SpaceX Starlink beta users are beginning to share their experiences, confirming that satellite service can provide fast broadband speeds and low latency in remote areas. A beta tester using the Reddit username Wandering-coder brought his new Starlink device and mobile power supply to a national forest in Idaho, where he connects to the Internet at 120Mbps download speeds.
Starlink “works great,” he wrote yesterday. “I made a real-time video call and some tests. My power is up to 300w and the power consumption for the whole system while operating is around 116w.” Starlink has done that in a place where Wandering-coder cannot get any mobile services from Google Fi, T-Mobile-based services, and the US Mobile network. “There are no cells here with any aircraft carriers,” he wrote.
Wandering-coder used a Starlink connection in the woods to create that post on Reddit and upload a bunch of photos to Imgur. Wandering-coder told Ars that he used Starlink at home in North Idaho and that he conducted his test at Hayden Creek Shooting Range in the Coeur d’Alene National Forest of Idaho panhandle.
Here are some pictures from the Wandering-coder’s experiment in the woods and a terminal shot of a user outside his home:
With the Starlink user’s satellite terminal / dish placed on the ground in a relatively open part of the forest, the Wandering-coder ran a test that measured download speeds of 120Mbps, uploading 12Mbps. and the latency is 37ms. He got a worse result in a different, denser location where he placed the disc closer to the trees, as Starlink needed a clear line of sight for the SpaceX satellites. Wandering-coder writes: “It does not work well with a heavy canopy / trees in view. “I’ll only be connected for about 5 seconds at a time. Make sure you have the clearest possible view of the sky!”
Wandering-coder is not urging other Starlink testers to complete the same test, in case SpaceX opposes beta testers using the service far from their registered location. “All things Considered, [it’s] Probably best kept [the user terminal] “Just knowing mobility is possible until there is formal shedding on the subject,” he wrote.
“It feels like it comes from the future”
Wandering-coder also shared his first impressions in another Reddit post and a series of pictures of his home device. Here are some photos taken from unboxing the device:
Wandering-coder writes: “Everything has an extremely high build quality and this works significantly better than I ever imagined. “It feels like it’s from the future. With a high-end mobile phone priced in around $ 1,000, I was completely surprised to have a setup like this in hand for ~ $ 500, because So I have a positive bias against this service. “
As revealed last week, Starlink beta is priced at $ 99 a month plus $ 499 upfront for user terminal, tripod, and router.
At home, Wandering-coder says he has 135Mbps download speeds, 25Mbps upload and 21ms latency when the disk is positioned on the ground with “limited obstruction” between the disk and the sky. He also checked the user’s terminal in a different location with “significant obstructions” in the form of “bad weather, treetops, fences, [and] “He wrote. Even in that situation, he reported a download speed of 46Mbps, an upload speed of 15Mbps and a latency of 41ms. He has yet to put the antenna on the roof when conducting the test.”
“With all the obstacles to this connection at the moment, I’m amazed how well it works,” he wrote. “Streaming, low-latency video conferencing, and gaming are all fully accessible with this service. Even for the beta, it seems they have underestimated Starlink’s capabilities, as So I’m glad to see it matured. “
While mounting a user terminal on one’s roof would certainly be complicated, Wandering-coder wrote that everything else is pretty simple:
Warm-up is about 1 minute when plugged in to the mains, then takes 1 minute to 15 minutes for proper mechanical orientation. The positioning is all done automatically, so it’s basically plug & play … There is a single Ethernet wire that supplies power from the antenna band to the power supply and one Ethernet cable for the power supply. from the power supply to the router. The antenna cord provided is fixed to the antenna, but also over 100 ‘(by estimate, I did not measure the length). There are no settings involved but physical location and Wi-Fi network naming and password – all tough things are automated.
Starlink is much faster than traditional satellite
New speed test data collected by Ookla and published by PCMag last week shows Starlink average download speeds of 79.5 Mbps and average upload speeds of 13.8 Mbps in October, when the service is in a more limited trial phase. The same data shows average download speeds of 24.75Mbps for Viasat’s Exede service and 19.84Mbps for HughesNet, both of which offer service from geostationary satellites. The upload speeds of Viasat and HughesNet are 3.25Mbps and 2.64Mbps respectively.
Starlink’s low-Earth orbit satellites outperformed their higher-latency satellites in terms of latency, with Starlink giving an average of 42ms. According to PCMag, Viasat and HughesNet have speeds of 643ms and 728ms, respectively.
SpaceX’s invitation to new users last week told them to expect “the data rate to change[ing] from 50Mbps to 150Mbps and the latency from 20ms to 40ms over the next few months as we upgrade the Starlink system … In terms of latency we expect to reach 16ms to 19ms by summer 2021. “
One Montana resident posted speed test results with 174Mbps download, 33Mbps upload and 39ms latency. The beta tester wrote on Reddit yesterday: “Get out of rural Montana, where our alternative is to pay gigs. Starlink will forever change the game.”
The Starlink Reddit community has a number of resources to track beta progress, such as a list of user speed tests and a list of statuses where at least some people have received a beta invitation. Those states are Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, Washington and Wisconsin. You can also watch a 10-second video of a user for a quick view of the opening of the box.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wrote on Twitter today that “thousands of additional Starlink beta invitations are added [are] go out this week. “
The list image of Wandering-coder