Thankfully, Internet technology has come a long way since the dark ages of dial-up.
Today there are several ways you can connect to the Internet, but choosing which one suits your needs and your budget best can be tricky.
We’ve matched two popular broadband Internet connection options, cable and satellite, head to head to educate you about the pros and cons of each and help you decide which is best for your small business needs. Read on to see which one fits your needs and let us know which one you prefer.
How Cable Internet and Satellite Internet Work
Cable Internet service is offered by your television cable provider. Most cable providers offer cable Internet service as a stand-alone option, or at a slightly discounted rate when bundled with a television cable package and phone service. Cable Internet requires a modem and professional installation by a technician because a cable will need to be wired to your house, or your current television cable will be spliced.
Satellite Internet service is offered through a satellite Internet provider. Like cable, satellite Internet requires professional installation and a modem. A land based Internet connection sends a signal to a satellite orbiting Earth, which then sends the signal to a satellite dish installed outside your home.
Round One: Reliability
Cable Internet is more reliable than satellite Internet because service is delivered through a physical wire rather than a signal. Of course, if your business in an area where your cable goes out or is interrupted often, you can expect your Internet service to be also.
All you need for satellite is a clear view of the Southern sky. The primary reason satellite Internet isn’t as reliable as cable Internet is due to the way it’s delivered (via signal rather than wire). Signals from satellites can be weakened or blocked by inclement weather and sun spots. Trees, mountains or other structures can also block your satellite from receiving a signal.
Round Two: Availability
Virtually anywhere cable television is available, cable Internet is offered. However, if your business doesn’t have access to cable television, you won’t have access to cable Internet either.
Satellite Internet is available almost everywhere. For those who live in rural areas that are not serviced by a cable provider, satellite Internet is the only option for high-speed connection.
Round Three: Speed
Cable Internet download speed generally ranges from 20 to 100 megabits per second Mbps, but some cable Internet providers are now offering download speeds of up to 107 Mbps. Upload speeds of 1.5 to 5 Mbps are typical. Latency (delays incurred during the processing data) of 100 milliseconds (ms) are common, but latency can range from 25 to 500 ms. With cable Internet, you share bandwidth speed with your neighbors, so download speed can slow significantly during high-traffic times. Cable Internet is a solid choice for heavy downloading, gaming and streaming video.
Satellite Internet is considerably slower than cable and has greater latency time. Typically, satellite Internet offers download speeds of 1 to 15 Mbps and upload speeds of 1 to 2 Mbps. Like cable Internet, latency varies, but is often in the range of 1,000 to 2,000 ms. For those just surfing the web, the slower speed of satellite Internet won’t cause too much of a problem, but for those who want to upload/download large files, it can be difficult or impossible to do so.
Round Four: Price
The cost of Cable Internet depends on a variety of factors. If you also have cable television in your office with the provider you’re considering for Internet, or if you choose to bundle television, Internet and phone services, the cost of Internet service is slightly reduced. In any case, you’ll pay approximately $25 to $100 per month for Cable Internet depending on speed and provider (you’ll pay less for slower speeds and more for faster speeds). You may also be charged a one-time installation fee.
Satellite Internet is generally more expensive than cable Internet. Plans range from about $50.00 per month to well over $100 per month, plus you’ll have to purchase or lease a satellite dish. Like cable Internet, you pay more for faster speeds and may have to pay an installation fee.
If you want to learn more about Internet services and providers for your business, check out the BusinessBee BuzzGrid comparison tool.