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VSAT for Internet connectivity

How can VSAT be used for Internet connectivity? How efficient is it compared to other means of Internet connection?
Hmmm...I can see why you'd be at sea with this question, since VSAT -- which stands for Very Small Aperture Terminals -- is satellite-based wireless communications technology that is designed for use by people who are located in remote locations, or perhaps somewhere in the middle of the ocean where there isn't a cell tower or wireless access point for miles. VSAT technology is, in fact, used quite extensively by extreme field service workers, such as utility people locate don distant oil rigs, or service SWAT teams somewhere in the middle of the desert. These systems are also used by the military, to provide limited communications to tactical forces. They are also used by some banks to zap information around the globe.

It is an effective remote communications and connectivity alternative, but obviously not for the vast majority of Internet cruisers since it is expensive and can be comparatively slow as compared with cable and DSL connections. A far less expensive alternative would be cellular-based connections, since you wouldn't have to deal with the specialized routers, necessary signal accelerators and amplifier, and the expensive satellite link time. Then again, if Tom Hanks had access to such a system when he was stranded on that island with an unopened FedEx package and Wilson the basketball, it world have made for a very quick rescue and short movie.

This was last published in August 2003

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