Satellite internet works 100 miles off shore. Why doesn’t it work even further?

Satellite Internet. Also called “VSAT,” it’s the hot marine upgrade this year. New systems and new equipment make it easier than ever before to get real high-speed internet on practically any size boat. Smaller boats have always been able to have cell service by staying close to shore. But for those boats that choose to operate in international waters, satellite-based internet is the way to go.

A hundred miles

We generally say that satellite-based internet works a hundred miles off shore, give or take. It’s not like there’s this boundary where the internet service just sort of drops off. It’s more of a fuzzy line where you will start to lose service when it rains, or have slow service out toward the fringes.

But why should service have to drop at all? After all this is satellite-based internet and satellites can cover up to a third of the planet at any given time. (Why a third? It’s all about the geometry of spheres, and that’s too heavy for this article. Just take my word for it.)

What you have to understand here is how economics plays a part in technology. That’s heavy too, but it’s important enough to try to make sense of it.

Satellites are expensive.

I mean, really expensive. It takes millions and millions of dollars to launch and operate them. It takes years to get the approvals you need to launch one, and then you have to actually do it successfully. When you look at it this way, launching a satellite to do nothing but provide satellite internet for boats probably wouldn’t pencil out. It would cost you $50,000 a month for internet, and you wouldn’t pay it.

So, the companies that provide the service, like Signal Connect, rent space on other communications satellites. This keeps costs down for everyone and it really does make sense. In the case of our satellite internet product, which we call VSAT, we’re on a satellite that mostly provides communications to the continental United States. It is the best choice for price and performance.

What that means is the satellite is designed to focus most of its power on land. The satellite’s beam reaches out about 100 miles off shore, and we think that’s enough to serve almost all of our needs. By choosing this satellite, we can provide service to our marine community at a fair price. There are other solutions for people who really want to have internet while even further off shore. They just tend to be a lot more expensive, and most folks don’t need it.

Do you want internet on your boat?

Of course you do. Everyone does. If you’re looking for a high-speed solution that doesn’t break the bank, check out VSAT from Signal Connect. It’s a high-speed, satellite internet solution with plans that work for you. Best of all, it’s available now! Call Signal Connect at 888-233-7563 and we’ll start you on the road to always-on, always-fast internet! You can find out more by calling us during East Coast business hours.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.