Satellite Internet Latency—It’s a Physics Thing

Skycasters makes no apologies for our low latency - any latency is Einstein's faultSatellite Internet Latencytooltip is an issue for all networks and every type of Internet connection. It is the amount of delay, measured in milliseconds (ms), that occurs in a round-trip data transmission to a satellite 23,000 miles away in space. This means that a round-trip transmission travels 23,000 miles to the satellite, 23,000 miles from the satellite to the remote site, and then – as the TCP/IP acknowledgment is returned – another 46,000 miles on the return trip. That is a total round trip of over 90,000 miles and, depending on your latitude, this distance could be even greater.

The physics involved account for approximately 500 milliseconds of latency; a limitation shared by all satellite Internet providers. If you dig a little deeper, however, the story gets more interesting.

Network latency is caused by several factors, including the number of times the data is handled along the transmission path (by routers or servers, for example). Each time a data packet is handled by a device along the path–called a “hop”–several milliseconds of latency delay occurs.

In addition to the distance from the Earth to the geostationary satellites, there are other factors that contribute to satellite Internet latency. These include quality of the internal network, Internet Protocol (IP)/satellite radio frequency (RF) translation overhead, speed of upstream connections, and most importantly, congestion of the satellite network itself.

For some providers, satellite Internet latency delay can be an issue. Not for Skycasters.

The Skycasters Difference

What sets us apart from other Internet providers is that we refuse to oversubscribe our network. Therefore, our users typically enjoy total satellite Internet latency of under 700 ms (and often under 600 ms). Compare that to the 1200-1700 ms of other oversubscribed satellite ISPs (Internet service providers), and you will quickly understand the Skycasters difference.

We also offer guaranteed speeds to give you the speed you need, low-latency delay data transmissions speeds, plus reliability rates that routinely top 99%. Search for yourself and you’ll find that no other high speed satellite Internet offers this level of performance, making the Skycasters difference even more noticeable.

Is Satellite Right for You?

While satellite is the fastest and most reliable way to use the Internet, applications that are particularly sensitive to network latency—such as online gaming—may not work on a satellite connection.

It is recommended that satellite Internet customers check with their software vendor to confirm how specific applications are affected by latency delay. Then contact our sales engineers who will give you an idea of what to expect, after analyzing your requirements.


If internet connectivity is critical to your business, contact us today to learn more about our backup connections for business continuity. One of our dedicated team members will be happy to explain our plans and get you started today.