Satellite Broadband: How It Works and How Congestion Happens

September 23, 2013 8:23 pm

We live in a digital age where internet infrastructures continue to advance. A manifestation of this advancement takes the form of a satellite broadband connection, where we are able to ‘do more’ and ‘be more’ regardless of time and space constraints. Just as these improvements continue to prosper and change the way we live, it is important that we keep up with the pace and know how it works, how it benefits us and what its limitation is.
How It Works
To experience broadband internet through a satellite service, you need to have the following: a roof-mounted satellite dish, a satellite modem and the connecting wires. You have an outdoor unit (satellite dish) and an indoor unit (modem) that facilitates the transmission and translation of data to your computer.
All satellite dishes are roof-mounted so that it has a clear access of the satellites located near the earth’s equator. However, given the nature of satellite technology, it hardly ever matters if the satellite dish is located southward or mounted at the highest exterior of your house.
When you sign up for an NBN Satellite connection, a dish will be installed on your home. This dish will be joined to your indoor modem using connecting wires.
Suppose you are making a search. You open up your browser, load the search engine and send your query. Your computer will send this query to your indoor satellite modem, which then will encode it to travel on a satellite transmission. Satellite internet providers have a receiving station in space where all queries are processed.
Once processing is complete, it follows the same path back to the user. From the receiving station, the data goes back to the satellite, then to the satellite dish, coursed through the indoor satellite modem and finally on the computer. With a satellite connection, all these steps happen mostly in less than a second.
How it Benefits Us
Before, internet connectivity was a luxury afforded by a few. It was an option for some people, but there are households that simply could not have a connection due to geographical limitations.
Satellite technology transcends space. Regardless if you are in the rural area, it does not make you an exception to a fast broadband connection.
Even with the commodification of the internet, the fact that it is becoming widely available means prices for a satellite broadband service are affordable. It can increase our online productivity further for personal and official purposes.
Congestion: A Limitation
To understand the process of congestion better, it is essential to differentiate what bandwidth and internet speed are as these are almost always loosely defined. Bandwidth is the fixed amount of data that you can send and receive online. Having a larger bandwidth means more data are being transferred at a given time making download faster. Internet speed refers to the bandwidth allocated to you. If you want to have “speed” and avoid congestion, you need to allocate your bandwidth well.
Avoiding traffic congestion and other impediments to your internet connection such as latency is easy. You simply need to be conscious about your internet usage and habits.
First, you can control the number of users logged on to the internet at a given time since your connection slows down during peak hours. Second, you can look into the configuration of your computer and see how it can affect the time it takes a website to load on your screen. Conversely, look at the composition of the website since heavy web page elements do not necessarily mean your connection is slow. Third, if you are setting up a wireless connection at home, you can limit usage among your household members. Password-protect your connection to avoid the unnecessary congestion. Moreover, keep track of your online activities such as software updating, video streaming and gaming since these can be a source of congestion especially when done all at the same time. These are some of the factors you can look into in boosting your connection and improving the entire experience.
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