We spent over 64 hours researching all aspects of the satellite internet providers available today. This includes their plans, business ratings, customer service and equipment to name a few. After conducting our research HughesNet is our top pick because they offer the fastest speeds and most data. Read on to find out more.
Table of Contents
Why Use Satellite Internet?
Many communities do not have access to traditional Cable, Fiber, or DSL internet connections and require an alternate method to obtain an inexpensive stable web connection. Satellite Internet Providers make use of a satellite in space to deliver the internet to a satellite receiver dish located on the roof of your home, making the internet possible where otherwise it wouldn’t be. Therefore, that’s the reason Satellite Internet is popular for homes in rural areas and travelers.
How does Satellite Internet work?
- You’re in your house on your laptop or mobile phone and you click on a preferred website. Your request would go to your Internet Providers modem, then via a cable towards the dish located outdoors near or in your house.
- The dish outside your home transmits your request to the Satellite Internet Providers satellite in space.
- The satellite then transmits this request to a gateway station located at one of the Satellite Internet Providers ground network facilities.
- The ground facility relays your request to the website you are trying to access. Like other traditional providers.
- The web site offers the information you requested to the station, which transmits the signal back to the satellite in space and then it gets beamed straight to the dish sitting outside or on your home.
- Even though signals are traveling from Earth to space and again, this complete process takes only a fraction of a second.
What Satellite Providers Are Available?
Recently, you could choose Satellite Internet from several different Satellite Internet Providers. However, today you will find only two to select Satellite Internet from (HughesNet and Exede Internet). The reason for that is EchoStar now owns HughesNet, Earthlink, and dishNet. Exede Internet purchased and owns WildBlue which was an additional option not long ago.
While you will find just two big names within the satellite internet market, HughesNet sticks out because of its relatively faster speeds which are up to 25 Mbps. In many areas HughesNet is two times faster than its competitor, Exede Internet, whose connection is on average 12 Mbps. HughesNet also has attractive Bonus Zones which complement their monthly data plans. They also offer affordable additional data tokens in case you need a few extra GBs near the end of the month. HughesNet also released a mobile application that is extremely helpful for reviewing plan data, data usage, and connection strength.
Buying Satellite Internet Service
As mentioned, there are just two companies that offer Satellite internet today HughesNet and Exede Internet. But understanding what and how they offer their data plans and caveats can nonetheless be a little overwhelming. Along with data plans, it is also important to understand speed and performance, coverage, installation, support, and terms and conditions. Our goal is to do the research for you and provide a comprehensive understanding into the benefits of Satellite Internet.
We have taken the time to compare both HughesNet and Exede Internet for you personally and ranked them according to the most desired and useful internet provider options in the chart below. If you have any questions regarding these services, we recommend that you contact our support representatives who will be able to answer any questions you might have and help you uncover the service that’s perfect for you.
What We Reviewed and Our Results
Internet Service Providers that offer multiple data plans are the best when it comes to Satellite Internet Service Providers (ISP). You always want to make sure that the plan you choose will cover your data usage requirements. If you have a large family and do a lot of streaming or your business mostly does online transactions, then a larger data plan might be required.
The best internet is one that provides exceptional coverage and is in your budget. Our two top-ranked companies either have multiple plans you can choose your own which include some nice data saving features. We also take into consideration installment and customer service fees. Call us and we will help choose a plan that works best for your budget.
Bandwidth: Speed & Performance
We consider bandwidth to be one of the more important features especially with so much online content to stream these days. While our top satellite internet providers have comparable speeds, HughesNet has the edge on more consistent download and upload speeds.
Coverage Areas: Be Connected Wherever You Are
Coverage is typically provided in all 50 states but some areas see better download and upload speeds. We take this into consideration when ranking the best provider. However, it is always best to talk to one of our representatives to see if you can get premium coverage for your area.
Support & Resources: Get Information & Answers
You want to select a company that provides support when you need it the most. Your ISP (Internet Service Provider) should be accommodating and offer adequate support to help you through those difficult setups and troubleshooting times.
Satellite Internet Providers
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Best Satellite Internet
HughesNet vs Exede
Each service offers several different residential plans. The cost of these plans is based on the data your allowed to consume within the billing cycle. The lower amount of data consumption required, the cheaper the plan. Like most mobile phone plans.
