If cheap Satellite internet sounds like a good idea then this article will guide you through the common pitfalls about satellite internet connection.
24% of people living in rural areas in the US cannot access high-speed internet. This is according to the Pew Research Centre done in 2018. These are the regions where satellite internet comes in handy.
Satellite internet has become over the years, and it now up to date with most cable and DSL internet plans. Find a cheap one can feel almost impossible. You need to know the equipment costs, limitations, and fees before you put a signature on that contract. The major providers of satellite internet in the US are HughesNet and Viasat. Recently, Viasat updated their speed to 100 Mbps, but HughesNet is still providing stead speed at 25 Mbps. Both are reliable but come with satellite internet’s main shortcomings, which include small data caps and latency.
How does satellite internet work?
Satellite internet is transmitted via satellite, and no external wire or cables are needed to connect to your home. Once connected, you will simply surf through online through a modem connected to a satellite dish installed within your property. Your request is beamed to a geostationary communication satellite, which connects to an on-ground getaway that relays your targeted website’s request.
You may experience latency, which means delay, especially when you have reached your maximum data limit. However, since a request has to travel up to 444,500 miles to and fro, you should expect some delay.
Are There Only Two Providers Of Satellite Internet?
HughesNet and Viasat are not the only companies that you can go through to find satellite internet in the US. They are five in total, but three of them are either bought or closed. This leaves HughesNet and Viasat as the leading companies offering satellite internet. Here is a list of the five companies that are known to provide satellite internet.
- HughesNet-one of the companies that still offers satellite internet
- Exede, which is known as Viasat
- WildBlue, it was bought in 2009 by Excede
- dishBET, which discontinued, but all DISH customers can still access satellite internet via third parties.
- Earth Link, it is closed business and no longer offers satellite internet.
Does Satellite Offer similar speeds to DSL Internet?
Satellite may not have a high speed like what you get with cable and fiber optic internet. But it is faster and most efficient where these two internet connections cannot work. Satellite internet takes longer to send a signal from your device and back when you are browsing online. It has latency issues for anyone looking for fast internet. However, it always delivers despite the location and works even in remote areas. It doesn’t have the highest speed but offers consistency and reliability.
How to Get Satellite Internet
- Start by selecting your ISP. Most of the providers offering satellite internet connection companies have merged, giving you a few choices. So the list of companies that you can work with is short. So, what you need is check which satellite internet.
- Select a plan that fits your budget and needs. Go for the most affordable one that will give you fast and efficient internet. Some of the things you have to consider are the cost of equipment as they tend to be quite expensive, depending on where you choose to get your internet.
- Once the internet is running, you need to know how you can connect your devices. Ask your technician to guide you, and you will be good to go.
Things Needed To Install Satellite Internet
1. Satellite Dish
You needs a satellite dish antenna to receive internet data. It is connected to the geostationary satellite, which makes it possible for you to explore online space. It is provided by your internet provider and looks like the dish used with a television. However, the dish only works with their specific service.
2. Southern Exposure
This allows the satellite dish to communicate geostationary satellite. It is only possible when the dish is strategically placed to get a clear and unobstructed view of the southern sky in the US.
You need RG6 coaxial cable to connect the dish and the modem.
The modem connects you with the internet. Some come with built-in WiFi router. The best provider should supply both the router and modem.
An amplifier is optional but helps to boosts satellite signals and reduces latency when using satellite internet.
6. Web Browser
A web browser enables you to browse online. It is easy because most browsers can be used with satellite internet connection. However, you can use browsers made specifically for satellite internet users and usually save data and load faster.
Compare Costs: Rent Or Buy Satellite Internet Equipment?
When installing satellite internet, you can either buy or rent the equipment. Both options have advantages and disadvantages. Read to know what suits you best.
Buying the Equipment
- Allows you to use a powerful router.
- Gives you options to have a strong wireless network.
- It is possible to switch your provider anytime you want to.
- Your buying is limited
- You don’t save much
- You have to repair or replace the equipment if it breaks down.
- You can rent everything including the modem
- The equipment is compatible
- You are guaranteed technical support
- Your monthly bills increase
- Rental charges can increase
- If you fail to return the equipment, you will be penalized.
Installation of Satellite Internet
Do It Yourself
You can install satellite internet by yourself if you have a WiFi router of your own. It enables you to choose the most efficient provider near and use their internet.
Hiring a technician
Hiring a professional technician to install your satellite internet is highly recommended by most providers. This also keeps the warranty of the equipment intact. Besides, your satellite dish is aligned and set up properly for smooth operations.
