Elon Musk and SpaceX internet connection

Starlink is a satellite internet service that operates through a constellation of satellites. Project initiated by Elon Musk in 2015 and recently operational, it ensures a stable and fast connection, whatever your geographical location. Mainly intended for those forgotten by fiber.

Starlink can provide a speed between 100 and 330 Mbps regardless of your geographic location. Unlike a traditional satellite internet service like Nordnet which exclusively uses satellites placed in a very distant so-called geosynchronous orbit, the Starlinks are placed in a much lower Earth orbit allowing a fast connection at very low latency. Latency or ping is the time it takes for your computer to communicate with the infrastructure. The latter is between 25 and 35 milliseconds against 600 to 800 milliseconds in geostationary. This low latency thus opens the doors to online gaming. In terms of speed, a Starlink connection is between vDSL and Fiber and has the advantage of not needing any ground infrastructure.

Satellite internet has been around for a few years, the novelty with Starlinkis that these satellites will not be placed in a geostationary orbit.

The geostationary orbit is a circular orbit that allows an object placed in this orbit to remain permanently above the same point on the equator. The problem is that to reach this orbit, you have to go very high. The latter being 36,000 km away, a satellite providing Internet access will inexorably suffer from a latency problem. We are talking about a ping exceeding 600 milliseconds making any online game almost impossible.

This is where Elon Musk’s solution comes in. The idea is to deploy thousands of satellites in a much lower orbit. The Starlink constellation is positioned in an orbit between 540 and 570 kilometers.

The success of Starlink is dazzling and in February 2021, the Californian company announces that it has already succeeded in convincing more than 10,000 customers through its early beta test program. The main priority of the service is to serve those who do not have access to a high-speed Internet connection. SpaceX expects Starlink to achieve global availability between September and December of this year.

At the time of writing, since its inauguration in 2015, SpaceX has already successfully deployed nearly 1,800 Starlink satellites into orbit, of which nearly 1,000 are already operational. It takes between 45 days and 90 days for a satellite to arrive in its working orbit. For its launches, SpaceX uses Falcon 9 rockets which have the particularity of being partially reusable. Ultimately, the company intends to use its future 100% reusable Starship / SuperHeavy heavy launcher to deploy even more satellites in a single shot.

SpaceX® - Starship / SuperHeavy

Controverses

This large-scale Internet service is under the spotlight following many controversies, particularly by the scientific community, which has raised many questions concerning the impact of satellites on our environment during the deorbitation phases when the satellites are at the end of their life. . The observed light pollution is also at the center of debates by astronomers despite several attempts by SpaceX to reduce this impact by installing sunshades to reduce albedo. The term albedo indicates the ability of an object to reflect light. The more reflective a surface, the higher its albedo. Efforts are still underway at SpaceX and the satellites will continue to evolve. These are particularly visible after a launch. Starlink “trains” can thus take several weeks before arriving in a working orbit, where the sun visors will be fully deployed.

specs
DomaineSatellite internet
Constellation12 000 Satellite
ConstructeurSpaceX
StatusUnder deployment
PriceKit at 483 € and subscription at 99 € per month

How much does it coast ?

The Starlink kit is sold at 499$and you will then have to honor a subscription of 99 € per month. The service does not impose any restrictions on the amount of data used. The subscription is without commitment of duration. The kit is not for rent. At the end of your subscription period, you will be able to keep it and reuse it later by renewing the Starlink service. Even though the kit’s price is relatively expensive, several reports indicate that it costs SpaceX around$ 1,300 to manufacture. The company hopes to keep its customers for more than a year in order to make its product profitable.

The company also said it has no plans to add multiple offerings and will not offer multiple levels of connection speeds as it does with fiber. There is only one offer offered. However, SpaceX is already working on a new iteration of its antenna. Less expensive to buy, the latter should be smaller while guaranteeing the same connection quality.

My 1st bill for Starlink Kit

The installation of the kit is particularly simple and does not require any intervention from an antenna operator as is often the case for a more traditional satellite subscription. All you have to do is put the antenna on its tripod included in the pack or on a mast installed beforehand and connect the assembly to the mains and to the Starlink “box”. The 30 m cable allows great flexibility in the installation, allowing it to be positioned anywhere. The important thing is to place the antenna in an environment free from any obstacle. The more obstructed the field of view of the antenna, the less stable the connection will be and cuts will be expected. The Starlink app will be able to indicate the stability of the line in relation to its field of vision. The antenna will not simply point a fixed element in the sky as is the case for any satellite dish in geostationary. The solution proposed by Elon Musk is quite different. The antenna will pick up several satellites at the same time and aggregate an internet connection.

Aggregation makes it possible to accumulate several internet sources in order to provide only one by combining them, completely transparent for the user, this method makes it possible to guarantee a stable connection while the satellites move at more than 25,000 km/h. The more satellites in the field of view, the better your antenna will provide a stable connection.

It is therefore important to have a 100% clear view of the sky, hence the possibility of requiring an additional mast as was the case for us. SpaceX offers some additional accessories to help you with your setup. The Starlink app also has a tool that allows users to find the perfect location by simulating the genes that your facility might have.

Once the location has been found, the antenna will in just a few minutes orient itself optimally and begin to aggregate the satellites in its field of view, thus offering a stable connection that can be used by all. The fact of receiving a satellite average will inexorably vary your ping and your internet speed. As Starlink launches, these values are expected to fade. The router can be replaced by any compatible device. Some on the market are much more efficient than those offered by SpaceX. Indeed, the Californian company is known for its exaggerated ergonomics even if it means not offering certain options, however dear to users.

Another special feature is the possibility of transporting the kit so that you can, for example, benefit from a very high speed connection in your motorhome or in your second home. Even if for the moment the first iteration of the proposed kit is relatively bulky. The next iteration of the design should be much more compact and transportable thus facilitating its nomadic side.

Fiber

• Latency: 2.11 ms
• Upload: 686.70 Mbps (data used: 34.5 MB)

Fiber Speed Test

LTE

• Latency: 57.19 ms (5.71 ms jitter)
• Upload: 25.40 Mbps (data used: 34.5 MB)

LTE 4G Speed Test

• Latency: 34 ms
• Upload: 0.83 Mbps (data used: 34.5 MB)

• Latency: 37 ms
• Upload: 28.71 Mbps (data used: 34.5 MB)

Conclusion

Strong pointsWeak points
+ Have the equivalent of a “fiber” all over the world- Price
+ Speed up to 330 Mbps- Area free of obstacles
+ Easy to install- Possible shutdown of service in the event of a heavy thunderstorm