The internet is more important in 2017 than it has ever been since its creation. As more devices become “connected” and more services transition into the digital landscape the importance of having an internet presence continues to grow. This means that it’s no longer a luxury to have a solid internet connection at home, it’s essential. All of this has made choosing a new internet service provider a major decision. Choosing an internet service provider always seems to boil down to one question: cable or satellite?
Let’s start by looking at the technology that goes into making each of those methods possible. Cable (as the name suggests) works by sending data through physical underground cable lines. People who use cable for their internet must have a modem set up in their homes. The modem then facilitates the communication between those underground cables and your internet-connected devices at home.
Like cable, satellite internet also lives up to its name. Satellite internet uses actual satellites in space to connect to the internet. This means that people who use satellite internet services must have their own satellite dish installed on their home. That personal satellite dish interprets the data coming from your satellite internet provider’s hub, which then communicates with the satellites in orbit above the Earth.
So why would you choose one type of service over the other? It comes down to three important factors—price, speed and location.
Let’s start with the price. The public perception seems to be that satellite is considerably more expensive than cable. While that was true when satellite technology first came to the mainstream marketplace, tech has advanced enough that it really isn’t true anymore. The bottom line for both cable and satellite providers is that your monthly price is completely dependent on what package you choose. Typically those prices range from $40-$150 a month.
Now let’s look at the speed of each of these internet services. Again, your speed will depend on which package you select and how much you are willing to pay. There are, however, technological restrictions that cap the total speed a satellite internet service can provide. The crux of satellite internet services is that the internet signal is wirelessly transmitted. Where technology is today, wireless is still slower than a wired connection. Since cable is a wired connection and satellite is wireless, you will have faster internet options with cable internet. However, that doesn’t mean satellite internet is slow—you can get speeds of up to 40 Mbps with DISH Network.
The most important factor to consider when choosing between satellite and cable internet is the location at which you live. If you live in a more urban environment, you likely will have cable in your area. If you like to play games or stream content to multiple devices at once, cable might be the right choice for you.
If you live in a more rural environment, cable might not even be an option! The best part of satellite internet is that it can work anywhere your personal satellite dish has a clear shot of the sky. Satellite internet services allow more people, in more exotic places to get online.
There are a lot of factors to consider when choosing between satellite and cable internet, but both are viable options. Remember to consider price, speed and location when choosing your provider!