Satellite broadband Guide

Do you live in a remote area where you can't get ADSL or cable broadband? Does the area where you live lie beyond the spectrum of cellular or 3G mobile operators? You need not worry, as for the thousands of people who live in such remote areas, satellite broadband comes to rescue. It is because satellite broadband can be accessed from anywhere on the globe provided that you have subscribed to a satellite broadband service and have essential components like satellite dish etc.

It’s mainly focused on locations which do not have other means of internet access. It has been in existence for a very long time but was served for sea vessels, military base and research units who do not have a permanent location. Nowadays internet has become the fastest, widely used and updated media for communication. But providing an internet source to every location in a country has become difficult or time consuming. The broadband providers have a sign of relief, after deciding to launch the satellite services to consumers.

Types of satellite broadband connections

There are two types of satellite broadband access - one way satellite connection and two way satellite connection. Although the two types of satellite broadband connections use a satellite dish for getting the data into your PC (downloading), they differ in the way they upload the data. One main advantage of satellite broadband connection is its capability of connecting the computers virtually across the globe and its disadvantage is that the cost of installation and maintenance is expensive

One-way satellite connection

In one-way satellite connection, the data is downloaded via satellite and dish while a dial-up connection is used to upload the data on the internet. The main advantage of this method is its cost- effectiveness. As the download speed is faster, this connection is suitable for all home users who need not require high upload speed. On the downside, the upload speeds can be pretty low and the dial-up connection which is used to upload data can be slower or unreliable at times.

Two-way Satellite connection

Two-way Satellite connection type, as the name suggests, uses satellite & dish for both downloading and uploading. To use this type, you are required to use different type of satellite dish which is more expensive. The best advantage of this type is that it is completely satellite based internet access and you need not require telephone line and you can use it to access internet anywhere. You can also get very high upstream speeds comparable to ADSL or ADSL+2 speeds.

On the downside, this is the most expensive of all broadband access methods as not only you will have to pay for very high monthly cost but also have to buy much more expensive satellite dish.

How Satellite Broadband works?

The satellite broadband service is specific in providing a better coverage to the rural areas and to remote locations where the fiber optic cable have not been laid. Since enough satellite capacity is in place, boosting up signal strength will provide faster internet access. This enables a permanent transformation of the economy of the rural areas and links them with the rest of the world.

Satellite broadband does not use regular internet mediums like the telephone line or fiber optic cable

or a USB modem; instead a modem box connected to a satellite dish is used for communication. The satellite dish is installed outside the home/office or above the roof of a premise. The location will be decided based on the signal strength. Depending upon the choice of the customer a wired or wireless modem will be installed inside the building. A coaxial cable will be used to connect the modem and the satellite dish.

The dish will receive the signal from the satellite and send it to the modem. This signal can be accessed by the computer connected to it.

Is Satellite Broadband affordable?

Satellite broadband uses satellites which transmit data between the users and satellite broadband provider. As the users need the installation of a satellite dish and often have to pay setup fee at the time of subscribing, satellite broadband access often becomes quite expensive when compared with ADSL or cable broadband. However, the prices have been falling considerably for the last few years so it is becoming a viable alternative for 3g broadband technology in remote areas.

Can I install Satellite Broadband connection myself?

If you plan to install satellite dish yourself, it is better to read through the installation guides or make some web research or ask someone who has prior experience in installing satellite dish. You can find a few satellite broadband providers on the net and browsing through their websites will help you to know the essential things before you get on with installation of your satellite dish.

The most important task is to find out the best location for the dish. With a little common sense and all that you read from the instructions & guides, you can find it easily. Now, you need to make sure that the dish is pointed in the right direction with a preciseness of micro-degrees. Remember, if the dish is kept in the wrong direction even by a degree, you may not get strong signals.

Factors affecting Satellite Broadband

Satellite broadband largely depend on various factors such as weather conditions, distance, obstruction, frequency spectrum, orbital resources, natural calamities, size of antenna etc., for proper functionality.

