There are various internet connection options available but do we know the differences between them and their roles? Your internet speed, performance, and reliability are determined by the type of internet connection, and these options vary by region. Satellite internet is a reliable internet for the rural population, while hotspots are a great option for people who require portability. Both internet connections have their advantages and drawbacks, but satellite internet is still a popular choice because of its extensive coverage and availability.
If you are still confused between these options, then this blog will highlight the major differences between them to help you make your decision.
Satellite internet is sometimes the only available option for people living in rural areas. As it doesn’t rely on any physical infrastructure, it is available nationwide. You can get this internet connection anywhere you want whether you are living in a cabin or traveling on a boat. Although its speeds are slower than most wired internet connections they are still sufficient for daily internet activities.
- Wide coverage
- Respectable speeds
- High latency
- Data caps
- Vulnerable to bad weather
Hotspots are another internet option available wherever you have good cell coverage. You can either use your current cell service to create a hotspot or pay for a hotspot device. Hotspots also come with data restrictions, and you have to pay for extra data after you exceed your set limit. This type of connection is suitable for short-term use only.
- Ease of use
- Data caps
- Slow internet speed
Satellite Internet vs Mobile Hotspots
Depending on the provider and the plan, satellite internet provides a range of speeds from 25 Mbps to 100 Mbps. Its upload speeds are lower, 3Mbps, but the download speeds are sufficient for daily activities like streaming, homework assignments, social media, and more.
One major drawback of satellite internet speeds is latency since the signal has to be transmitted to and fro from the satellite in space. Depending on your internet activities, latency can either be unnoticeable or extremely frustrating.
Hotspot speeds are dependent on the provider and the service in your area. You can’t upgrade to a higher-speed plan with hotspots compared to other services. Some providers offer fast hotspot speeds; For example, AT&T’s hotspot speeds hover around 35 Mbps, which is better than many satellite internet plans.
Satellite internet service is expensive compared to other services and it is one of its biggest weaknesses. You pay more for any of its plans compared to DSL, cable, or even fiber internet. For example, a cable package of 25 Mbps costs about $25 to $45 per month, but with satellite internet, you pay around $50 to $150 for the same plan. The difference is huge but this is what you have to pay for nationwide availability.
Like satellite internet connection, hotspot plans are also expensive and are dependent on data caps rather than speeds. Depending on the provider and the data, hotspots can cost you $40 to $100 a month. It is unsuitable for heavy internet activities as they tend to eat away the data, forcing you to pay an overage fee to continue using it.
You can also create a hotspot using your phone plan as the data limits are different of your phone plan compared to hotspots, but you’ll need to consult your provider first.
Internet Service Providers
Currently, satellite internet is provided nationwide by HughesNet and Viasat only while Starlink’s availability is limited. Although the options are limited they make up with their availability. HughesNet provides a consistent speed of 25 Mbps for $64.99 to $159.99 a month depending on the plan and Viasat provides a range of speeds from 12 Mbps to 100 Mbps for $30 to $150 per month. Meanwhile, Starlink with its latest technology offers 100 Mbps to 200 Mbps speed for $99 a month.
Several providers like AT&T, Spectrum, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Visible offer hotspot connectivity. AT&T, for example, offers hotspots connections for $55 a month with 100 GB of data. Mobile hotspots’ availability depends on the providers and the coverage in that region. For instance, Spectrum WiFi Hotspots are available across all cosmopolitan cities of the USA.
There is no fixed answer to the best internet connection, it all depends on your requirements and the internet service providers available at your location. If you live in a remote location, then satellite internet might be the only option for you, but if you live in an area with cellular service, then hotspots can be your other option depending on your internet usage requirements.