One of the most exciting new things to come on the market in quite some time, using satellites to access the internet was not an entirely new innovation. After all, places like Ghana and Nepal have long been accessed for everyone from multinational companies to non-profits via setting up remote offices that depend on a solid satellite connection to keep people informed back home. It is just now that this technology is being trotted out for consumer-level users, most of whom are currently only able to get online with dial-up because of remote locations or unreliable internet service providers in their region.
While the benefits of satellite internet are many–a reliable signal worldwide, minimal hassle with installation, taking part in something that is on the cutting edge of technology–there are a few special needs that only satellite has to deal with. The best way for potential customers to determine whether or not this new technology works for them is to actually understand, when researching satellite, not just the way that things function, but also what the shortcomings actually are, and how much of an impact they would actually have on one’s internet connection.
When it comes to satellite internet, the biggest work in progress is the issue of latency, when your computer or dish requests a piece of data and it takes longer than expected to actually receive the information from the transmitting satellite. Keep in mind that latency issues should first be put in perspective: for a user who is doing anything via satellite connection, the signal is traveling almost 40,000 miles one-way before it can begin to connect with a satellite. That’s a pretty epic distance! Even while this remains a problem for those attempting to do things like live video chat or play a graphics-intense real-time online game, there is technology on the way to make things better. Certain methods of transmitting the data, like TCP acceleration, actually manage to split it up into more manageable loads, meaning that those down on Earth using the computer will find that there is less of an issue with lag or response time.
Right now, these forms of technological advancement are still very much in the development stages, with a number of different think tanks focused on the ways that the lag time can be decreased. While it might seem like a reason to be put off of satellite internet, keeping things in perspective allows most savvy and conscious shoppers to realize that all providers experience some form of lag, and that for the most part, it goes unnoticed in daily life unless it’s particular bad.
In fact, it is important to keep this in mind when considering the issue of latency: most internet users are not in need of this sort of meticulous, down-to-the-millisecond online response–and most terrestrial internet service providers have their own troubles, often based on the fact that multiple users are all being routed through the same channels, with data getting dropped along the way. The fact is that satellite internet is no more or less reliable than other contemporary channels for getting online, but you can rest assured that it is leaps and bounds ahead of dial-up.