Satellite Internet Providers

Satellite Internet is one of the very few internet types that is available almost everywhere in the United States and virtually accessible to 100% of the population. Whether you live in a bustling urban city or a rural country town, odds are highly likely that you can access the web via Satellite wherever you are.

Provider Max Download Speed Up To
Viasat Up to 100 Mbps View Plans
HughesNet 25 Mbps View Plans

What is Satellite Internet?

Satellite Internet connects users to the web through three separate satellite dishes; one suspended in space, one stationed at the internet service provider’s hub, and one attached to your property.

Unlike traditional internet connections that rely on underground wiring, Satellite Internet allows you to access the world wide web by sending a wireless signal from a dish fixed to your property to a geosynchronous satellite in space. The signal beams back to your internet provider’s network access point and transmits back to your dish, modem, and finally, your computer, connecting you to the internet completely wirelessly.

Just as you would with any other type of internet connection, you can use Satellite Internet for all of your regular online activities ranging from downloading and streaming to uploading and gaming. Satellite Internet connections require a modem and a router for in-home Wi-Fi service, and of course, a stationary satellite dish installed to the exterior of your home.

Test your Satellite Internet speed today: Satellite Internet Speed Test

How does Satellite Internet work?

As mentioned above, the Satellite Internet signal transmits to a satellite fixed above the equator and then to your home dish, and back and forth as needed. All that’s required is a clear view of the southern sky and the right equipment which most Satellite Internet providers will install for free.

What about the travel lag?

Satellite Internet’s round trip journey of some 90,000 miles—or longer depending on your latitude—creates a latency, or signal delay, which could make real-time communication like Skype calls difficult. Fortunately, most other transmissions

Satellite Internet

What are the pros and cons of
Satellite Internet?

While Satellite Internet is often the best (and sometimes the only) option in some locations, it comes with its own selection of unique challenges that you may not otherwise face if you were to opt for a DSL or Cable internet connection. While Satellite Internet is still evolving and improving, the technology still lacks the speeds and bandwidth capabilities of Cable and Fiber Optic internet. However, there are a number of valuable upsides of furnishing your home with a Satellite connection. Let’s take a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages of Satellite Internet.

Advantages of Satellite Internet

  • Speed: You can expect speeds faster than a standard dial-up connection and comparable to DSL internet with a Satellite Internet service provider.
  • Coverage: Because Satellite is completely wireless, this internet type is available virtually everywhere across the nation, even on boats and RVs. No matter how rural your residence, you can count on being able to access the web via Satellite connection.
  • Reliability: Compared to popular terrestrial internet types like cable or DSL, you’re far less likely to experience network outages with a Satellite connection.

Disadvantages of Satellite Internet

  • Weather vulnerability: The weather your location experiences can affect the signal path of a Satellite Internet setup. Whether it’s heavy rain, snow, or strong wind, the signal could be interrupted due to climatic factors out of your control.
  • VPN incompatibility: Unfortunately, virtual private networks (VPNs) are not compatible with Satellite Internet. VPNs require high bandwidth capacity for functional uploading and downloading and require low latency—two essentials you will not be able to retain with a Satellite connection.
  • High latency: Latency issues (delays in the internet connection) often occur due to the distance the signal must travel to foster a web connection—rendering broadband-heavy applications (i.e. video-gaming, video-chatting, 4K streaming, etc.) slow and laggy.

What is the best Satellite Internet?

As of 2021, there are two primary household Satellite Internet providers to choose from in the United States: Viasat and HughesNet. Viasat is the premier option if you’re in need of fast download speeds and high data capacity. With Viasat, you can choose between varied plan options, manageable monthly prices, and attractive web speeds for all of your online needs.

HughesNet, on the other hand, is better known for offering no-fuss internet plans. You can expect more standardized pricing that forgoes any sudden price hikes that may catch you off guard shortly after signing your contract. With HughesNet, you can enjoy speeds up to 25 Mbps, no matter which plan you choose.

How fast is Satellite Internet?

Satellite has come a long way in recent years. In the past, home Satellite Internet used to be exceptionally slow, offering sluggish speeds of approximately 750 Kbps. When it comes to internet speed, wired connections tend to yield the fastest upload and download speeds simply because the signal is able to travel an uninterrupted pathway. Satellite Internet signals have to travel much further than wired internet connections do which typically results to lower speeds.

Thanks to many advancements made to improve Satellite efficiency, users can expect speeds up to 100 Mbps, depending on your provider.

Satellite Internet installation

Satellite Internet requires a different installation than the typical installation process you’d expect with a cable internet or DSL setup. You'll need to either purchase or lease a satellite dish from your chosen provider and you’ll need to either buy or rent a modem. In most cases, your service provider will give you a few options ahead of your installation. Because Satellite dishes are relatively permanent fixtures, arranging for their installation with your provider is generally much simpler if you own the property. Dish installation as a renter typically requires some form of agreement between you and your property that ensures the installation and removal of the satellite dish will not result in any permanent damage. Be sure to check with your provider for their specific policies on this as well. Once you’ve arranged for an installation appointment, a certified technician will arrive at your home and take care of the rest. Certified technicians are specially trained to determine the optimal location for your satellite dish and securely attach it to your home.

Satellite Provider Frequently Asked Questions

Is Satellite Internet fast enough for my household?

Current Satellite Internet technology can provide speeds easily comparable to DSL internet, but it’s well worth noting that Satellite typically cannot deliver the speeds you’d yield from a cable or fiber-optic connection. Satellite Internet speeds max out at up to 100 Mbps.

With a Satellite Internet connection, you can enjoy:

  • Streaming videos, music, movies
  • Browsing social sites like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, etc.
  • Video conferencing
  • Online shopping, online banking, plan a vacation
  • High-speed web surfing and email
  • Playing turn-based games
  • Connecting multiple PCs, smartphones, tablets, and web-enabled TVs

Do note that Satellite Internet speeds do not account for latency, so while you may receive speeds similar to DSL or Cable, the performance may be a bit slower or laggier.

How can I boost my Satellite Internet?

If you’re dealing with an often-interrupted Satellite connection, it could be due to bad weather or heavy cloud coverage. However, if both of those factors do not seem to be the culprit behind your poor signal, try these tips to boost your Satellite Wi-Fi signal:

  • Reset your WiFi router
  • Disconnect all WiFi devices currently not in use
  • Adjust the router antennas to gain better signal coverage
  • Upgrade your router equipment