Orbit Research Satellite Broadband FAQs
Here is a selection of the questions we are frequently asked. If you can not find the answer to your question here, please post your question on our contact form. We will endeavour to provide an answer as soon as possible. Alternatively, try the live chat option at the top right hand side of the screen.
- In what area is your service available?
- Will the service work anywhere in the satellite coverage region?
- Will I need a licence to use this system?
- Can I use my existing satellite TV dish to get satellite broadband?
- In which direction will my satellite internet dish need to point?
- Can I install the system myself?
- Will I need to have a telephone line?
- Is the satellite internet connection “always on” like ADSL or cable?
- Will I need special software on my PC to use the satellite internet connection?
- Which operating systems does the satellite internet connection support ?
Question: In what area is your service available?
We provide services using the European beam on the Telstar 11N satellite. You can see the coverage area here. This beam provides coverage to the British Isles, most of Europe and parts of North Africa. Outside this region we can also offer services through our partner organisations.
Question: Will the service work anywhere in the satellite coverage region?
Like all satellite links, you will need an unobstructed line of site from your antenna to the satellite for the system to work. So there may be problems if your antenna is pointing toward another nearby building or a close up tree in the direction of the satellite. However, your antenna will be pointing upwards at over 20° above the horizon so in most cases this is sufficient to see ‘over’ any obstructions.
Question: Will I need a licence to use this system?
In the UK, any VSAT system must be operated covered by a Network Earth Station Licence issued by Ofcom. This is because the equipment transmits signals to the satellite. Orbit Research has a Network Earth Station Licence and our customers’ equipment is covered by our licence, so customers do not need to make their own licence application.
Question: Can I use my existing satellite TV dish to get satellite broadband?
There are several reasons why this is not possible. Your satellite TV antenna only receives signals from the satellite. For satellite broadband, the system needs to transmit and receive signals so a different type of antenna is required. Also the antenna required for satellite broadband is generally larger than a satellite TV antenna. Finally, the satellite broadband service is on a different satellite than the one you will be receiving TV from, so the antenna will need to point in a different direction.
Question: In which direction will my satellite internet dish need to point?
The Telstar 11N satellite is in orbit at 37.5° West, so from Europe your antenna would point South West. From the UK the bearing is around 220° depending exactly where you are. The elevation angle to the satellite varies from 25° in South West England, to 18° in North East Scotland.
Question: Can I install the system myself?
No, the system has to be installed by specially trained personnel. Unlike a satellite TV system, the satellite internet modem transmits signals up to the satellite, so an incorrectly installed system has the potential to cause interference to other users of the satellite or even users on other satellites. Specialised equipment is required to align the antenna and an alignment test is carried out by the satellite operator before the system may be allowed to transmit over the satellite.
Question: Will I need to have a telephone line?
No, all data to and from the internet is transmitted over the satellite so the system is completely independent of phone lines and so it can work anywhere within the satellite coverage area.
Question: Is the satellite internet connection “always on” like ADSL or cable?
Yes, provided that you leave your satellite modem switched on the connection is always available for immediate use like ADSL or cable. If you switch your satellite modem off, it will take approximately 90 seconds for the modem to re-acquire the network when you switch it back on.
Question: Will I need special software on my PC to use the satellite internet connection?
No, the satellite router has a standard ethernet interface just like any ADSL, cable or leased line router. Simply make the satellite router your default gateway to the internet and your PC or network of PCs will work without the need for any special software.
Question: Which operating systems does the satellite internet connection support ?
Any! The satellite modem does not require the installation of any drivers or special software on your PC and so it will work with any operating system including Windows, Linux and MAC.