Satellite Internet Frequently Asked Questions About Satellite Internet Service
What is satellite internet?
Satellite Internet is one method of experiencing a broadband connection. While it may not be as popular as DSL or Cable Internet access, it is predicted that by the end of 2004, almost 4 million homes will be using satellite dishes to get online.
As the name implies, satellite Internet uses a space satellite to deliver broadband access to homes. Because of this, even homes in areas where DSL or Cable are not available can receive high speed access. Of course that access does come at a price. Satellite Internet is one of the more costly broadband alternatives.
Two types of Satellite Internet currently are available. These types are known as one-way and two-way. One-way Satellite Internet provides fast download speeds of between 400 Kbps and 1.5 Mbps. For uploading, however, you would still use a traditional dial-up modem so your speed would not improve. On the other hand, two-way Internet satellite does not require the use of a traditional modem so it delivers faster download and upload speeds of around 200 Kbps. Whether you choose a one-way or two-way service depends primarily on availability (some providers offer only one or the other) and one your budget (one-way service is generally less expensive).
While Satellite Internet can be the ideal choice for some broadband seekers, it does have its drawbacks. One is that you must have a clear, unobstructed view of the southern sky to receive the signal. Another is that you may notice lags in the time between clicking on a link and receiving the data. These lags, known as latency, do not interfere with most Internet activities but can cause slowdown during online games.
Why is Satellite Internet better than dial-up?
Satellite Internet is superior to dial-up for a number of reasons. The main one being the increased speed. For example, downloading a music file with a dial-up connection may take you twenty minutes or more but with a Satellite Internet connection it will be finished in about two. Also, if you want to share your Internet connection among other computers in your home, Satellite Internet makes this much simpler. Furthermore, if you opt for a two-way service, you will have an always-on connection that will not tie up your phone lines the way dial-up does.
What is the difference between one-way and two-way Satellite Internet service?
One-way service requires you to use a dial-up modem to access the Internet and to upload files to the Internet; only downloads are handled by the satellite modem. With two-way service, you do not need a dial-up modem because the satellite modem handles both uploads and downloads.
Which type of Satellite Internet service should I choose?
The decision may not entirely be up to you. Some service providers only offer one option or the other, not both. Another factor is cost. One-way service typically costs less than two-way. If you are more interested in downloading music or files quickly than in freeing up your phone line or in having an always-on connection, then one-way service should be more than adequate for your needs. On the other hand, if you want a true broadband experience, then you’ll want to go with the two-way option if it is available.
What do I need for Satellite Internet?
Before you can get Satellite Internet, you must first make sure that you have an unobstructed view of the southern sky. If you do, then you will need to find out which Satellite Internet provider servers your area. From your provider, you will need to purchase a satellite dish, which can be mounted on your house either by yourself or by a professional and a satellite modem. If you decide to use a one-way service, you will also need a dial-up modem and a phone line. If you plan on sharing your Internet connection, you will also want to be sure that your computer is either installed with Windows 98 second edition or higher or a third party Internet Connections Sharing (ICS) software.
Can I share my Satellite Internet connection?
Yes. You can share your Satellite Internet connection by making one of your computers a host system and using the Internet Connections Sharing software on your computer. For more information, read "Networking a Satellite Internet Connection."
Will I be able to download music faster with Satellite Internet?
Yes. All of your Internet downloading will be completed faster if you are using Satellite Internet. In most cases, you will be able to download an entire song in only a couple of minutes instead of in a half an hour. Satellite Internet connections also make it easier and more enjoyable to listen to Internet radio and to enjoy other streaming media.
Will Satellite Internet improve the performance of my online games?
Probably not. While Satellite Internet can make your downloads faster, it is not ideal for online gaming. Because of the multiple steps involved in the process, most users notice a brief lag time between the time they request information and receive it. This lag time is known as latency. While latency does not impact most Internet activities, it can slow your response times in online games.
Will Satellite Internet speed be the same as you claim?
Probably. Satellite Internet speeds vary depending on a number of factors. One is which type of service you choose. One-way service provides download speeds on the lower end of the scale while two-way service delivers somewhat faster speeds. Another factor is how many subscribers your provider has, especially with one-way service. The more subscribers there are, the slower the speeds are going to be. Finally, weather and other types of interference may interfere with the transmission of the satellite signal and cause your speeds to be a little slower at times.
Is Satellite Internet available in my area?
More than likely. Satellite Internet does not require pre-existing infrastructure unlike DSL or Cable Internet, so it is available almost everywhere. You will need to check and see which providers are currently serving your area, however. More importantly, be sure that you have a clear unobstructed view of the southern sky. This will allow the signal to reach your satellite dish without being impeded by tall buildings or other problems.
How much does Satellite Internet cost?
The costs vary. Satellite Internet does cost more than dial-up and usually more than other broadband options. You will have to purchase your satellite dish and modem up front as well as paying for installation which could cost as much as $150. Most providers also provide a self-installation kit for around only $30 to $40. Of course, you will also need to pay a monthly service fee to your provider and, if you choose one-way service, you will also need to pay for a dial-up ISP.
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