Last updated on May 25th, 2023 at 12:43 pm
Answer to the question “What is Internet?”
Internet is one of the basic needs of humans today, studies, researches, businesses, connections, and almost everything rely on the internet. To better understand the satellite internet, we should know what the internet is, and how it works. The internet is a network connection that connects millions of computers and enables them to share data and information easily. The internet was started as an experiment called ARPANET and later this experiment became the most important in modern life.
In the beginning, wired connections were the only option to connect computers over long and small distances. Although these physical connections have many advantages and they served us for many years, on the other hand, they also have many disadvantages. On a small scale, if we have to connect a cluster of offices we use normal cables, and if we have to connect the big bodies like countries, and continents we use giant heavy-duty wires called optical fiber submarine cables. These submarine cables are spread all over the planet and connect all continents and countries. This giant network is called the internet, by which you can learn, share knowledge, and do a lot more other things, you are reading this article because of the internet.
Why Satellite Internet Is Used?
Because the internet is a wired network, many factors like sea monsters and natural disasters can damage the optical fiber submarine cables network and cause bandwidth problems and network failures across many countries. These submarine cables are so expensive and extremely hard to repair underwater that’s why scientists are discovering and developing alternative ways of connectivity. Satellite is also a medium of connectivity and communication, which comes with lot more advantages over wired communication. Satellites provide wireless connectivity and are way safer from earth disasters. There are fewer chances of disturbance and damage in space than through submarine cables. Hence satellites are a reliable medium of connectivity that is being used for the internet and other secure communications like military applications and space missions.
History of Satellite Internet
There is nothing new about the usage of satellites for internet connectivity, there are many satellites used for this purpose. Many years ago when satellites were invented satellite internet concepts were also raised and later it boomed after the Hughes Network system launched the satellite internet for businesses and consumers in 1996. Before the year 2003 many satellites were deployed to make the communication more reliable. In September 2003, a satellite named Eutelsat was also launched to provide the internet to consumers. By the year 2004, an updated series of next-generation satellites named Anik F2 was launched & they had more throughput than all previously used satellites. The throughput and efficiency of satellites were increased after 2011 by the launch of ViaSat-1. The HughesNet Jupiter was launched in 2012, it came up with solutions to many problems and improved the whole experience of satellite internet.
The satellite internet providers mainly target people in rural areas who don’t have a reliable internet connection. That’s why many companies launched their satellites into Medium Earth Orbit which helps them to cover a majority of landmasses. Nowadays many companies are interested to launch their satellite internet projects and some of them are already working on it such as the Starlink internet project by SpaceX.
Top Three Satellite Internet Providers
1. Hughes Net: Hughes is the oldest & largest satellite internet provider with 1.3 million subscribers and earns approximately $1.4 billion every year. It offers 25 Mbps receiving (incoming) and 3 Mbps transmitting (outgoing) speed with a price range of $60 to $150 per month which starts with a two years contract. Hughes Net was ranked the number one internet provider in the US in the last decade because it provided the best possible internet speed that mostly exceeded its advertised transmitting or receiving speeds.
2. ViaSat: ViaSat internet was launched in 2012 and was popular as Exede Internet & its main purpose was to provide internet services to those areas where no other landline or wireless internet providers reach. In 2015 the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) confirmed that ViaSat’s internet speed surpassed its advertised upload speeds. ViaSat offers 12 to 100 Mbps receiving speed and 3 Mbps upload speed with a price of $40 to $150 per month. ViaSat has a great number of subscribers worldwide, many airlines and other businesses use ViaSat internet. The net income of ViaSat in 2020 was $458 million whereas its total revenue that year was $2.3 billion.
3. Starlink Internet: Starlink is a project of a well-known space research company SpaceX founded by Elon Musk. Starlink satellite internet is considered the best broadband service among all its competitors because it is being developed considering all factors and modern challenges. Starlink satellites are launched in lower earth orbit which benefits the satellites to communicate quickly or with the least delay time. Starlink is supposed to launch 4000+ satellites to achieve its advertised speeds. As of April 2022, 29 countries can use Starlink satellite internet and this number is increasing almost every month. Starlink claims that it can provide an internet connection with low latency, and massive incoming and outgoing speeds between 100 to 200 Mbps as soon as all of its satellites are deployed, whereas the users now are experiencing 20 to 50 Mbps at all. Starlink provides its connection with a hardware set that costs $599 only for the first time and charges $110 every month with unlimited data usage.
Our dependency on the internet is increasing over time, after the Covid-19 pandemic all the businesses of the world are adopting new technologies and they are making things online to make their work to be done from home or from any other remote location. All individuals, businesses, and organizations directly or indirectly rely on the internet thus it is proved that the internet is a vital element of modern society. We saw several times in history that whenever the internet connectivity is disrupted many businesses report their losses in millions of dollars. To avoid these types of losses we used satellites as a secondary medium of internet connectivity. Satellite internet also comes up with many pros and cons which are considered before subscribing to any satellite internet. The optical fiber submarine cables network is the most efficient and it has zero latency that’s why we can play games and do other rapid action tasks easily whereas the satellites are far away from earth so that data travels slowly and we have to face the latency issues in the network. Starlink satellite internet has a low latency record of 20 to 40ms because Starlink satellites are closer to earth than other satellites. Whereas other satellite internet providers can’t reduce the latency and internet connections with higher latency are annoying, users can’t play games are can not do any type of rapid action task.
Although satellite internet is very useful, it also comes up with lots of issues like the satellite debris issue, and when these 4k+ satellites will retire their debris will become a headache for us. Besides many other companies are interested to launch their own satellites for internet services which are considered a contribution to space junk. After a few years, astronomy from the earth will become extremely difficult and without the advanced devices, we will unable to determine the upcoming space threats. In short, the satellite internet can make a revolutionary change in telecommunications and economics but we must also take serious actions against its negative impacts to reduce the potential risks in the future.