A Gamer's Guide: How Does Satellite Internet Work for Playing Video Games?

How does satellite internet work for playing video games? We've got your gamer's guide to tell you everything you need to know here!

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How Does Satellite Internet Work for Playing Video Games?


Did you know that 8.4 million households rely on satellite internet in the  US?  That's six percent of internet users today.  

How does satellite internet work?  

It relies on orbiting satellites to transmit internet signals. This system proves more expensive than traditional internet yet provides access to rural communities where other options aren't available.

While the most satellite-dependent ZIP codes cover plenty of territory, they don't house as many people as you'd think. There are about 2.22 million people or .07 percent of the population living in these areas.  

Why do four times that number have satellite internet?  Because many people opt for satellite even when other options exist. Part of this may be because satellite internet has recently gotten much faster.

Nonetheless, for players who prefer sports and shooting games, satellite internet still comes with many problems. Read on to learn more about satellite internet and video game functionality.

How Does Satellite Internet Work?

The concept behind satellite internet service is surprisingly simple. Your computer shoots a signal request through your modem out to your satellite dish. Then, your satellite dish transmits the signal on to a provider's orbiting satellite.

The satellite returns the signal to the provider, and the provider delivers that signal back to the satellite. From there, it travels to your dish, modem, and computer.  

Unless you have only one Ethernet connection, your home will also require a router to distribute the resulting Wi-Fi signal through your home.

How Does Satellite Internet Compare to Other Services?

There are two major satellite internet providers to know about: HughesNet and Viasat. They've come a long way in recent years. Nonetheless, satellite internet, by its very nature, will feel laggier.  There are a handful of reasons for this.  

Cable internet relies on shielded coaxial cables. Fiber uses shielded fiber-optic cables, and DSL relies on telephone lines. Learn more about broadband,  DSL, and  satellite internet performance pros and cons.  

These direct connections guard against packet loss (data that's supposed to be there but doesn't show up) and interference. They also result in faster speeds, which is essential for gamers who gravitate towards products like Call of Duty, which rely on lightning reflexes.

Satellite internet works well for browsing the web, checking your social media feeds, and catching up on your favorite Netflix shows. But if you're a gamer who wants to spend most of your time playing sports or in online shootouts, satellite internet may frustrate you.

The sheer distance that satellite signals have to travel increases the likelihood of interference. What's more, since the signal is less direct, satellite internet tends to have a higher latency.

What Is Latency?

Latency refers to the time it takes for data to transfer from one location to another. Cable, DSL, and fiber internet all have a direct line from the provider's hub to your house or street. As a result, they have less latency.

Satellite internet, however, must deal with interference because of its lack of a direct connection. The result? Increased latency.

It isn’t that surprising considering the vast trajectory satellite internet signals must cross. They travel upwards of 22,200 miles (36,000 kilometers) through the air to a satellite in a geostationary orbit. Then, they must rush back to your home.  

No matter how quickly this information transmits, you still must account for some travel time. The result? Lag.

Satellite Internet Providers and Latency

Today's satellite internet providers offer faster service than ever before. You can get download speeds ranging from 12 to 100 Mbps. In other words, you can purchase high-speed satellite internet.

That said, when you start downloading photos to Facebook or live-streaming via Twitch, you'll experience buffering issues and longer wait times. Why? Because satellite advertised speeds don't reflect latency.

In other words, even if your satellite speeds are equal to those of cable, fiber, or DSL on paper, don't expect the same performance and speed. Latency will get in the way.

The bottom line remains this. A coaxial cable internet service that offers 100 Mbps will "feel" faster than satellite technology claiming the same 100 Mbps rate because of signal travel time.  

Not sure what your internet speeds currently rank? Check out 2020's best internet speed test sites.  

Dreaded Data Caps

That's not the only reason that satellite internet feels slow, though. Unlike other forms of internet, satellite internet doesn't usually come with unlimited data.  

Instead, you'll have to deal with pesky data caps. A data cap means that once you meet a specific data limit, your speeds will get throttled. Or, you'll get charged an overage fee.

Although your internet service provider won't cut off your internet connection entirely, when you get throttled, you'll notice. Why? Because this data capping makes your internet a whole lot slower and far less usable.  

Data caps and throttling are huge annoyances for gamers. No matter how advanced your skills or tactical knowledge as a player, data caps always win in the end.

