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What is Satellite Broadband

written by: KennethSleight•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 1/11/2011

You might have heard and used some common types of Internet services such as DSL, Cable and dial-up, etc. Here we discover a rarely used form of Internet type– Satellite Broadband- which could be the only way for you also to connect to the Internet.

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    Satellite broadband is one of many Internet connection types. It is provided by a satellite rather than common DSL, Cable, dialup, WiMAX and other methods. It is similar in the way it works to Sky digital TV. It employs a satellite to transmit the data and a receiver to receive it and provides speeds similar to other broadband technologies. There are various specific types of satellite broadband, which we'll look at in another article.

    Dish Antenna 

    DSL broadband is fast Internet service, but unfortunately not everyone can get it, particularly in some rural areas. This is because the subscriber must be within approximately 3.5 miles of a base station. Some Cable TV providers also offer broadband Internet, but this also does not cover all areas. That is why, for some people, the only available means to get Internet is to get satellite broadband. However, because there are not as many providers of satellite broadband as there are for other standards (i.e. Cable, DSL, etc.) and because its cost is usually more expensive, not everyone can easily have it. Another problem with satellite broadband is that in bad weather conditions, the signals can become weak, which may affect the users.

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    Satellite Broadband Speeds

    Satellite broadband can deliver speeds of up to 1Mbps upstream and 2Mbps downstream, which is very good for doing a vast variety of different tasks, i.e. viewing an online movie, downloading big files, surfing websites, etc. While satellite broadband is far faster than dial-up, it is one of the slowest types of broadband technologies.

    When a satellite broadband subscriber sends a command to fetch a Webpage, the request travels approximately 22000 miles to a satellite. The signals travels the same distance again to the service provider, where it is routed to the Internet and is then sent the same distance back to the satellite, which finally sends the requested data to the user. This intensive travel of the signals cause delays, but in milliseconds (500 – 900 ms approx.). However this minor delay in signal transmission can make this form of broadband service a poor choice for some people like remote surgery operators, VoIP users, and online multiplayer gamers.

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    Fair Access Policy

    Another way the satellite broadband users can suffer is by the concept known as “bit bucket,” or as the service providers call it “Fair access policy.” What it means is that they grant you with a certain number of bytes per month and if you exceed that quota then your service falls back to dialup speed. Their purpose in doing it is to prevent you from using their available bandwidth excessively, which may degrade the overall broadband performance to all subscribers. The “bit bucket” does not affect many users, but if you are a heavy Internet user and download large files, movies, etc., satellite broadband might not be a good choice for you.

    One of the most exciting uses of satellite broadband is the ability for travelers to access the Internet from almost anywhere in the world. This can be a great advantage to scientists, explorers, travelers, etc. and a great means for accessing and sharing vital information with Wi-Fi-enabled devices such as PDAs, laptops, and other devices.

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    Further Reading

    Satellite Broadband Types - Satellite Broadband is one of the many types of Broadband Internet access. Here we look at terrestrial return broadband, one-way receive only, and two-way satellite broadband.