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What is Satellite Internet Access?

If neither cable nor DSL is available in your area, there's still hope that you can get high-speed Internet access. Satellite connectivity allows you to receive and transmit data through a satellite dish, much like a satellite TV receiver. Satellite systems can be two-way or one-way. Two-way systems use the satellite equipment to request and receive data at high speeds, and one-way access only allows you to download information at high-speed. If this is the case, you would need to have a dial-up connection as well. When you open a Web page, your request is transmitted through the dial-up connection, and response is delivered via your satellite receiver. This is similar to the way that one-way cable Internet connections work.

Satellite access operates much like the other forms of broadband. A very wide spectrum of bandwidth is allocated to a satellite broadcaster, and this spectrum is divided into bands of data. Normally, television channels are broadcast in these bands, but they can also be used for data signals.

Are there any drawbacks to satellite connectivity?

Though satellite access can provide speeds comparable to cable or DSL, there are some limitations. Gamers may experience latency when playing via a satellite modem. The data being transmitted needs to travel to the satellite and back, and this causes slight delays. These delays would not be noticeable when accessing web pages, but network games need to send and receive many messages back and forth every second. When these messages are delayed slightly, the player may notice "hiccups" in his/her play. Also, heavy rain can interfere with the signal. Satellite access is more expensive than residential cable or DSL access, but the price has been steadily declining.

How do I get Satellite Internet access?

The best way is to do a little homework on the Internet. Using your favorite search engine, look up "Satellite Internet Access." You will have to compare the various equipment and service fees before selecting a service provider.

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