What Does It All Mean?

A guide to some of the terms related to satellite internet


Acceptable Use Policy

This document sets forth our rules for using our services. It includes our copyright policy (please don’t use our service to misappropriate other people’s intellectual property); and our prohibited use policy (please don’t use our service for fraudulent or criminal activities). You can access the full policy here.


An antenna is a device used to send and receive transmissions. Often referred to as the “dish,” our antenna is the equipment installed at your home or business and includes the dish, mounting bracket and TRIA assembly. The Exede dish is about 30 inches in diameter and connects to the modem inside your home via a coaxial cable. The antenna is what allows the connection between the modem and our satellite in space.



This is a measurement of the capacity of a network to transfer data. The higher the bandwidth, the faster your pages will load. Internet bandwidth (or speed) is typically measured in megabits per second.

Bandwidth Usage Policy

This governs usage for subscribers on the Freedom Plan only. You can read it here.


Satellite beams refer to areas that a specific satellite can reach or cover. If there is no beam over your area, you can’t get service. Exede beams cover the vast majority of the US.

Billing Cycle

Refers to how often your bill is generated. We use a monthly billing cycle for the Exede service. This is also the period that we use to measure your data usage. When your new billing cycle begins, your usage meter resets to zero. Learn more about your first bill and the billing cycle.

Boost 25

Available in select areas in conjunction with the WiFi Modem, Boost 25 enables download speed of up to 25 Mbps. Learn more about Boost 25.


Also known as high-speed internet. In recent years, the FCC has established minimum qualifications for services to use the term ‘broadband.’ You can learn more at the FCC page here.


A browser is the software that serves as the interface between your computer and the internet. Popular browsers include Internet Explorer, Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox and Safari.



Caching technology allows your computer to store recently used information so it can be accessed quickly later. Your browser caches websites you have recently viewed so you can access them without having to re-download the information. Clearing your cache on a regular basis is simple and can make your browser run better.

Classic Plans

Our original Exede Internet plans, still available in some areas, come with 10, 15 or 25 GB data allowances and 12 Mbps download speed in most areas (5 Mbps in others).


A small data file stored by your browser when you visit a website. Cookies contain information about your activity, preferences, user name, location and other information. Some sites use them so they can tailor content to you. You can deny cookies by changing your internet settings. You can also clear them the same way you clear cache data, by going into your browser’s history settings.


Central Processing Unit, otherwise known as the brains of your computer, smartphone or other electronic device. More powerful CPUs allow you to run more programs and process more files simultaneously.



Information in the form a computer can use.

Data Allowance

The amount of data your Exede plan allows you to consume during your monthly billing cycle. The Exede Data Allowance Policy outlines the amount of data your plan allows you to use. For example, the Classic 15 plan provides 15 GB of data per month. You can read about your data allowance in this Exede Help Center article.


A dish is a device used to send and receive transmissions. Our dish (or antenna) is the equipment installed at your home or business and includes the dish, mounting bracket and TRIA assembly. The Exede dish is about 30 inches in diameter and connects to the modem inside your home via a coaxial cable. The dish is what allows the connection between the modem and our satellite in space.


To move data to your computer, typically from another computer or from the internet.


Digital Subscriber Line, the technology that provides internet access by sending digital data over a phone line. Typically this is the internet service provided by your local phone company.



EasyCare is an optional extra level of support for your Exede or WildBlue service that includes any required service calls, priority customer support and annual dish relocation — all for $5.99/mo. Learn more about EasyCare.


When information is put into a code to make sure it is secure and unreadable by others. Websites with addresses beginning with https:// (instead of http://) are encrypted.


The technology used to create a local access network (LAN) by connecting devices to a shared network.

Ethernet Cable

The physical cord used to carry the internet signal between your modem, router, and computer. If you’re using a wireless router, you don’t need an Ethernet cord to connect your computer to the internet.

