What would any of us do without the Internet? You wouldn’t be reading this right now if not for the Internet. There wouldn’t be any cat videos, or Youtube to watch them on. Our interconnected world wouldn’t be so interconnected. Yes, we love our Internet...but how does it work? There are many different types of Internet, so let’s look at satellite as an example.
1. Communication satellites are vital.
Satellite Internet wouldn’t work without...satellites. And satellites wouldn’t be possible without our understanding of the physics of large bodies in motion. See what science can get you? Communication satellites bounce signals around and give us the capability to communicate with the other side of the planet.
2. It’s like a game of telephone, but for your computer.
Here’s the basic process of satellite Internet: your computer sends a signal to your house’s satellite dish, which sends the signal to an orbiting satellite, which sends the signal to your Internet provider back down on the ground. To receive a signal back, it goes the opposite way: provider, satellite, dish, computer.
3. The delay means latency is prevalent.
As you can imagine, the signal hop from your computer to your provider and back isn’t instantaneous. It’s fairly quick, but there is of course latency, which is the time it takes for the data to go from one place to another. This makes satellite slower than other Internet forms, but in rural areas that have fewer options, it’s one of the best choices. Communications satellites stay in geostationary orbit (a fixed location relative to the surface of the Earth), so there’s always one available to bounce the signal.