Where is satellite internet available?
Satellite internet is available to over 99% of the population of the US, including most (but not all) rural Americans. Since the internet signal is beamed down from satellites, you don’t need to have your home connected to a land-based internet network with wires or cables. This makes it helpful for folks who live in rural areas that lack that kind of internet infrastructure. That said, there are some rural residents who won’t be able to get a satellite internet connection. Satellite internet isn’t available in parts of Alaska or to folks who live in steep canyons where a signal can’t reach.
Can you stream on satellite internet?
Yes, you can stream on most satellite internet plans, but you need to watch your data usage carefully. Video streaming uses a lot of data, and data is precious with satellite internet plans. Satellite internet providers limit the amount of full-speed data you get every month, depending on how much you’re paying for. So, if you stream too much and hit your data cap, your speeds will drop to throttled speeds, which can be as low as 1.5–3 Mbps for the rest of the month. Ouch! That will make everything from streaming to participating in work Zoom meetings a lot harder.
Is satellite internet a good option?
For people who live in rural areas, satellite internet is a good option because it’s their only option. Satellite internet has data limits and slower speeds than other types of internet, so we don’t recommend it over cable, fiber, or DSL. Satellite internet isn’t good for fast-paced gaming because it has high latency (ping rate), which gives you an extra delay any time you’re requesting or sending data. But satellite internet is good for emailing, browsing, and other low-data online activities.
How fast is satellite internet?
Satellite internet speeds range from 12–100 Mbps, which is enough speed for common online activities like emailing, browsing, and online schooling. You can even stream video to a limited extent (just don’t go overboard with streaming because you’ll have throttled speeds for the rest of the month if you use all your priority data).
Is satellite internet the same as Wi-Fi?
You can get Wi-Fi through a satellite internet connection, but it’s not the same as Wi-Fi. Satellite internet is a type of internet connection, while Wi-Fi refers to a wireless network. You can set up a home Wi-Fi network with your satellite internet connection, which will allow you to use the internet on a laptop, phone, tablet, or other wireless internet-connected device.
Is satellite internet reliable?
Satellite internet is reliable most of the time. Heavy rain can interfere with a satellite signal, so satellite internet sometimes goes out during storms.
Can a satellite internet provider run out of bandwidth in a particular location?
Yes, a satellite provider can run out of bandwidth in a certain geographical area. This is because all data (ingoing and outgoing) must pass through the satellite serving a particular area. The satellite can process only a certain amount of data at the same time. If additional requests come in, the satellite won’t be able to process everything at once. In practical terms, this means that if too many customers try to add service in a given area, speeds can be slowed to the point that they are no longer functional.
Demand for Viasat has exceeded available bandwidth in some parts of the US, so Viasat does not accept new subscribers in those areas. Once new satellite systems are in place, the available bandwidth will increase and new customers can again start service. For now, the only way to find out if you can get service with Viasat is to contact Viasat’s customer service.