SpaceX has been routinely launching Starlink internet satellites since May 2019 and currently has hundreds of nodes in its megaconstellation. That provides enough coverage that SpaceX has started beta testing of its new satellite internet service. According to data from Ookla Speedtest (and analyzed by our colleagues at PCMag), Starlink is responding to its top speed claims.
Starlink enters a market that has long been dominated by a handful of companies like HughesNet and Viasat, offering slow satellite internet as a last resort for consumers who don’t have any options. other. The current network has nearly 900 satellites, some of which orbits much lower than traditional internet satellites. That helps Starlink provide higher speed and lower latency.
While Starlink isn’t cheap with $ 500 in equipment fees and $ 100 in monthly bills, it outperforms other satellite internet providers. In its invitation email, SpaceX promised speeds between 50 and 150Mbps, and it ran well in that range. With the launch of the beta, Ookla has seen average Starlink speeds increase from 30-40Mbps to 79.5Mbps.
Speed comparison is not the old protected type of satellite internet. HughesNet dropped just 19.84Mbps and Viasat was not much better at 24.75Mbps. The difference in upload speed is even more obvious. While Starlink currently manages average upload speeds of 13.8Mbps, HughesNet and Viasat are at 2.64 and 3.25Mbps, respectively.
Everyone is focused on download speed, but you need a suitable upload for video chats that has become an important part of our lives during the pandemic. Latency is also an important part of real-time services like video chat. Once again, Starlink is blowing away other satellite internet services. Ookla data shows that Starlink has an average latency of 42ms. That’s enough to make video chats bearable. HughesNet, for comparison, has a 728ms latency. SpaceX even claims its network will be able to hit under 20ms by the summer of next year. I get 8-10ms on my home cable connection.
Currently, the Starlink beta is only available to select customers in the northern US. CEO Elon Musk said he hopes to expand the beta to Canada. Ultimately, the megaconstellation Starlink will have at least 12,000 satellites with coverage across most of the world.
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