Satellite Or Mobile Broadband- Alternatives For The Rural Home

Living outside of the city is beautiful and peaceful, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you want to be completely cut off. If you’re looking into getting a broadband connection then you might find that your options are limited. There are however, a couple of great options for getting rural homes online. In this article we’re telling you what these options are and the pros and cons of each.

Why You’re Limited

Traditionally, most homes in the UK get their Internet access through either ADSL or cable services. If you home is not connected to the home land line network or the cable television network, then you’re not going to be able to take advantage of these kinds of connections. The two options remaining to you are satellite and mobile broadband, both of which can be excellent choices for rural locations.

Satellite Connections

A satellite broadband connection does pretty much what you’d expect. Satellites are used to beam Internet signals into your home and a satellite dish on your property picks up those signals to get you on line. The benefit of this is that satellite signals cover everywhere in the UK and anyone who chooses can get an Internet connection this way.

There are some down sides however. Installation can be difficult and you’ll certainly need professional help to install the dish and all the appropriate wiring, which can get expensive. Until fairly recently satellite broadband has been extremely expensive and speeds have been very slow, which has put many people off choosing a satellite connection.

Things are changing though. Satellite providers are now advertising speeds of up to 20 Mbps, which rival those of traditional ADSL and cable connections, and plans are getting cheaper all the time, though you still will pay a little more than if you could get an ADSL connection.

One down side of choosing satellite though is that it’s not especially reliable. Many people find that their signal isn’t stable and changes, depending on the location of the satellite as well as on the weather. This isn’t ideal, of course, but satellite could be your only option, depending on whether or not you get a mobile phone signal in your area.

Mobile Connections

The other alternative is to go for a mobile broadband connection. Again, this is only going to work for you if you have a decent mobile phone signal in your home, though the major UK networks do have well over ninety per cent coverage in the country these days, so there are few people who don’t have a signal.

Mobile Internet works in a very similar way to your mobile phone. You’ll need to go to an operator and sign a contract for mobile data and receive a SIM card that will give you access to that operator’s 3G network. Then there are a few methods that you can use to get yourself online using this SIM card.

Owners of tablets will probably find that there’s a SIM card slot on the tablet, so insert your card and you’re ready to go. You can also use a mobile dongle, which will hold the SIM card and then plug into your computer allowing you to get online. Finally, a Mi-Fi device will hold your SIM card and then produce a short range Wi-Fi signal that you can pick up on your computer to get online, this has the advantage of letting you use more than one computer on the same connection.

The down side of using a 3G mobile broadband plan is that speeds are going to be slower than with satellite, maxing out at about 7.2 Mbps. Mobile connections are going to be more reliable though, as long as you get a strong mobile signal that is. As for expense, that depends on how much you’re going to use the Internet, though in general a mobile plan will be cheaper than a satellite plan for most customers.

One added advantage of using a mobile broadband service is that you do have a pay as you go option, just like with your phone, so you don’t need to tie yourself into a contract and you will only pay for data that you use, which can be of benefit to those on a budget.

Which One is for You?

If you don’t get a mobile phone signal in your area, then the choice is clear; you’ll need to go with satellite. If both services are a possibility to you then the best thing to do is to research plans and providers in your area, to find out which is going to give you the best deal. This is extremely easy, just head to a site like uSwitch.com to compare who gives you service and what their prices are.

Generally, most people would prefer a mobile broadband connection over a satellite one, since installation won’t be an issue and it will probably be a more dependable service. If speed is a problem for you though, the most modern satellite broadband services are going to give you faster speeds, though depending on the weather you might not always get those speeds.

A Word about Data Limits

One of the disadvantages that both these systems share is that you’re going to be held to a data limit. There is no unlimited data option for mobile broadband, nor is there for satellite connections. You will have a certain amount of data to use per month, and once that limit is reached you’ll either need to stop using your connection or pay expensive charges to get extra data.

If you’re a fan of streaming or downloading video or television then this data limit might be a problem for you. Unfortunately, other than paying a lot more money, there’s little that you can do. Satellite plans tend to have larger download limits than mobile plans, but with mobile plans the added pay as you go option makes the prices of extra data lower, so it’s a bit of a trade-off. The choice is up to you, but do keep an eye on that data limit restriction when choosing plans.

Phil Turner was confused about which mobile Internet option would be best suited to his needs so he visited uSwitch.com for suggestions.

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