Typically, the dish is installed on a pole or house roof, but it must be positioned to allow it a clear view of the southern sky. It takes a seasoned technician to this correctly. A technician will install the cable that enables the modem and router to bring the internet to your home or office. The best thing with most satellite companies is that installation is free and only takes a few minutes. Avoid making any installations as they can void the warranty.
The only exception is when using a WiFi router. It not only brings you a more powerful signal, but you are also allowed to install it by following the instructions given by the manufacturer.
What Is The Estimated Cost Of Installing Satellite Internet?
The satellite internet cost is not uniform. It varies depending on the provider you choose along with the plan. If you are looking for a high-speed plan, be ready to dig deeper into your pocket. Satellite internet connection will slow down once you exceed allowed data use. You can reduce your monthly bills related to internet costs by getting your internet, phone service, and TV satellite from one company. Most providers have pocket-friendly packages for customers seeking several services.
One of the best satellite internet providers, Viasat, has plans starting from $50 up to $150 per month. All plans come with unlimited data, and equipment renting starts from $9.99 monthly. The installation cost of Viasat satellite internet depends on where your dish will be mounted.
However, they only accept at least a two-year contract. If you choose to terminate the service before the contract is over, you pay terminations feels not less than $15.
Comparing Satellite Internet with Others
Satellite vs DSL internet Internet
- Perfect for people living in areas where other internets such as DSL are not available.
- It is fast, while other options are slow.
- Perfect in areas where it is available. It offers a strong satellite signal.
- Excellent for gamers looking for high speed
- Allows fast uploads for videos sharing and cloud backups
Satellite internet offers a reliable connection in various parts of the US. While other options such as DSL are faster than satellite, they are available in remote areas.
What Is The Speed Of Satellite Internet?
The speed of your satellite internet depends on the company you choose. For example, with HughesNet, you get 25 Mbps, and Viasat has 12 Mbps speed on basic plans. But they have top tier plans with up 100 Mbps. The speeds are significant enough to allow HD video streaming and other daily uses.
Satellite internet is known to have high latency compared to all other internet connections. It takes longer to travel the long space distance, which causes some delay to perform an action. This one of the reasons that makes online gaming or anything that needs fast internet.
Satellite internet comes with lower data caps compared with internet options. The slowness of the internet depends on the plan you go for. Once you reach the data cap every month, you have to deal with a slow connection.
Satellite internet is a little higher compared to other services. For example, Viasat gives you satellite internet with 100 Mbps speed at $150 while you get the same speed at $54.99 on a cable plan by Xfinity. The worst thing is that Viasat raises the price once the introductory period is over, and you have to pay $200 every month. However, it’s always the best option when looking for consistent speed in areas where other internet services are slow.
Why Satellite Internet?
There are two main reasons why you should choose satellite internet and not any other. They are:
- If you need internet in a remote area.
- Want internet that you can use while traveling to various parts of the United States.
You may find several options in some remote areas, including the DSL and slower dial-up along with the satellite. In such a scenario, the satellite is the best option because it’s fast and consistent. However, it will cost you more and saves you from buffering problems. If you love traveling or own an RV, a satellite dish internet connection will keep you connected.
Cheapest and Best Satellite Internet Providers
Satellite internet connection has continued to become better over the years. This has made life easier for those living in the country. The satellite internet connection offers reliable internet in rural areas. You have several options when looking for a provider. The main ones are HughesNet and Viasat. Here are factors that you should consider when selecting your satellite internet provider. They include:
The speed determines how fast you can download or upload files. Besides, it affects the quality of videos that you stream live. So, check satellite internet options near you and choose the one that provides the highest speed.
Consider data caps because satellite internet providers give you limited internet and will, therefore, slow down once you hit the data limit. If you are a heavy downloader, you must watch out for caps. You will hit the data limit within no time, and your connection will slow down.
Pricing is important because it’s determined by the speed you want. The secret is to find the best option that meets your needs while staying within your specific budget.
It is not easy to find the best internet provider even when you know that you want satellite services. Here are two of the best satellite internet service providers.
Viasat is one of the best satellite internet companies you will find in the US. It is still doing well in 2020, but there is a rumour that Starlink will be getting into the business later this year and is likely to bring huge competition. Why go for Viasat?
Viasat satellite is available countrywide.
Viasat internet is available in most parts of the country; it’s a good choice when looking for reliable satellite internet.
Speed is one of the advantages of getting a Viasat internet connection. It provides up to 100 Mbps in most regions. This is faster than HughesNet internet speed and allows users to download HD videos. Besides, it can be used by several people at the same time.
