For as common and expected it is to have an internet connection these days, it’s easy to forget that there are some parts of the country that might struggle to get access to the world wide web.
Cables can only run so far, after all, and without that there is simply no internet. Except that’s not the case at all.
Even without a cable there’s still great coverage for satellite internet and just like those who are considering switching from a landline phone service to VoIP – or have already made the move – people who must live with satellite internet also want to pay less for their phone bills by taking calls online. However, since internet telephony typically requires high-speed cable-based internet, the question still remains: is it possible to use VoIP over satellite internet or is this something satellite users may never experience?
VoIP Over Satellite, Possible or Not?
The good news is that VoIP services don’t necessarily need to be provided through internet cables, meaning that it’s possible to place and receive calls via satellite internet – which is a huge asset for those living in remote areas that want to enjoy all advantages of VoIP. However, such users still have to face a number of problems if they wish to place and receive calls though a satellite internet telephone.
In order to understand what the major problems with satellite-based VoIP are we need to take a quick look behind the technology behind it. Unlike surfing the web over a cable connection (perhaps via a router), when a request is made through satellite internet the data first has to go to a Network Operations Center (NOC), which then sends the data to a satellite orbiting 22,000 miles above our heads before reaching the end user.
The fact that the data has to take such a big detour is already a big problem on its own, since this may result in jittering, packet loss and a high latency, none of which are acceptable when you are in the middle of a heated conversation with someone else.
Simply put, satellite internet users should expect to face constant lagging and delays in transmission, even if they choose the best satellite internet package available to them. This is even before taking into consideration the other main problem, uncontrollable external conditions such as solar winds, radiation, the Earth’s gravitational effect, and the weather, all of which could make VoIP calls virtually impossible.
VoIP Solutions for Satellite Internet Subscribers
The ‘Big Ones’
Unfortunately, none of the best-known cloud phone service providers support satellite network connections due to the potential of high latency and other issues affecting the user’s ultimate experience with a service.
However, there may be some exceptions: Nextiva, for instance, doesn’t prevent satellite internet subscribers from using the company’s VoIP services, but it does still acknowledge that, according to them, conversations may sound “like you are using a walkie-talkie in a concrete stairwell”.
RingCentral, on the other hand, does not recommend using satellite internet, while Vonage straight out says that no potential customers using any type of wireless internet technology (including satellite connections) are allowed to enter into contract with the company, unless they get a standard cable internet connection first.
With this in mind, if you’re considering ignoring this matter and subscribing to the VoIP service anyway to use the chosen service’s VoIP app, this won’t help: owning a high-speed cable-based internet connection is the number one requirement for a suitable service to begin with.
Satellite Providers Supporting VoIP
Thankfully satellite internet users can still enjoy VoIP the same way regular subscribers do, except with one major difference: in order to be able to place and receive calls through the internet, customers need to subscribe to the ISP’s satellite internet service first, which could raise costs significantly. Additionally, these users should also take into consideration that due to the complexity of satellite technology – especially considering the obligatory installation of satellite dishes – VoIP services provided through satellite internet start from approximately $30 per month.
However, it doesn’t matter which satellite cloud phone company is chosen – from the likes of HughesNet Voice or Voice by Exede – clients can enjoy all features found in any regular VoIP subscriptions, ranging from call forwarding, advanced voicemail management and, of course, the option to place calls anytime from anywhere around the world.
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