The two basic types of routing are bent-pipe routing and satellite-to-satellite routing. Bent-pipe routing means the satellite reflects the signal back to earth. For LEOS, bent pipe can mean the signal goes from the user, to the satellite and back to an earth station. Then the signal is transfered over terestrial lines to another earth station and sent to another satellite, which bounces the signal back to the earth to be received.
Satellite-to-satellite routing means the user sends the signal to the satellite, the satellite sends the signal directly to other satellites which find the receiver and sends the signal down.
Bent-pipe routing will increase the signal latency. Satellite-to-satellite routing calls for much more sophisticated technology within the satellite, which drives up the cost of satellites that may have to be replaced every five or six years.