LTE fixed wireless and satellite Internet—what’s the difference?

The Internet is a big part of our lives today. It’s how we connect to loved ones, to work, to education, and beyond. We believe it should be accessible everywhere. That’s why at Xplornet we use two different technologies to overcome the challenges of Canada’s vast geography and its various climates; it’s the combination of our powerful LTE fixed wireless network and our constellation of next-generation satellites that allows us to bring Internet to more rural Canadians. Let’s take a look at how these platforms work:

LTE Fixed Wireless Internet

Xplornet’s LTE fixed wireless network consists of thousands of wireless towers built across the country, and that number keeps growing! Fixed wireless technology allows us to place a tower in an area nearby and, with the Xplornet antenna on the side of your house, link your home up with the nearest tower to access the Internet. Through that connection, the tower then distributes fixed wireless Internet to your home with speeds of up to 25 Mbps. By installing an Internet router inside your house, you’ll even be able to access the Internet via WiFi and through multiple devices at the same time to enjoy movie streaming, video chatting, online gaming, surfing, and downloading from anywhere in your home.

Next-Generation Satellite Internet

While LTE Fixed Wireless connects you through Internet sources on the ground, our constellation of next-generation satellites uses satellites orbiting Earth. The main difference is that instead of communicating with a nearby tower, the dish on your roof communicates with a satellite floating in space. Satellite technologies allow us to connect almost everyone to our network, even in the most remote areas. Just like any other technology, satellite Internet has evolved. Our next-generation satellites are light-years ahead of their predecessors, offering speeds up to 25Mbps*. And with the latest addition of two new satellites to our outer-space network since March 2017, this means more rural Canadians can now get Xplornet Internet service to stream their favourite shows, endlessly surf the web, or download music.

While both platforms can deliver the speed you need to do what you want online, there’s one key difference between the two platforms: while a fixed wireless tower is on the ground and can connect houses within a certain radius, satellite technology provides broad coverage in remote areas using equipment in orbit—very, very far away. It’s so far away that the speed of light starts to matter. We call this satellite latency. To understand how latency affects your Internet activities, give this Xplornet Support article a read.

Which Type of Internet is Best For You?

Deciding whether satellite or LTE is best for your household’s needs depends on a variety of factors. From your main online activities to your geographical location. Get in touch with an Xplornet customer service representative—at  877-561-9373 from anywhere in Canada—and we’ll help you determine what’s best for you based on your needs and location. We’ll then connect you to a local dealer who will professionally install your Internet—no new equipment purchase required—and provide you with ongoing support. It’s that easy!


*In select areas.