Convenient, fast, but expensive: Elon Musk's space Internet is already working

Convenient, fast, but expensive: Elon Musk's space Internet is already working

2 November , 15:00Technology
Not less than a million of the world's inhabitants, having bought equipment for $ 500, were able to test the operation of the Starlink satellite broadband Internet promised by Elon Musk.

At the end of last week, SpaceX, founded by Elon Musk, invited to take part in the beta testing of Starlink satellite broadband Internet service. People who have previously expressed their interest (and their account is already in the millions) received letters with registration for this service. The space internet can be tested for $ 99 a month, with a basic kit (antenna with terminal, Wi-Fi router, and mounts) for another $ 499.

Transfer rates range from 50 Mbps to 150 Mbps and latency ranges from 20ms to 40ms over the next few months as Starlink improves, the letters say. In addition, short periods of complete disconnection are possible.

Let us recall that the closed beta testing of satellites has already passed, and according to the company, it gave good results. SpaceX says the Starlink project is primarily aimed at residents of regions where there is no normal Internet connection and people are forced to use satellite Internet. The company hopes to launch paid services next year. The Starlink network will cost it at least $ 10 billion, but it will be able to bring in up to $ 30 billion a year. SpaceX has launched nearly 900 satellites to date.

Journalist Dmitry Klein has already tested the satellite Internet from Elon Musk and shared his impressions:

“Well, the Internet has earned from Musk - Starlink!) In the photo - everything you need to connect to the World Wide Web anywhere on the planet (not yet, but in the plans - just like that).

The most important thing, in my opinion, is that this system makes it possible for relatively little money ($ 500 for a set and $ 99 per month for maintenance) it will be possible to get a completely modern communication in a normal volume in any area - including where others there are simply no options. I think the quality will improve with the growth of the satellite constellation. It seems we are entering a new era!

While there are still some minor glitches, there are interruptions when the system switches to a new satellite, but in general everything works, and at a good speed and all connections and settings are carried out almost automatically, here are the comments of the first users:

“Everything is extremely well done and it works much better than I could have imagined. It feels like it’s from the future. Considering that a top-tier cell phone costs in the $ 1000 range, I’m totally amazed that I have such installation for ~ $ 500!

I placed the antenna all over the house, but always close to the ground. The antenna is automatically aligned and oriented. When connected to a power source, it takes about 1 minute to boot up, then it takes 1 to 15 minutes to properly orient the device. Positioning is done automatically, so it's basically plug & play. The fastest speed test for me showed ~ 135Mbps down, ~ 25Mbps with about 21ms latency.

No configuration is required other than physically locating and setting the Wi-Fi network name and password - all the complex stuff is automated.

I connected a Samsung 4k smart TV to the network and streamed it over YoutubTV and Amazon Prime Video for several hours. On YoutubeTV, the quality was HD +, with limited buffering after about 10 minutes for less than a second, intermittently (YouTubeTV does this regularly anyway). With Prime Video, it was in top quality, with no interruptions during playback. Statistically, the service will be interrupted at half a second intervals every 15 minutes or so, which I believe is due to a switch to a new satellite along with all the obstacles I have.

In addition to streaming, I downloaded media without issue, chatted on the phone (voip), and used github / npm / rust boxes. Video conferencing worked without lag when connected to the satellite - you can definitely work from home using that connection. I had an interruption during the video after 5 minutes due to satellites switching and when that happened I went to the app and it said how many seconds for the next satellite (15 seconds). After the elapsed time, I was automatically connected to the network and could continue video chat without interruption.

Considering all the obstacles to this connection at the moment, I'm amazed at how well it works. Streaming, low latency video conferencing, and gaming are all fully accessible with this service. Even for beta, it seems like they underestimated Starlink's capabilities, so I'm glad it's ripe

The speed is quite decent, as is the payment - of course, if not compared with the opportunities in central cities with a developed infrastructure. You forget that most of humanity lives in areas where there are problems with communication at all, and there is no question of streaming video and video conferencing. "


Blog readers reacted differently to this news. But almost everyone, of course, was upset by the price of the issue: $ 100 a month for our country is, of course, very expensive.

- In 10 years we will look at this bandura like a pager now. For $ 500, you get a huge plate and poor internet speed. Also $ 99 per month for maintenance?

- It is super for equipping the vessel. And then the sailors have huge problems just with communication, not to mention the video

- Technically interesting, but too expensive.

- This is about 2 times more expensive than the subscription fee for an unlimited average speed tariff from American providers. We pay $ 50 / mo. And they put the modem for free.

- The cost of installing a large radio mast is proportional to the square of its height. Plus the cost of equipment, land lease, power supply. On average, a metal unsupported tower 120 meters high can serve an area of one thousand square kilometers. And the cost of its construction and maintenance will, on average, be in the region of $ 10M (a tower with cable supports is much cheaper). With a population density of 20 people. per sq. km. the cost of the Internet will be comparable to the cost of Starlink. In areas of lower population density, satellite internet may have advantages, but there are not many such areas on the planet. And these areas are run either by the military (who have had satellite Internet for a long time), or completely impoverished tribes, or, conversely, by rich people who have no problem installing a directional antenna for themselves at any price. So, like many other projects of Musk - for all the interest in him - this one also seems to me rather dubious.

- My package includes $ 7.15 Internet and an unlimited phone for a month. There was also a TV, but we didn't connect it - we don't use it. For Ukraine, at the current price, the masked Internet is expensive.

- Bourgeois Musk opened his insidious face, in Russia this topic will be dead, the price is of course prohibitive and SPACE, like Max's programs ...

- Quite recently, let me remind the venerable public, Musk talked long and eloquently about the advent of the free Internet era. And then it came, for a hundred bucks a month ... And there is no need to explain that the equipment for signal reception is completely inexpensive: some have lean cabbage soup, some have small diamonds. For a common resident of the post-Soviet space, it is very expensive. And, by the way, there are also restrictions on the installation of the antenna, if my memory serves me. Quite a good option for the wilderness. Not yet more.

- Where did you hear about free internet? You mean it was in Russian? Musk may have been talking about free internet, not free of charge. Another demonstration that one should never read not only Soviet, but just Russian newspapers. In general, it is strange to think that Musk, having spent hundreds of millions of dollars on these satellites, will make it all free.

- Good thing for little money. About 10-15 years ago I dealt with Inmarsat and Thuraya, the cost of their Internet traffic was significantly higher than Starlink, in addition, the geostationary Inmarsat and Thuraya satellites gave a huge delay, not for online games.

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