A satellite internet connection uses a satellite to provide an internet signal that goes from your internet service provider (ISP) to you. This technology reflects the internet connection down from a satellite that’s circling the Earth. Mukesh Ambani-owned Jio Platforms has recently signed a joint venture with European satellite-based broadband service company SES to explore the satellite internet space.
Other than Jio, there are other tech giants like Bharti Airtel’s OneWeb and Elon Musk’s Starlink that want to send thousands of these satellites to orbit. With this new deal, two leading telecom operators in India have now entered the satellite internet services. Here we will discuss what satellite internet is and how it operates.
How does satellite internet work?
Internet service providers send an internet signal to a satellite in space, which then comes back to the users and is captured by their satellite dish. The dish is connected to the user’s modem, which finally connects their computer to the internet signal. This process then reverses back to the internet service provider and is repeated every time.
Equipment that come with satellite internet
Internet service providers will use specific types of equipment if their users are considering switching to satellite internet. Earlier, most satellite internet came with larger equipment, but nowadays most internet providers have smaller, more compact equipment. Most satellite internet now only comes with a modem, wireless router and network cable. Earlier, some providers even used a dish for the signal to reach with more ease, but it is not very common anymore.
The modem used for satellite internet is the electronic device that converts the satellite’s signal into one that is readable by your system’s network adapter. This is what brings the internet to your computer. The router used for satellite internet also works like the ones that are used in broadband internet connections. The router distributes the modem’s internet signal throughout your home, either by Wi-Fi or by Ethernet cable.
Important details you should know about satellite internet
Speed of Satellite Internet: Satellite internet used to be extremely slow and offered download speeds of around 750 Kbps earlier. Advancements in technology and new satellites have helped satellite internet to offer its users increased speeds. There are satellite internet service providers that offer speeds up to 100 Mbps, which is similar to what most cable and DSL internet plans offer.
Satellite internet offers higher latency: The time it takes for data to be sent and received is known as latency. In this case, latency is the time it takes for data to go from your system to the satellite dish, to your provider’s satellite, to a different satellite dish at your ISP and back again. Latency has been a drawback for satellite internet for a long time as it involves multiple steps. So, satellite internet provides higher latency compared to cable and fiber internet. Cable and fiber internet offers latency in the range of 20 to 50 milliseconds (ms), whereas satellite internet ranges can be as high as 600 ms. Satellite internet data travels a long way as satellites are positioned 22,000 miles above the earth. Gaming suffers the most obvious effects of higher latency as it requires ultra-quick responses. First-person shooters (FPS) games don’t work well with satellite internet, but other online activities, like web browsing, emailing and photo sharing, doesn’t get much affected by latency.
Weather can affect Satellite internet: It is true that severe weather conditions can interrupt satellite transmission temporarily, but it is usually not a significant problem. Storm-related interruptions, also commonly known as “rain fade,” are restored as the storm passes. In case of heavy snowfall, communications can be restored by removing the accumulations of snow from around the satellite dish. On the contrary, a heavy thunderstorm with fallen trees can disable cable connections for days.
Satellite internet is expensive: Satellite internet is comparatively more expensive than cable or fiber internet. However, its monthly costs have been reduced over the years to make it a more affordable option. It is important for users who have no other internet providers to choose from.