Which technology offers
the best Internet connection?
Broadband coaxial cable, ultrafast fibre optic. “True” fluid 4G, high-performance WiMAX network. Bidirectional ViaSat-1 satellite, unbelievable new EchoStar 19. As if this weren’t confusing enough, do you sometimes get the feeling that whatever you do it comes down to the same thing? Let’s sort all this out together and see if we can’t get on track.
In this post we’ll consider popular Internet-access technologies that allow you to “be connected.” Stay close to your family, your friends, your interests… and your finances.
We’ll let plain and simple words do the talking, and spare you the technical jargon. That way we hope you’ll realize for yourself that, where the best price point meets the best suitability is where your made-to-measure solution lies. The one best tailored to your needs. And believe us, nailing that down is the only thing that matters.
What do we choose? In whichever case, we’re talking about a solution based on an existing infrastructure. So the real question becomes: Which is the best developed network where I spend my time online?
If you’re the mobile type, at the very least you’ll need a router for wireless access. Otherwise, all you have to do is plug in your computer. You’ll have a fast, stable and very secure connection.
Fiber optic offers great data transfer rates over long distances. But do you live in an area well serviced by that technology?
Let’s suppose that that technology is an expressway with no speed limit. First of all, does it go past your house? Or, how many secondary roads, avenues and streets separate your home from the highway?
What corresponds to your exit is called the “knot.” The more distance you have between that and your router, the slower your speed gets. Think of it this way: it’s easier to follow a hockey game from your living room than from up in the bleachers at the Bell Centre.
And not only that, a direct connection often turns out to be expensive. Especially considering the real use you make of it. Most Internet users, even the big data consumers, use only 20% of the potential offered by fibre-to-the-home.
And what connects fiber optic and your house? Coaxial cable, a two-conductor high-frequency transmission line. A knot and its 125 ramifications make up the “hybrid cable.”
Hybrid cable – With its “neighbourhood” fiber optic, it also offers a high data transfer rate.
That wasn’t the case when you connected via the telephone line, with a modem. All that’s probably left from those days is nostalgia for the “beep! beep! beeep!” followed by some sounds from outer space. At least we hope so, for your sake.
Already well established, hybrid sets the bar high. Easy as pie to install, it also has the advantage of promoting a very secure information exchange. Coupled with wireless, this turns out to be a versatile solution, since it’s compatible with the mobile world. See our cable packages.
And honestly, a neighbourhood connection rather than a home one will probably suit you better. Because you’ll be paying for what you truly need. No point gearing up for the Tour de France if all you’re taking is a 15-kilometer ride with the kids!
To this point, with good reason, we’ve been swimming in urban waters. The access technologies discussed earlier are normally offered in cities. But when we talk about Internet via LTE, we’re starting to leave big urban centres behind.
LTE and WiMAX networks are comparable to fiber optic and hybrid cable, even work side by side with them. Their towers emit directly from a fiber optic source. Meaning, the airways are borrowed in order to redistribute the underground Internet, with no detours.
The shortest route, one that avoids slowdowns, is still the straight line. A communication based on a game of ping-pong that provides functionalities with capital-S speed. Like online games. The delay between these exchanges is what’s called latency, something verified by a software utility called Ping.
The LTE (long-term evolution) network sets up transmission towers here and there. Yes, like for your cell.
This network is available in two versions: mobile and fixed.
LTE makes use of a satellite dish, which captures and retransmits the signal. It’s installed on your exterior walls, and it goes hand in hand with a router or a network jack. Just as with fiber optic, it can service 125 homes. See our LTE packages.
The only thing is, you have to be located 30 kilometers or less from the tower.
Meanwhile, the mobile telephone network 4G is a solution tailored to communication devices on the go.
Such as a smartphone. It makes data transfer more fluid without running down the battery (in your tablet, for example).
There’s improved download speed, engineered for your mobile devices. 4G therefore catches the attention above all of users on the move, meaning – a little more every day – your average person.
The concern with 4G is knowing how to sort out “true” from false.
Why? Because, a little like fiber optic, the offer got there before the infrastructure’s carrying capacity. So vocal calls were routed on 3G. Which is where the feeling of being scammed and the idea of “Faux-G” came from.
