Wireless or satellite? - Village Networks rural broadband in Buckinghamshire and Oxfordshire

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Wireless or satellite?

We’re sometimes asked to explain why a wireless broadband internet connection is better than a satellite connection.

In some cases, properties are so far away from a wireless network aerial, or in such remote locations, there’s no question that satellite is best. In other cases, you might find you have a choice. Here’s some background to help you decide.

In a wireless system, even if the aerials are a some distance apart, the signal travels between the two almost instantly. Connections work well for all kinds of communications. Over a very long wireless link of, say 20km, a wireless signal will travel from one aerial to another and back again in about 7.5 thousandths of a second.

In a satellite system, the distance between your premises and the satellite is around 36,000 km. It can take  around 250 thousandths of a second for a signal to reach a satellite and return to earth.
Doesn’t sound like much? It’s thirty times slower than terrestrial wireless, enough to make communications like Skype and VoIP calls impracticable. Gaming can be really hard work. Even Chat or Instant Messaging can be frustrating.

A wireless broadband aerial is
usually very compact and

A satellite broadband aerial is
the same size as a satellite TV
aerial – a relatively large dish,
which has to be very accurately
aligned with the signal from
the satellite.

In a wireless system, growing demand for bandwidth can easily be met by upgrading links, and adding extra backhaul. So everyone can have a realistic monthly use allowance, and you can upgrade, if you need to, at relatively low cost.

A satellite link can’t be upgraded so easily. Bandwidth is precious, and must be carefully managed. Building, launching and maintaining satellites is a billion-dollar business. Every little bit and byte of satellite traffic has a high price on its head.  So if you’re sending and receiving large files, downloading music and movies, or watching iPlayer or YouView – the use allowance you need will be costly.

With a wireless connection from Village Networks, only your download use is measured. And it’s only measured between 0600 and 2300. You’ll be notified when you

reach 50%, 75% and 90% of your monthly allowance. And if you exceed the allowance, your speed is simply reduced to 2Mb/s for the following month.

With satellite, your download and upload use is measured, 24/7. You’ll have to monitor your own use. When you reach 50% of your monthly allowance, you’ll find your speeds may be reduced for the rest of the month. And if you exceed your allowance, your speed will be reduced to 128kb/s for the following month. If you want to upgrade your allowance, you’ll usually have to start a whole new contract.

If you just can’t receive a wireless signal where you are,  satellite is for you. But if you have a choice, and you want manageable, predictable costs, choose wireless.


Village Networks
wireless broadband

Typical satellite

Installation cost



Connection fee



Contract period

12 months, then 1 month

12 months

Monthly cost



Download speed

Up to 24Mb/s

Up to 22Mb/s

Upload speed

 Up to2Mb/s

 Up to 6Mb/s

Good for email and file transfer



Good for VoIP (telephone) use



VoIP functionality


£90 hardware + £6 pm

Good for video communications



Good for IM



Good for gaming



Monthly download allowance


25GB (£10 per additional 1GB)

Monthly upload allowance


Included in 25 GB

Use measurement period



Speeds restricted at

>60GB, in following month

at 50% of allowance


2Mb/s for following month

128kb/s for following month


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