In an increasingly globalized world, access to the internet is becoming one of the most, if not the most important aspects of modern living. Communications infrastructure is not only essential on a business level, but communities today are relying on the power of the web to accomplish tasks as simple as sending messages for local transactions, to something as revolutionary as using social media tools for call-to-action movements.
Despite this, not everyone has access to cyberspace. Around 65% of the present of the seven billion population are not able to use the internet. Majority of those who can are densely packed in the more developed and urbanized regions.
Most of those with no access to the internet live in far flung-regions, where terrestrial communications infrastructure is not only impossible to build, but also costly both on a financial level but also on an environmental scale. Trying to build a series of fibre optic cables in areas like deserts, islands in the Pacific or thick tropical foliage is not advisable.
This is where satellite broadband comes into play. Just by the name itself, we can deduce this technology relies on vessels floating and orbiting thousands of kilometers up in the sky. Where usually broadband relies on dial-up connections, or wireless technology dependent on cell sites, satellite broadband can provide the much needed Internet access to rural folks even without terrestrial networks.
So how does satellite broadband work? Basically, a modem communicates with the ISP. When the user clicks on a webpage, the signals are sent to the network operations center (NOC) of a satellite vessel. Then, the satellite sends back the signal to the hub, and the hub transmits it to a server. The server data is then sent back to the satellite and returned to the satellite dish of a client.
Now because of this constant transmission to different points – which is essential in avoiding the terrestrial infrastructure – there are some disadvantages in relying on satellite broadband. For the most part, latency is the main issue. Latency is basically lag. Satellite companies address latency or delay in signal transmission by partnering with terrestrial ISPs and optimizing VSAT networks. Recently however, there has been a vast improvement in VSAT networks with the advent of more reliable teleport facilities (which we will discuss on another time). Simply put, telepors are ground-based satellites which are interconnected with a terrestrial fibre network and support services from major service providers.
High-latency issues are gradually being resolved with this new improvements. Even cost, which has always been an issue for those relying on satellite broadband, has gradually decreased. Satellite broadband is now becoming more, and more affordable. If for any reason, this is especially important since people living in remote regions can only best rely on satellite broadband for wireless Internet solutions that are beyond the services of a network grid.