Gone are the days when getting internet access meant turning on your computer and connecting to dial-up. Now, the mobile device has become a one-stop shop that helps us get all the information we need in the palm of our hand, with more than 97% of Americans owning a cellphone. Its existence and constant evolution have significantly impacted every aspect of our lives, influencing individual behavior, social norms, and even media. Not only that, but its variety of functions have made life easier and more efficient, especially for those who are constantly on the go.
For both individuals and businesses, cell phones and other mobile devices have become essential tools for communication. We also use them to store data, do our shopping, and create and consume different forms of media.
It’s safe to say that mobile devices have become a versatile and invaluable addition to our lives. However, there are times when cellular communication just doesn’t cut it. In these cases, a satellite connection may be the more practical solution. If you’re a business owner looking to improve business communications and grow your business, we’re here to help you understand the difference between cellular and satellite communications and which one could work for your business.
Cellular vs. Satellite: What’s the Difference?
Some think that cell phones and satellite phones are the same, but this isn’t the case. Cell phones can install different apps, surf the web, make calls, and receive calls. On the other hand, satellite phones are straightforward communication-focused, transmitting signals different from cell phones.
How They Work
Cell phones use land-based towers to transmit signals and send and receive data. When you hear the word “cellular network,” it refers to a group of cell towers. Your cell phone works by sending and receiving signals from the nearest tower in the network and often depends on the area you’re in. When you find yourself in an area with a weak signal, this usually means that either the cell tower is too far away or there are no cell towers in your area.
Satellite phones, on the other hand, don’t require towers to transmit signals. Instead, they rely on satellites that orbit the Earth, sending signals to a nearby land-based station or gateway. Then, the signal goes to the phone. This makes them useful in isolated or remote areas.
In terms of functionality, each type of phone has its advantages and disadvantages. Cell phones have a variety of uses. They can be used to make and receive calls as well as take photos to surf the web. However, in case of an emergency where you would need to call from an isolated or remote area, you may not be able to rely on a cell phone. While they’re mainly used for telephonic communication, satellite phones are more useful in emergencies like power outages and situations where you may have little to no signal. However, brands that sell satellite phones are releasing newer versions that come with additional features. For instance, Iridium push-to-talk products have the ability to send and receive text messages and use certain hotspots to access the internet.
Satellite phones have a distinct advantage over cell phones when it comes to coverage. Cell towers often have a relatively short range, so it requires a good number of towers to create a large and stable network. Not only is it difficult and time consuming, but it can also be costly and, in most cases, even impossible to construct them in remote areas.
Satellite beams, on the other hand, cover larger areas and don’t require any towers.
Compared with cellular networks, satellites are more expensive to build, maintain, and deploy into orbit. However, these costs have gone down in recent years, making them more accessible than in the past. This is why people or companies that don’t use this option often make use of rental plans.
However, it’s important to consider that satellite phones can be handy, especially in emergencies with no other means to stay in touch.
Which Is Better for My Business?
At the end of the day, it all comes down to your preference and what your business needs. If you or your employees work in an office setting and don’t have any regular urgent situations, you can continue using cell phones and other mobile devices to stay in touch. On the other hand, if your business involves employees needing to travel to isolated areas and remote areas, a satellite phone will prove useful in the long run. You can also consider having both in your business, using cell phones as a regular means of communication and a satellite phone in case of emergency.