DSL Versus Satellite Broadband: Which Is Better?

Millions of people are confused about the differences between DSL and cable internet connections. Fewer still understand the advantages and disadvantages of satellite internet access. Potential subscribers who want to enjoy the fastest service for the lowest price are understandably bewildered by their choices. Fortunately, the decision is usually a simple one.

For most people, satellite broadband service will be a less than ideal choice. Below, we’ll explain how the service works and the type of customer most likely to use it. We’ll also explore how it compares to a DSL connection. You’ll likely find that if a conventional broadband alternative is available in your area, it will be a better solution.

Satellite Broadband In A Nutshell

[ad#banner468x60]In order to understand how satellite broadband (SB) compares to a digital subscriber line, it is worth reviewing how the technology works. The service does not use phone lines, fiber optics, or a cable infrastructure. Instead, the upload and download data transmission takes place via a dish and an orbiting satellite.

The dish must be installed so that it maintains a clear path skyward. If its “view” is obscured (for example, by trees, clouds, etc.), the data transmission may be slowed or temporarily severed.

One of the limitations of SB service is the rate at which you can upload and download data. You can download at rates up to 1.5 Mpbs and upload at 256 Kbps. While that is markedly faster than a dial-up modem, both throughput rates are significantly slower than those offered by a DSL connection.

[ad]Another limitation involves price. Given the slower performance of the technology, you would expect its price to be lower than that of a digital subscriber line. However, that is rarely the case. More often than not, SB service costs as much, if not more, than a conventional broadband connection.

Is A Digital Subscriber Line Better?

Simply put, yes. First, a digital subscriber line is normally less expensive on a monthly basis and it’s easier to install. Second, it will seldom require a long-term contract while an SB provider will push for such a commitment. Third (as noted above), the data transfer rate of DSL is almost always much faster than that offered by satellite internet. By contrast, SB will often carry a higher monthly bill, cost several hundreds of dollars to install, and offer a slower datastream. What’s more, it can be unreliable if the path of the dish is obscured in any way.

The reason SB customers use the service is because their alternatives are usually limited. Subscribers often live in areas that lay outside the territory serviced by DSL Internet Providers. In that case, the technology – as limited as it is – might be considered valuable. However, if you live in an area that is near a DSL provider, they will usually be able to offer the most value (i.e. speed, reliability, etc.) for the price.

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