Satellites Coming Back For Another Shot At Internet Access?

from the latency-anyone? dept

It looks like some people are starting to think that satellite broadband can be a viable player in the wireless broadband arena. A company that currently makes satellite receivers for trains and cars mainly focused on beaming TV to mobile vehicles, is looking to offer satellite based internet access to cars. They promise speeds of “up to 2 Mbps with upload speeds of 128 Kbps.” Of course, this is just an empty promise right now. It should set off alarm bells whenever a wireless company uses the phrase “up to” in the description of their speeds. That means reality will be much, much slower. The “up to” means under absolutely perfect conditions that simply don’t exist outside of the laboratory with more than one user. And, while they talk about throughput there’s absolutely no mention of latency — which has always been the big stumbling block for satellite internet services. High latency, even on a faster connection will make the overall experience seem much slower. Of course, there could be some applications for which this is useful (specifically, ones where latency isn’t as big of an issue), but it has a long way to go before it’s actually competitive with other mobile broadband solutions.


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Comments on “Satellites Coming Back For Another Shot At Internet Access?”

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2 Comments
Oliver Wendell Jones (profile) says:

T-shirt?

I saw a great t-shirt on a tech-support workers site somewhere that said something to the effect of “You thought an additional 246,000 miles between you and the internet would actually speed up your connection?”, in reference to the satellites in geo-stationary orbit 123,000 miles up…

I had satellite internet (uni-directional, had to use a phone for the uplink side) for a while because there was no other alternative in my area at the time. It seemed fast at the time, but then so did my 56K modem when I upgraded from 33.6…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: T-shirt?

There are a couple of places where satellite internet makes sense, the one that counts is rural service? In places in the fly over states where the local telcos have just introduced AMAZING new features like call waiting and voice mail, satellite internet is a life saver? the question, is if they are going to be able to make it cost effective, or cost prohibitive, as it has been in the past.

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