Satellite system is the internet’s equivalent of the iPhone. The majority of the world’s population lacks access to high-speed online. Internet providers have done very little to address this issue. Google and Facebook tried, but they were unsuccessful. It is here that Starlink arrived and flourished. Starlink, like any other contemporary technology, has various benefits and drawbacks, which are addressed below.
In this article, we will discuss What is Starlink, How it works and What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Starlink? So for all the curiosity you have, let us dive straight into the topic.
What is Starlink?
Starlink is a system of satellites circling the Earth that, if all goes according to plan, will beam the net down from the sky to users on Ground.
Payloads have been used for connectivity since the 1960s, so a space-based internet is not a novel concept. These communication satellites are usually placed in a geostationary orbit, which offers both benefits and drawbacks.
Because the satellite is in geostationary orbit, it appears in the same spot in the sky from Earth every time. Because the receiving antenna does not need to track the satellite, this is ideal for ease of use. It looks to be at a standstill! Because of its altitude, it can view nearly half of the Earth below it, allowing a single satellite to cover a huge region.
Advantages of the Starlink Satellite Internet
People who reside in rural regions or in areas where traditional telecom infrastructure such as cable, fibre, or phone wiring isn’t available can benefit from satellite service.
Satellite internet service is unlikely to ever be the first choice for city dwellers, given the availability of quicker and cheaper internet in metropolitan areas. However, satellite internet connects individuals in the suburbs, small towns, developing countries, and rural areas to the rest of the globe when nothing else can.
- Satellite internet access is available.
The availability of satellite internet over other forms of internet is its main advantage. Customers will be able to access satellite services all around the world, including in remote areas where internet connectivity isn’t otherwise available, after new LEO satellite systems like Starlink and OneWeb are launched into orbit around the Earth.
Over 40% of the world’s population does not have access to the internet at this time. 1 However, laying cable infrastructure to every residence on the planet would cost billions of dollars. According to US Teleom, laying fibre optic cable costs around $27,000 per mile. 2 Satellite internet service is less expensive than constructing millions of kilometres of fibre optic cable, and it’s great for rural and hard-to-reach places.
However, for those who are unable to obtain alternative forms of internet connection, we urge that you investigate satellite internet. You can connect to the internet from practically anyplace if you have a tiny satellite dish on your roof and a satellite modem.
- It will be fast.
Starlink is expected to be quicker than the underwater fibre optic cables that now transmit internet data across the world for long-distance connections, such as those between continents. This is due to the fact that signals move at the speed of light, which is about 50% faster than the speed of light over a fibre optic line.
- It will be all over the place.
For the first time, rural, remote, and underdeveloped places will have global access to high-speed internet. Currently, just about 1% of Africans have access to high-speed internet. High-speed internet will be a click away from everywhere on Earth with a Starlink antenna.
Disadvantages of the Starlink Satellite Internet
But, for a moment, let’s be honest: satellite internet isn’t all roses and chocolate cake. Satellite service comes with a number of drawbacks. Satellite internet’s primary drawbacks are latency and bandwidth limitations. Because new technology is correcting many of the long-standing concerns with satellite service, these challenges differ per provider.
- Latency on satellite internet
The great distance that data passes between your home’s satellite dish, aircraft circling the Earth, and land-based servers is one of the downsides of satellite internet. Even data moving at lightspeed will take an extra second or two when large distances are involved. Latency refers to the time between when you request data and when the data is shown on your computer.
High-Earth orbit satellite systems (such as HughesNet and Viasat) have substantially higher latency than low-Earth orbit satellites because delay increases as the distance between the satellites increases (like Starlink).
Because portions of data are preloaded to ensure a seamless viewing experience for activities like video streaming, you won’t notice any latency issues. However, if you try to play a fast-paced video game, the latency will be so high that you won’t be able to compete with other players.
- Data caps on satellite internet
Data limits are another common complaint among satellite internet users, and they are responsible for the majority of the reduced speeds. Most satellite operators limit your data consumption to a minimal amount each month—between 10 and 150 GB. If you go above this limit, you’ll have to either pay extra for more data or accept very slower speeds.
