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Satellite Internet FAQs

Chances are you still have some unanswered questions about Satellite Internet. Below you will find some of the most common questions as well as their answers.

Why is Satellite Internet better than dial-up?
Satellite Internet is superior to dial-up for a number of reasons. The main one being the increased speed. For example, downloading a music file with a dial-up connection may take you twenty minutes or more but with a Satellite Internet connection it will be finished in about two. Also, if you want to share your Internet connection among other computers in your home, Satellite Internet makes this much simpler. Furthermore, if you opt for a two-way service, you will have an always-on connection that will not tie up your phone lines the way dial-up does.

What is the difference between one-way and two-way Satellite Internet service?
One-way service requires you to use a dial-up modem to access the Internet and to upload files to the Internet; only downloads are handled by the satellite modem. With two-way service, you do not need a dial-up modem because the satellite modem handles both uploads and downloads.

Which type of Satellite Internet service should I choose?
The decision may not entirely be up to you. Some service providers only offer one option or the other, not both. Another factor is cost. One-way service typically costs less than two-way. If you are more interested in downloading music or files quickly than in freeing up your phone line or in having an always-on connection, then one-way service should be more than adequate for your needs. On the other hand, if you want a true broadband experience, then you'll want to go with the two-way option if it is available.

What do I need for Satellite Internet?
Before you can get Satellite Internet, you must first make sure that you have an unobstructed view of the southern sky. If you do, then you will need to find out which Satellite Internet provider servers your area. From your provider, you will need to purchase a satellite dish, which can be mounted on your house either by yourself or by a professional and a satellite modem. If you decide to use a one-way service, you will also need a dial-up modem and a phone line. If you plan on sharing your Internet connection, you will also want to be sure that your computer is either installed with Windows 98 second edition or higher or a third party Internet Connections Sharing (ICS) software.

Can I share my Satellite Internet connection?
Yes. You can share your Satellite Internet connection by making one of your computers a host system and using the Internet Connections Sharing software on your computer. For more information, read "Networking a Satellite Internet Connection."

Will I be able to download music faster with Satellite Internet?
Yes. All of your Internet downloading will be completed faster if you are using Satellite Internet. In most cases, you will be able to download an entire song in only a couple of minutes instead of in a half an hour. Satellite Internet connections also make it easier and more enjoyable to listen to Internet radio and to enjoy other streaming media.

Will Satellite Internet improve the performance of my online games?
Probably not. While Satellite Internet can make your downloads faster, it is not ideal for online gaming. Because of the multiple steps involved in the process (read "How Satellite Internet Works" for more information on the process), most users notice a brief lag time between the time they request information and receive it. This lag time is known as latency. While latency does not impact most Internet activities, it can slow your response times in online games.

Will Satellite Internet speed be the same as you claim?
Probably. Satellite Internet speeds vary depending on a number of factors. One is which type of service you choose. One-way service provides download speeds on the lower end of the scale while two-way service delivers somewhat faster speeds. Another factor is how many subscribers your provider has, especially with one-way service. The more subscribers there are, the slower the speeds are going to be. Finally, weather and other types of interference may interfere with the transmission of the satellite signal and cause your speeds to be a little slower at times.

Is Satellite Internet available in my area?
More than likely. Satellite Internet does not require pre-existing infrastructure unlike DSL or Cable Internet, so it is available almost everywhere. You will need to check and see which providers are currently serving your area, however. More importantly, be sure that you have a clear unobstructed view of the southern sky. This will allow the signal to reach your satellite dish without being impeded by tall buildings or other problems.

How much does Satellite Internet cost?
The costs vary. Satellite Internet does cost more than dial-up and usually more than other broadband options. You will have to purchase your satellite dish and modem upfront as well as paying for installation which could cost as much as $150. Most providers also provide a self-installation kit for around only $30 to $40. Of course, you will also need to pay a monthly service fee to your provider and, if you choose one-way service, you will also need to pay for a dial-up ISP.

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