That said, when you avoid data caps, not all games run poorly on satellite internet or VSAT. Let's take a closer look at different genres and what you can expect from online play.

Satellite Internet and Video Games

Although we've mentioned the unsatisfactory experiences that some gamers have while using satellite internet, that doesn't mean that all video games are unsuitable for VSAT. It depends on the type of game you're playing and its technical requirements.

If your location falls within your satellite provider's footprint, you should achieve speeds of ten to 20 Mbps. That's more than enough for most video games, whether you play on a tablet, PC, phone, or console.  

That said, the problem of latency remains. In general, travel time to and from a geostationary satellite runs between 500 and 800 milliseconds. This rate will fluctuate based on where you fall under a satellite's footprint.  

While a few hundred milliseconds probably doesn't sound like a lot to you, it can make the difference between life and death when it comes to games where split-second decisions count. Again, the Call of Duty series comes to mind.  

Even a half a second lag time can lead to a game death before you know what's happened.  

A term you'll see in the gamer community is "ping." It refers to latency plus the reaction time to recognize and respond to another server/computer within the game. In online video games, ping can make a player's character look like they're "teleporting" around the map.

It can be misconstrued as cheating and even result in getting kicked off the server.  

Video Games Suitable for Viasat and Hughesnet

Which games prove suitable for use with satellite internet? They include genres such as role-playing games (RPG) and strategy games.

Most role-playing games do not rely on split-second decisions.  That's not to say that RPGs don't come with plenty of intensity and action. So, you may notice some performance impacts due to latency.

You may also experience some delays in action from your fellow players. That said, these issues don't generally make the game unplayable. Role-playing games include Farmville and Second Life.  

As for strategy games? These include Empire Total War, Sid Meier's Civilization, and Civilization 5. You'll also find online versions of board games lumped into this category, such as Uno and Monopoly.

Since many of these games operate on a turn-base system, the latency associated with your satellite internet will be more or less unnoticeable. As a result, these may prove the least frustrating games to play when dealing with rural internet connections.

Games to Avoid on Viasat and Hughesnet

As for genres and brands to avoid while playing video games on satellite internet? Shooting games rank at the top. Many of them, like Battlefield, require latency of 100 milliseconds or less. That's because these games rely on rapid movements and split-second decisions.

When you combine these fast-paced games with the low latency of satellite internet, you end up looking like a sitting duck to your opponents. You simply can't react quickly enough because of signal travel time.

What's more, you'll likely notice that inputs from other players may appear once actions have already occurred. In other words, you'll get registered as dead before you even have the chance to retaliate. It doesn't get much more frustrating than that.

You'll also notice significant issues with latency when it comes to sports games. Again, this is because of their format and reliance on split-second reflexes and decision-making.  

What to Know About Sports Games on Viasat and Hughesnet

What do we mean by sports games? They include video games like FIFA 2016.  

Fortunately, when it comes to playing games on satellite internet, there are a few racing games that prove suitable. Games that don't require direct competition, such as Colin McRae Dirt,  play well over a satellite connection.  

Why? Because they don't require head-to-heads but rely on time trials instead. Your computer handles the maps/physics of such games without the necessity of involving the server.

With these games, the only data sent to the server is your player data and the time you achieved.

The Future of Satellite Internet Video Games

If all of this has you feeling a little frustrated, you're not alone. Fortunately, there is a light at the end of the tunnel when it comes to solving satellite internet latency issues: low-Earth orbit satellites.

Low-Earth orbit satellites (LEOs) are still in their infancy. This technology, however, will revolutionize the internet provider world.  

How does it work? Low-Earth orbit satellites fly anywhere between 99 miles (160 kilometers) and 1,242 miles (2,000 kilometers) from the surface of the Earth. Because of their low-flying orbit, they drastically reduce latency.

When low-Earth orbit satellites do hit the market, the differences between VSAT service and terrestrial internet will finally prove negligible.  

Which companies are currently working on this technology? For starters, O3b has created low-Earth orbit and medium-Earth orbit satellites for internet access in emerging markets.

That said, you'll also find the likes of Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk, and Richard Branson involved in the LEO race. Here's a fascinating technical comparison of three LEO satellite constellation systems.  

At the moment, the cost of the equipment remains prohibitive, but the price per megabyte proves much lower. Startup costs also number in the billions of dollars.  

What does latency with LEOs look like? For O3b's satellites, they report a lag time of 150 milliseconds. That's four to six times faster than what we're currently getting from geostationary satellites! Talk about a step in the right direction.