Exede Liberty

Available in some areas, Liberty plans give you a set amount of Priority Data that comes with our best, 12 Mbps speeds. If you go over your monthly data allowance, you’ll get the Liberty Pass, which will allow you to use more data at download speeds of 1 to 5 Mbps. Learn more about Liberty.

Exede Voice

Our Voice Over Internet Protocol (VoIP) home phone service, providing high-quality local and long distance phone service.



The U.S. Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is the government agency in charge of regulating communications by radio, television, wire, satellite and cable. In the FCC’s annual Measuring Broadband America report, Exede has been recognized as #1 two years in a row (2013 and 2014) for delivering at or above advertised speeds.


A system that keeps unwanted users out of your network. Firewalls also restrict certain types of data and IP addresses for security. Firewalls are typically included in your computer’s operating system and may also be included in your router.

Free Zone

A period of time each day during which data usage is unmetered and does not count toward your data allowance. For Classic plans, the Late Night Free Zone is available from midnight to 5 a.m. during your local time; for Evolution and Essential plans, the Early Bird Free Zone runs from 3 a.m. to 8 a.m local time. Liberty and Freedom plans do not have a Free Zone.

The Free Zone is a great time to download big files, stream movies and do whatever else you’d like to do without your activities counting against your data cap. Also, if you are a Classic, Evolution or Essential plan customer and you have exceeded your monthly data allowance and are in restricted mode, you’ll be back to full speed during the Free Zone.



The Exede network includes a number of gateways on the ground around the U.S. The gateways connect the satellite to the internet. Each gateway has a large antenna that transmits the internet signal from the ground to the satellite and back again.

Geosynchronous Orbit

This is an orbit 22,236 miles above the Earth occupied by Viasat-1 and other communications satellites. In this orbit, objects match the rotation of the Earth, and thus appear to stay in the same place. This is what allows communications satellites to deliver service to stationary antennas on the ground.



Refers to your physical computer equipment, like the monitor, mouse, etc. It also refers to the Exede equipment installed at your location, such as the antenna and modem.


IP Address

An IP (Internet Protocol) address is a numerical label assigned to any device connected to the internet. Your IP address is automatically assigned by your ISP and may change from day to day, unless you have a persistent IP address (available with Exede Business service).


Internet Service Provider, like Exede!



Local Access Network, it’s a network that is usually small (for just your business or home) and makes it easy to share information between a router, computers, smartphones, printers and other connected devices within the LAN.


Latency is a measurement of time delay in any kind of system. In satellite communications, it’s the length of time that it takes our signal to travel from your home to our satellite, and then down to a ground-based gateway which connects you to the internet. Latency was an issue with earlier satellite internet services, but we’ve managed to overcome most of its effects with our web acceleration technology. Latency can still affect some things, such as VPNs and gaming.

Local Dealer

A local business, also known as a local retailer, certified by Viasat to sell and install your Exede service. There are hundreds of them located all over the U.S.Click here to find an Exede dealer in your area.


MAC Address

A Media Access Control Address is a unique number found on any connected device. Your computer has one, your smartphone has one, and your Exede modem has one. Almost like a serial number, a MAC address identifies each individual device, but unlike an IP address, it never changes.


Short for Megabits per second, it’s a data rate used to measure internet speed. A bit is the most basic unit of digital information, and data rates are computed by how many bits can move in a second. The higher the bit rate, the faster the speed at which the data can be moved. Our Exede12 service has a download speed of 12 Mbps and an upload speed of 3 Mbps.

Metered Connection

An internet connection where data usage counts toward a monthly allowance. Most Exede plans are metered, as are most cellphone plans.


A device that connects your computer to the internet. The Exede modem, which we provide, is connected through a coaxial cable to the transceiver in your satellite dish and to your computer or router via an Ethernet cable.


Operating System

This is the software that manages your electronic device. The two most common computer operating systems are Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS. Two popular smartphone operating systems are Apple iOS and Android from Google.


Peak period

Also known as “Internet Rush Hour,” peak period refers to the time of the day when there are a large number of people using the internet. Typically this is in the evening hours from 5 or 6 p.m. up to 2 a.m.

