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Internet via satellite: real alternative to DSL and LTE?

Access to a satellite is possible almost anywhere - you know it from GPS tracking or from satellite TV. This means that the satellite Internet is often the only alternative, especially for remote regions in which cable-based network expansion is not worthwhile and cell phone reception is holey. However, there are no unthrottled accesses. Nevertheless, many users should be able to cope well with the much higher amounts of data compared to most mobile phone tariffs. However, for optimal use it is important to have a clear view of the satellite in earth orbit. If, for example, a mountain peak, tall trees or towers cross the reception line, reception may be disturbed. The same applies to unsettled weather conditions.

Hardware: This is what you need for satellite internet

For this form of Internet access you need a satellite dish, which the provider supplies. It is not possible to use an existing TV dish for satellite internet - but it works the other way around: you can also use the dish for internet with an extension set for watching TV. The satellite provider also supplies a satellite modem, no additional hardware is required.

Tip: Aligning the satellite dish and making the initial connection should be done by a specialist. If the antenna is not set up or aligned correctly, reception will suffer and, of course, the bandwidth as well.

A cable or DSL connection is not available? Then LTE can be the salvation, right? COMPUTER BILD and the Verivox tariff experts explain.

LTE instead of DSL: Smart alternative or a flop? Well-known providers who have been offering satellite Internet for many years include skyDSL and StarDSL (both via the Eutelsat satellite) or Filiago (via the Astra satellite). It is not possible to order online from Astra or Eutelsat yourself. In addition to the resellers mentioned, there are a few more available in Germany who offer satellite Internet under their own name.

Cost: Satellite internet isn't exactly cheap

You should estimate a one-off cost of between 300 and 500 euros for the hardware. You can partially rent the hardware, then the monthly tariff costs increase by around 10 euros. Overall, the fixed costs are significantly higher than with DSL or cable. Small tariffs with 20 gigabytes of data volume per month cost around 30 euros without a hardware flat-rate, a flat rate (with fair use policy) costs around 60 to 70 euros.

»Only 9 euros: These are the cheapest DSL tariffs in Germany

Even in the high-priced tariffs, the bandwidths are barely more than 50 megabits per second (Mbit / s) in the download and 6 Mbit / s in the upload. These are maximum values ​​that can only be achieved under favorable conditions. For comparison: three-digit bandwidths have long been possible via VDSL or cable, fiber optics even reach up to 1,000 Mbit / s. Unlimited internet flat rates via cable and DSL, including landline telephone flat rates, are available for around 20 euros.

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Target group: satellite internet difficult for intensive users

The small amount of data can be a problem for frequent users. Streaming entire series, playing complex online games or regularly downloading large amounts of data is hardly possible. Even in the so-called unlimited tariffs, fair use rules and throttling apply (usually from 100 gigabytes of consumption per month, rarely only from 150 gigabytes). In any case, the high latency of around 700 milliseconds would spoil gaming fun for gamers in particular. This puts you at a loss on the virtual battlefields of the Internet.

Incidentally, night owls benefit in some tariffs from the fact that providers do not count the data consumption in the early morning hours against the volume used.

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Telephoning: Satellite Internet makes it possible

Similar to Internet-based DSL or cable telephony, it is also possible to make calls using Voice over IP (VoIP) with satellite Internet. If you connect the VoIP-capable router to the satellite modem, you can use normal telephones. With the modern, return-channel-capable satellite tariffs, you don't need a conventional telephone line. For a telephone flat rate you have to reckon with a monthly surcharge of around 10 euros.

Conclusion: more of an emergency solution than a real alternative

Because of the high costs, satellite Internet is probably only an option if there is no suitable alternative via DSL, cable, fiber optics or LTE. Average users should be able to cope with the aforementioned volume restrictions, whereas intensive users should not.

Even for infrequent users who usually only check e-mails and occasionally surf the web, satellite internet is not a sensible solution. This group of users would be served significantly more cheaply with a prepaid card via mobile communications. Only moderate cell phone reception would usually be sufficient. On the other hand, those who transmit medium-sized amounts of data more frequently, but do not stream them constantly, will find a passable alternative with satellite Internet due to the comparatively high bandwidths.