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Pros and Cons of Satellite Internet

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Authored by Dave Mallisk in Internet
Published on 10-07-2009

The pros and cons of satellite internet partially depend on where you live. For example, if you live in a rural area, you might have no access to cable or DSL (Digital Subscriber Line) internet services. Also, the further you live from the equator, the more you need to point your satellite internet dish at a lower angle, closer to the horizon. This means that hills, buildings, and trees are more likely to block the line of sight between the satellite and your dish, and thereby prevent internet access.

Satellite Internet Pros

Satellite internet has the following advantages:

  • Satellite internet services provide high-speed internet access for people in rural areas that have neither cable nor DSL services.
  • Satellite internet service is faster than dial up.

Satellite Internet Cons

Satellite internet has multiple disadvantages, including:

  • Every satellite internet provider imposes a FAP (Fair Access Policy) to limit how much data you may download in a specified interval, such as a day, week, or month. If you exceed your download limit, such as 200 MB (Megabytes) per day, your access speed drops to its minimum possible value, which is nearly as slow as dial up. The satellite internet provider does not restore your full access speed until at least the start of the next interval. You might even need to wait until the start of the next billing cycle.
  • Bad weather can disrupt satellite internet service. This is limitation also called rain fade.
  • Latency (delay) caused by the distance between your dish and its satellite. Latency affects performance negatively. For example, when you click on a link, you won’t see it as quickly as you would through cable internet.
  • Satellite internet service allows only poor VOIP (Voice Over Internet Protocol) phone service, primarily due to latency.
  • Most satellite internet providers do not let you install your own dish or equipment.
  • Satellite internet service is generally more expensive than cable internet service.
  • According to Rate it all!, most customers are displeased with satellite internet service.

Due to the above satellite internet limitations, a better choice might be a Wireless Internet Service, which is an emerging technology.

Comparing Satellite Internet Providers

Satellite internet providers include:

  • HughesNet
  • SkyWay USA
  • StarBand
  • WildBlue

HughesNet – HughesNet offers six satellite internet service plans, at separate prices, for specific download and upload speeds:

  • Home, $59.99 per month, download as fast as 1.0 Mbps (Megabits per second), upload as fast as 128 Kbps (Kilobits per second)
  • Pro, $69.99 per month, download as fast as 1.2 Mbps, upload as fast as 200 Kbps
  • ProPlus, $79.99 per month, download as fast as 1.6 Mbps, upload as fast as 250 Kbps
  • Elite, $119.99 per month, download as fast as 2.0 Mbps, upload as fast as 300 Kbps
  • ElitePlus, $189.99 per month, download as fast as 3.0 Mbps, upload as fast as 300 Kbps
  • ElitePremium, $349.99 per month, download as fast as 5.0 Mbps, upload as fast as 300 Kbps

For more information, see, HughesNet.com.

SkyWay USA – Unlike most other satellite internet providers, SkyWay USA uses “one-way” satellite communication, in which you only receive data though your dish from the satellite; you do not send data to the satellite. When you make a data request, it goes through a dial-up internet connection to the SkyWay USA server. The server responds by sending your requested data to the satellite, and then from the satellite through your dish.

Also unlike most other satellite internet providers, SkyWay USA lets you install your own satellite internet dish and equipment.

SkyWay USA offers four satellite internet service plans, at separate prices, for specific download speeds:

  • Bronze Plan, $29.95 per month, download as fast as 256 Kbps
  • Silver Plan, $49.95 per month, download as fast as 512 Kbps
  • Gold Plan, $59.95 per month, download as fast as 768 Kbps
  • Platinum Plan, $79.95 per month, download as fast as 1.5 Mbps

For more information see, SkyWay USA.com.

StarBand – StarBand offers three satellite internet service plans (each either 12 or 24 months), at separate prices, for specific download and upload speeds:

  • Nova 500, $59.99 per month (12 months), $49.99 per month (24 months), download as fast as 512 Kbps, upload as fast as 100 Kbps
  • Nova 1000, $79.99 per month (12 months), $69.99 per month (24 months), download as fast as 1.0 Mbps, upload as fast as 128 Kbps
  • Nova 1500, $109.99 per month (12 months), $99.99 per month (24 months), download as fast as 1.5 Mbps, upload as fast as 256 Kbps

For more information see, StarBand.com.

WildBlue – WildBlue offers three satellite internet service plans for specific download and upload speeds:

  • Value, download as fast as 512 Kbps, upload as fast as 128 Kbps
  • Select, download as fast as 1.0 Mbps, upload as fast as 200 Kbps
  • Pro, download as fast as 1.5 Mbps, upload as fast as 256 Kbps

For more information, including WildBlue prices in your region, see, WildBlue.com.

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