Satellite Internet is falling in price these years and is becoming more accessible. Most of us use regular broadband, mobile broadband or just mobile data via mobile when we are going online.
But there are other options for getting online, such as satellite Internet, which is brilliant if you need to be on the Internet in remote areas. There are advantages and disadvantages to the technology that we need to look into.
How Does Satellite Internet Work?
In this post, we will look at the technology behind the Internet via satellite.
What is the satellite?
A satellite is a moon, planet or machine that orbits a planet or star. That is, it actually covers both moons and spacecraft that are man-made.
It will usually mean when we talk about satellite Internet, it is the hundreds of communication satellites that are orbiting the Earth to help us communicate with each other. More than 5,000 satellites have been launched. The word satellite comes from the Latin satellites ‘bodyguard, Drabant, servant’, genitive satellite. (The great Danish)
How does satellite Internet work?
The satellites are used for both telephone, Internet, GPS, data, radio and TV, but increasingly also for Internet communication.
First, the signal is sent from a station on the ground up to the satellite. When the satellite receives this signal, it processes the data in so-called transponders, which basically converts the avenue from the received signal (uplink frequency) to a transmit frequency – also called the downlink frequency.
Before the signal is transmitted again, it is amplified so that it can reach the next satellite or down the ground to the receiver unit. If you have a satellite receiver, be sure to set it at the right angle so that it points directly to the satellite. Then it can pick up the signal sent down from the satellite.
That’s why all satellites always point exactly in the same direction when you look at the balconies on a block of flats.
How far can a satellite transmit?
As mentioned, a satellite orbits the earth and can then transmit or forward Internet signal via radio waves down to a satellite dish.
A single satellite cannot transmit signal to the entire earth, but it can cover a very large area that corresponds to the area that can see the satellite if the weather was clear. There must be a free airline from the satellite to the dish for data transfer. If you come across the ground it is not possible to send the signal through the ground (or outside) and up to the satellite.
Here, however, it is possible to forward the signal from a satellite to the next satellite, and thus shoot the signal incredibly long. It can be received on, for example, a ship in Antarctica.
When a satellite forwards a signal to the next satellite, they can either be made via microwaves, infrared light or radio waves.
What are the benefits of Internet via satellite?
The primary benefit is clearly clear that you can receive the internet signal anywhere on earth.
It is particularly useful for ships that travel far beyond the reach of ordinary mobile towers, but also for people climbing mountains, or staying in particularly deserted areas. Communication via satellite is vital for cargo ships, for example, who sail around the Earth.
Ping time is a challenge
The biggest drawback is that Ping time is much higher with satellite communication, compared to regular broadband and mobile data.
For ordinary broadband, one expects about 80 ms in ping time, but for satellite Internet it is typically between 600-1,000 ms. This means that you have to wait longer, every time you load a new page.
Satellite internet is expensive
The other back of these internet connections is that the data is very expensive to receive. It is not uncommon to pay up to several dollars per megabyte if staying in desert areas.
But as always, this price is set by the demand, and as more and more people are traveling and visiting deserted areas, the price is also falling sharply in these years.