Opinions are mixed on satellite internet.

If you reside in an area where you are unable to acquire cable or DSL internet, then getting online by satellite can be a huge upgrade over a slow dial-up provider. However, when compared to cable or DSL, the use of satellite connectivity can be problematic for highly-interactive applications and voice/video – not to mention it can be expensive.

The real key for satellite to be successful is to get rid of latency problems.

And, yes, there are many folks in this state who still only have dial-up internet.

Having the ability to watch YouTube videos on the internet, share pictures among family members and friends, and maybe do a little shopping are all possibilities for most of us today, but extremely difficult for some with dial-up service.

What this means in practice is that downloading and uploading files is better when using the satellite connection vs. dial-up. But web surfing, many feel is about the same – that slow ping response time means a certain lag when calling web pages that negates some of the benefits of the much faster download and upload speeds.

While most are inclined to focus more for the disadvantages of satellite, there are plus points – mainly if you are stuck with dial-up in the area you call home, the benefits definitely outweigh the drawbacks.

There are companies in North Carolina offering satellite technologies, such as High Speed Broadband.us.com, which now claims to be providing 15 Mbps and unlimited phone service to all counties in the state as a Hughes Net dealer.

Bottom line, satellite is not as good as a fast fiber or a DSL connection, in most circumstances.

But that misses the point.

If you need internet connectivity and can’t get DSL or fiber broadband, satellite is really the only viable option.

Perhaps improvements will come sooner than later with experiments now being conducted aboard NASA’s new orbiter called the Lunar Atmosphere and Dust Environment Explorer (LADEE), which launched Friday on Virginia’s Eastern Shore.

That project will use technology to enable two-way laser communication between earth and the moon. As explained by New Scientist, LADEE will carry a laser with a near-infrared wavelength that is thousands of times shorter, beaming signals to earth at 622 Mbps. Through this new technology, we’ll be able to receive information from the moon in seconds, according to NASA.

Research on LADEE may change opinions on satellite internet capabilities and give a new meaning to “world wide web.”

But, for the time being, if you need high-speed internet, fiber to the home, DSL or cable modem is still the way to go for most of North Carolina.