intranet and email in seconds.

When considering which service to sign up for many people narrow the search to the more popular DSL and cable services. Check the different options in your area to see which services are on offer and which ones are fast.

Although cable broadband is speedy, you won’t get any fast speed if your connection is unreliable. The speed you receive will depend on the shared bandwidth, number of users online at any given time, and the latency or ping rate of the network.

Measured in Bits Per Second or BPS, bandwidth is a measure of the amount of data transfer on the network over a period of time. A simple formula is the higher the data flow, the faster speeds you’ll get. Usually, you get speeds of 300 Kbps or higher, which is much faster than the dial-up maximum of 53Kbps. A big factor that can affect your internet speed.

Latency or ping rate, which means the same thing, refers to delays incurred in the network data processing on the network. Low latency means small delay times, and high latency is long delays. With high latency, there can be a bottleneck in data transmission, which prevents addition data from transferring effectively reducing bandwidth speed. So even though you think you’re getting the set bandwidth you’ll experience reduced speeds due to the data bottlenecks and a high number of users online especially at peak times.

Your speed will greatly reduce if you’re on a broadband DSL connection, and you’re located further away from the switching station. The further away you are the slower your internet connection.

The great plus of a broadband connection is that it’s always on. Just power on your computer and you have instant access as it’s running in the background. The equipment that connects the computer is usually a cable or DSL modem. If you have a cable connection, your computer is connected to the cable outlet on the wall. In the case of DSL, your modem is connected to the phone line. The only way you’ll lose your connectivity would be if you unplug the modem, otherwise, it’ll stay on.

Gone are the days when you’d dial a number to gain access to the internet. A broadband connection allows you access by double-clicking your browser such as Google, Bing, Internet Explorer, Firefox, Netscape or any other of your choice and you can start surfing the web instantly. It takes only 10 to 15 seconds to log on.

So whether it’s satellite internet or broadband internet it depends on several factors before you can make your decision. If you live out in the suburbs your best option would be satellite internet. But if you’re a city dweller you’ll be best served by a broadband connection.

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