Satellite Internet vs. Dial-Up Internet

There’s a ton of different types of internet out there: dial-up internet, cable internet, satellite internet, DSL internet, high-speed internet, extremely slow speed internet … You get the point.

Out of all the different kinds of internet services, packages, and breeds available, satellite internet is extremely common along with cable internet. But what about dial-up internet? How does it compare to satellite internet? What are the pros and cons?

You’re in luck. Here’s a quick description of both satellite and dial-up internet. Without further ado, let’s jump in.

Take a peek at dial-up and satellite ISPs available near you.

What is dial-up internet, and how does it work?

Dial-up internet uses the signal from an existing phone line to communicate data (or give you access to the internet). Even if you haven’t heard of dial-up internet before, it’s been around for quite some time. Chances are, as long as you have access to a phone line, you’d be able to access dial-up internet.

So why use dial-up internet? We’re glad you asked. Dial-up internet runs considerably less expensive than other internet services, such as satellite internet. While cable internet can easily cost anywhere between $40 and $60 bucks a month, dial-up internet costs about $5 or $10 dollars a month. It’s by far the cheapest kind of internet available.

While this alone might spike your interest and make you want to use a dial-up internet plan, there are a few things you should know first. There are some trade-offs. Dial-up is one of the slowest kinds of internet you can use. We’re talking roughly 56 Kbps.

Now, if all you’re interested in doing online is browsing a couple websites on the weekend or sending a few emails to the grandkids, you probably won’t even notice the internet is slow. But if you need to use Zoom, watch videos, access lots of websites, you’ll start to notice your internet is lagging.

Dial-up internet is a great money-saver and an excellent way to just access the basics when it comes to the virtual world. If that’s all you want in an internet service, then dial-up might be perfect for you.

What is satellite internet, and how does it work?

Satellite internet is very common in households where multiple people need to access the web. It works by using three main wireless connections: the signal connects from your property, to a satellite in space, and finally to an internet service provider (ISP). Viasat, HughesNet, and Starlink are just a few popular satellite internet providers.

Whenever you make a request on your computer (let’s say, by clicking on a link to a website), the signal is sent to a satellite until it reaches your ISP, which then sends the response back to you. All of this happens in a fraction of a second, leaving you with a strong internet connection and the ability to play video games, stream Netflix, and use Zoom.

On average, satellite internet costs anywhere between $30 and $200 depending on the provider, the speed, and the data cap. While satellite internet isn’t as fast as something like cable or DSL internet, it is reliable and meets a lot of people’s internet needs.

Which works better: satellite internet or dial-up internet?

There really isn’t much debate when it comes to which is better. Between satellite internet and dial-up internet, satellite is definitely faster. However, in this case, faster does mean pricier. Most satellite internet speeds reach up to 100 Mbps, which is around 10 times faster than dial-up internet.

Dial-up internet isn’t as fast and doesn’t support as many functions (like watching lots of videos, supporting multiple users, or gaming), but it’s way cheaper than satellite internet and still provides an internet connection.

What are the best satellite internet providers?

If you’re interested in satellite internet and want to look at some of the best providers, here’s an excellent resource. Viasat and HughesNet are your only options currently, but Starlink is just around the corner.

Viasat vs. HughesNet satellite internet overview
ProviderViasat InternetHughesNet Internet
Monthly price$30$150$59.99$149.99
Download speeds12100 Mbps25 Mbps
Data cap12300 GB1050 GB
Learn moreView PlansView Plans

What are the best dial-up internet providers?

If you think dial-up internet is right for you, then there’s still plenty of dial-up internet providers around. NetZero is one of the biggest. PeoplePC, EarthLink, and AOL Dial-Up are also common. (Yep, that’s the same AOL that’s always existed.)

Now that you know about satellite and dial-up internet, check this out next.

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Find out more about rural internet choices.

5 BEST RURAL INTERNET OPTIONS