What is Satellite Broadband?
The simplest answer to a question “what is satellite broadband” would be it is a broadband connection provided via satellite, in other words, satellite internet. What it means, the signal from your connected device, like a laptop, has to travel through space to the satellite that is in a geostationary orbit and then to the ground station. The return journey is equally long. Altogether, your signal travels over 70,000km! Pretty amazing, isn’t it?
The fact that signal is provided via a geostationary satellite by satellite internet providers is an advantage in certain respects and disadvantage in others.
The main advantage is that you can get Satellite Internet connection nearly anywhere in the UK. If you live in England, Wales, Scotland or Northern Ireland, there is a pretty good chance you will be covered. Without the need for expensive provision of cables and no need for mobile coverage. All you would need is a satellite dish to be installed on the roof or a side of your house and visibility of that part of the southern sky where the satellite is. Your device, via satellite dish, has to “see” the satellite in the Earth’s orbit.
The main disadvantage is that due to the distance the signal has to travel (70,000km) the latency is much higher than what would you expect from traditional broadband providers. In most cases it’s not an issue, you can enjoy sending emails, browsing the web, purchasing on Amazon, streaming movies, video calling, but you need to be aware that there are applications that are not optimised for satellite connections.
Can I really get satellite broadband anywhere in the UK?
Yes, and no. In theory, satellite broadband is available anywhere as long as the satellite is “visible.” To explain, because of the curvature of earth satellite can cover only part of Earth’s surface. The satellite is geostationary and located above the Equator. The orbit is geosynchronous with Earth’s rotational movement and appears motionless, with fixed position. At least for the observer from Earth. This allows the dish that is on the side of your house to be directed precisely and deliver better signal. So, yes, you can get satellite internet nearly anywhere, even in rural and remote areas of the UK.
There are limitations though. Modern satellites are quite sophisticated. In order to provide better user experience satellites nowadays use spot beam technology allowing for reuse of assigned bandwidth multiple times and achieve much greater capacity. What it also means is that the satellite broadband company may be much smarter in allocating the beams and as a result you may not be in the area where you will be able to get satellite internet. It is usually not the case, in the UK at least. After all, satellite companies are there to make money, so they want subscribers. But if you think about it, they don’t really want to allocate any beams to a huge body of water. They want satellite internet users, they want individual customers and businesses to use internet. The beams cover big areas and no one there can pick a location saying we won’t provide it to this guy! You can read more about satellite technologies on Wikipedia.
Another limit is actually on the user side. The satellite dish has to be pointed towards the satellite. Has to “see” the satellite. Without anything in-between. No trees, no buildings. So it is possible that once you buy satellite broadband the installer may not be able to install it. In such case a you should receive full refund, so don’t worry! The installers are very experienced in this kind of setups and they can see what’s the best spot for the dish. In some rare cases they may need to suggest additional work, non-standard installation, but it happens only if standard installation on the side of your house, or on the roof, is not possible.
Is Satellite Internet unlimited?
Most satellite broadband data plans are unlimited nowadays. Historically, satellite internet was quite expensive and with extra usage costs. It’s not the case any more. Today most satellite broadband plans come with unlimited usage, maning you can use it without worry that you will get disconnected. In other words, there is no hard cap to your usage. If you are still on one of the old satellite internet plans that is hard-capped, it is probably time to change your broadband provider!
You have to remember that even if your satellite data plan is uncapped, there are other users on the network. All broadband providers, irrespectively of technology, have some measures in place to manage the network. Usually you have to read the small print to learn that your “unlimited” fibre broadband or mobile plan actually has limits! It’s not because your provider has problem with you particularly. It’s because there are other users who also want to utilise network that has certain capacity. To illustrate it, think about times your mobile network was congested. If you live in rural area the chance is it happens from time to time… or quite a lot! It happens when too many users try to tap to the limited resource at the same time. It’s like driving through London, sometimes you are stuck in traffic as there are too many cars and too limited capacity of streets they are on! The network has to be managed in some way. With satellite broadband it comes with something called Priority Data. Read more about it here.
Konnect Satellite Broadband UK
Konnect is a brand of Eutelsat, one ot the biggest players on satellite broadband market. European Telecommunications Satellite Organization (EUTELSAT) was originally set up by 17 European countries as intergovernmental organisation (IGO) with a goal of developing and operating satellite based telecommunication structure for Europe. In 2001 Eutelsat SA was established and today company’s satellites are used to broadcast over 7,000 television stations, 1,100 radio stations and broadband satellite services to over 250 million people in Europe, Middle East, Asia, Americas and Africa.
