There are many ways to access the Internet nowadays. It’s so accessible that many people don’t know exactly “how” they connect to the Internet. For instance, many confuse Wifi and Mobile Networks.
Satellite Internet Access is one of the least understood methods to connect to the Internet.
In this article, we’ll look at what it is and whether it will shape the future of Internet connectivity.
A Brief History Of Internet Connections
The Internet goes way back, but we’re going to focus on the age of mass Internet adoption, starting in the 1990s. Back then, it wasn’t possible to do many things we take for granted today, such as watching UHD video streaming, playing in an online casino like betFIRST or playing multiplayer ‘shoot-em-up’ games.
The connections were called Dial-Up. It meant you used your landline to connect to the Internet, paying the same as if it were a local call. That meant the Internet was expensive and very slow. For instance, in 1996, you could surf the web at 56,000 bps. It meant a 1GB file would take 3.5 days to download.
Then, broadband arrived at some point in the 2000s. These special modems still used your phone network but in a different way and didn’t use the phone line. Afterwards, more sophistication led to coaxial cables, optic fibre connections, Wifi (which still uses one of the previous connection methods underneath) and cellphone data for the Internet.
Among such options, satellite Internet also appeared as a valid connection method. But like everything, it has its ups and downs.
Enter Satellite Internet
The first Internet satellite for consumers was launched in 2003, and a series of improvements later provided more capacity and bandwidth. Satellites used for the Internet are normally geostationary. That is, they stay in the same spot. And there are new satellite constellations for low-earth orbit still under development.
Satellite Internet allows access to the Internet from anywhere, despite some drawbacks. First, even though connecting from any location is technically possible, not all Satellite companies provide services everywhere.
Second, satellite communications are affected by the weather. Rain, snow, and moisture all affect signals, which diminish connection speeds or prevent users from connecting altogether.
Even though most devices are susceptible to hacking, satellites are especially vulnerable, and since so many connections depend on single satellites, any security tampering could potentially prevent millions from connecting.
Is the Future by Satellite?
With all its drawbacks, Satellite Internet continues to grow. One of the most famous attempts to provide global satellite Internet came by the hand of Elon Musk with its Starlink venture.
Starlink’s objective is to launch a constellation of satellites to allow people from every corner of the Earth to connect. By this writing, it had already launched 3,200 working satellites, offering services in 37 countries.
However, the service is far from becoming mainstream, and there are reports of long waiting times for users to get the equipment. Satellite coverage is also reduced but expanding fast.
Satellite Internet may sound futuristic, but for now, it’s thought of as an alternative for places where no other connection is possible. To gain widespread adoption, new technology will probably need to be developed to offer more stable connections.