Satellite internet speeds comparison is a must-do before you make the 100% switch to satellite internet. Satellite internet is a solid option for people and businesses looking to set up in remote or rural locations.
For a long time, Viasat and HughesNet held the top spot as the fastest satellite internet providers. Viasat had a 12-150 Mbps speed range, while HughesNet maintained a 15-50 Mbps download speed range.
Then came Starlink’s gradual global expansion and 15-300 Mbps download speed.
Which satellite internet service provider should you count on to give you top speeds, affordable rates, and reliable response time? Find out.
Summary of Satellite Internet Provider Speeds
What Is A Good Speed For Satellite Internet?
Live streaming using fast satellite internet speed
We can agree that ‘good’ satellite internet speed is relative.
Also, good internet speed is different depending on what you do.
For a basic user who spends most of their time checking email and browsing social media, anything between 10-30 Mbps is acceptable.
However, you’ll need about 100 Mbps download and above 30 Mbps upload speed to game online.
Running a business might need faster speeds of at least 25 Mbps if running a slim operation.
According to a 2018 Federal Communication Commission report on broadband speeds, the average speed in most households was 25 Mbps.
This average rate was accessible to 92.3% of the U.S. population, including residents in rural and tribal lands.
However, 25 Mbps was not from satellite internet. Rather, it was from fixed broadband internet.
For satellite internet to compete favorably against fixed broadband, it must offer similar or better speeds.
You’ll get good speeds of between 15 and 50 Mpbs from HughesNet. France’s OneWeb can provide download speeds of up to 150 Mbps compared to Viasat’s 12-100 Mbps.
Finally, Starlink says its users experience between 25 and 300 Mbps.
A 50 Mbps download speed average for satellite internet is a good investment for users in a rural or remote setting.
Also, it opens up the options for businesses to get satellite internet plans averaging about 100 Mbps.
What Is The Maximum Speed Of Satellite Internet?
Different satellite internet providers advertise and promise high download and upload speeds. Still, they maintain the 20-300 Mbps range. Even new potential entrants, such as Amazon’s Project Kuiper, promise about 150 Mbps download speeds.
Starlink satellite internet has one of the highest advertised speeds among satellite internet providers. They promise a maximum speed of up to 220 Mbps for Starlink Business. They also intend to reach a maximum speed of 350 Mbps for their Starlink Aviation plan.
As you can see, Starlink is set on dominating the satellite internet space. However, they are going up against veteran providers who’ve built their reputations, too.
Let’s compare some of these big players. We’re looking at Starlink, Viasat, OneWeb, HughesNet, and FreedomSat.
Starlink internet dish for residential use
Starlink currently holds the top position as the fastest satellite internet provider.
With over 5000 satellites in low earth orbit, Starlink’s various plans have a speed range of between 15 and 350 Mbps.
Starlink’s biggest plan by subscriber count, Starlink Residential, offers a modest 15-150 Mbps.
Other plans, such as Starlink ROAM and Business, can reach up to 200 Mbps, depending on the kit and coverage.
You might hit 250-350Mbps with Starlink Maritime and Aviation.
Starlink also has upload speeds of between 15-50 Mbps. With a latency of about 20-40 ms, Starlink is a great choice for individuals looking for more than just light browsing the internet. The speeds are enough to sustain streaming, HD video content, gaming, and server management.
Viasat is one of Starlink’s direct competitors. They are in the same locations and provide the same service.
However, to be a worthy competitor, you must offer almost similar speeds.
Viasat’s plans start from 25 Mbps and top at about 100 Mbps.
You’d think, ‘Well, that’s not close to Starlink.’ Still, 100 Mbps is impressive. It’s suitable for most high-demand activities such as gaming, real-time trading, and working from home in a rural setting.
Viasat’s upload speed is certainly not the fastest at only 3 Mbps.
Also, your speeds on Viasat have a data cap after you exhaust priority data. Throttled speeds range between 1 and 3 Mbps.
OneWeb’s internet offerings are almost a mirror of Starlink.
The company has over 600 satellites in low-earth orbit. It serves the same market as it prepares to launch Maritime, Aviation, Business, and train packages.
OneWeb has impressive speeds that could prove valuable to residential and business users.
Its download speeds are between 150 and 165 Mbps, and upload speeds of 30 Mbps are enough to support heavy use and multiple devices.
The OneWeb Business plan has an advertised speed of up to 195 Mbps.
To crown it all, OneWeb also promises latency rates as low as 30-45 ms.
OneWeb is a project worth watching since it started piloting its laser satellites to speed up signal reception time.
Over 1.5 million subscribers trust HughesNet to deliver reliable satellite internet to their homes and business establishments, especially in rural areas.
Unlike OneWeb and Starlink, HughesNet is one of the companies without low-earth orbit satellites. Instead, it relies on satellites about 22,000 kilometers above Earth.
The distance of HughesNet’s satellites affects one factor of the provider’s speed and signal transmission: latency.
HughesNet subscribers must struggle with a 650 ms average latency.
Also, HughesNet has speed packages of about 15-100 Mbps. Most user reports show that HughesNet speeds remain consistent at about 25 Mbps for Residential and Business users.
A HughesNet subscriber can expect to upload data at 3-5 Mbps.
Despite the seemingly less-than-optimal speeds, HughesNet subscribers can rest easy knowing there is no data cap or a limit to their plans.
You might have never heard of FreedomSat, especially if you are a U.S. resident. However, it is a recognized satellite internet provider in the U.K., South America, the Middle East, and Africa.
FreedomSat also offers satellite internet services for the military in conflict areas such as Iraq.
Although it advertises download speeds up to 30 Mbps, it tops out at about 25 Mbps for downloads and 6 Mbps for uploads.
However, it has a tier system with speeds between 30 and 50 Mbps.
One of the downsides is that it uses a priority data allocation system. That means you can get data caps if you exhaust your priority data.
Is Satellite Internet Faster Than 5G?
5G internet cell tower
Satellite internet is yet to beat 5G internet speeds.
Whereas you can get between 50 and 100 Mbps with satellite internet, 5G can give you between 100 Mbps and 10 Gbps.
Although we are far from getting reliable 10 Gbps everywhere with 5G coverage, the 100-300 Mbps mark is much closer to reality.
This is because 5G’s far-reaching waves can provide the 100 Mbps speed.
Satellite internet also lags behind 5G internet in latency rate. Satellite internet relies on satellites that transmit data from thousands of kilometers away in space.
Although there are satellite internet providers that operate near Earth, 5G is more reliable since it uses ground infrastructure.
Cell towers can transmit data way faster than satellites.
Satellite internet can deliver between 25-650ms compared to 5G’s 1ms latency.
Satellite internet is a solid option for someone spread thin for fast internet options.
If you are in an area where fiber and 5G internet are unreliable, satellite internet speeds will just have to suffice.
After all, 50-200 Mbps downloads and 20 Mbps upload speeds are decent for most residential demands.
You can use Starlink’s business plan if you want faster speeds for a business in rural areas.