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Satellite internet is the one that relies on satellite technology. Pixabay

By Mark Richter

If you ask a few broadband internet users about satellite internet connection, the reviews would probably not be good because of lower speeds and higher costs. Although Satellite internet has advanced a lot during the past few decades, the progress has not been as effective compared to what other internet connections have achieved so far.

Despite this fact and common opinion, there are millions of people in the US that rely on satellite internet for connectivity. And surprisingly, the demand is going up day by day. Moreover, many big names such as SpaceX and Amazon are investing billions of dollars to enter this market.

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So what is it that makes satellite internet so desirable?

The simple answer to this is necessity and evolution. The current satellite service providers have been upgrading their networks to offer services even in areas where it is even hard to find services such as landlines.

Furthermore, the ongoing development for a more enhanced satellite network by Amazon and Space X has brought new hope. And people are starting to expect that they will get higher speeds at lower costs, and a more reliable connection.

Satellite internet can offer services as long as customers can get a strong signal from the satellite. Pixabay

But before we get into the details, let’s have a quick look at what satellite internet is and the current technologies being used. That will give you a better idea of what is expected to come.

Satellite Internet and How It Works?

As the name suggests, satellite internet is the one that relies on satellite technology instead of a territorial network of wires. A complete satellite network involves two satellite dish antennas and the satellite in space.

One of the dish antennas is installed at the user’s end that connects to the modem with a wire. The second antenna is installed at the network center of the service provider that offers internet service. In between, the satellite in the Geostationary Orbit works as the medium to transfer signals on both ends.

So, customers don’t have to be connected to any wired network to get satellite internet services. That also means they don’t have to be near a city or a populated town to be eligible. Satellite internet can offer services as long as customers can get a strong signal from the satellite.

The basic idea is to use satellites that are closer to the earth. Pixabay

Moreover, satellite internet can offer a download speed of up to 100 Mbps while the maximum speed availability varies by location.

Current Technologies being used in Satellite Internet?

At the moment, there are two ISPs in the US that rely on satellite technology and offer nationwide coverage. These ISPs are HughesNet and Viasat.

Among these, Hughesnet satellite technology, also known as HughesNet Gen5 technology, uses the EchoStar XIX satellite. In comparison, Viasat uses a next-generation Ka-band satellite that is also known as the ViaSat-2 satellite.

These satellites match the rotation of the Earth, hence enable the service providers to offer constant internet services to their customers. Besides that, both of these technologies offer amazing coverage as the providers are available in all the States of the US.

HughesNet is considered a better choice by those consumers who want a reliable connection with a good speed but at a lower cost. On the other hand, Viasat is known for offering more speed and data while the prices are very high.

These satellites match the rotation of the Earth. Pixabay

The Future of Satellite Internet and What Should We Expect?

Now if we talk about the future, it seems like the internet underdog is having a great moment. With ViaSat planning to be the world’s first global broadband ISP via its upcoming ViaSat-3 Constellation, Hughesnet is not far behind. Both of the ISPs are working towards improving their speeds, offering more data, and even provide global coverage.

On the other hand, SpaceX and Amazon are experimenting on the LEO satellite network also known as Low Earth Orbit satellites. In comparison to Geostationary satellites, this is expected to be much better. Some experts go as far as to call it the next big thing in the world as they hope for it to offer download speeds of up to 1 Gbps.

The basic idea is to use satellites that are closer to the earth and are constantly orbiting instead of geostationary orbit. Since these satellites would be closer, it would reduce the latency significantly. As a result, users would be able to play online games, stream movies, perform activities such as trading, and much more.

ALSO READ: Satellite-Based Narrowband-Internet of Things in India

Furthermore, instead of relying on one satellite, it would use a network consisting of hundreds and thousands of satellites around the globe. That would mean that people from anywhere in the world (not just the US) who are living at the remotest locations would have access to better internet services.

However, the successful development of this complete network is going to take some time as it is currently in the experimentation phase. That is why it is still unknown that how capable this new satellite infrastructure would be and what can be achieved in terms of speeds and reliability.

(Disclaimer: The article is sponsored and hence promotes some commercial links.)


Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm on Unsplash

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