More than four years ago Elon Musk has promised the world fast cheap and reliable internet connection. However, it was not just a regular cable internet idea that he came up with, but rather satellite internet! The time has come, as SpaceX has been launching batches of Starlink Satellites into the orbit for the past few years. So when will we gain access to it? And will it be faster than the controversial 5G?
Starlink internet for the public is almost here
For Starlink Satellites to provide minor coverage of US about 400 units need to be put into orbit. and about 800 to provide moderate coverage. But according to Elon Musk CEO and founder of SpaceX, in the end, to provide worldwide coverage there could be as many as 30,000 Starlink Satellites flying above our heads.
It must be noted that Starlink internet already works, as shown by Elon’s tweet “Sending this tweet through space via Starlink satellite” on the 22nd of October, 2019. However, it is still in the development stage. But there is not much time left until public launch, because there is speculation, that Starlink will start offering internet services to the public in mid-2020. Of course, it will be in the beta stage. that means it probably will not be as reliable as expected at first and may encounter various other problems. But everything has to start with a small step.
Lasers will ensure speeds as never before
Starlink Satellites are expecting to provide a latency of as low as 25ms and internet speeds of up to 1Gbps. This would allow you to download HD movies in just a few seconds. Not to mention its potential importance to stock markets and other time-sensitive business spheres. To comparison transatlantic internet nowadays is only capable of providing up to 65ms latency due to technological limitations.
To avoid these technological limitations Starlink Satellites will be communicating to earth via radio waves, and use laser communications between themselves. And as we know, radiowaves and light move a lot faster in the air or vacuum than in glass fiber or metal cable. Also, it is worth mentioning that these satellites will be placed in about 500km height so the time the radio waves will be traveling is relatively minuscule.
Will Starlink satellites save the internet?
Of course, like a regular internet that you use today, Starlink Satellite provided one will need specialized equipment. This equipment will be a pizza-box sized package. There will be a space antenna inside it that will do the space communication and convert it to Wi-Fi. Having this in mind it is clear that a consumer won’t have to rely on cable-based internet connection.
This as well could serve as a means to bypass the infamous Firewall of China that censors the internet in the whole country. As we know, similar censorship is implemented in a few middle eastern countries like Iran and Syria. Other countries like Vietnam and Russia also have their own systems, so SpaceX’s Starlink Satellite system has the potential to provide uncensored internet to citizens of the most brutal countries.
But on the other hand, if the whole world will rely on a single Internet Service Provider (ISP), there is an opportunity for corporate censorship. This means that SpaceX could control which data to transfer and which not to.
Anyway, the idea of having the internet in every most remote corner of the world is quite appealing, isn’t it?