Is Satellite Internet the Answer to an Unreliable Power Grid?

With aging power infrastructure worldwide and rolling blackouts becoming more common, there’s a real chance that your internet connection may go out when the power does. Satellite internet services could be the answer to staying connected in those dark times.

Satellite Internet Has Never Been Great

Putting all the cards on the table, satellite internet has never been anyone’s first choice regarding internet connectivity. In general, these services have offered a small amount of bandwidth and a large amount of latency. It’s usually a last-resort option for connecting off-grid or extremely rural clients, especially since it’s historically expensive to install and operate.

The rise of fast cellular data services and long-range Wi-Fi transmission makes satellite internet even more niche, so it’s no wonder it’s not really on the average person’s radar.

Next-Generation Satellite Might Be Different

Traditional satellite internet is usually provided by a single satellite in geostationary orbit thousands of miles above the surface of the Earth. However, the low-orbit satellite system called Starlink is slowly being rolled out.

Related: What Is Starlink Internet, and Should You Use It?

Starlink uses satellites only about 340 miles above the Earth, and rather than a single satellite, it uses a constellation of thousands that can all speak to each other. This means (in theory) that you can have bandwidth and latency similar to a terrestrial broadband connection, and comes with comparable installation and subscription costs too.

At the time of writing, Starlink is the only service of its type and is still being rolled out. However, if it works as well as the company promised, we may see more competitors enter this market.

It’s Easy to Power Satellite Internet

Whether you’re using wired broadband or wireless cellular data, all terrestrial internet connections have a similar problem regarding blackouts. Even if you have backup power to keep your end of the connection going, your service provider’s hardware will eventually run out of juice if the blackouts are long and frequent enough.

Related: The Best Uninterruptible Power Supplies (UPS) of 2023

Whether it’s a traditional satellite internet or a new generation solution such as Starlink, the effects of power outages are almost eliminated. The satellite will take care of itself, and you only have to worry about keeping your equipment powered.

The ground station involved is less likely to be in an area that’s also affected by power outages at the same time. If we’re talking about a constellation solution like Starlink, the ground station could be on the other side of the world, and things should still work.

Using Satellite as a Backup Internet Connection

If you live in a part of the world where blackouts are likely to become more frequent or already happen enough to be a problem, having a backup internet connection free from power dependence could serve you well.

Depending on your budget, it could make sense to purchase Starlink (or similar) satellite hardware with the option to activate it if the worst were ever to happen. Or, should a service like Starlink prove good enough, you could skip all those earthly concerns entirely and use the technology as your primary internet connection.

Related: How to Keep Your Internet Connection Going During Blackouts

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