What is Starlink? How Does Satellite Internet Work?

SpaceX's Starlink project aims to deliver the internet from satellites. So how does satellite internet work and does it work in remote areas of the world?

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These are some of the thousands of satellites that form part of SpaceX ‘s Starlink project and are placed in low Earth orbit ( Low Earth Orbit ( ADY )), from an altitude of 160 km (orbit time 127 minutes) around the Earth (orbit time 88 minutes) to 2000 km (1200 km). mi) is an orbit corresponding to the range up to the height).

What is Starlink?

Starlink is a satellite constellation project that will place thousands of small satellites in low Earth orbit (ADY) 550 kilometers above us . Internet signals from satellites will beam to ground transceivers, which will either broadcast locally or connect directly to your Starlink router.

Starlink is not the same thing as cell phone signal , 4.5G or 5G . It allows a home, office or remote location to be connected to the Internet via satellite.

 

How Many Starlink Satellites Are In Orbit?

As of the date of publication of the article, more than 3,000 Starlink satellites are known to orbit the planet. SpaceX plans to launch as many as 12,000 more satellites to provide internet access to the entire world via Starlink The company plans to increase the number of satellites to 30,000 (some sources state that the total number could be up to 42,000 ).

That figure fell slightly in February 2022, when a geomagnetic storm destroyed 38 Starlink satellites shortly after their launch. Of a launch group containing 49 satellites, only 11 survived the event, while the rest reentered Earth’s atmosphere.

How Does Satellite Internet Work?

Satellite internet works similarly to wired internet , but unlike fixed equipment in wired internet, there are a few moving parts. Here’s a brief rundown of how satellite internet works:

  • You visit https://fish-en.com to read the latest technology news . Your data request is transmitted from your computer to a satellite internet dish connected to your home.
  • The satellite internet dish sends the data request to an Earth-orbiting satellite . In response, the satellite sends the request to the internet service provider .
  • Sending your data back reverses the process, transferring the data from the service provider to the satellite, then the satellite to the satellite internet dish, your router, and your computer.

How Fast is Starlink?

When Starlink was first released , speeds of up to 1 Gbps were advertised. The company pulled that figure to an ambitious 10 Gbps in 2021 , making it much faster than most existing gigabit internet services . However, as we have seen from the speed tests performed by many users, it is seen that the actual speeds cannot approach the speeds specified by the company.

Speaking at Satellite 2020, SpaceX CEO Elon Musk said that the company is “ targeting a latency of under 20 milliseconds so someone can play a responsive game at a competitive level,” which would be phenomenal.

When Starlink first became available in August 2020, the beta program was limited to users in high-latitude regions of the US and Canada, such as Seattle, Chicago, and Portland. Promising results in speed tests were a boon for Starlink at the time and encouraged the company to continue its satellite launches. For example, in 2020 a group of Reddit users created a handy Starlink speed test list to show the range and variety of locations.

  • According to the listing, Starlink ‘s highest confirmed download speed was 203.74Mbps with 29ms ping .
  • The lowest overall ping was 18ms .
  • The highest upload speed seen was 42.58Mbps .

Since Starlink has been up and running for nearly two years, it’s easier than ever to understand how fast it is in certain areas. Starlink’s internet speed increased over the period as more satellites came online and better coverage was offered to an increasing number of Starlink subscribers. The image below shows the steady overall growth of Starlink’s average speed, while speed tests in excess of 300 Mbps are now commonplace and some tests are around 600 Mbps .

Is Starlink Faster Than Fiber?

The answer depends on your internet service provider. In USA, end users can use fiber internet at 10 Gbps (However, these speeds are offered in very limited regions and at high prices ). Starlink is currently not as fast as fiber, but faster than some alternative internet technologies. Given SpaceX’s history of delivering massive projects, Starlink has the potential to become more and more common, as seen in the previous image.

It is a fact that Starlink is faster than most fiber connections in our country .

