Roughly half of the world’s population has access to the internet. Much of that connectivity is thanks to internet technology finding new ways to bring coverage to areas where traditional internet modes don’t exist.
These rural areas have benefited particularly from satellite internet and fixed wireless technology.
Many people ask us various fixed wireless vs satellite internet questions and even confuse the two in conversation. In response to that confusion and curiosity, our team has decided to write a quick comparison of both internet mediums across 7 core factors.
If you’re curious to know if satellite internet or fixed wireless broadband is best for your rural internet needs, keep reading to learn more!
The most common question we’ve seen consumers ask relating to internet services is, “How fast is the connection?” To that end, there are a couple of things you’ll want to keep in mind when comparing fixed wireless vs satellite internet.
For starters, neither technology is going to be as fast as your big-city, fiber-optic/wired connections. That’s a reality you’ll have to accept if you choose to live in rural areas.
When comparing the speeds of the two technologies, if you can get a clear sight-line (no physical barriers between you and your fixed wireless source) you’ll pull better speeds from a fixed connection than you would from a satellite.
That’s because fixed wireless receivers/transmitters will be much closer to your property than a satellite ever would be.
No form of internet is going to be helpful to you if you can’t access it from your home or business. Therefore, the level of availability you’ll find in satellite and fixed wireless internet will be an unavoidable consideration you’ll need to mull when shopping options.
You’ll be hard-pressed to find an internet service that’s more available than satellite internet. After all, satellite internet was designed with availability in mind. With internet satellites being placed tens of thousands of feet above communities, just about everybody below can pick up some modicum of data.
By comparison, fixed wireless internet will need you to be within a certain proximity of ground towers and to have minimal obstructions between those towers and your home/business.
Just about everyone that’s buying into an internet package is concerned with how much that package is going to cost them. The good news is that, in most cases, neither fixed wireless nor satellite internet is going to break the bank.
Given satellite internet’s slower speeds and greater availability, you can expect most satellite internet packages to cost less when compared to comparable fixed wireless packages. That’s not to say that satellite internet provides better value.
If you’re doing business with an internet provider that can offer you both satellite and fixed wireless with fixed wireless costing a premium, chances are, the fixed wireless connection offers enough additional benefits to justify the additional cost.
There’s no huge winner when comparing the reliability of fixed wireless vs satellite internet because both connection types are flawed.
Satellite internet’s efficacy is very dependent on weather conditions. Therefore, if you’re getting heavy clouds and extreme weather during a lot of the year, you can expect outages. Fixed wireless relies heavily on proximity to a tower. It also requires there being few obstructions between your home and your tower’s transmitter.
Those conditions are less variable than the weather. Still, they can change if heavy fog blows through or if new buildings/temporary structures are erected.
It benefits buyers to purchase internet technology that’s improving. On that front, we’re seeing rural internet providers invest heavily in fixed wireless connections.
Fixed wireless ranges are getting longer. Connections are getting better about circumventing obstructions. More towers are going up every year.
As fixed wireless continues to build up, we’re hopeful rural internet users will get to a place where their wireless connections rival big city wired services.
As of today, there are more people leveraging satellite internet connections than fixed wireless connections. The reason being that satellite internet is the most variable internet technology in the world.
With that said, as wireless direct continues to build out its infrastructure, we expect to see more people hop on that technology. Satellite should then become niche to only the most rural of areas.
7. Customer Service
Customer service is something you’ll always want to ask about when investing in internet. Mostly because service is notoriously bad among providers. When it comes to comparing the customer service you’ll get with internet services, your experiences will vary.
We will say that technicians may be more helpful with fixed wireless given that some variables you’ll experience with service are more within their control to fix (a broken tower, a temporary obstruction, etc.).
Fixed Wireless vs Satellite: Which Is Best for You?
Now that we’ve gone over a few fixed wireless vs satellite comparisons, the big question is which technology is best. The answer to that question is up to you!
Depending on where you live, what your budget is, and your options, it should be clear which internet technology makes the most sense for your needs. Just be sure that, whatever technology you opt into, you do business with a reliable internet provider that’s going to take great care of your needs.
Still curious about wireless internet? Want to learn more about the pros of satellite services? If so, our team has you covered.
Continue exploring more of the newest content we post every week on our blog to continue fulfilling your need to know.