Starlink is SpaceX’s ingenious solution to a problem faced by a large percentage of the worlds' population, no consistent, reliable or affordable access to the internet. SpaceX plans to bring internet to the masses in an affordable and consistent way, though a network of satellites surrounding the global.
What Is Starlink?
Starlink is an internet via satellite solution which is already available in a lot of countries, with more to roll out soon. Satellite internet is nothing new, with the first satellites for internet launching in 2003 and many more which have followed.
So, what makes the SpaceX solution different? SpaceX satellites orbit from 330 km to 550 km above the earth’s surface, which is 3 times closer than the average satellite. The close nature of these satellites means much better turnaround time for the data we send and receive, but also more satellites are needed to provide coverage and cross communication between the satellites.
To date, there are currently more than 2500 satellites in orbit, allowing the system to function in some parts of the world. SpaceX has approval for 12000 satellites and is awaiting approval for 30000 more, totaling to an end goal of 42000 SpaceX satellites orbiting the earth and providing internet coverage virtually anywhere.
What You Will Need
Unlike some other satellite and connections, Starlink is designed to work with a dedicated base station, which each user will need to purchase from SpaceX. The base station is a small satellite that can be mounted anywhere where it has a clear view of the sky.
The base station satellite itself will move throughout the day as it tracks orbiting satellites for the best possible connection. From the base station runs a typical power and internet cable connection to a specialized router, from which you can get either plugged in internet or Wi-Fi for playing Canada slots online.
Due to the close nature of the satellite array, speeds can be achieved that are unheard of for typical satellite internet. SpaceX claims speeds of 50Mbps to 150Mbps and beta testers have been getting well within that range with lower speeds around 70Mbps and maxing out at around 150Mbps. The speed is good, but latency is the typical difficult point when it comes to satellite internet. SpaceX has claimed an average latency of 20ms to 40ms, which has been confirmed to be the case by beta testers. These speeds are incredible for any satellite internet, even plans considerably more expensive than what SpaceX is offering.
SpaceX is not the only company offering satellite internet but it seems to be the only company putting focus on supplying to users outside the US. For users in the US, Viasat and HughesNet are both viable options, but both are slower, have more latency and are more expensive than the offering from Starlink
Who Is It For?
As amazing as this satellite internet by SpaceX is, it still falls dramatically short of the average fibre optic connection on speed and latency. This connection is by no means meant to replace fibre, but to supply a stable and consistent connection to those in rural areas without the option of having fibre.