Viasat provides free installation to all their customers who qualify for the service. They also lease equipment at a low price, starting from $9.99 every month. For you to be eligible for free installation, you must have a positive credit score. For those who do not qualify for Viasat free installation have to pay $99.99.
Lots of Choices
Viasat has several plans that come with different pricing, data caps, and speeds. Viasat dubs their data cap as “data thresholds,” mostly because you do not get disconnected even after you exceed your limit. You will notice that your internet connection slows down until you get the following month’s plan.
HughesNet satellite internet service allows you to surf online. Depending on the speed you select, you can enjoy high speed for fast photo uploading, streaming videos, and listen to your favorite tunes anytime. It offers the following:
HughesNet provides the best value for customers looking for satellite internet. It offers high speed at low cost. It is impossible to get an affordable package from Viasat compared to what HughesNet though the package comes with a 12 Mbps speed, which is lower than FCC standards. But, if you are looking for satellite plans to save money that give you the best value and save you money, HughesNet is the option to go for.
HughesNet data limits start from 10 GB up 50 GB every month. Even after you reach the limit, you will still access connection though it will be slower than before. For example, if your plan is 25 Mbps speed, you get from 1 up to 3Mbps. This allows you to enjoy some services because some entertainment platforms like Netflix can download at least 1.5 Mbps speed. However, you can purchase extra data to keep on enjoying high speed if your work or online activities require high-speed internet.
Free installation from HughesNet is available for clients who lease gateway at $9.99 during the first 12 months, and after that, its $14.99. When you choose to buy your gateway equipment, the company charges you $199 for installation. This is why it’s recommended you lease HughesNet equipment instead of buying your own.
Is Satellite Internet Connection A Good Option?
Over the years, satellite internet has improved though it hasn’t reached the speed and bandwidth offered by fiber and cable. It is a good option as you are guaranteed consistent service. If you are in an area where both DSL and satellite internet services are available, go for the later. It is ideal for ordinary home and office use. But for gamers looking for high-speed internet, it may not be the best option.
- It comes with a higher speed compared to a dial-up connection.
- It is perfect for remote areas and will give you reliable internet where fiber and cable connections are not available.
- Its bandwidth is enough to allow smooth usage for moderate users, streaming videos, and web browsing. It is ideal for work and ordinary entertainment.
- The speed lags and can be very slow, especially when the weather is terrible.
- It will cost you more compared to fiber and cable internet services.
- It comes with data caps, and you, therefore, limited as to how much internet you get every month.
- It is not a good choice for online gamers, especially those who love real-time games.
Is Satelite Speeds Good For Gaming?
There are many limitations and stability issues for online gaming due to connection dropouts and low speeds that can take your full gaming experience from good to bad in a quick instant.
However many in rural and remote areas who like to play games online with their friends can experience a joyful and uninterrupted experience so long as the game you are playing is the right genre, how do I mean exactly? See below the optimal genres to play on satellite internet to see if its the right option for your needs as a gamer.
Games you can play with satellite internet
All is not lost for online gamers. There are some games that they can still enjoy when using a satellite internet connection. They include:
These games are mostly turn-based, which eliminates issues that may arise due to latency. They are the best option because real-time ones will not flow smoothly when your internet gets plagued by latency issues, which is normal with this form of internet connection.
These games are created to allow players to engage in the game slowly while maintaining interest and engagement among players. The games do not need fast internet.
Games That Won’t Work With Satellite Internet
Shooters are fast-paced games and therefore need fast internet. If you love these games, satellite internet is not for you.
Sports games are some of the popular activities with online gamers. All decisions are made within a second, and there is no way you can beat you, opponents, if your internet is slow. They are similar to shooters, and the only internet you can use is cable or fiber for a great experience.
Frequently Asked Questions about Satellite Internet
A satellite internet service is widely used in the US because it’s readily available. It is also easy to access and only requires your dish to access southern sky and you can browse comfortably regardless of your location. It is the idea choice for people living in rural areas; all you need is a position that allows a clear view of the southern sky. Here some of the frequently asked questions that will allow you to understand this internet service better.
Question: What is the equipment required when installing satellite internet?
Answer: Apart from the dish you need other equipment to facilitate communication in the geosynchronous orbit. The signal moves from your rooftop dish through the modem to give you internet signal in your gadget. However, the modem can be connected to the computer after the dish is installed or you can use a wireless router.
Question: Are there other options of getting equipment apart from renting or buying?