If you’re wondering how much data you’ll need, consider that the typical American household consumes over 400 GB each month. That’s more than twice the data you can get on even the most expensive satellite package from many providers, which is why satellite consumers are so frustrated.
3 Except for the new LEO satellite internet, all satellite plans include data limits. There is presently no data restriction in Starlink’s beta programme, and we hope this remains the case.
- There are quite a few of them.
When completed, a Starlink satellite will be visible virtually anywhere on the planet. This necessitates a large number of satellites, which presents issues for astronomers. As the satellites fly around, they face the danger of colliding with objects that astronomers want to study.
- They may be able to entrap us on Earth.
With so many objects in orbit travelling at 30,000 kilometres per hour, any collision would be devastating. Junk travelling faster than the speed of a rifle bullet will build a new net around the Earth with a tighter mesh, posing a hazard to other satellites and creating even more debris. This runaway process, known as Kesler syndrome, might soon form such a tight net around the Earth that launching into space will be considerably more difficult and risky than it is now.
How does it function? Starlink
So, what makes Starlink such a hero? Because there are few or no high-speed internet alternatives in many regions of the United States, let alone sections of the developing globe. There is no cell coverage, cable, or optical fibre at our idyllic Vermont testing location, for example.
And 5G isn’t going to help. To bounce signals around the mountains, there must be too many towers, and the lower frequency version of 5G that offers you greater range just isn’t fast enough. Take advantage of Starlink’s services.
Is Starlink a Positive or a Negative?
Starlink does have the ability to connect those who would otherwise be unable to connect to the internet. It guarantees everyone, no matter where they are, high-speed, low-cost internet access.
However, this comes with a price tag and other factors to consider. From the visible and invisible effects on the night sky to the dangers of encircling the Earth with a net that makes it difficult to escape.
It’s still early days in the burgeoning space internet market, and SpaceX isn’t the only company planning to provide this service. OneWeb, Amazon, and Boeing, to mention a few, all have their own ambitions, so it appears like satellite constellations that provide internet are here to stay for the time being.
How or whether thousands of people of satellites orbiting our globe is a positive thing remains to be seen. Constellations have the ability to unite mankind while also trapping it. The astronomical community’s anxieties are justified, and the only way ahead is for all parties to work together.
Related: What is Elon Musk Starlink project?
What sets Starlink different
Low-orbit satellites from Starlink are a tenth of the cost of traditional satellite launches, making large-scale satellite launches easier and more cheap.In May 2021, Starlink’s twelfth batch of Space – based satellites was launched by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket, marking a new milestone for rocket reusability. The cost of launching satellites is reduced by orders of magnitude when reusable rockets are used.
Starlink has struck a solid stride in the last year, building and deploying roughly 120 satellites every month. Because the satellite constellation is being built up more extensively in some places first, beta service differs depending on where you are. The northern United States and lower Canada were the first to receive service.
Starlink hopes to provide satellite internet to the whole world, including rural areas where it is now unavailable, over the next several years. A large constellation of mass-produced satellites will be launched into low-altitude orbit as part of the strategy. The satellites will give faster internet connection rates by transmitting internet signals to Earth-based hubs.
What is the goal of Spacex Starlink?
The goal, according to Shotwell, is to link the three to five percent of the population where fibre just doesn’t make sense.
Presently, the institution’s cover ranges from plus or minus 50 degrees. Later this year, it intends to reach the poles. The business had hoped to get there a little bit sooner, but instead concentrated on building the laser connections required for satellite deployment.
The long-term objective of SpaceX’s Starlink project is to utilise the funds to establish a community on Mars. Musk estimated the city’s cost to be between $125 billion and $12 trillion in 2020.
Every technology has advantages and disadvantages. However, if the benefits of a technology exceed the drawbacks, we should adopt it. Traditional satellite, wireless, and cable internet have fewer advantages than Starlink. That is why, rather than avoiding the internet, we should embrace it.