Satellite Internet Access

Many of us take DSL and cable Internet access for granted, but these technologies are not offered everywhere. For areas where cheaper broadband options are not available, there are a limited number Internet options. One of the primary ones is Internet via satellite.

Satellite access provides a viable Internet access solution for those who cannot get other methods of broadband. Satellite Internet offers an always on connection with theoretical speeds advertised anywhere from 512Kbps upload speeds to 2048Kbps download speeds, considerably faster than a 56k dial-up connection. One of the primary drawbacks to satellite Internet is the cost, and even with the high price tag, it is not as fast as DSL or cable modem.

Although satellite Internet is slower and more costly than DSL or cable, it offers some very attractive featuresfirst of which has to be its portability. Quite literally, wherever you go, you can have Internet access. For business with remote users and clients, the benefit to this is clear. But the technology has far reaching impact; it is not uncommon to see RVs with a satellite dish on the roof. They have 24/7 unlimited access to the Internet as they travel.

There are many companies offering satellite Internet services, and a quick Internet search will reveal many. These Internet providers offer different Internet packages that vary greatly in terms of price, access speeds, and service. Some target business, whereas others are aiming for the private market.

Two different types of broadband Internet satellite services are deployed: one-way and two-way systems. A one-way satellite system requires a satellite card and a satellite dish installed at the end user's site; this system works by sending outgoing requests on one link using a phone line, with inbound traffic returning on the satellite link. A two-way satellite system, on the other hand, provides data paths for both upstream and downstream data. Like a one-way system, a two-way system also uses a satellite card and a satellite dish installed at the end user's site; bidirectional communication occurs directly between the end user's node and the satellite.

Home satellite systems are asymmetric; that is, download speeds are faster than upload speeds. In fact, a home satellite system is likely to use a modem for the upline traffic, with downloads coming over the satellite link. The exact speeds you can expect with satellite Internet depend on many factors. As with other wireless technologies, atmospheric conditions can significantly affect the performance of satellite Internet access. One additional consideration for satellite Internet is increased propagation timethe time it takes for the signal to travel back and forth from the satellite. In networking terms, this time is very high and an important consideration for business applications.