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Carter Gomez
Carter Gomez

Satellite Internet Connection

HughesNet and Viasat are the two primary residential satellite internet providers in the US. Starlink (from SpaceX) has recently become available, and Project Kuiper (from Amazon) will also offer satellite internet service.

satellite internet connection

Starlink has the highest speed and data caps, but it's the least available of the three. HughesNet is the cheapest and available everywhere, but it also has only one speed: 25 Mbps. Viasat, meanwhile, is probably the most expensive (if you're just getting residential internet; Starlink's business plans are more) but also has great speeds like Starlink and is available everywhere.

Maybe not! There are a growing number of internet options for rural areas. Some options offer more data and lower prices than satellite service, so we recommend you check out the best internet options for rural areas before you sign a contract.

An internet-ready device is any device that can access the internet through the proper service. This includes your computer, tablet, smartphone, smart TV, gaming consoles, and any other internet-enabled equipment.

Translates data: A modem translates data so it can move between your internet-ready device and the satellite dish. You can connect some devices, like a computer, smart TV, or gaming console, directly to your modem using an ethernet cable.

The tricky positioning of a satellite dish can make satellite internet difficult for traveling RVs. Additionally, your account is set up to be under a specific spot beam from the satellite in space, so how far you would be able to travel and still get internet would be somewhat limited.

Roughly 22,000 miles above the surface of the Earth, satellites used in traditional satellite internet service (like what you get from Viasat and HughesNet) hover over the equator. They rotate with the planet, so the signal relay stays consistent. This is called a geostationary orbit. This allows for two-way data communication between your dish and the provider hub, or NOC.

Using a much larger satellite dish than the one you have at home, the NOC receives your request. The NOC then taps into the internet backbone, gathers the information you requested, and sends it back through the relay to you.

Because the information has to travel so far, you may notice more latency (also called lag) than you might with DSL or cable internet, but advances in technology have made the satellite internet today much faster than it used to be.

Viasat (formerly Exede) and HughesNet are the two satellite internet providers in operation today. Viasat has faster speeds and higher data allowances, while HughesNet offers more affordable packages. Starlink is is available in select locations during the beta, although service may have interruptions until the Starlink's constellation is more fully built out.

Overall, satellite internet has come a long way over the years). You can find satellite internet plans reaching upwards of 100 Mbps. Having faster internet can really help for watching videos, streaming Netflix, gaming, and supporting an entire household of internet users.

Satellite internet used to be extremely slow, with download speeds of approximately 750 Kbps. But advancements in technology and new satellites have increased speeds. HughesNet also hopes to boost its speeds up to 100 Mbps in the near future. Thank goodness.

In contrast, a heavy thunderstorm with fallen trees or other extreme weather with similar effects could disable cable or DSL for days. Again, most satellite internet customers live in rural areas without access to DSL or cable, so even with rain fade, satellite internet is preferable to alternative, slower means of internet service (like dial-up internet).

Compared to DSL, cable, and fiber internet, satellite is relatively expensive. But its monthly costs have decreased over the years, making it a somewhat more affordable option. (Especially if you have no other internet providers to choose from.)

Satellite Internet access or Satellite Broadband is Internet access provided through communication satellites. Modern consumer grade satellite Internet service is typically provided to individual users through geostationary satellites that can offer relatively high data speeds,[1] with newer satellites using Ku band to achieve downstream data speeds up to 506 Mbit/s.[2] In addition, new satellite internet constellations are being developed in low-earth orbit to enable low-latency internet access from space.

Following the launch of the first satellite, Sputnik 1, by the Soviet Union in October 1957, the US successfully launched the Explorer 1 satellite in 1958. The first commercial communications satellite was Telstar 1, built by Bell Labs and launched in July 1962.

