Satellite Broadband FAQ

satellite broadbandThere are many rumors as well as out and out fabrications floating around the Internet about broadband satellite technologies and systems.  This article is aimed squarely at cutting past the mysticism and getting directly to the facts at hand regarding broadband satellite services.  Here is what you need to know if you want to know the truth about broadband satellite technology and see if the best broadband satellite systems out there might be right up your alley:

Question #1: What is The Advantage of Satellite Broadband Technology?

Answer #1: There are many advantages to broadband satellite technology.  Perhaps the best broadband satellite argument is that by having a single competitor that can literally span an entire hemisphere, other broadband providers that previously had entire markets on lockdown were forced to at least start considering competition.  This certainly opened up new ways of thinking and may have sparked the battle between Telcoms and digital cable companies as both use satellite technology extensively for their own purposes.

Another key advantage that the best broadband satellite systems can bring to bear is that they are useful almost anywhere.  As long as a line of sight exists to the orbiting satellite, there is an almost certainty that a connection would be possible.  This is ideal for people that live or work in areas that have no alternative broadband access as well as those that are always on the go.  In fact, there are a number of recreational vehicle (RV) and boat dealers around the nation that will gladly install the best broadband satellite mobility-focused systems around for the right price!  Being out in the wild or out on the sea no longer means being out of touch…for better or for worse.

Question #2: Does Rain Impact Broadband Satellite Systems?

Answer #2: There is still some impact from weather, however it is nowhere near as severe as it was in previous generations.  Utilization of different frequencies than older systems enables broadband satellite penetration through intense weather with minimal interruption.  This can be very important for people that plan on using their broadband satellite system in regions frequently experience inclement weather.

Question #3: What Are Ultralight Aircraft Satellites?

Answer #3: Ultralight aircraft satellites are the combination of several different technologies, but they are essentially just what they sound like: a combination of very lightweight aircraft and satellites.  By flying lower to the ground, yet high enough to have a great surface area of the country within line of sight, these aircraft will act like low flying satellite relay stations.  This will reduce latency and increase performance for as long as these aircraft can stay aloft.  Just how long can these aircraft stay aloft?  New test aircraft have stayed aloft on electric power and thermal currents for weeks at a time.  Of course, these aircraft would be subject to weather that they could not fly above.

Question #4: What is Latency?

Answer #4: Latency is the amount of time that it takes data to leave your device, travel to a pre-determined point on the Internet, and return.  Most people make a big deal out of satellite broadband and its latency because some of the first systems incurred high latency penalties (roughly 250 milliseconds) in order to cover a larger number of consumers.  The march of time has provided us with satellites that orbit lower, and thus have greatly reduced latencies while simultaneously offering far greater bandwidth.

Question #5: What is Bandwidth?

Answer #5: Bandwidth is the amount of data that can be sent and/or received during any given second.  More bandwidth is always better, and high speed Internet access from orbital relays have made vast improvements in the past few years.  The result is an entire range of high performance, mobile, go-anywhere broadband satellite systems tied to equally capable networks.

Question #6: Why Do Satellites Have Extra Latency?

Answer #6: High speed internet access of all kinds relies on signals that travel at the speed of light, which is roughly 186,000 miles per second.  Every little bit of distance that is added to a signal’s path creates a delay.  Satellites orbit the planet at hundreds of kilometers, meaning that the data has to make that trip twice (once going up and then again coming back) and thus it might add a little additional time to the request.  Newer satellites orbit the planet at much lower altitudes and thus greatly reduce the distance and therefore the ‘lag’ effect.