How Does Satellite Internet Work?

– Reliable Access Guide

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Satellite Internet has come a long way. Once a dream of science fiction, now it is a reality that brings Internet service to millions of homes and businesses all over the country. Instead of transmitting data through wires, satellite Internet can reach people in some of the most remote areas of the country by communicating directly to your home from space. HughesNet is America’s #1 choice for satellite Internet because they deliver quality communications to rural customers.

Rural areas might include farms and ranches, mountain retreats, or desert pit stops. Offshore interests, like oil rigs and casinos, rely on wireless Internet to have a connection, even as they rely on the services the Internet provides to do business and attract customers. Residents deep in the Everglades, the Ozarks, or the forests of the Pacific Northwest might find that a satellite connection is the only option for reliable Internet.

How does satellite Internet bring Internet access to places so far away from everywhere else? And how does HughesNet excel in the rural Internet industry?

A Historic Innovation
Satellite communications were dreamed up by science fiction author Arthur C. Clarke, who proposed a system of what he called “rocket stations” in an essay he published in 1945. Like most good science fiction, it wasn’t long before engineers and rocketry experts were inspired to try to bring this proposal to life.

In 1965, the first commercial satellite was launched. It was developed by Hughes Aviation, the brainchild of the famous Howard Hughes. This first satellite, nicknamed “Early Bird,” handled television, telephone, and early fax communications. It broadcast historic events for almost 5 years before being decommissioned.

As our technology on the ground has improved, HughesNet engineers, inspired by their namesake pioneers, have found ways to make satellite communication faster and more efficient. So when on the ground communication began to include home Internet, satellite Internet access wasn’t far behind bringing customers in remote areas more rural Internet options.

How Satellites Work
Satellites share a lot of information with the world. There are weather satellites that help monitor weather trends and predict inclement conditions. Some satellites study the planet at the same time of day in different regions by having an Earth orbit that goes north and south. Others look outward toward the Sun, solar system, and outer space. In the 1980s, a system of satellites called the Strategic Defense Initiative, or “Star Wars,” was famously proposed for American national defense. Around our planet is a constellation of satellites with different purposes.
Communications satellites operate a little differently. They rotate around the Earth in sync with the Earth’s daily rotation, called geosynchronous orbit. This gives the illusion that the satellites are always in the same place in the sky, but they’re actually moving at the same pace as the planet, making them a class called “geostationary satellites.” All communications satellites are geostationary so they can be easily reached by the people with receivers for their signals.

Since all orbits are geostationary, that means all satellite receivers, most notably satellite dishes, simply need to point in the same direction to get a signal. For satellite communications in the United States, such as HughesNet Gen 5 satellite Internet, all you need is a clear view of the southern sky.

Where Does the Internet Come From?
To help understand how satellite Internet comes into your home, let’s take a look at how cable and DSL do it.
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Cable and DSL lines come from a central location, usually in a major city. This location has servers that access the pages you want to look at when you open the Internet. They connect to your home using wires that are dug into the ground. However, since there are so many homes, to make direct connections to each hub could take miles of wire. The longer the distance the data has to travel, the more opportunity there is for loss or distortion of some of that data, called “packet loss.”
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Cable and DSL lines compensate for this by having relay stations called hubs. Instead of connecting directly to the home, the central location connects to a series of hubs, which connect to a series of their own hubs, and so on until the cables or wires reach your home or business. This means many connections might share a single hub. It also means that if a hub is damaged by accident, nature, or normal wear and tear, everyone connected to it will also be disconnected from the Internet.
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Satellite Internet doesn’t rely on hubs to relay signals from point to point. Since all satellite Internet is wireless, there are only three points that data travels through – your home, the satellite, and HughesNet’s central locations, which are called Network Operations Centers, or NOCs.

NOCs differ from the central locations of cable and DSL in that the only connection they have to the network is through satellite transmissions. They do not have wires to hubs because the satellite is the hub. With fewer points of contact between an NOC and the end user, there is less opportunity for interruptions and packet loss. Otherwise, just like the central locations DSL and cable Internet use, the purpose of the NOC is to find the web address requested by the user at the other end of the satellite transmission.

How Satellite Internet Gets to You

When you order HughesNet Gen 5 satellite Internet service, you are provided with equipment that connects your computer to the satellite in orbit. This equipment includes:

  • A satellite dish with radio antenna
  • A mount to attach the dish
  • A HughesNet HT2000W Wi-Fi modem/router and power supply
  • A grounding block to absorb excess electricity generated by the signal
  • Up to 125 feet of RG6 cable
  • Weather sealing for outdoor installations

All satellite systems must be installed professionally per federal regulations, but HughesNet offers free professional installation as part of all of its leasing packages. You can lease or own your equipment, but when you lease it, you can get software updates to your equipment as a provision of the lease.

When you type a web address into your search engine, the modem translates your request into data. The data then travels from the modem, through the RG6 cable to the dish and antenna, which beam the data to HughesNet’s satellites. The satellite then sends the request to the NOC, and the NOC answers the request and sends the data back to the satellite. Then the satellite sends it to you. This all happens in fractions of a second, thanks to broadband Internet speeds and high throughput.