Video Games on Satellite Internet

That said, only those living within the +45/-45 degrees range of the equator have access to LEOs. Look for this technology to revolutionize satellite internet in the coming years, though.

Of course, if you're running into the data cap on your internet service, then you'll likely find all internet-based video games frustrating. You'll also hate live-streaming television and browsing the internet. After all, data capping puts the brakes on your service.  

While we can look forward to a day when low-Earth orbiting satellites will revolutionize internet service to rural areas, most people on this planet don't yet have access to such technology.  

When that day comes, though, it'll be an exciting time for gamers in rural areas. Until then, you'll have to suck it up and stick with games that don't rely on uber-speedy reaction times and split-second decision-making.  

What to Do While Waiting for LEOs

In this article, we've answered the question, "How does satellite internet work?" We've also taken a look at some of the video game genres to embrace and avoid if satellite internet latency has got you down.

In the meantime, stick with your online games of Uno, Monopoly, and Farmville. Or, if you're among the lucky percentage of the American population that has access to options other than VSAT, it may be time to trade in your current connection for something more direct.  

Ready to discuss your options when it comes to internet service? Contact us for a full rundown of providers and options in your area.

 


High Speed Internet Providers News, Insights and Tidbits

Keeping you up to date with High Speed Broadband Internet Providers updates news and information.

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February 10, 2020

02/10/2020

Hey there Internet Explorers!  Here are some quick hits about what is going on in the world of broadband internet, satellite internet and internet service providers.

 

·      The Broadband Space Race is on:  

o   Last Thursday, February 6, 2020, a rocket was sent into space with the intent of changing up the landscape of what internet providers can offer from a speed and availability standpoint.  No its not AT&T, Comcast (Xfinity), Spectrum or some other big cable company trying to dominate the airwaves.  Instead, the rocket was equipped with several of hundreds of satellites to be deployed by OneWeb Satellite and SpaceX.  The goal of this and future launches is to cast a web of hundreds of satellites circling the globe aimed at giving high speed 5G internet access to each and every person on the planet.  Believe it or not, there are still rural parts of the United States that have very little access to high speed internet.  These folks have had to resort to satellite internet providers like HughesNet and Viasat to be able to provide them internet access.  Not to be outdone, HughesNet and Viasat are planning to harness the power of their existing network as well as new innovations to ensure they stay on top of the satellite internet game.  More on that to come in the near future…

·      Not as many people have Access to High Speed Internet as previously thought:

o   According to a PC Magazine article It looks like the FCC may have botched how it reported the number of Americans who have access to broadband high speed internet.  Believe it or not the article states over 42 million people don’t have internet fast enough to stream their favorite shows on Netflix. 

·      Rural Digital Opportunity Fund: 

o   Yaaay! Faster internet for all.  In January 2020, the FCC decided to allocate over 10 Billion in funding to help provide fast internet to the rest of the United States.   The Rural Digital Opportunity fund will create jobs, opportunity and most important of all the ability of all Americans to be able to binge watch their shows on Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.  

·      Down goes Spectrum:

o   Spectrum High Speed Internet television and phone service came to an abrupt halt over the weekend leaving many of their customers upset, frustrated and disconnected from the online world.  This affected areas of New York, Maine, New Hampshire, Massachusetts and various other cities and states on the North East Coast.  It seems as though bad weather was to blame.  I just hope those customers had their DVR’s filled or old DVD’s to help pass the time trapped in their homes.  

 


How to Reduce Lag in Fortnite

When playing a multiplayer online game, experiencing lag issues is inevitable. However, if the game is Fortnite Battle Royale, the lag can cost you a Victory Royale and your reputation in the online gaming community.

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When playing a multiplayer online game, experiencing lag issues is inevitable. However, if the game is Fortnite Battle Royale, the lag can cost you a Victory Royale and your reputation in the online gaming community. After all, the Fortnite community consists of 250 million players!

So, unless you want to upset a community that’s nearly 2/3rd the size of America’s population, follow our checklist to reduce your lag in Fortnite!

It’s Not You, It’s Me!

Although that’s a clichéd excuse used to break up with a crazy ex; it could be a valid concern when it comes to lag issues while playing Fortnite. The developers of the game have paid particular attention to their servers to prevent in-game lags so it’s possible that the lag issues you’re facing have to do with your hardware.

