The recent data by Ookla’s Speedtest Intelligence shows that Starlink doesn’t provide the previous high speed network at the moment.
The report published yesterday is based on connectivity metrics collected from Starlink subscribers. According to the analysis, Starlink is delivering varying internet download and upload speeds. Thus, they are sometimes faster and sometimes slower. Moreover, Starlink’s latency was higher than broadband in every region except one.
What Is Starlink and What Does It Offer?
It’s SpaceX’s satellite internet service. It is focusing on providing connectivity to rural areas. However, it has a very Musk-like approach. Instead of using fiber optic cables, Starlink offers its users to place a satellite on their roof. The company’s $499 satellite dish and router send and receive data via radio waves from the Starlink satellite network in space. So due to them, the provider doesn’t make investment in expensive infrastructure projects by ISPs that allows Starlink to deliver a low-cost internet.
Starlink was founded by Musk back in 2015. But it launched the beta version of the service in in October 2020 only. After a few months, the company reached the 10,000 users mark. This Tuesday, SpaceX launched a Falcon 9 rocket carrying Starlink satellites to deploy for the network. And at the same time, it said Starlink had received 500,000 sign-ups for the $99/month service.
Starlink Internet Connection Parameters
When initially launched, Starlink achieved a 102Mbps – 103Mbps download speed, a 40Mbps – 42Mbps upload speed, and a latency of 18ms – 19ms. The on-the-ground internet service provides an identical latency as well.
However, the network is becoming more widespread. To solve this and other problems, Starlink is planning to add more satellites to the existing 1,400+. Ideally, it wants to have up to 12,000 satellites.
Anyway, the changes in the download/upload rates and the latency shouldn’t be surprising. When launching the beta version of the service, Starlink’s announcement reads “Expect to see data speeds vary from 50Mbs to 150 Mbs and latency from 20ms to 40ms over the next several months as we enhance the Starlink system.”
Also Read: SpaceX’s Starlink Satellite Network Prohibits Pirating Movies
It turns out Starlink has warned the users the variability is normal. But is it normal to drop the characteristics drastically? Median Starlink download speeds in the U.S. range from 40.36 Mbps to 93.09 Mbps. In this regard, Ookla says “these represented everything from a dramatic improvement over other fixed broadband providers (545.6% faster in Tehama County, California) to a disappointment (67.9% slower in Clay County, Missouri).”
Plus, the company noticed similar variance in latency. Simply put, this means it shows how responsive an internet connection is.
“Median latency values on Starlink were observed from 31 ms (Kittitas County, Washington) all the way up to 88 ms (Otsego County, Michigan),” Ookla says.
We understand that more and more users subscribe to Starlink’s service. So it’s logical the internet connection speed will drop. Plus, technical difficulties are normal in this field. But we wonder whether the approach Starlink offers is a better way than the on-the-ground internet service.