Is satellite internet the answer to an unreliable power grid?

Is satellite internet the answer to an unreliable power grid?

Spread the love

With the world’s aging electrical infrastructure and power outages becoming more common, there’s a good chance your internet connection will go down in the event of a power outage. Satellite internet services could be the answer to staying connected in these dark times.

Satellite internet has never been great

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

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

The next-gen satellite could be different

A Starlink internet satellite dish installed on a solar powered house surrounded by snow.
Mike Mareen/

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

Starlink uses satellites about 340 miles above Earth, and rather than a single satellite, it uses a constellation of thousands that can all talk to each other. This means (in theory) you can have bandwidth and latency similar to a terrestrial broadband connection, and setup and subscription costs are also comparable.

As of this writing, Starlink is the only such service and is still being rolled out. However, if it performs as well as the company promised, we could see more competitors entering this market.

It’s easy to power satellite internet

Whether you use wired broadband or wireless cellular data, all terrestrial internet connections have a similar problem with power cuts. Even if you have backup power to sustain your endpoint, your service provider’s hardware will eventually run out of power if outages are long enough and frequent enough.

Whether it’s traditional satellite internet or a next-generation solution like Starlink, the effects of power outages are nearly eliminated. The satellite will take care of itself and all you have to worry about is powering your equipment.

The ground station involved is less likely to be in an area 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 power outages are likely to become more frequent or are already happening enough to be a problem, having a backup internet connection without power dependency could be very useful to you.

Depending on your budget, it might be a good idea to buy Starlink (or similar) satellite hardware with the option to turn it on if the worst should happen. Or, if a service like Starlink turned out to be good enough, you could ignore all those terrestrial concerns altogether and use the technology as your primary internet connection.

RELATED: How to Maintain Your Internet Connection During Outages

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.