What Exactly Is Satellite Internet?
Satellite internet is internet access provided by satellite dishes, allowing subscribers to connect to the internet over the airwaves. What’s good about it? How does it work? These are all great questions, and they’re better explained by talking about how satellites work.
As satellites orbit, they repeat the same movements over and over again. How does this work? The solution lies in how satellites work at a fundamental level – their orbits determine bandwidth availability, and they’re designed for stability for this purpose.
Why Do Satellites Come Into the Range of Our Dishes?
Whether it’s a mobile phone or a satellite dish, radio waves move at the speed of light. This means that radio waves travel at the same speed whenever something is in their path to slow them down. So, what’s in front of a satellite?
Satellites come into the range of our dishes when they pass over the equator, where the distance from Earth is the shortest. This happens because it is easiest for radio waves to travel along the ground up and down mountains and valleys. There are several reasons why Earth’s equator makes the best path for satellites:
Why Does Distance From the Equator Make the Best Path for Satellites?
There are several good reasons why this happens:
- The curvature of Earth slows radio waves as they move around her. As such, as radio waves travel away from Earth’s surface, it becomes more difficult to receive signals.
- As radio waves travel along the surface, they need to cross overhead mountains much taller than the Earth’s average mountain height. These mountains are located above places with open ground, which allows them to slow down more quickly.
- Radios must travel across valleys for their signals to reach us, and we would find it more challenging to receive them if these valleys acted as a barrier and did not allow the waves to go through.
How Do We Use Satellites?
Once we have determined that our dish is in range of a particular satellite, we can connect our dish’s antennae to a receiver to enable us to get Internet access from this satellite. How is that possible? We need to look at how optical fibers work to answer this question.
What Is Optical Fiber?
An optical fiber is a thin cable made of glass or plastic coated with a layer of material called an optical fiber amplifier (OFAM). This layer acts as an amplifier for light, reflecting it towards us when it passes through the cable. As this cable carries information worldwide, the light mustn’t travel through our cable more than once. If we can stop more than one of these photons from traveling through the cable, we will be able to keep our signal solid and stable.
What Does the Optical Fiber Transmit?
When photons flow through a fiber, they lose energy. Because of this, the light waves within the light are converted into electrical currents. These currents travel along the cable and can be sent out where they are needed for a particular purpose. For example, a small amount of current travels through a very long optical fiber to power a lightbulb at one end of the cable and then travels back to an LED bulb at the other end that turns on when we press our computer’s mouse button. Or, our cable may be connected to a receiver that will decode the light into an internet signal.
What Does This Mean for Satellite Communications?
This means that high-powered lasers are used to send signals through these cables. These lasers are focused onto the cable’s surface, reflecting towards us when they enter the cable. We can use these reflections to determine if our laser is hitting its target. We can target other beams of light so that we may speak with another satellite dish at another location or capture information from other satellites orbiting overhead. These lasers are potent and have many uses, but they are also incredibly dangerous when misused. They can cause damage to the eyes and skin of those who view or mishandle them. We must always take great care with these lasers, but we must also ensure that we use them properly and safely.
How Does This Affect Satellite Internet?
Because light can be sent through these cables, we will send the signals received from our dish’s incoming light inward until they reach a receiver that can decode them into information for us. This information will allow us to connect with the internet. It will be easy for us to visit web pages written in any language, see pictures captured by telescopes halfway through their daily trips around the planet, or watch videos filmed by satellites orbiting Mars.
Ultimately, these lasers will provide us with the Internet access that we need to enjoy the modern world. If we were limited to only using these cables to power light bulbs, they would be much more limited in what they could do for us. Because of the lasers used in communications technology, we can enjoy satellite dishes for all their other uses.
Q1. Is Satellite Internet a good option?
A: Yes. Using satellites to provide internet is a very cost-effective option compared to other potential connections, especially when one is in the middle of nowhere. Satellites are designed for quick transfer speeds, so they are ideal for downloading movies, streaming videos, and playing games over the internet.
Q2. Is Satellite Internet faster than fiber optic?
A: This depends on what type of connection you are looking for. If you’re in a remote area, fiber optic could give you a much faster internet speed. However, in urban areas where the light from the sun is less abundant, but there is a lot of human activity, satellite Internet is usually much faster than fiber optic.
Q3. What kind of connection to a satellite dish will I need?
A: Your satellite dish will need to have an electrical output similar to that used by large appliances such as microwaves and refrigerators, around 24 volts or so. If your satellite dish does not have this on its control panel, you will need to get an adapter to the plugin.