Satellite Internet vs DSL: What’s the Difference and Which Is Better?

Satellite Internet vs DSL: What's the Difference and Which Is Better? 1

Whether or not you live in a rural area, your internet might be slow running and you might be looking for a fix to it. In the United States alone, about 98% of the country is rural. Although it makes up 98% of the country, about 25% live there. 

When you’re looking for faster internet, you might do a comparison between satellite internet vs DSL. You might wonder what the differences are and which is better. 

This article will take a look at the 2 to help you decide which is best. Read on to explore more about these options and make sure that you have faster internet today!

What Is DSL? 

This is a common broadband connection found in many homes today. There are various types of DSL including the VDSL and ADSL. These stand for very-high-speed digital subscriber lines and asymmetrical digital subscriber lines. 

DSL is where the internet is connected through a pair of copper wires in your telephone lines, and the use of a modem. It transmits at a different frequency than your voice service. Due to this, it doesn’t cause interference with your home phone service. 

DSL uses phone lines to work and is an option if you have an active phone line. As long as there’s no wire damage, you’ll have access to DSL internet. 

Even though it works off of phone lines, it won’t interfere with your phone connection. You can use the phone while you’re using the computer. 

What Is Satellite Internet? 

There are various types of internet choices including satellite internet. It uses radio waves to communicate with satellites that orbit the Earth. Data is retrieved and sent through a communication network.

It begins with your device and then travels through your satellite dish and modem. Then it’s sent out to a satellite in space. After this, it goes back to Earth to ground stations. Many rural businesses and homes use satellite internet since it’s available nationwide. 

The Pros and Cons of Satellite Internet

The benefits of satellite internet include that you might be able to receive faster speeds than DSL. Also, they’re available almost anywhere. 

The cons are that there are early termination fees, and there might be speed issues. You’ll also need to have a dish installed as well. They often require longer contract terms for their services. 

The Pros and Cons of DSL

The con of DSL is that it can be slow if you’re far from an access point or local office. The benefits of DSL include that you don’t have to worry about heavy equipment installation. 

You normally don’t have to worry about long contracts either. There’s also little equipment installation necessary. 


Satellite internet tends to cost more than DSL. You’ll also need to buy or lease a satellite dish.

Keep in mind that you’ll pay for faster speeds and an activation fee. They might charge you for installation as well. 

DSL is more affordable but you might still have an installation fee. You’ll also pay for higher speeds. In order for DSL internet to work, you’ll need to lease or buy the modem from the provider. 


Satellite internet’s reliability can be comparable to DSL depending on your location. It can be blocked or weakened by different structures, mountains, and trees. Sunspots and inclement weather can also affect the signal as well. 

Rural Areas

In rural areas, you’ll often have the choice of fixed wireless, satellite, or DSL. Fixed wireless is the fastest option but isn’t available in all locations. DSL tends to be quicker than satellite, but satellite internet is starting to catch up. 

Satellite Internet Functions

Satellite internet has a 5 part system. This includes satellites in space, network operations centers, an internet-ready device, and modem/route. 

A modem is vital since it translates the data so it can go between your internet-ready device and the satellite dish. You can connect different devices including gaming consoles, smart TV’s, and computers right into your modem with an ethernet cable. 

You’ll want Wi-Fi capabilities for your smartphones and tablets. It connects to the modem in order to give you Wi-Fi capabilities. 

You can either buy or lease your modem. You’ll need to use the modem that’s configured by your provider. Many of the modems for sale at different retailers don’t work with satellite internet. 

When the dish is set up, it must be positioned correctly to ensure that it receives enough signal from space. That’s why it’s vital to have a certified technician come and set it up. 

If you have an RV, satellite dishes don’t work as well since you’re not in one location. Your account has a specific spot beam from the satellite in space. This will limit how you’ll receive internet while traveling. 

Network Operations Center

The network operations center is where the satellite beams your requests. This is what it uses when you’re clicking a link or steaming the internet. 

A Comparison of Satellite Internet vs DSL

Now that you’ve explored this guide on a comparison between satellite internet vs DSL, you should have a better idea of what to expect. Take your time choosing the right option for you based on your location.

Keep your budget in mind considering satellite internet tends to cost more than DSL. Would you like to read more informative tips and tricks? 

We can help! Check out our other articles today. They’re filled with various how-tos with handy tips and tricks. 

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