Most people in this world do not have much access to high-speed internet. Internet Service Providers (ISPs) have done little or nothing to address this issue. Google and Facebook tried, but failed. This is where Starlink comes in and succeeds.
As with any modern technology, Starlink has several advantages and disadvantages, which we are going to discuss below.
Related: What is Elon Musk Starlink project?
Major Advantages of the Starlink Satellite Internet
Starlink is faster than conventional satellite Internet. Starlink is so fast that it makes no sense to compare it with regular satellite internet.
- What Makes Starlink Faster Than Other Satellite Internet Providers?
Except for Starlink, other providers use geostationary satellites to transmit data over the Internet. The operating altitude of geostationary satellites is 35,000 km.
- More Effective Than Optic Fibers.
When the user sends a signal, the electromagnetic wave from the user terminal is transmitted to the geostationary satellite. From there, a response is returned to the receiver. So the total round trip for the Internet is 35,000 km + 35,000 km = 70,000 km.
Electromagnetic waves propagate at the speed of light (about 3,000 km per second). So the total round trip time for satellite internet is 70,000 km / 3,00,000 km/s = 233 ms. This time is called latency delay. The longer the latency, the slower will be the internet speed.
The theoretical delay is 233ms, but in real life this delay is much higher than 300ms due to various system delays and other external factors. Depending on where you live, this delay can be up to 1500 ms.
On the other hand, cable internet has a delay of 20-40ms. This comparison shows that regular satellite internet is at least 10 times slower than cable internet. There is nothing geostationary satellites can do to speed up your internet.
- High Speed Starlink Satellite.
Starlink has an operating altitude of only 550 km above the ground. So, the round trip path of an Internet signal from a Starlink dish to a Starlink satellite is 550 km + 550 km = 1100 km.
Where the round trip time is 1100km / 300000km/s = 3.67ms. The delay is 3.67 ms, but in real life this delay can be between 20-30 ms due to various system delays. In conclusion, Starlink Internet is faster than regular satellite and cable Internet.
- Starlink Can Provide Cheaper Internet
Starlink can provide internet relatively cheaper than cable and satellite internet in rural and suburban areas. In many places, suburban users pay the same as city users, but have a much slower internet.
For example, in cities sometimes people pay $50-60 for 100/10 internet (100Mbps received, 10Mbps received). In rural areas, people still have to pay more than $100, but only get 10/1 internet (10Mbps input, 1Mbps output). Starlink, on the other hand, charges only $99 for unlimited speed.
- More Mobile And Portable?
Starlink Internet is more mobile than cable Internet. Cellular is portable, but the service is not available everywhere. Traditional satellite internet is as mobile as Starlink, but offers slow internet speeds with high latency and poor service.
Starlink Internet will be available no matter where you live. Starlink covers the whole world, from Antarctica to the middle of the ocean. Thousands of low orbit satellites will be around us. Their signals can reach every part of this world.
According to Starlink, if you’re in a remote suburb, in the middle of the ocean, or in the sky, you can use Starlink Internet, while cable internet (e.g. Spectrum) is not available everywhere. Services are limited except in major cities.
Rural cable internet speed is quite disappointing and costly. It’s surely valid for cellular internet. Cellular internet is not that great for media consumption — such as YouTube, Netflix, Hulu.
- Easy Set Up Of Starlink Device?
The Starlink dish installation is very easy. Once your order is confirmed, SpaceX will ship a Starlink package that includes a plate, WiFi router, mounting brackets (optional) and necessary cables. Plate installation does not require special knowledge and skills.
You just need to find a place with a good view of the sky. Install the mounting bracket and secure it with the Starlink plate facing the sky. When turned on, the dish changes direction to obtain an optimal signal. Installation couldn’t be easier than this.
- Will Starlink Internet Work During Bad Weather Conditions?
Even if a natural disaster strikes an area, it takes days infact several weeks to restore internet connectivity. Natural calamities like storms, tornadoes, wildfires, or floods can severely damage your internet cable. Repairing these cables after a storm is expensive and time-consuming.
However, Starlink Internet does not suffer from catastrophic Internet outages on Earth. When the sky clears, you can get Starlink internet. There are thousands of base stations all over the world. If one base station fails due to bad weather, the other base station will provide Internet access to the Starlink satellites.
- How Much Reliable Is Starlink?
Starlink provides reliable internet. Traditional satellite Internet providers use only a few geostationary satellites. Due to the high altitude of geostationary orbit, their internet is very unreliable and optimistic.
Disadvantages of the Starlink Satellite Internet
To every discovery there comes the cost of it and that is indeed a scenario for the Starlink satellite, but there is no such huge worrying factor that comes with it. Some of the prime disadvantages are:
- Slow Internet Connectivity In Cities.
Starlink has one significant drawback compared to cable internet. At any given time, Starlink has a fixed number of satellites in a particular location. All users in a given location use the same bandwidth.
So more people use the same bandwidth in cities than in rural areas. Therefore, Starlink speeds in cities are lower than in the suburbs.
- Problematic Hardware installation.
Hardware installation can be problematic for many users. A typical cable company or satellite internet company provides equipment installation services. However, Starlink does not have such equipment installation services.
So users will have to install Starlink plates themselves or hire someone else. Depending on the location, obtaining the installer can be difficult.
Starlink also needs a clear view of the sky to get a seamless internet connection. If you live in a condominium or high-rise building, installing Starlink plates can be a daunting task. Depending on your location, you may need to install equipment on the roof of your home.
In the city, this may not be possible because if you are a tenant and your landlord does not allow you to install the plate.
- It’s Not Fully Portable.
Starlink is not portable compared to cellular internet. We can freely access the Internet with our mobile phones everywhere.
However, Starlink plates are not portable at all. The plate can be placed on top of the house or boat, but it’s not compact enough to be carried around freely.
- Weather Conditions Might Affect Internet Connectivity.
Interruptions in satellite communications during rain, thunderstorms or solar storms are common.
However, this is not a serious problem. This kind of confusion is also real with cable internet.
Each technology has its advantages and disadvantages. However, if the advantages of technology outweigh the disadvantages, then you should use it. Starlink has many advantages over regular satellites, cellular and cable internet. This is why we should embrace this internet, not avoid it.