Having access to the internet is essential for participating in modern society. Even if you don’t use social media, many jobs and educational opportunities require a connection to the internet. Unfortunately, many people in rural areas continue to struggle with limited or poor internet access.
Most rural areas depend on satellite internet, but this connection can be slow and expensive. To solve this problem, Elon Musk’s SpaceX is developing a new and improved form of satellite internet, called Starlink. Although Starlink could be a significant boon to some rural areas, it also has its drawbacks.
What Is Starlink?
Traditional satellite internet sends signals to a satellite that’s located about 22,000 miles above Earth. Because these satellites are so far away, upload and download speeds are slow. If too many people use the same satellite simultaneously, speeds slow down even more.
While the U.S. Senate has recently demonstrated its intention to upgrade the U.S. broadband network in a recent spending package, Starlink is addressing a lot of the traditional problems already by sending many satellites into a lower orbit. Rather than positioning their satellites 22,000 miles above Earth, SpaceX is rocketing Starlink equipment into a low-Earth orbit, roughly 300 miles above the planet’s surface.
As of January 2022, there were over 1,500 Starlink satellites already in orbit. Eventually, the internet service could include over 30,000 satellites, all working in tandem to give users a fast and reliable internet experience. Musk’s goal is to connect the entire world, land and sea, with these low-orbit satellites.
Is Starlink Internet Good? Is It Fast?
Starlink’s official website says the service has download speeds of 50-500 Mbps. According to actual users, the average for Starlink in late 2021 was over 100 Mbps. That’s impressive for satellite internet – it’s enough to download movies, work from home and even game at decent speeds.
In addition to speed, Starlink has also impressed users with its low latency. Latency describes how quickly you can get a response for requested information. Both gamers and remote workers benefit from low latency, or when new information shows up quickly.
So yes, Starlink is fast. Depending on where you live, you may have faster options. For example, Starlink’s 100 Mbps is not as fast as the 1000 Mbps offered by fiber internet in some locations. However, these low-orbit satellites are a huge improvement in speed and latency for many rural families.
What Are the Disadvantages of Starlink?
Although Starlink promises to revolutionize internet connection in rural areas, it’s not a great choice for cities. Even multiple satellites would struggle to support the number of users that live in highly populated areas. At least for now, there are cheaper, faster internet options if you live in a major city.
Because Starlink is still being developed and launched, users may experience some growing pains along with the service. For example, Starlink warns of brief blackouts until they’re able to get more satellites into the air and increase connectivity. Some customers have experienced frustration because natural elements have blocked their access to the satellites.
Depending on your location, Starlink might not be the most cost-effective internet option for you. Current costs include $599 for the hardware and an additional monthly fee of $110 for the service. Business internet from Starlink is more expensive. Before you decide to invest in Starlink, compare costs with other internet providers in your area.
Is Starlink Better Than Regular Internet?
Starlink has already exceeded expectations and the company has responded quickly to customer feedback. For many rural areas, Starlink’s low-orbit satellites offer unprecedented speeds and low latency for gamers. However, this internet service isn’t a universal solution for everyone’s connectivity needs.
If you live in a major city, Starlink may not be better than other types of internet in your area. Musk’s goal with Starlink is to connect the entire world, but Starlink is designed to primarily empower rural communities and the developing world – places where other types of internet service can’t go.
In some cases, Starlink is better than regular internet. It all depends on where you live and what you’re looking for. If you decide Starlink is your best option, you can get in line for the service with a deposit of $99. The company will send you hardware after working through the customers before you.
Is StarLink Internet Good? Maybe the Sky Is the Limit
Elon Musk’s innovative low-orbit satellites are transforming the way rural communities experience the internet. Starlink offers fast speeds and low latency in areas where internet options are limited for families who want to connect. However, this technology is new and SpaceX is still working out some kinks.
For example, in response to concerns from astronomers, SpaceX added visors to Starlink satellites to reduce their brightness in space. The company also recently announced mobile internet access for boats and RVs. Although Starlink is good right now, it only promises to get better in the future.
Follow Us On
Get the latest tech stories and news in seconds!
Sign up for our newsletter below to receive updates about technology trends