Is-Starlink-Faster-Than-Fiber What is Starlink? How Does Satellite Internet Work? Economy Life
Is Starlink Faster Than Fiber

It should also be noted that Starlink is not trying to compete with fiber services. Instead, Starlink targets users in rural and remote areas , offering them much faster (or at least faster speeds and fewer restrictions) internet than previously thought.

 

Who Can Use Starlink?

With all of the Starlink satellites in orbit, the service is expected to be available to the entire world. Currently, Starlink is available in 32 countries , including most of the USA, Canada , most of Europe , and New Zealand , and many are on the waiting list.

Starlink may be available in our country , but whether we can use the service depends on legal regulations .

For example, countries such as China and Russia will require the service to be privately regulated if they allow Starlink to broadcast on their own frequencies. Another situation is the prohibition of sale and use of Starlink ground terminals . In such a case, the service may not be available due to local restrictions , even if the country is within the coverage area .

So the answer isn’t as simple as turning on Starlink’s satellite receiver as soon as it’s in range.

Will Starlink Benefit Remote Areas?

Starlink will provide satellite internet coverage globally. The service could completely change the way people living in remote areas use the internet.

A definite benefit of Starlink for remote locations is latency (response time). If you are in a remote area, building a long cable is costly and comes with the potential disadvantage of high latency. Starlink data transfers will occur partially in space, potentially reducing latency.

Starlink’s response time will be excellent for remote locations. However, those in urban centers, particularly those living in cities with existing gigabit internet services , will not enjoy the same benefits .

How Much Does Starlink Cost?

You’ll need to pay $110 per month , in addition to a one-time equipment fee of $ 599 , which includes a Starlink satellite dish and a Wi-Fi router .

This is the standard Starlink tariff. Starlink Premium is an even more expensive subscription plan that requires $ 2,500 for equipment and a monthly subscription fee of 500 . The premium plan comes with a larger satellite dish, faster download and upload speeds, and is aimed at businesses rather than home users.

There is also a third option: Starlink RV . Starlink’s newest addition to its satellite internet list is for those on the road or perhaps those who live in a trailer and travel. However , the 135 monthly fee is more expensive than the standard rate, and you will still have to pay an equipment fee. The positive thing about signing up for Starlink RV is that you can get your gear faster than with a regular Starlink install .

Can I See Starlink Satellites From Earth?

In the middle of 2020, Starlink was the subject of many news. Everyone who’s been confined to their home as part of their coronavirus quarantine has seen satellites in the night sky. SpaceX has launched hundreds of new Starlink satellites in a short period of time. They can easily be seen racing through the night sky like a UFO train before the satellites dock on their ADY .

Once the satellites reach their positions 550 km above Earth, you will have difficulty seeing them with the naked eye. The satellites, which upset astronomers and space enthusiasts for hindering their observation, can be seen using a telescope.

How Will Starlink Affect Astronomy?

Starlink’s impact on astronomy is still being understood. But initial feedback from skywatchers and scientists has been scant . Concerns that Starlink will pollute the LDL area with artificial light from satellites seem largely settled.

DarkSat , a SpaceX experiment, aims to reduce the light pollution of satellites . SpaceX claims it reduces light pollution on test satellites by about 55 percent compared to regular Starlink satellites. However , this is still ” too bright for astronomers’ ultra-sensitive instruments that can observe stellar objects four billion times fainter than this threshold,” according to Phys.org .

Even though Starlink only has about 3,000 satellites in the sky, that’s not a big deal. But once a huge cap of 12,000 trains or 40,000 satellites is reached, artificial light pollution can become a glaring problem.

Is Starlink Safe?

Starlink is secure for data transfers. It has no resemblance to 5G , which worries some people . It’s not the same as Wi-Fi either. Starlink uses the existing frequency bands ( Ka and Ku bands ), which have been used for satellite communication for a long time without any problems .

As for true Starlink satellite safety, the more you send into space, the more likely a collision is. When one satellite passes within a kilometer of another, it is called a close encounter . 1600 of these encounters  occur each week, and SpaceX satellites account for more than half of them , according to Space.com .

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