Fortnite is a heavy-duty game. Therefore, you must have hardware that can handle Fortnite without crashing. If you’re experiencing retarded FPS during the game, the most probable answer is your system isn’t built up to the game’s requirements.

Game’s System Requirements:

· CPU: Core i3 2.4 GHz

· Memory: min. 4 GB RAM

· OS: Mac OSX Sierra or Windows 7 and above

· Video Card: min. Intel HD 4000

Although the recommended specifications are much higher, if your processor doesn’t even support the bare minimum requirements, you should either get an upgrade or say goodnight to Fortnite!

Are Your Game Files Corrupted?

Another reason the game might display severe lag issues is that your game isn’t properly installed. To find out the truth, load the Epic Games Launcher tab and select the settings options beside the Launch icon. Then press on Verify. This will help you verify all your game files and find out if all the files were downloaded properly and weren’t corrupted during the process.

We’ll quote the IT Crowd here and ask you, “have you tried turning it off and on again?” to request you to consider uninstalling and then reinstalling your version of the game files. This will help you remove the damaged or corrupted files from the system and get rid of lag issues.

You Have a Need For Speed!

Sometimes, it’s neither you nor the other party. It’s the connection between the two that needs to be fixed. Since Fortnite is an online game, it requires you to be on the line! This needs a fast-paced internet connection. Therefore, if there’s ever a problem with your internet’s bandwidth, it will ultimately result in lag issues.

To eliminate that concern, call one of our customer service representatives to find out more about the ideal internet speed required for playing Fortnite without lag or interruptions. You can also visit our website to compare the best internet service providers in your area to get premium internet speed and at the best prices and become the last man standing!


How to Save Data When Gaming Online with Rise Broadband

Did you know that gaming might be the primary reason why your data runs out early every month? This is especially true if you’re a competitive gamer who downloads and plays the latest titles.

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Did you know that gaming might be the primary reason why your data runs out early every month? This is especially true if you’re a competitive gamer who downloads and plays the latest titles.

Therefore, it’s important to exercise caution and take the appropriate measures to ensure that you don’t end up exhausting your monthly internet package in just a week.

Let’s learn about how to save data while gaming online.

Stop downloading heavy games

Downloading new games eats up the biggest chunk of your monthly data limit. Most new titles have large file sizes, as they come packed with heavy graphical elements.

A single game can consume 50 to 100 GB of your monthly data. For instance, GTA V takes up around 66 GB.

You can either purchase games on a Blu-ray instead or ask your friends who have additional bandwidth to spare to download the game for you.

Turn off automatic updates

Game companies regularly release patches and downloadable content to fix bugs and improve the gaming experience in their games, which can consume a lot of data.

If you leave automatic updates turned on, you risk draining your monthly data cap very fast. So make sure that the automatic updates option is always turned off.

Schedule your downloadable content wisely

You can take a smart approach and schedule your downloadable content in a way that your monthly data is utilized effectively.

For instance, if you use your internet data cautiously, you might find yourself left with some data to spare, say 30 to 50 GB, at the end of the month.

You can use that data to download games or updates so you’re completely exhausting your data limit while saving on next month’s data.

Rise Broadband—data and gaming

If you’re using Rise Broadband, you’ll get a minimum of 150 GB of data in the 5Mbps economy plan, which might be sufficient for regular gaming. However, it completely depends on your gaming preferences.

For example, Counter-Strike: Global Offensive roughly consumes 250 MB of data per hour. So a four hour session will consume 1 GB of your monthly data plan.

However, if you play additional hours and also do live streaming, you might want to upgrade to a 10Mbps connection, as it offers 250 GB, along with a better connection speed, which is important—especially for FPS gamers.

Looking to explore other internet service provider available in your area? Visit KonectEaze. Our platform enables you to learn about the best internet deals near you. You simply need to enter your zip code and you’ll find several internet service providers in your locality to choose from. Need more information, call us at 888-376-0753 or visit our website.


Spectrum TV Stream Review of 2020

How does Spectrum TV match up to other streaming apps like DirecTV Now or Hulu Plus? How about other offerings CenturyLink, Xfinity, and other internet providers? Check out our Spectrum TV Stream review to find out!

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Updated: 09/01/2020 to include AT&T's new Streaming Service.

Spectrum TV VS AT&T TV, Spectrum Enters The Streaming Arena.

updated: September 1, 2020

There’s a good chance you didn’t know this, but Spectrum (aka Charter Communications) launched their TV streaming service called Spectrum TV Stream and Spectrum TV Choice for internet only and customer who have an internet and home phone bundle. 

