Among the various types of broadband Internet access, satellite Internet access has become more popular over the years. It has a particular usefulness for two types of clients: those who live in areas outside the service range of cable or DSL access; and, those whose Internet access needs are mobile in nature.
When deciding what type of satellite Internet access to purchase for a stationary application, such as a home or business, the first questions are bandwidth and cost.
Unlike most other forms of broadband Internet access, satellite services often have a cap on the amount of bandwidth than can be used over a given time. For home users, this means that downloading large files such as videos or keeping a stream of entertainment such as Internet radio going may push them over this cap. After the cap is reached, Internet access speed is throttled, reducing the speed of the connection, sometimes to dial-up speeds.
This arrangement shouldn’t prove too difficult for home users, but for business users it may be untenable. Fortunately, there are providers who offer satellite access specifically for businesses. This differs from home service in that bandwidth allowances are usually much higher and the service is not typically bundled with entertainment services such as television and satellite radio, as are residential packages. These plans are usually graduated, offering more bandwidth allowance for more money.
Another consideration for homes and businesses is the amount of bandwidth allowed for upload and how latency issues are handled.
Upload speeds are sometimes mission-critical for businesses. For instance, a web design company will likely upload large amounts of data to their servers every day. Upload speeds on satellite Internet connections are slower than those available with other forms of broadband connections. Often, a dial-up connection is used to compensate for this. Even with the dial-up upload speeds helping out, for businesses that transmit large amounts of data, satellite may not be the best choice. However, for applications such as e-mail and browsing, this poses no difficulties.
Because of the distances travelled by a signal originating on Earth to the satellite which receives it, there is always a less-than-a-second delay between a request made by a user and the request being received by the satellite. The term for this is “latency”. This usually poses no difficulty unless instant user input is required for an application.
One of the most exciting aspects of satellite Internet access is the ability for travelers to access the Internet from most anywhere in the world. For boaters, explorers and scientists, this means that vital information can be accessed and shared and that lines of communication can be kept open. This sort of Internet access is usually provided by a portable device, about the size of a briefcase, that has the capability to engage in two-way communication with the service provider’s satellite. These services, however, are more geared toward professionals. The prices for the equipment and service are high compared to stationary services.