This service incorporates satellite and DSL technology to offer consumers a lower latency, more secure internet connection. Two internet options, satellite or DSL, each with its own advantages and shortcomings, are provided to those who live in rural areas. Satellite internet is always the quickest choice, but during bad weather, it comes with high latency and the possibility of signal loss. In certain regions, DSL internet is generally slower than satellite, but it does not have the same degree of latency and reliability problems as satellite internet.
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Viasat has developed a new add-on service that uses a satellite and DSL connection: Viasat Flex, in an attempt to maximize the benefits of both technologies while reducing their shortcomings.
Two different networks and modems are used by Viasat Flex, one for your regular satellite connection and one for DSL. The two modems are connected by an Ethernet cable, allowing the Viasat program to communicate with both and change the satellite-to-DSL link as required.
Your primary Internet link will be via satellite, but the Viasat program will turn to DSL or use both connections for a better experience, depending on factors such as signal quality and bandwidth requirements.
For example, while reading this page, it is likely that Viasat Flex will use satellite Internet only. However, if you were to start streaming music or a TV show, the DSL link might step in to meet the increased demand for bandwidth partially or entirely.
Viasat Flex is capable of providing a more efficient internet service with substantially less latency by integrating satellite and DSL technology. Viasat Flex can allow streaming on multiple devices and online gaming in real-time, activities that are normally impossible with a lone satellite link.
Unfortunately, there is still much to be revealed about the service, such as exact availability and pricing, other than the fact that Viasat Flex is available as an add-on to the Viasat satellite plans. Here's what we already know about Viasat Flex so far:
For Viasat Flex, not all Viasat service areas are eligible. Although Viasat has not specifically specified where Viasat Flex is available, the service uses an AT&T DSL modem, so places that are most likely to be eligible for AT&T internet service.
Rural areas across the South and Midwest, as well as most of Central and Southern California and parts of Nevada, particularly the greater Reno area, are serviceable areas for Viasat and AT&T Internet.
Viasat has made no mention of how much the add-on would cost, just that new and existing Viasat customers have a free introductory period.
Viasat allows customers to cancel Viasat Flex free of charge, but there is no clear mention of when the introductory period expires or how high it will be, so you are free to cancel without penalty at the end of the introductory period if the service cost does not work with your budget.
Since two internet networks are effectively needed by Viasat Flex, new customers will need two separate installation appointments. The first would include the installation of your satellite antenna and modem, followed by the installation of the DSL service that may come at a later date.
Current customers of Viasat will only need DSL service installation, and self-installation may be available. View their Viasat Flex installation e-guide for more detail about the installation process.
The good news is that Viasat is likely not to charge you for either, while two installations are required, so it will not add much, if any, to your initial service costs.
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