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Satellite Internet Vs. Fixed Wireless Internet: Know The Difference!

by | Oct 26, 2023 | 5G Internet | 0 comments

Do you belong to a rural area where finding a high-speed internet service like cable or fibre seems next to impossible? 

If that hurts, what is even more surprising is the fact that only 45.6% of rural Canadians have access to the internet. That is all because of less population and infrastructure to use fibre cables in rural areas. 

But, does that mean rural communities cannot access the information that is so readily available to urban or suburban areas? Absolutely not. 

With the advent of technologies, you can rely on alternatives like satellite internet or fixed wireless internet. And to learn more about their individual strengths and differences, keep reading this article till the end.

What are Satellite Internet Services?

As you may have guessed, Satellite internet services refers to the internet that we receive from satellites revolving around the earth. It is one of the most common wireless internet transfers between satellites in space  and at a user’s location. 

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How Satellite Internet Works?

A user requests for the internet from a satellite modem, which is then sent further to the satellite dish. For that matter, your internet service provider install a satellite dish in the same line of sight to the satellite in space to process the request easily. 

Once the space satellite receives the request, it sends the request back to earth’s ground station. Again, the groundstation retrieves the data and sends it back to the satellite. After that, your modem extracts all the data and  you get access to use the internet. 

What are Fixed Wireless Internet Services?

Fixed wireless internet is a lot like wireless internet service. You get the same internet speed as any other internet service, even more efficiently. The only difference between wireless internet service and fixed wireless internet is the connected towers. 

While fixed wireless internet relies on a fixed tower to receive signals, there are mobile towers which send internet signals in the case of wireless internet service. 

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How Does Fixed Wireless Internet work?

A signal originating from a nearby cell tower within 10 miles travels to the antennas installed on your homes or offices. After leaving the antenna and travelling through the cable to the modem, your device gets connected to the internet using WiFi or Ethernet.

Now that you are familiar with the individual terms of both the rural wireless connections, let’s move ahead and find their differences. 

Satellite Internet Service Vs Fixed wireless Internet Services

  • Latency: 

The term latency is the total time spent in signal delays in getting information available to users. 

With satellite internet service , signals have to travel large distances, approximately 22,000 miles, which affects users’ time who need substantial information in urgent situations. 

Whereas, Fixed wireless offers minimal latency. The signal travels between the receiver and the nearest tower, which are often fewer than 10 miles apart. Reduced distance results in low latency, ensuring a swift and responsive connection.

  • Availability:

Satellite internet is common in rural areas and is available for use in multiple ways. 

Whereas, fixed wireless internet service needs only those homes or buildings that are located within the 10 mile tower distance. For that reason, the latter option could not be a good use for some major rural areas. 

  • Data Caps: 

Many satellite service providers impose data caps, penalising excessive usage with reduced speeds or coverage charges. This is less suitable for businesses requiring a stable connection. 

Whereas, Fixed wireless providers are the fastest internet providers often offer high data caps (100GB or more) or have no data caps at all, unlike some traditional cellular services. Additionally, the technology delivers high download speeds when compared to other broadband services.

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  • Weather Resilience: 

Satellite internet is a time-consuming process. And when it rains or snows, the satellite may find it difficult to receive or send signals. Even if it does, you may have to sweat a lot in receiving a reliable internet connection. 

Whereas, Fixed wireless is resilient to weather conditions. Base stations used for fixed wireless internet are typically within 10 miles of a customer’s location. The technology’s proximity and ground-based infrastructure mean that weather conditions, even storms miles away, do not disrupt the signal.

  • Considering Costs Factor: 

Satellite internet tends to be more expensive in terms of setup and monthly charges. Longer-term contracts are often required.

Whereas, Fixed wireless installation involves minimal time and cost. It is easier to set up the required equipment for fixed wireless internet than other broadband services, as it doesn’t require physical cables.

  • Installation Process: 

Orbiting satellites must be deployed, necessitating time, planning, and financial resources, typically passed on to the customer. Whereas, fixed wireless requires an easy installation where your service provider does all the efforts.

  • Reliable Bandwidth: 

The absence of data caps allows customers to maximize reliable bandwidth for activities like using VoIP phone systems, high-speed data transfers, streaming content, and utilizing internet-based applications without extra charges.

Satellite Internet Vs. Fixed wireless Internet: Which one is better?

Fixed wireless relies on radio signals to establish connections between fixed points like towers and subscriber antennas or dishes. It primarily operates in the 2.4GHz or 5GHz frequency bands, providing high speed unlimited internet plans over short to medium distances. In contrast, satellite internet operates by leveraging a constellation of satellites orbiting space to transmit data to and from a user’s satellite dish. While satellite internet offers broader coverage, it often comes with higher latency compared to fixed wireless.

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Fixed wireless networks generally have a limited coverage area and are often deployed in suburban or rural regions. The extent of coverage depends on the proximity to the base station or tower. On the other hand, satellite internet  boasts the capability to provide coverage virtually anywhere on Earth, as long as there is a clear line of sight to the satellite in orbit, making it an ideal solution for highly remote locations.

Fixed wireless typically offers lower latency, resulting in a more responsive connection, making it suitable for real-time applications like online gaming and video conferencing. Conversely, satellite internet experiences higher latency due to the extended data travel to and from space, leading to delays when loading web pages or conducting live online activities.

When it comes to speed and bandwidth, fixed wireless can provide high-speed internet with ample bandwidth, although the actual speed and capacity may vary based on specific technology and infrastructure. Satellite internet speeds have improved over the years but may still be slower than some fixed wireless options, especially during peak usage times when many users share the same satellite capacity.

Fixed wireless typically involves setting up an outdoor antenna or dish pointed towards the service provider’s tower, often featuring smaller and more manageable equipment. Satellite internet, on the other hand, necessitates the installation of a satellite dish that requires a clear line of sight to the satellite in the sky. These dishes are usually larger and may demand professional installation.

When it comes to weather conditions, it generally has minimal impact on fixed wireless connections, unless there are severe storms or interference. In contrast, satellite internet can be affected by weather, particularly heavy rain or snow, which may attenuate or disrupt the signal.

Fixed wireless pricing can vary but is often competitive with other broadband options. Costs may depend on location and service providers.Satellite internet, however, can sometimes be more expensive due to the costs associated with launching and maintaining satellites in space.


In conclusion, the fixed wireless services are ideal for real-time applications and online activities. On the other hand, satellite internet is a valuable option for remote areas, it does come with certain limitations, including weather-related interruptions and higher latency. 

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