Don’t forget that each provider offers free ‘off-peak’ hours which allows you to use data without using any data within your allowance. This is a great time to take advantage of downloading, streaming, and general tasks that require a lot of bandwidth. In most cases standard installation is free, you have access to customer support, and the option to lease equipment. All service plans come with a 24-month commitment.
- HughesNet: $49–$99 per month (for the first 24 months)
- Exede: $50–$100 per month
HughesNet provides the option to buy your equipment, satellite dish, and Wireless-enabled modem, or you can lease the gear for $14.99 monthly. For those who have long term plans and keeping their satellite provider, or just want a cheaper monthly bill, purchasing the equipment makes the most sense.
Exede Internet includes a satellite dish and modem for the lease or rental fee of just $9.99 per month. Exede Internet provides you the option to prepay at $199.99 for twenty-four months. The upfront pay option will save you around $40 over a two-year period and the rent option will break even around 2.5 yrs. That’s not a bad deal if you have the money to spend up front.
Download and Upload Speeds
Download & Upload speeds mean so much when accessing the web these days. Most web and social media pages are media rich and require a decent speed to make a satisfactory experience. So, making sure that your provider can provide the download and upload speeds you require is essential. In rural areas, options are limited and choices are either DSL, 3G/4G, or Satellite Internet. Satellite Internet is typically faster than DSL and often more accessible and you will find that it’s much cheaper and convenient than using your 4G phone plan.
With HughesNet most customers will receive 25 Mbps download and 3 Mbps upload speeds or better. Exede Internet also offers 25 Mbps download but it’s only available in certain areas. Exede Internet’s standard and most common service are 12 Mbps Down & 3 Mbps Up. Again, how fast your internet is having a direct impact on accessing your favorite websites, streaming video, music, and even games.
If your options are to use satellite internet, your television provider is most likely a satellite based service so you’re probably familiar with where the dish needs to be located and removing any obstructions from its path. You should also be aware of how often outages might occur due to inclement weather etc. which is usually a rare occurrence. Of course, these couple things can affect your signal strength and ultimately your overall speed. Unfortunately, using the same satellite dish for both TV and the Internet is not possible. TV dishes are only capable of receiving television broadcast signals, and internet connections require both receiving and forwarding or rather upload and download information.
Data Caps & Bonus Data
Data caps are something that the Satellite Internet Service Provider puts in place to limit the amount of data you can consume during your billing cycle. Both providers have Data Caps in place and either throttle a slower connection when reached or give you the option to buy more data in blocks.
The Data cap limits vary depending on the plan you choose. HughesNet and Exede Internet offers many different data plans to accommodate the way you browse. So, make sure you choose the plan that’s right for you and your family so you don’t have to purchase any “Buy Now” or Data Packages after your plan’s allowance has been used up.
Always remember to take advantage of their free Bonus Data plans typically offered during off-peak times. HughesNet calls this the Bonus Zone, and provides you free data between 2 a.m. to 8 a.m. That’s an extra 50 GB of data a month. Schedule your large downloads and updates during these times.
Each provider has its own customer service and support program. Exede Internet offers an ‘Easy Care’ premium support plan for $5.99 per month. It’s just an extra level of care but if you can swing it we highly recommend it. HughesNet and Exede Internet offer customer support via chat, phone, email, and online FAQ and resources. Installation services are typically provided through third-party installers but you can still reach out to the main provider for questions and support.
Get the Best Deal
Special offers may be available for first-time customers, buying bundled services like phone and the internet, or providing new referrals. HughesNet and Exede Internet offer discounts and special deals regularly so please ask your representative on the phone if there are any specials.
Satellite Internet Technology is Improving
Satellite technology is sensible for worldwide coverage and speeds are consistently improving year after year. OneWeb and SpaceX are working on producing satellites for the very first time. On their website, they will be building and launching upwards of 900 satellites into low-Earth orbit to provide affordable global access to the internet. These new satellites could achieve internet speeds of 100 Mbps.
We’ve recommended HughesNet. If you’re informed and prepared, you’ll likely be satisfied with your satellite internet.
HughesNet the best as they have made significant strides over the past year to become the best internet satellite provider. Their move to include the same speeds and bonus features across all their Data Plans was brilliant. In most cases, the 20GB plan should be sufficient but if you have a large family you might want to go bigger.
- Faster than Exede Internet
- Good for Rural Areas
- Pricing is Clear and Affordable
- No Hard Data Limits
- Bonus Zone
- Wi-Fi Modem
- Free Standard Installation and Easy Setup