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How Does Viasat Work?

Viasat is a satellite internet service provider. In other words, Viasat uses satellites in space to deliver high-speed internet service to its customers via satellite beams. The process requires a modem and a dish at each satellite internet customer’s location. When the satellite dish is installed at a customer's home by a team of professional technicians, it is positioned toward a geosynchronous satellite that Viasat has launched into earth’s atmosphere. It is because of the stationary main satellite in the atmosphere that almost anybody in the country can connect to the internet with Viasat. Most internet companies require that telephone or cable poles be in close proximity to those that they service. Satellites, on the other hand, can connect to millions of homes as long as they have a clear view of the southern sky.

Does Viasat Work the Same as Cable Internet or DSL Internet?

Viasat internet transmissions are completed using a satellite beam while cable, fiber and DSL internet use landlines.

Here's a basic breakdown of how Viasat satellite internet works:

If it seems like a Viasat satellite internet request does a lot of traveling, it does. Viasat has a network of satellites— Via-Sat 1, ViaSat-2, Wildbllue-1 and Anik F2—that orbit the earth. ViaSat-2, the newest satellite, is about 22,000 miles from earth, and each byte of data has to make the round trip with a side trip to the Viasat gateway station. Think 45,000 miles! Every time someone uses Viasat internet, requests follow the path detailed above again and again. The distance causes a very slight delay in response times, but this latency is seldom an issue for anyone but gamers, who cite ping issues with satellite internet.

I Want Fast Internet. How Does Viasat Work?

Viasat satellite internet is available at almost every location in the United States. In fact, the only physical requirement for satellite internet to operate at an address is a clear view of the southern sky that will allow satellite signals to travel unimpeded. Because no landlines are required, Viasat is a leader in delivering rural internet in areas that have been left behind by wired service providers, such as cable TV and internet.

While Viasat satellite internet is available virtually anywhere, not all Viasat internet plans are available everywhere. The plans available to your address are determined by which spot beams serve your location. With the launch of the ViaSat-2 satellite, plans with download speeds up to 100 Mbps were made available in parts of the United States, but these plans are not available everywhere. Areas not served by ViaSat-2 are served by one of the other Viasat satellites. In these areas, Viasat plans typically offer download speeds of 12 Mbps to 50 Mbps. In most locations, customers have options on their speeds and data caps. All plans offer VoIP phone and DIRECTV bundle options.

If I Want Unlimited Data, How Does Viasat Work?

Viasat only offers internet plans with unlimited data. While Viasat internet plans have data thresholds, customers are never left without internet access because they have reached their data cap. Instead, Viasat prioritizes their traffic behind that of customers who have not used all their data. While a customer’s deprioritized internet connection may result in significant lag time, internet access is still available—it’s just slower. However, this slowed internet speed only occurs in times of high traffic. During hours that most people are offline, customers who went over their data allowance can continue to browse the web at the same speed guaranteed in their internet plan. Additionally, Free Zones are available to Viasat customers regardless of their metered data usage. These zones are early morning hours in which you can download files and search the web without using any of the data in your plan. Finally, a truly unlimited, reliable internet plan that works for those living in rural areas.