Commercial Satellite Internet Services for Business: Pros, Cons, and What You Should Know Before Choosing a Provider
When you run a business in this modern age, your internet service can make or break your customer satisfaction ratings and even your ability to run your company at all. That’s why determining what type of internet service you should use is so important. There are advantages and disadvantages to each one, but depending on your business, one will likely serve your needs better than the others. We’ve already discussed cable vs. fiber optic internet, but here we’re going to focus on the benefits and drawbacks of commercial satellite internet and what you should know before selecting a business satellite internet provider.
What is Commercial Satellite Internet?
Satellite internet operates through signals rather than hard wires (like with cable and fiber optic internet). An internet connection here on Earth sends a signal to a satellite in orbit, which then bounces the signal to a dish outside your place of business.
Advantages of Commercial Satellite Internet Service
DSL is only available within 22,000 feet of a phone company central office. If your business is outside this range, DSL likely isn’t available, and if it is, it is probably significantly slower than is workable. Satellite, on the other hand, is available nearly anywhere in the world since it does not rely on hard lines to send internet service. Even some of the most rural, remote areas are capable of accessing commercial high speed satellite internet, so they don’t have to depend on dial-up.
Satellite internet, overall, can be just as reliable as DSL in terms of the general strength of the signal and it’s “always on.” It operates independently of the cables and phone lines leading up to your business, so issues with those will not affect your internet connection. The satellite network is also a lot simpler than most other forms of internet; there are only four points of contact for the signal: the satellite, the teleport, the Network Operations Center (NOC), and the Very-Small-Aperture-Terminal (VSAT).
Because of this, there are fewer points where an issue can cause an outage. With DSL, there are thousands of feet of cable leading to your business where roadwork, weather, animals, or other factors could damage the cables and cause your service to end. And, with fewer points of contact and very little cable, it’s easier for a satellite provider to determine where an issue may have occurred and address it more quickly.
Ease of Use
Satellite internet service tends to be a lot easier for end users than DSL or fiber, partially because it’s always on. The technician comes out to your business, sets up the satellite dish and connects it to your computers, and then it’s done. Usually, all you have to do is turn on your computer and you’re connected.
Satellite internet is generally considered to be more secure than DSL or Wi-Fi, since it operates via very specific signals. Data packets are broken down and sent and received via a beam specifically for transmissions to and from your business. Because of this, and the fact that the signal is sent up into orbit and back, it’s very difficult to intercept.
Disadvantages of Commercial Satellite Internet Service
While high speed internet service is available for businesses via satellite, it isn’t as fast as cable and certainly not as fast as fiber. Typically, satellite internet download speed ranges between one and 15Mbps, which is fast enough to do research on various websites, but it will likely slow down when working with training videos or video conferences. Moreover, satellite internet service tends to slow down during peak hours.
Because satellite internet operates via signals that bounce back and forth between the Earth’s surface and orbit, the latency (or time it takes for data to follow an instruction for transfer) can reach up to one or two seconds. While this is not a big deal for doing research, it can pose a problem when trying to make real-time transactions and video conference calls, as there can be noticeable delays between sending a message and receiving a response.
Disruption Based on Location
While commercial satellite internet is available almost everywhere, it does have its limitations. Mountains, tall forests, buildings, and other obstructions can weaken or block signals entirely. If you don’t have a clear view of the southern sky, the signals path might be blocked, and you might not be able to access satellite internet effectively.
Disruption Based on Weather
Even commercial grade satellite internet can be disrupted by heavy rains, strong winds, and other weather conditions. These conditions can weaken or completely block your internet signal until it becomes unusable.
In many cases, satellite is going to be the more expensive option. Satellite internet service can range anywhere from $30 per month to around $150 per month, and you’ll have to pay more for faster speeds if you need them.
Things to Consider Before Selecting a Business Class Satellite Internet Provider
Now that you know the advantages and disadvantages of using satellite internet for your business, make sure you take the following into consideration before making your decision:
- Do you need the high speeds satellite internet offers? Will lower speeds be sufficient?
- Is your business in an area where satellite will be effective most of the time?
- Do(es) the commercial satellite internet service provider(s) you are considering have data limits and fees? Will this negatively impact the cost-benefit ratio of satellite internet?
- Does your area frequently experience storms and heavy winds that would consistently interfere with commercial grade satellite internet?
- What are the peak hours for satellite internet service and are the associated slowdowns going to inhibit your business operations?
- Is satellite internet going to be your primary source of connectivity for your business? Or will it be a backup solution?
Choosing the Right Internet Service for Your Business
Weighing your internet options can seem like a daunting task, especially with so many factors to take into consideration. If you have any questions about commercial internet or which option is right for your company, the experts at C1C are here to help. Contact us online or by calling 855-TECH-C1C (855-832-4212) for a free consultation, and we’ll answer your questions to help you find the internet solution that will fit the needs of your business.