Living in a rural location can make it hard to access the Internet conventionally like the rest of the United Kingdom. Throughout the UK there is generally a good landline broadband network and fibre optic broadband is commonplace in most area. However, for those that live very remote, it may be near impossible to get any decent landline broadband. For those people, satellite broadband may have been mentioned, and it is a real alternative to landline broadband, It is, however, a decision that should be considered more carefully than standard ADSL or fibre broadband.
Put simply, satellite broadband is an internet signal received through a satellite dish. Much like the TV signal that companies like Sky TV submit and receive, satellite TV is a signal received through a dish attached to your house or business.
Satellite broadband can reach speeds of up to 30mb per second but may also be as low as 2mb per second. Speeds will vary based on the geo-location of the dish and the satellite itself. In order to receive the broadband, you will need a satellite dish installed and a satellite broadband route. Generally, these will be supplied by the Satellite Broadband ISP, although upfront costs can vary.
Satellite broadband is generally only considered where standard landline broadband is not suitable or cannot be obtained in that area. Rural areas of the UK and particularly areas in Wales struggle to get a decent ADSL line speed, and some areas still have old telephony equipment that cannot handle ADSL infrastructure. Urban areas have the benefit of large populations and so increased demand for high-speed broadband capabilities. However, remote, rural areas do not have the large populations that make it worthwhile for telecommunications companies to install high-speed infrastructure.
Satellite broadband is great for those in rural areas as it does not rely on have cables reach your building. So long as you are able to install a satellite dish which can see the satellite, you will be able to get satellite broadband. Generally speaking, this means having a clear view of the sky to the south.
A great use of satellite broadband is also on moving vehicles, such as caravans. If you travel a lot around the UK or are often seen camping on the weekends, a satellite broadband connection may be ideal for you and your family. You’ll be the envy of the campsite with your broadband connection, perhaps you could even start charging for Wi-Fi access.
While satellite broadband is a great product in itself for those who have problems getting ADSL or Fibre. It does have it’s issues and problems that you may not always find on standard broadband.
First and foremost, the biggest problem with any satellite broadband packages is that they are not unlimited like most ADSL and fibre broadband deals. Often there is a cap, and it can be a per user cap. It is rare to find any broadband package that has a cap over 150gb per month, and so if you plan on streaming films or downloading games, you can think again. Satellite broadband is great for light use and those who have no alternative options, but for pro users, it can be problematic.
Satellite broadband also has problems with connectivity during bad weather. You may have experienced loss of signal on your satellite TV package during strong winds and rain. When bad weather is in the area, the signal can be interfered with, or the dish may not function correctly. While new hardware is designed to tackle that problem, it is still not good enough to keep a solid connection in poor weather.
Another common problem with satellite broadband is the latency it has. Most home broadband and fibre optic especially will have latency under 30 milliseconds. Satellite broadband, by contrast, has latency over 1 second. This may not seem like a lot, but for some activities, this can be a real problem. If you are an avid gamer, you will not be able to play online games properly due to the delay in data transmission. This delay can cause problems in games that require fast server connection speeds. An example may be in games such as Call of Duty or Battlefield where you could be playing a game and make the kill on your screen, but due to the high latency, it may not actually register on the server. This can be extremely frustrating for any gamer.
An alternative to satellite broadband is mobile 4g broadband. This is a much easier service to set up and may even be able to use right now if you have a smartphone. If you do, you should be able to set up a hotspot which you can connect to with any device like you would a Wi-Fi router.
Mobile broadband also has its problems, however, such as connectivity. Certain areas of the UK still can’t get access to 4g connections and so it is worth checking with the network providers to see what sort of signal is available where you are.
Another problem with mobile broadband is the data caps, which can be a lot lower than the caps on satellite broadband and are really only designed to allow up to about 30gb of data transfer per month for mobile applications
Check our broadband postcode checker on our homepage to see what broadband is available where you are.