Weather conditions

Satellite broadband is greatly affected by natural calamities such as rain. Data transmission gets badly affected due to such conditions. During such incidents, users can switch over to other ways of broadband transmission if available.

Line of sight

Satellite broadband requires satellite to be line of sight to get signal from the satellite that is placed about 22,000 miles away. There must also be no obstruction in the way of transmission.


Distance between the satellite and the antenna on the earth is also a major factor that affects the rate of data transmission to and from the satellite. Closer the distance between the satellite and the antenna better will be the speed or rate of transmission.

Size of antenna

The size of the parabolic antenna is yet another factor that affects the function of satellite broadband. Bigger the antenna better will be the connectivity. It also becomes easier for the antenna to pick up signals from the satellite.

Orbital resources and frequency spectrum

Constant changes happening in the telecommunication industry has greatly affected satellite communication and hence has been responsible for the exploitation of the orbital configuration and frequency bands. The performance of the satellite broadband greatly depends on resources that are required for orbiting and frequency spectrum.


It is the time taken between the request and receipt of data. Since the dish communicates through a satellite, upon every request made from the user’s computer the data has to travel approximately 22000 miles of data to reach its destination. There isn’t any way of eliminating this issue even if the data travels at the speed of light.

Fresnel zone

It’s obviously a common satellite that transmits signals for multiple dishes in the country. So the signals are sent in a wider space and once it reached the center point of two dishes it narrows to the dish. This is known as Fresnel zone and requires a open space.

Comparison of features in different broadband providers

  • Types
  • Satellite Broadband
  • DSL (Digital Subscriber Line)
  • ADSL (Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line)
  • SDSL (Symmetric Broadband)
  • Local Loop Unbundling
  • Cable Broadband
  • Wireless Broadband
  • Mode of transmission
  • Satellite
  • Telephone lines
  • Telephone lines
  • Telephone lines
  • Telephone line
  • Cable lines (Fibre optic)
  • Antenna
  • Uploading
  • Possible only in Two-Way Satellite service
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Same as downloading speed
  • Yes
  • Faster than other broadband
  • Yes
  • Downloading
  • Yes
  • Yes
  • Faster than DSL
  • Same as uploading speed
  • Yes
  • Comparatively faster
  • Yes
  • Usage
  • Both home and business
  • Both home and business
  • Both home and business
  • Both home and business
  • Both home and business
  • Largely for business purpose only
  • Largely for home purpose only
  • Installation cost
  • Expensive
  • Cheaper
  • Cheaper
  • Cheaper
  • Cheaper
  • Slightly expensive
  • Cheaper

Pros and cons of Satellite Broadband

While there are many areas still exist where ADSL or cable broadband have not penetrated so far, satellite broadband has become one of the available options for the people living in these areas. However, satellite broadband has both advantages and disadvantages.


  • Two way satellite broadband offers a truly satellite based internet access, so you can get access to internet from anywhere even from the remotest places.
  • Although considered very expensive, the falling prices of satellite broadband make it competitive with cellular broadband.
  • If you consider two way satellite broadband connection a bit expensive, you can choose one way satellite broadband connection which uses satellite only for download thus it is the cheapest of all satellite broadband access methods.


  • Despite the falling prices of satellite broadband services and satellite dish, still it is not affordable for many.
  • Installation of satellite dish is cumbersome as they are huge in size, and installation of the satellite dish requires some technical men meaning extra charges for installation. Also, it becomes difficult to detect for any fault as the dish antenna is placed on top of the house.
  • Since, the data signals have to travel long distances, there will be high latency thus becoming unsuitable for online gaming. Latency is worst in case of two-way satellite connection type. Likewise, it is not suitable for VoIP calls.
  • The quality of service is affected by factors like weather, solar conditions and movement (like travelling).
  • Satellite broadband access is subjected to Fair Access Policy which will restrict your usage. After hitting the usage limit, your speed will be set to lower levels for the next 24 hours.