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I'm trying to determine from a reliability standpoint whether internet service from a satellite provider is as good as a cable or DSL provider. Obviously nothing is perfect nor has a 100% uptime, but relatively speaking is satellite internet service as reliable as cable or DSL service? To make it more objective, state how you would classify satellite internet service reliability:

  • As good as cable or DSL (same amount of downtime.)
  • Less reliable than cable or DSL but hardly noticeable (instead of three outages a year, maybe satellite has 5-6.)
  • Noticably worse than cable or DSL (outages frequently occur.)
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closed as not constructive by TFM, Brad Patton, Dave, Tog, Dave M Apr 8 '13 at 12:10

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In general, wired connections are considered more reliable than wireless. – MaQleod Jun 2 '11 at 18:58
I figure the same, but wonder if there's any hard data. – Ken Pespisa Jun 2 '11 at 18:59
@Ken Pespisa Imagine being born as a tiny little internet packet. Would you rather travel 1200 miles into radiation, through space, at the mercy of the elements on a tiny rocketship with only your thoughts to accompany you...or 3 miles underground on a guided wire? – P.Brian.Mackey Jun 2 '11 at 19:19
@P.Brian.Mackey, the space one - I hear it is quite a view from up there. This isn't a question about whether a wireless connection is better than a wired one. I believe that is fairly obvious. I want to know about the reliability of the service and service providers. We have a wired connection at work, for example, with a wireless connection as a backup. I've personally experienced more outages from telecom techs cutting the wrong wire, or cars hitting phone poles, than we have on our wireless connection. – Ken Pespisa Jun 2 '11 at 19:26
@Ken Pespisa - Ah..I can empathize, my cable service is always out...Considering DSL myself. I think reliability is going to be region specific for the most part. BTW Oh my goodness that little baby is the CUTEST!!! If she is yours you should put her in a baby contest or something. – P.Brian.Mackey Jun 2 '11 at 19:28

I think your prime concern would be latency...
Read this tho.

Quoting a bit from there,

any problems with the satellite itself almost never occur. That’s because they are designed with lots of backups to the system since repairs in space are almost impossible to make. There are even extra satellites orbiting, in the unlikely event that a satellite that has been designated for internet use, fails.

Another issue that satellite users face is latency. Satellite internet latency occurs because of the distance a signal must travel back and forth to the satellite in space. This results in a lag, making satellite internet service slower than DSL or cable internet.

Because of latency, it’s not recommended that you attempt transactions that require split second timing, such as real-time stock trading.


In terms of the amount of data that can be uploaded and downloaded, DSL and cable come out ahead. They both have a much higher threshold on standard internet packages. You can get a satellite package with a higher threshold, but it will be very costly.

Also, Satellite Internet access at Wikipedia.

I've usually seen satellite links kept as a backup for when the regular ISP paths breakdown. These link while slow are relatively more reliable. But, interactive communications over these links suffers the latency disadvantage. In earlier days, satellite links were not considered very reliable, but these days, I think reliability is no longer a concern. I think the links I gave above detail these points.

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I would also imagine serious weather (heavy thunderstorms) would play some havoc with reception as they do with satellite TV. – Justin Pearce Jun 2 '11 at 18:49
Satellite is also known for bandwidth usage caps. – Moab Jun 2 '11 at 18:58

Not just no, but hell no. It is slower, more expensive, and the weather will definitely interfere with your signal at times. I have Satellite T.V. and want off of it. Only get it is you cannot get Cable or DSL, but would otherwise have to settle for dial-up.

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Then what are the benefits for satellite? – Pacerier Jun 19 '12 at 4:56

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