More and more consumers are choosing to cut the cord. This is made easier with a growing number of meaningful alternatives to the cable on the market.

 

Spectrum TV Choice and Spectrum TV Live were tested on select customers in certain areas of the US back in 2018. While that looked encouraging, when the offer was rolled out, it was limited to customers with a Spectrum internet connection. The service remains that way in 2020 so it’s not open to everyone.

 

We’ve covered Spectrum’s internet plans in a previous post. You can expect download speeds to 1000 Mbps. Choose from internet only, double play (internet and TV) or triple play (internet, TV, and phone) packages. Most Spectrum reviews are favorable.

 

So, what makes the Spectrum streaming service stand out in a crowded field?   

What Makes Spectrum Streaming Service Different?

Since Spectrum TV Choice is essentially a closed service, it’s tough to dig up information. We’ve done the hard work for you, though.

 

The all-new Stream TV app is intuitive and easy to use even if you’re not the biggest tech lover. This app allows you to take full advantage of your TV lineup along with 50,000 on-demand shows. Use your smartphone or connected devices like X-Box One, or Samsung Smart TV to watch programs home and away.

 

You get a generous choice of broadcast networks from Freeform and FX to CNN and Fox.

 

You get a reasonable spread of sports and news channels including ESPN and NBC Sports Network with Spectrum’s streaming service. There’s a weak selection of regional sports channels so diehard fans might be disappointed.

 

Here’s the full list of Spectrum TV stream channels right here.

 

Update:  Comcast Xfinity, CenturyLink, and AT&T all have offerings of their own. None of the big cable companies offer a standalone streaming service. AT&T offers a standalone streaming app, formerly known as DirecTV Now, and renamed to ATTTV.  Click the AT&T TV link to check out our comprehensive review on AT&T's new streaming service which looks to replace both Uverse and DirecTV as AT&T's premier video offering. 

Spectrum Stream’s Pricing & Setup

How much do Spectrum streaming packages run you, then?

 

Well, according to the LA Times, Spectrum TV Stream starts at $25 monthly. There’s no official price on Spectrum’s site, so you’ll have to contact them directly for an official quote.

 

Great news for cord-cutters: you won’t need a cable box unless you need DVR functionality. If you want a box, this costs $20 monthly.

 

So, while $25 seems reasonable value, if you bundle a box and some premium channels, Spectrum streaming suddenly gets a little more expensive. Remember, too, that you’re already paying for your Spectrum internet plan on top of this.

 

The $25 monthly fee is valid for the first two years of service. After this promo period is over, the price rises to $30 monthly.

 

The bottom line, you can expect to pay around $100 monthly all-in for Spectrum internet and Spectrum streaming services.

 

When compared to other streaming services like DirecTV Now, Hulu Plus, and YouTube TV, Spectrum’s TV Stream comes up short.

The Verdict

Firstly, you need to be an existing Spectrum customer. We’re assuming you are if you’ve read this far. If you are and you’re prepared to accept the limitations of this service, specifically with regard to sports, Spectrum TV stream might be a smart bet.

 

Just like with their fully flexible internet plans, there’s no long-term contract to sign, and there are no early termination fees to worry about either. Sign up and pay as you go with no headaches.

 

If you’re looking for something to replace your cable package, this is not the product for you (at least not now). Spectrum streaming channel selection is limited so you’ll be unlikely to cover all your viewing needs.

 

Check out some of the reviews for Frontier and ATT internet service here.  To find out more about streaming Netflix on satellite internet like HughesNet or Viasat, make sure to click the link and to explore our blog.  

 

Also, if you have any questions about satellite internet service review, make sure to read our comprehensive review. 

 

If you’re looking to switch to Spectrum internet to take advantage of their TV Stream deal, contact us at 1(888)376-0753 today, or search your zip code and check for Spectrum offers are in your area!

 

For fans of streaming media services like Hulu Plus, YouTube TV, and DirecTV Now, Spectrum’s service will seem familiar, but there are quite a few differences.

Update:  Since this article was first written Spectrum finally launched its Spectrum streaming app.  This app gives you access to a whole array of content from your phone which includes 50,000 On Demand TV shows and movies.  The coolest part about this app is that it connects to the other devices in your home including Roku, Xbox One and Samsung Smart TV amongst others.