Two of the most popular internet options are satellite and cable internet. Both satellite and cable bring the internet into your home, but they complete this function in vastly different ways. Here’s a look at the basics to help you decide which option is right for your needs.
Cable Internet Versus Satellite: The Basics
Cable internet comes to your home through the same cables that you use to watch cable TV. In most cases, you can use the same provider for both cable TV and cable internet, and you typically receive a discount for doing so.
Satellite internet, in contrast, starts with a land-based internet connection. That sends signals to a satellite orbiting Earth, which in turn sends signals to your personal satellite dish. Finally, your personal satellite dish is connected to your home modem.
The Installation Process
Both satellite and cable internet require professional installation and a modem. The cable internet installer simply splices your existing cable and routes it to your modem. The satellite internet installer has to put in a satellite dish, just as they do with satellite TV.
Both satellite and cable internet, you pay a monthly fee, and if you bundle the service with your TV service, you can often receive a discount. In both cases, you may be required to buy or rent a modem. However, with satellite internet, you may also have to foot the cost of buying or leasing the satellite dish.
Cable internet runs along cables and tends to be relatively reliable. However, if you live in an area where the cable TV goes in and out, you can expect similar performance issues with your internet. Additionally, if your neighbors receive their internet through the same cable, speed and reliability may be reduced when multiple people are on the internet at the same time.
With satellite internet, in contrast, you don’t share the signal with your neighbors. That keeps the signal strong during peak usage times. However, storms and sunspots can disrupt the transmission signal and lead to downtime.
Cable internet is only available in areas with cable TV. Satellite internet is available almost anywhere. In many areas, you can choose between these two options, but in rural areas, without cable, satellite may be the only option.
Speeds can vary depending on the type of cables in your area. However, cable internet typically offers speeds ranging from 20 Mbps to over 100 Mbps. Satellite internet is a bit slower with speeds ranging from 5 to 25 Mbps.
If both options are available in your area, your decision boils down to speed and cost. Check out a few companies in your area to see which options and packages are available. Don’t forget however that in addition to these options, you should also check out DSL. This modern take on dial-up will be covered in an upcoming blog.