Answer: ISPs only give you two options when looking for satellite internet equipment. Customers can either buy or rent the equipment, but most of them prefer renting.
For example Hughesnet is one of the best satellite internet providers and only has two options for their customers. You can only rent or buy the equipment. The cost of buying is quite high while renting can be as little as $10.
On the other hand, Viasat, which was formerly known as Exede does not offer buying options. So all customers can only lease and pay a lifetime cost of $300 before installation of the internet. You choose where to get your internet depending on the provider near you. If you choose a company offering the two options, go for the one that works well with your finances.
Question: How frequently does ISP upgrade their products?
Answer: ISP products do not require any updates until the agreed period expires. If there must be any upgrades, your ISP will offer you reasonable prices, but before you sign up for the equipment, look out for terms and conditions regarding product updates. If you sign up blindly, your ISP might slap you with additional costs mid-way your contract.
Question: What is the simplest way to set up satellite internet?
Answer: Internet set up requires technical representatives from your ISP. This is the simplest way to install the internet because some service providers offer this complimentary service. However, even though you are asked to pay a fee, the internet setup requires technical layout, and you want to be sure that the installation is done right.
Some internet products are also complicated, and the ISP will insist that only their team members can install it. When shopping for an ISP, request a waiver on these costs before choosing the best offer.
Question: Is the ISP Company prone to unpredictable frequent downtimes?
Answer: Reliable internet is critical even though any network can experience occasional downtime. Satellite internet is exposed to harsh environmental factors such as the weather, but if the outage is caused by technical hitches now and then, then the services are poor.
However, another cause for internet interruption is poor installation. Allow the professionals from your ISP to set up the equipment for better connectivity. Check with the company to see if there are some compensation plans for abrupt internet failure.
Question: Can I request a data cap, and how will it affect me?
Answer: ISP providers offer a specific volume of data that you can use within a particular period, until the next date when your bill is due. This a common practice among IPS companies, and if you go beyond this limit, some companies will charge you for the extra data used.
The data cap can be different from one plan to another, but in some cases, the limit is similar in all packages. Companies that do not charge for exceeded caps offer unlimited data to their customers. If you do not want the data cap, then ISP providers with such plans.
Question: Is it mandatory to sign a contract between me and the ISP?
Answer: ISP services are offered under contract. The company commits to providing you the internet services while you are obliged to regularly pay your subscription fees for a specified, period which can be one to two years.
Leading ISPs will request you to sign a contract before installing their equipment so that they can commit you to pay for the services. If you decide to cut off their service before the end of the period, the contract defines the remedial course for such a situation. If any of the parties breach the agreement, the aggrieved has a contract request for compensation.
Question: How many gadgets can satellite internet support?
Answer: Unlike other types of networks, satellite internet does not limit the number of users. It can support as many devices as you want, but you must be careful, not slow it down by overloading it with gadgets.
You can choose a plan with higher download speed so that you do not have to worry about the internet’s poor performance, as the number of devices increases.
Question: What is the cost of satellite internet plans?
Answer: Prices are different from one ISP to another, and the cost is based on various internet subscription plans so that users can choose the one that matches their needs. If you use the internet for heavy downloads or live streaming, you should select one with high-speed downloads.
Question: How fast do they respond to client support and helpline inquiries?
Answer: Once you make a purchase, you will need support while using the product. The helpline should be accessible anytime throughout the week and the client support team should be responsive and helpful. Some of ISP providers have a free toll telephone line, live charts on the website, and an email address dedicated to customer support.
Before you sign up with an ISP, talk to friends or family members who have experienced the company. You can also see customer feedback online.
Question: What is the procedure for the termination of my subscription for the services?
Answer: ISP companies offer their services based on a contract that can run from one year to two years. The best way to unsubscribe is to do so at the end of the contract. If you decide to pull out earlier, you will be breaching the agreement, which will attract some fines. You should pay attention to the termination clause before signing the ISP agreement.
Question: Do ISP companies offer discounts?
Answer: You can look out for promotions, especially for a first purchase, or referrals. There are also seasonal sales deals, and these ISPs are willing to give you a price cut if you ask.
Selecting an ISP is no easy task, especially since several of them are competing in this market. It is critical to compare the various service providers before you settle for one.
So, Is Satellite Internet One of the Good Options?
Satellite internet is available all the US, but it’s not always the best choice for everyone. Those living urban areas have many options, but in remote areas, satellite remains the ideal choice. In such regions, cable and fibre internet connections are not available and in some areas, the signal is too weak for users to go online.