Satellite internet refers to the capacity to send and receive data via a very tiny satellite dish on Earth while communicating with a geostationary satellite orbiting 22,300 miles above the Earth’s equator. The orbiting satellite sends and receives data to a facility on Earth known as the network operations center, or NOC (pronounced “knock”). Because the NOC is linked to the internet (or a private network), all communication from a satellite dish to an orbiting satellite will pass via the NOC before reaching the Internet.
From the perspective of an internet user, data communication via satellite is not substantially different than data communication via a land-based data provider. The important thing to understand is that once the satellite system has been established by the installer, satellite service functions virtually identically to any other ISP and may be customized as such.
What Exactly Is a Geostationary Satellite?
There is a spot in space where a satellite may be placed in orbit such that it seems stationary from the earth. The satellite circles the Earth at the same rate at which the Earth rotates. The satellite completes an orbiting cycle in 24 hours. Geostationary satellites can only be found 22,300 miles above the Earth’s equator, and nowhere else.
Longitude of a Satellite
All geostationary satellites have names such as ‘Galaxy 18’ or ‘AMC-4,’ as well as a longitude position. Longitude refers to the hypothetical long lines that run down the Earth to aid in global mapping. Earth has 360 degrees of longitude measurements. Because all geostationary satellites are placed above the equator, knowing a satellite’s longitude tells you where it is in the sky.
To make matters even more complicated, longitude is divided into two halves: western and eastern hemispheres. All satellite orbital ‘slots’ would be between 0° and 180° in both hemispheres. A satellite serving North and South America that orbits above the Galapagos Islands may have an orbital slot of 101° west longitude. The orbital slot of 100.5° east longitude may be assigned to a satellite orbiting above Malaysia that serves Asia and Australia.
Satellite longitudes assist installers in determining where to place a satellite dish. They also aid in the detection of barriers between an installation location and the satellite.
Satellite Viewing Angle
A satellite signal will be disrupted by any obstruction (such as a tree or a mountain). It is critical that there be no obstructions between the satellite dish installation location and the orbiting satellite. In the industry, this is referred to as a clear ‘line-of-sight’ to the satellite. Fortunately, utilizing a look angle calculator simplifies determining whether or not there is a clear line of sight. You can easily find websites that have this tool. All that is required is a current address (anywhere in the world) and the satellite’s orbital longitude.
The look angle calculator will provide you with the satellite’s compass heading, the degrees up from the horizon it is placed, and a cool overhead view of the installation area, with a line indicating the satellite’s direction.
Latency in Satellites
The noticeable difference between satellite service and other land-based ISPs is something termed ‘latency,’ a word often used in the internet business. Latency is simply the amount of time it takes for a single piece of data to make a round journey back and forth via a satellite link. Latency is also known as ping time.
Data transmission via satellite happens at the speed of light (186,000 miles per second). The orbiting satellite is 22,300 miles above the planet, and data must travel that distance four times (computer to satellite, satellite to NOC/internet, NOC/internet to satellite, and satellite to computer). The time it takes is known as latency, and it is around half a second.
A widespread misperception is that latency affects the transfer rate, or the speed with which a file may be sent. This is not correct. A one one-megabyte file will transfer just as fast over a 5 Mbps satellite connection as it will over a 5 Mbps terrestrial connection. The only difference is that the satellite connection takes a half half-second longer to start the file transfer, which is negligible.
Using satellite internet has its unique advantages. It is accessible from anywhere on Earth. This means that even in areas with very limited telecom infrastructure, you can still maintain your connection with the outside world through satellite internet. It is especially useful in remote areas that are away from big towns and cities. You can now avail high-speed satellite internet as well with HughesNnet. They offer download and upload speeds as high as 25 Mbps and 3 Mbps, respectively.