Peer-to-Peer File Sharing Programs (P2P)

These are programs that allow users to share music, files, books, software, etc.  Use of these sites can be problematic, not only because they often consume large amounts of data but because the files being shared are often copyright protected.

Remember, our Acceptable Use Policy prohibits the use our service to download intellectual property belonging to third parties without authorization.

Playback Settings

These are settings on websites like YouTube and Netflix that determine the quality of your video. The faster your internet service, the higher the playback quality these services can support. You can control the settings to limit the amount of data you consume with video. Oftentimes, a medium setting works just fine and can save you a lot of data. Here’s an article about how to make these changes.

Public Connection

A public connection (like a Wi-Fi connection at a cafe) allows you to access the internet. However, it is less secure than a private network.



Random Access Memory, refers to the on-the-fly storage your computer or other device uses to run programs and store data as you’re working on it. The more RAM you have, the more smoothly and quickly your device will operate, especially when you have more than a few programs open.


A device that connects multiple devices to the internet, typically via a wireless connection. Once you connect a modem to a wireless router, it creates a Wi-Fi network where any computer or device within range (and with password access) can access the signal to use the internet.



Anything that orbits the Earth can be called a satellite; the moon is a satellite. In the case of artificial satellites used for communication, they are launched into orbit with rockets to serve as a conduit between different points on the ground. Our Viasat-1 satellite receives internet signal from gateway antennas on the ground and transmits them to thousands of antenna dishes at residences and businesses around the country.

Satellite Internet

It’s a type of high-speed internet that utilizes a satellite 22,000 miles up in space to act as the middleman. The system sends information at the speed of light (186,282 miles per second) between your computer and the internet. Satellite internet does not rely on cable systems or phone lines, but rather a modem that is connected to a small dish installed on the exterior of your home or office.

Search Engine

A search engine is a website used for finding information on the internet. Examples include Google and Bing.  


Otherwise known as computer programs, “software” refers to the applications that allow you to perform various task with your computer or electronic device. Microsoft Office and Adobe Photoshop are two common, popular examples of software. 

Speed Tests

Tests that measure latency, download, and upload speeds. Click to test your speed.


Streaming is a technology that gets music or video to your computer through the internet as a continuous stream, instead of downloading the file. Sites like Netflix and Pandora use streaming technology.   



Think of this as the brains of your satellite dish. The “transmit and receive integrated assembly” (TRIA) manages the signals to and from our satellite to the modem in your home.



The term used to describe sending documents or programs from your computer or other connected device through the internet. This can be as simple as uploading a single photo to Facebook, or it can be a continuous upload, such as video chatting.


Typically refers to the amount of data you use.



Launched in October 2011, Viasat-1 is the largest capacity communications satellite in the world; it powers Exede Internet and more.


Voice over Internet Protocol is a technology that turns sounds (your voice) into data so it can be sent over the internet. This is the technology behind Exede Voice home phone service.


A Virtual Private Network lets you use public connections with the security of a private network. A VPN is often used by at-home workers who need a secure connection to their work servers. Some VPNs may be very slow with Exede Internet, while others may work just fine. A great way to find out is to take your VPN-equipped laptop to a local dealer and test it out. Find local dealers here.



Wide Area Network typically refers to a business’s network over multiple locations. It can also refer to the internet. Compare to a LAN, or Local Area Network, which is used for your home or office network.


A Wi-Fi network is one that connects multiple devices to the internet using radio signals. The benefit is the ability to use computers, smartphones and other devices without needing a wired connection.

WiFi Modem

The Exede WiFi Modem, currently available in many areas, includes a built-in wireless router, Ethernet router and an integrated Exede Voice adapter for optional home phone service. In some areas, the WiFi Modem also enables higher speeds.


WildBlue was an earlier generation of satellite internet service, provided by a company called WildBlue. Viasat acquired WildBlue in 2009. Since 2012, most WildBlue customers have upgraded to Exede Internet service.

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