A major breakthrough in internet availability as far as occupants of rural areas are concerned is the use of satellites to provide internet access. People who live too far from a phone system junction to receive DSL and who also have no cable lines running through their areas now have a new option. Satellite internet is also a great source of excitement among those longing for a better solution for portable internet connections than their cell phone. Anyone on the move a lot and cannot rely on a ground line to maintain the contact with the world wide web can now turn to space in order to access all the internet provides.
Satellites that provide internet access operate in much the same way as those that provide television services. The orbiting satellite receives or sends a signal through a dish that is connected to a PC or Mac. The information is then represented on the screen. Satellite internet download speed is slower than available through cable or DSL, but the modem speed is usually ten times faster than landline methods. Users of satellite internet must also have a clear southward view for their dish, as the satellites used for internet technology have their orbit above the equator. As with satellite television, satellite internet transmission can sometimes be interrupted by storms or trees.
Satellite internet also offers a huge advantage in terms of bandwidth limitations. The technology used for satellite internet is called Internet Protocol multicasting, which means up to 5,000 channels of information can be served simultaneously by one satellite. IP multicasting sends data from one point to many points by sending data in compressed format. Compression reduces the size of the data and the bandwidth. Usual dial-up land-based terrestrial systems have bandwidth limitations that prevent this immense amount of multicasting.
Satellite internet is an ideal innovation for those who otherwise would find themselves isolated from the information age through their remote locations.