Wi-Fi is also part of your HughesNet satellite Internet connection, which means your entire household can enjoy fast, reliable satellite Internet on any wireless device, such as a cell phone or tablet. This is built right in to your equipment and guarantees you download speeds suitable for streaming movies, online gaming, downloads, and video calls.

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How Much is Satellite Internet Going to Cost?
This often depends on data caps, which are limits to the amount of data you can download each month. HughesNet plans deliver 25 Mbps download speeds with data caps of 10, 20, 30 and 50 GB. They also offer affordable Data Tokens, which are small chunks of data that augment your data cap if you go over the limit.
The Vital Importance of Throughput
Throughput is the data traffic that travels through a satellite. It goes both ways – from you to the NOC and from the NOC to you – so faster throughput means the satellite is transferring data more efficiently. Slow throughput can contribute to satellite Internet latency, which is when too much packet loss slows your Internet speed. For some companies, times of high Internet traffic might also cause latency because throughput is tasked more than at other times.

HughesNet ensures the throughput on their satellites with JUPITER System technology, the most cutting edge in satellite communications. HughesNet beams this technology from space right into your home, ensuring your satellite Internet is reliable no matter where you are. Even during high traffic times, HughesNet customers are always guaranteed that their data flows smoothly to the NOC and back.

Other Improvements in Satellite Technology
Outdated ideas cause shoppers to wonder if satellite Internet is good. In the early days, satellite communications were slow and easily interrupted. Cloud cover, high winds and debris could cause packet loss and latency issues, even before satellite Internet. However, those days are long gone.

Old satellites used K band radio waves to transmit data, but now they use more powerful Ku band waves. This alone increases speed and decreases packet loss, but it is not the only innovation that makes HughesNet America’s #1 choice for satellite Internet.

Also part of HughesNet’s innovations is hardware that keeps up with today’s Internet needs. Outside is a state-of-the-art satellite system that is resistant to severe conditions and transmits a clear signal to the equipment indoors.

From there, HughesNet delivers your Internet through the HT2000W satellite Internet modem/router. The modem translates the data from the dish into data your computer can read, while the router allows multiple units to be attached with Ethernet cable. All of this keeps up with most Internet service, but with the added benefit of HughesNet quality, installation, support, and affordable plans.

America’s Best Satellite Internet
Satellite Internet is the best way for people in remote places to get broadband Internet service, and HughesNet is the best rural Internet option because you get so much value for your money. In space are satellites with JUPITER System technology, and on the ground are efficient NOCs around the country and your home, your personal hub for your rural Internet service. It’s as simple as that! And HughesNet makes it affordable and easy, too. All you have to do is call 1-844-244-1460 to speak with one of our HughesNet specialists and find out which rural Internet package is right for you! If you already know what you want, you can hop online and order directly right now!
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Frequently Asked Questions:
How does HughesNet satellite Internet service get to my home computer?
When you enter a web address into your browser, it sends out a signal. With HughesNet Gen5 satellite Internet, that signal goes into space, to HughesNet satellites. It is then sent to a center called a NOC, which seeks out the web address and sends it back to you through the satellite. This all happens in less than a second. Cable and DSL do this through wires and dialup does this through phone lines, but wires can’t reach everywhere and dialup is very slow.
What is satellite Internet?
Why should I get Internet in a rural or remote area?

How Does Satellite Internet Work?

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Minimum term required. Monthly service and early termination fees apply. Visit legal.HughesNet.com for details.

*HughesNet is available anywhere in the contiguous US with a clear view of the southern sky, and is limited in Alaska and Hawaii and Puerto Rico.

**Free standard installation applies to new Lease subscribers only. Not valid with Purchase option. Limited-time offer.

If you exceed your monthly plan data, you will experience reduced data speeds until the start of your next billing period. Reduced speeds will typically be in the range of 1–3 Mbps and may cause websites to load more slowly or affect the performance of certain activities, such as video streaming or large downloads/uploads. Speeds may vary and are not guaranteed.

††The HughesNet Gen5 service plans are designed to deliver download speeds of 25 Mbps and upload speeds of 3 Mbps, but individual customers may experience different speeds at different times of the day. Speeds and uninterrupted use are not guaranteed and may vary based on a variety of factors including: the configuration of your computer, the number of concurrent users, network or Internet congestion, the capabilities and content of the websites you are accessing, network management practices as deemed necessary, and other factors. When you connect to the HughesNet service using Wi-Fi, your experience will vary based on your proximity to the Wi-Fi source and the strength of the signal.

Transfers of an existing telephone number are not always available.

‡‡Offer represents a $75 savings on HughesNet Voice equipment. 24-month commitment required. Restrictions may apply. Offer void where prohibited. Offer ends 11/04/2020.

§$19.95/month offer represents a $10 monthly savings for 6 months. After 6 months, the monthly fee reverts to $29.95. 24-month commitment required. Restrictions may apply. Offer void where prohibited. Offer ends 11/04/2020.

Applicable countries for International calling plans can be found on legal.HughesNet.com. Service is subject to HughesNet Voice Subscription Agreement and Reasonable Use Policy. Service (including 911/emergency services) will not function during periods of Internet service outage. Additional Voice adapter equipment required.