Monday, October 14, 2013

Affordable Satellite Based Internet Systems

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As the name implies, satellite Internet access is provided through orbiting satellites. If you are in a geographical area that is not serviced by any Internet service providers, the only option that will allow you to utilise a reliable World Wide Web connection is a satellite-based system. The satellites themselves are classed in two different ways - low Earth orbit or geostationary orbit satellites. Each type offers distinct advantages and draw backs so it depends on your specific requirements which one you choose. The drawbacks focus around a term known as latency. Latency is a widely used term and is the delay between requesting data and the actual confirmation of a response. Geostationary satellites suffer from high latency, as the signal has to travel over twenty two thousand miles to reach the satellite and then that distance back to Earth again. Even if you remove other factors which effect latency such as environment attenuation, it can, at a theoretical minimum take about a quarter of a second to travel to the satellite and then back to Earth. Obviously, this delay is doubled for an Internet packet. Therefore, if other factors are added to the latency produced via the satellite communication as well, the end user is looking at around a 1300ms latency for a communication to the satellite and then back to Earth again. This is obviously far higher than standard broadband users experience. Geostationary satellites are capable of offering high data speeds than that of low Earth orbit satellites, which offer lower data speeds, but significantly less latency of around 40 ms to the satellite and then back to Earth - this is because the satellite is positioned around 1500km above the Earth as opposed to the geostationary value of around 35000km. This means the signal has less distance to travel and is therefore faster with less interference. In regards to installation, a completely clear line of site is required for the system to work, which, in remote areas is not an issue at all. If you do live in a remote area and require fast internet access, do not be disheartened by the latency issues mentioned above, great leaps and strides are being made in making the latency issue as small as possible. Satellite based ISP's are adopting new techniques such as TCP acceleration which shorten the round trip time for data to be received by the satellite and back to the source again. For those who have been neglected by the mainstream ISP's, satellite based Internet connectivity is an affordable method of finally joining the information superhighway.

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