Do you know where your Internet service comes from? That’s an easy one: It comes from us! But how we deliver it to your home or work is the tricky part.

Xplornet has two different types of platforms:

  • Fixed wireless technology allows us to place a tower nearby and, with the Xplornet antenna on the side of your house, link you up with the tower to access the Internet.
  • Satellite technology uses a satellite orbiting Earth. The difference is that, instead of communicating with a nearby tower, the dish on your roof communicates with the satellite in space.

Both of these platforms provide high-speed Internet, which allows you to do things like watch streaming video, download faster, and have multiple people in your household online at the same time.

While both platforms can deliver the speed you need to do what you want online, there’s one key difference between the two platforms. Whereas a fixed wireless tower is on the ground and in a nearby area, satellite technology provides 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 latency.

The term latency refers to a number of different kinds of delays that can happen when accessing a service or application with the Internet. A low latency network connection is one that generally experiences small delay times, while a high latency connection generally suffers from long delays.

Latency doesn’t affect all types of Internet activities but it can cause issues with some applications that rely on real-time access. For the most part, this means that activities that require fast reactions will take about three quarters of a second longer on a Satellite network. Some applications or activities that could be affected:

  • Online gaming, especially MMO (massively multiplayer online) or shooter games
  • VPN services, often used by teleworkers
  • Real-time stock or auction trading

In general, if you’re looking to access services or games like this, the latency of satellite technology would likely make them unusable. Fixed wireless, with its lower latency, is still an option.

Don’t forget: Satellite latency doesn’t affect regular Internet browsing, using email, transferring large files, and watching streaming video and music! Only fast reaction and real-time activities are a concern with satellite technology latency.

What you’ll find here

The difference between fixed wireless and satellite Internet, and how latency can impact real-time applications.