A significant enabler of satellite-delivered Internet has been the opening up of the Ka band for satellites. In December 1993, Hughes Aircraft Co. filed with the Federal Communications Commission for a license to launch the first Ka-band satellite, Spaceway. In 1995, the FCC issued a call for more Ka-band satellite applications, attracting applications from 15 companies. Among those were EchoStar, Lockheed Martin, GE-Americom, Motorola and KaStar Satellite, which later became WildBlue.

Among prominent aspirants in the early-stage satellite Internet sector was Teledesic, an ambitious and ultimately failed project funded in part by Microsoft that ended up costing more than $9 billion. Teledesic's idea was to create a broadband satellite constellation of hundreds of low-orbiting satellites in the Ka-band frequency, providing inexpensive Internet access with download speeds of up to 720 Mbit/s. The project was abandoned in 2003. Teledesic's failure, coupled with the bankruptcy filings of the satellite communications providers Iridium Communications Inc. and Globalstar, dampened marketplace enthusiasm for satellite Internet development. The first Internet-ready satellite for consumers was launched in September 2003.[4]

In 2013 the first four satellites of the O3b constellation were launched into medium Earth orbit (MEO) to provide internet access to the "other three billion" people without stable internet access at that time. Over the next six years, 16 further satellites joined the constellation, now owned and operated by SES.[6]

Since 2014, a rising number of companies announced working on internet access using satellite constellations in low Earth orbit. SpaceX, OneWeb and Amazon all plan to launch more than 1000 satellites each. OneWeb alone raised $1.7 billion by February 2017 for the project,[7] and SpaceX raised over one billion in the first half of 2019 alone for their service called Starlink[8] and expected more than $30 billion in revenue by 2025 from its satellite constellation.[9][10] Many planned constellations employ laser communication for inter-satellite links to effectively create a space-based internet backbone.

In September 2017, SES announced the next generation of O3b satellites and service, named O3b mPOWER. The constellation of 11 MEO satellites will deliver 10 terabits of capacity globally through 30,000 spot beams for broadband internet services. The first two O3b mPOWER satellites launched in December 2022, with nine more scheduled for deployment in 2023-2024 and the initial service start expected in Q3 2023.[11][12]

In conjunction with the satellite's spot-beam technology, a bent-pipe architecture has traditionally been employed in the network in which the satellite functions as a bridge in space, connecting two communication points on the ground. The term "bent-pipe" is used to describe the shape of the data path between sending and receiving antennas, with the satellite positioned at the point of the bend.Simply put, the satellite's role in this network arrangement is to relay signals from the end user's terminal to the ISP's gateways, and back again without processing the signal at the satellite. The satellite receives, amplifies, and redirects a carrier on a specific radio frequency through a signal path called a transponder.[19]

Some satellite constellations in LEO such as Starlink and the proposed Telesat constellation will employ laser communication equipment for high-throughput optical inter-satellite links. The interconnected satellites allow for direct routing of user data from satellite to satellite and effectively create a space-based optical mesh network that will enable seamless network management and continuity of service.[20]

The satellite has its own set of antennas to receive communication signals from Earth and to transmit signals to their target location. These antennas and transponders are part of the satellite's "payload", which is designed to receive and transmit signals to and from various places on Earth. What enables this transmission and reception in the payload transponders is a repeater subsystem (RF (radio frequency) equipment) used to change frequencies, filter, separate, amplify and group signals before routing them to their destination address on Earth. The satellite's high-gain receiving antenna passes the transmitted data to the transponder which filters, translates and amplifies them, then redirects them to the transmitting antenna on board. The signal is then routed to a specific ground location through a channel known as a carrier. Beside the payload, the other main component of a communications satellite is called the bus, which comprises all equipment required to move the satellite into position, supply power, regulate equipment temperatures, provide health and tracking information, and perform numerous other operational tasks.[19]

The satellite modem serves as an interface between the outdoor unit and customer-provided equipment (i.e. PC, router) and controls satellite transmission and reception. From the sending device (computer, router, etc.) it receives an input bitstream and converts or modulates it into radio waves, reversing that order for incoming transmissions, which is called demodulation. It provides two types of connectivity: 041b061a72


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