How to Buy Konnect Satellite Broadband in the UK?
Before you decide to purchase Konnect Satellite Internet you should know satellite broadband has certain limitations. At any stage, if you are in daubt, you should call us first and talk to our satellite broadband specialists!
- Satellite Broadband is not the best option for gaming, mostly due to high latency that comes from the distance between geostationary satellite, ground stations and the user but also because it’s not the best choice for game consoles
- When you purchase (online or by calling our satellite internet specialist) you are given 60 days NO COMMITMENT PROMISE period counted from moment of installation.
- You won’t be charged installation fee if the installation is unsuccessful
- If you decide to cancel, we have other rural broadband options, including fibre and mobile broadband ,and there is always a chance we may be able to find you a different broadband option.
Having the above in mind, you can sign up now or give us a call on 0333 015 1343
What is Priority Data?
Priority data means that amount of data, linked to the price plan you purchased, that allows you to be prioritised before users who already used up their priority data. It sounds complicated? Well, it’s actually quite simple. Imagine yourself as a VIP (that’s your Priority Data). You go to a venue and you are allowed to skip the queue. You go in before others. Those others don’t have VIP tickets! They will still get into the venue, but it will take them more time to get there. You are Priority Data user so you are moving faster. There may still be other VIP users who get there before you but the important thing you are moving within your VIP area. Within your Data Priority!
Once you use up your Priority Data you are no longer prioritised. You will be treated by the network after the needs of Priority Data users are met. This means you are still moving, but it may be slower. It may not, sometimes there won’t be enough Data Priority users to slow you down.
So, basically, your internet may slow down at certain times. Not all the time. Sometimes, if the network is busy you will be deprioritised. Other times you will move as fast as you want. Within your plan, obviously!
How to be smart with your Priority Data Konnect Satellite Internet Data Plans?
Priority Data may seem to be a real deal breaker in the world of big data requirements. There are 2 solutions to Priority Data:
- Get your Satellite Internet Price Plan right. There is a tendency to go with the smallest package due to the cost associated with higher plans but it’s extremely important to understand how we use data and what are our requirements. Sometimes saving few bucks can cause headaches we could have avoided if we were honest with ourselves to start with. When signing up for internet package we should assess what we need. With Fibre broadband we usually look at speeds, even if we almost never need insane speeds to do anything! With Satellite Internet Packages we have to think how much data we are going to need. Not that we are going to be disconnected (most internet offers come with Unlimited Data Usage nowadays), but we don’t really want to worry about our download speeds going down when we need them the most!
- Even if you got your internet package right, you may still run out of Priority Data and your download speeds may go down at certain times. There is a way around. Any data used between 1AM and 6AM is not counted towards your Priority Data usage. What can you do with this info? Simple, schedule your downloads or your software updates, for this time. For example, do you know you can download Netflix movie and watch it offline instead of streaming? If you do it you sort out two problems, Priority Data usage and congestion of network. Imagine Christmas time when everyone wants to stream movies. You can expect issues with networks! Or you can download movies at night and watch offline without affecting your Priority Data!
What is Satellite Internet Latency?
One of the most common concerns coming from potential customers is latency. Many rural broadband providers, especially offering 4G or 5G solutions, emphasise high latency of satellite broadband as a selling point of their solutions. So, what is latency?
Latency is time between request for data and receiving it. It’s basically a delay between request and answer. And it’s true that latency with satellite connection is higher than with so-called standard broadband connectivity. It’s also, usually, higher than with 4G broadband.
At the same time, it’s not a sign that something is wrong with your connection. Latency affects any type of connection. Fibre broadband comes with certain latency, mobile broadband too. There is also latency between your device and router or other device.
What it means, there is always a delay between request and answer due to the fact signal has to travel between devices through different media.
Satellite connection latency is of particular importance as the signal has to travel much longer distance. It goes from your device through the satellite to the ground station and back. This means over 70,000km one way.
If you use satellite internet you should expect latency around 600ms. It’s much higher than with fibre or 4G but you can still use Internet for most of everyday needs. You shouldn’t have isues with your Netflix or You Tube. Many VPNs will still work but you may require static IP. Make sure you make us aware when buying satellite broadband that you need it!
Broadband Via Satellite in the UK
Satellite connection increasingly gains popularity in the UK. Delayed rollout of fibre networks combined with increased demand for connectivity for those who work from home created a whole new market with alternative service providers leading the way. Satellite connection offers a relatively cost-efficient way of gaining high-speed connectivity in areas where broadband infrastructure is still nowhere to be seen.