How Does Satellite Internet Work? | Is This Type of Network Good Enough For You?

If you live outside of the big cities in a semi-rural or rural area then you are probably looking at satellite as your only option for internet service. If that is the case you are probably curious to know how it works. You might also already have satellite and are wondering how to reduce latency on satellite internet or are looking for a deeper understanding of the system to help with troubleshooting. Whatever your needs, I have compiled all of the information you need about satellite internet below!

How Does Satellite Internet Work?

Well, it all starts with its namesake, the satellite. Orbiting the earth in a geosynchronous orbit, which essentially means that the subject orbits the earth at the same speed the earth rotates so as to appear fixed in place, is a satellite that can be used to transmit signals.


If you are trying to connect to the internet using satellite internet service then your computer will send a request for data up through your computer’s connection to your satellite dish. The dish will transmit your request for data to the satellite, which will then request that information from your Internet Service Provider (ISP). The ISP will send the data back to the satellite, which will then send it all the way back to you, retracing its previous route to your modem and then your computer.


If you want to have dish wifi in your home then you may also have a router connected to your modem which is designed to take data signals from satellite modems and broadcast them so that anyone within range can pick them up and connect to your network. This is often called a satellite wifi hotspot.


One of the most important parts of getting any kind of internet service, but especially satellite internet, is ensuring that you have the right ISP. To help you make sure that you have the right ISP for you, you can look here at some reviews of many of the more popular internet service providers.

how does satellite internet work

How Does Satellite Internet Work?

Well, it all starts with its namesake, the satellite. Orbiting the earth in a geosynchronous orbit, which essentially means that the subject orbits the earth at the same speed the earth rotates so as to appear fixed in place, is a satellite that can be used to transmit signals.

If you are trying to connect to the internet using satellite internet service then your computer will send a request for data up through your computer’s connection to your satellite dish. The dish will transmit your request for data to the satellite, which will then request that information from your Internet Service Provider (ISP). The ISP will send the data back to the satellite, which will then send it all the way back to you, retracing its previous route to your modem and then your computer.

If you want to have dish wifi in your home then you may also have a router connected to your modem which is designed to take data signals from satellite modems and broadcast them so that anyone within range can pick them up and connect to your network. This is often called a satellite wifi hotspot.

One of the most important parts of getting any kind of internet service, but especially satellite internet, is ensuring that you have the right ISP. To help you make sure that you have the right ISP for you, you can look here at some reviews of many of the more popular internet service providers.

Satellite Internet Service Speeds



Getting satellite internet should always start with reading satellite internet reviews. You want to read up on your options before you sign up for service to make sure you are going to be working with the best ISP for you. Once you have decided on a service provider it should be a simple matter of calling them, possibly signing a contract, and then having a tech come to install the necessary equipment in and on your home.


When the tech comes to your home, you might ask them “how does dish internet work” just to see if they know what they’re talking about. Either way, it shouldn’t take too long for them to install the dish on your home and the modem inside your house. Once they have, all you have to do is connect your device of choice to your modem and you will have access to the internet. To compare the way it works, you can read how does cable internet work.


Some things to look out for when choosing between ISPs are contracts and data caps. A lot of ISPs like to make you sign a contract before they will provide any service to you so that they can ensure that you have to use their service for a certain amount of time. 


This is also an opportunity for them to get you to agree to ridiculous fees and charges so make sure you are reading the contract very carefully before you sign it. There is no way for you to get out of those charges, but if you know about them and understand them beforehand then you can avoid them and they won’t be an issue. 

ISPs also tend to cap the amount of data you can use per month. This means that once you use a certain amount of data they will either cripple your internet service for the rest of the period, stop it altogether or possibly charge you a lot of extra money for your service that month. It all depends on what is stated in the contract which is why you need to make sure you are reading it carefully.

Don’t make the same mistakes I have. ISPs are a business; they only care about helping you as long as they can keep getting your money. They want you to silently accept whatever service they will give you, make no complaints if they aren’t giving you what they promised, and charge you as much as they like. Don’t let them push you around. They need you more than you need them and it took me a long time to realize that.

This is not to say that you should go making wild demands of your ISP as I have had a lot of success with the polite and calm approach, but you shouldn’t let them walk all over you either.

Satellite Internet Service Speeds


Satellite internet speeds can vary greatly. Depending on where you live and which service provider you go with you can get speeds as low as 12 megabits per second (Mbps) or as high as 100 Mbps. 


What kind of speed you need is dependent on what you use the internet for and how many people will be using it in your home. If you spend a lot of time streaming movies or television shows online then you will want to look for a higher speed option. If you are a gamer or streamer then a high-speed service is required as well. Personally, I spend a lot of time gaming and streaming shows online and I wouldn’t have any problems with 100 Mbps.


If you only use the internet to interact with social media and check your email then a slower service should be sufficient. The more people in your home that will be trying to use the internet at once, the more speed you will need to ensure that your service doesn’t get especially slowed down.

Satellite Internet Equipment

Satellite internet is very similar to satellite television. Both of them require that you mount a satellite dish on your home, but satellite internet also requires that you install a modem inside and possibly a router if you want to have a wifi network.

The satellite dish is usually installed on the roof of your home but as long as it has an uninterrupted view of the sky where your satellite connection is it doesn't really matter where the dish is. Unfortunately, the dish is susceptible to inclement weather, so if you live in a location that gets a lot of snow as I do, you will have to periodically clean off your satellite to ensure that your service isn’t being interrupted or disrupted too badly.

The modem is no different from any other internet service and shouldn’t be a surprise to you if you have had an internet connection before, likewise with the router. These are standard internet service requirements and are common enough that most people have seen one at the very least.

Satellite Performance vs Other Types of Internet

On paper, dish network internet seems like the best service to go with because it is wireless and can provide a connection from almost anywhere but using dish internet does come with a few downsides. Not all internet services are created equal and, unfortunately, satellite broadband gets the short end of the stick. 


You might see advertisements claiming “high speed satellite internet” but the truth of the matter is that satellite can’t compete with most other internet service options when it comes to speed. Satellite works by transmitting data through the air, which makes it much more prone to disruption. Because satellite has to transmit data through so many different connections, it is almost guaranteed that you will have a higher latency than if you were using a different internet service.


That said, despite what dish internet reviews might say, it isn't all bad. Satellite is available almost everywhere, which means if you live in an area where no other internet services are available then you can most likely still use satellite. Also, just because it is more likely that your latency will be higher or your connection will be disrupted doesn't mean that it is guaranteed. Your service may be very efficient. As far as speed is concerned, well, that is as bad as it sounds, but the speeds you can get with satellite are perfectly sufficient for everyday use as long as you aren't much of a gamer. If you do like to game then you may experience some difficulty while using satellite, but it is possible.

1 thought on “How Does Satellite Internet Work? | Is This Type of Network Good Enough For You?”

  1. No doubt, satellite internet is a very good option for rural areas. Satellite internet provides uninterrupted internet supplies at cheaper costs. Thank you for sharing informative blog.

    Reply

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