Rural areas have limited internet options. Among them, satellite internet is the earliest and still available today. However, technology has advanced enough to deliver improved connectivity. People outside city limits can now access fixed wireless internet. It is a major improvement over satellite internet with more bandwidth and speed.
In this blog, we will compare fixed wireless and satellite internet based on several factors. It will help you learn the basic differences in performance and what’s in store.
So, let’s get to know the two types of internet first.
What is Satellite Internet?
Satellite internet is a form of wireless internet. The connection comes through airwaves from communication satellites in the earth’s orbit.
Service providers install equipment in homes and buildings to receive the connection. They generally use a dish antenna and router to receive and distribute internet.
What is Fixed Wireless Internet?
Fixed wireless is also a type of wireless internet. However, the signal comes from nearby mobile towers. It is the same as 4G or 5G on your smartphone coming from cell towers.
However, the location of both towers and receivers stay fixed. The connection doesn’t switch towers to provide coverage wherever you travel.
The location of homes and buildings must also be stationary. You cannot move the modem to another building to access fixed wireless internet.
Satellite Internet Vs. Fixed Wireless: A Comparison of Performance
We will now explore the performance nuances of satellite and fixed wireless internet based on:
Speed and Bandwidth
Bandwidth refers to a network’s capacity to transfer data. You can measure it in bits per second. It also determines the speed of your internet connection.
Satellite internet comes with a bandwidth of 10 – 30 Mbps, which is also the download speed. The upload speed is even less and not comparable to even DSL.
Consequently, fixed wireless has bandwidths of a minimum 10 – 50 Mbps. However, most towers are able to provide bandwidths of 100 to 500 Mbps.
It is even possible to access speeds of 1 Gbps with the latest technology.
As a result, fixed wireless is perfect for watching videos, playing games, and remote working. Satellite internet cannot support modern needs of internet users.
Latency is the time data takes to travel from your device to the network and back. You can measure it in milliseconds. An internet connection with a low latency will be able to offer more speed.
Communication satellites orbit the earth at distances over 20,000 miles. As a result, data has to travel a long distance to reach the network and travel back.
So, you can expect a latency of 500 milliseconds when you use satellite internet.
Fixed wireless internet comes from nearby cell towers. The maximum distance between the receiver and the tower can be 10 miles.
The short distance allows fixed wireless to have a low latency. The maximum latency for general fixed wireless is between 10 to 50 milliseconds. However, modern fixed wireless can have latencies as low as 20 – 30 milliseconds.
Therefore, fixed wireless works faster than satellite internet.
Weather elements impact the performance of satellite and fixed wireless internet. However, fixed wireless is more reliable due to its close proximity with cell towers.
Satellite internet may go down due to storms and hail. Worst of all, you can lose connection even if the weather around the base station is rough.
You can think of it as losing the signal of your satellite TV.
Fixed wireless internet works consistently even if there is a storm. The reliability is the same as your mobile connection that stays perfectly fine during rain or snow.
Satellite internet is more expensive than fixed wireless. You also pay more for data plans, equipment, and installation.
Additionally, service providers may put data caps on your connection.
Fixed wireless is affordable, and you can even get unlimited plans. The equipment and installation is also less expensive.
Fixed wireless internet is faster and more reliable than satellite internet. It comes with a low latency and works without disruptions in case of storms. You can also enjoy affordable data packages and unlimited plans. Several popular carriers offer fixed wireless internet to cover rural areas. Contact us to choose the best option for your needs.