How Does Satellite Internet Work?

Satellite Internet works as a relay system between the following five parts:

  • Internet-ready device or devices
  • Router
  • Satellite dish on property
  • Orbiting Satellite
  • Network Operations Center (NOC)

Unless you have only one device you want to connect to the Internet, like a desktop computer, you need a router. A router lets you connect other devices—laptops, tablets, and gaming consoles—to the Internet without having to run cables all over your house. The router connects to a modem, though some modems may come with a built-in router. This is the case if you are a new HughesNet Gen5 customer. It is the modem that connects to a satellite dish on your property, and it is the satellite dish the sends signals to an orbiting satellite whenever you request a web page, or stream music, movies, and TV shows.

The orbiting satellite is roughly 22,000 miles from the surface of the earth in what’s called a geostationary position. Basically, the satellite stays in the same position as it rotates with the earth so the signal relay remains consistent. The consistent relay signal does two things: it allows for two-way data communication between the dish on your property and the HughesNet hub or NOC which calls the website you’ve requested, and it gives you “always on” Internet access so there’s no waiting like there is with dial-up Internet.

From the NOC, the signal is relayed back to the orbiting satellite, down to the dish on your property, through your router and then to your device or devices. The relay process happens in fractions of a second, whether you’re shopping online or streaming your favorite movie or TV show.

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