Devices must, first of all, be compatible with the technology. Next, that technology must have a presence in the region. When those two conditions have been met, calls are made via VoIP. LTE 4G can then, essentially, fulfill its promise: offer better fluidity and vocal quality.
The update in 4G of the 3.9G (more precisely) network began in North America in 2014.
Let’s compare the 3G and 4G download and upload speeds.
Somewhere between Wi-Fi and LTE, the WiMAX network. A global solution tailored to our vast open spaces.
The term Wi-Fi evokes greater and more powerful coverage than the simple “wireless.” And WiMAX (worldwide interoperability for microwave access), like a bigger Russian doll, exceeds it. But careful! Don’t confuse them: the first two systems disseminate the Internet, while the last one provides it.
This technology stretches over enormous regions. Its transmission capacity is greater than the 50 kilometers that a hotspot at the heart of a Wi-Fi network is limited to. See our WiMAX packages.
Taking advantage of affordable installation costs, WiMAX towers are being installed all over the place. Which is why this network is showing up elsewhere on the planet, for example in developing countries.
Visibly, LTE and WiMAX technologies compete with each other in power. In broadband, they convey a lot of information at the same time. However, we don’t talk about WiMAX 3G, because its applications differ. It’s a bit like…well, diesel fuel and gasoline.
The guiding principle remains the same: Which technology is best established in my area? If your part of the country seems to have been overlooked by the above networks, you can still count on Internet access by satellite.
Two formidable trump cards can be played when the magnitude of the challenge is discouraging: ViaSat-2 or EchoStar 19 Jupiter 2. Whether geographical obstacles are involved, extraordinary mobility, or even a saturated area –no issue on Earth will stop them.
An affordable option, easy to install.
A pioneer in competitiveness and power: ViaSat-1
In 2011, an ambitious wish was sent out into the universe. Put all North American homes online, with a connection as efficient as those of broadband networks, like WiMAX.
Its overall speed of at least 140 Gbps established a world record.
EchoStar 19 Jupiter 2 – When a good move gives rise to a brilliant solution.
We call it « Jupiter-2 ». Faithful to what the rising generation knows how to do so well, it moved beyond its predecessor. Its total speed is above 150 Gbps.
But that’s not what impressed us. Rather, it was its broad band. So inclusive, it makes it possible to unblock saturated areas. In other words, this satellite has what it takes to deal with high concentrations of users. See our Jupiter-2 packages.
It’s likely that your area is numbed by large numbers of users if there’s no alternative to satellite connection. It’s possible that at certain times in the day, or the week, your Internet fails. The network can be overloaded. Jupiter 2 will unclog that congestion, by widening the airways.
And because there’s competitiveness, it pays off for users…
ViaSat-2 – The fastest Ka band Internet-access technology. Period.
The second generation of ViaSat satellites takes the prize for highest overall flow, with its 300 Gbps. That makes it the most powerful directional communication tool currently in orbit.
This is a great achievement for the Viasat team, our customers and our partners,” said Mark Dankberg, chairman and CEO, Viasat. “The ViaSat-2 system is the culmination of years of hard work and commitment to bringing a satellite platform to market that can deliver truly high-speed, high-quality broadband to many more people, and with a much greater geographic reach.
Like its predecessors, ViaSat-2 serves all of North America. Except that it also covers Central America and certain parts of South America, like the southernmost islands of the Caribbean. It scans the aerial and maritime pathways in such a way as to reach Europe through the Atlantic Ocean.
This “shortwave” technology (Ka band) was adapted for transmission in an atmospheric setting. It facilitates the reading of 4K and HD streaming video files, on a number of devices simultaneously. It makes bidirectional communication more fluid, for instance in Skype calls.
Faster and stronger than ever.
Start with your needs when it’s about determining your best Internet connection. Is the service available? Are the communicating technologies compatible? A sports coupe doesn’t suit every driver, after all…
One last thing. Do your Web provider’s packages offer a good price for what you need? And then, do the range of the offer and the overall coverage make it possible for them to propose a plan B in case of network failure?
We hope that after reading this article you feel better equipped to evaluate the different possibilities available to you. In addition, you can test your connection to determine its true speed.