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A Beginner’s Guide to Satellite Internet Terminology

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Before deciding which Internet service provider is right for you, it’s important to understand the terms used to describe satellite Internet. In this blog post, we’ll break down some of the terminology you might come across in your research.


Let’s begin by taking a closer look at terms related to the hardware used for your satellite Internet connection.


  • A modem acts as a translator between two devices in order to connect phones, computers, and satellites to one another. In other words, a modem takes the data you send out into the web, translates it, receives a response, and decodes the response into readable data that appears on your screen.


  • A router helps guide the data sent from a device to a modem. Often, an Internet service provider will provide a box that serves as both a modem and a router. It is important to have both in order to connect all of your devices to the Internet.

Satellite Dish

  • A satellite dish is plate-shaped with an antenna that sends and receives signals to and from the satellite. To learn more about how satellite dishes connect with satellites, take a look at our blog post.

Wi-Fi Access Point

  • This can be a separate device or built-in to the modem and/or router to broadcast the Internet signal throughout the home.

Measurement & Speed:

Now that you have a better understanding of the hardware that power satellite Internet, here are some other important terms to help you better understand satellite Internet.


  • In technology, there are specific ways to measure the rate at which data is transmitted. A common measurement is megabits per second, or Mbps. 1 Mbps  is equal to one million bits. To learn more, take a look at our key terms for high speed here.


  • Another important unit of measure for digital information is a gigabyte, or GB. A gigabyte is a measurement for storage in a device. An Internet service plan that offers a large amount of GB can be helpful for downloading videos, downloading large files, hosting conference videos, and much more.


  • Broadband is a term used to describe the transmission of data across long distances at high speeds. The many advantages to broadband, such as its speed and availability, make it increasingly important to consumers. The current definition of broadband according to the FCC is 25 Mpbs down and 3 Mbps up, which is what HughesNet offers, coast to coast across the U.S.

Now that you understand these important satellite industry terms, you’ll be able to make a well-educated decision about which Internet connection best suits your needs.


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