SpaceX Serious Satellite Internet

Source: The Tech Report SpaceX Serious Satellite Internet

This Lucky Gerbil Gets To Watch SpaceX Launches Live

There is a benefit to living in Florida, the chance to watch SpaceX do their thing in person which is what inspired The Tech Report to take a look at SpaceX’s Starlink project.  The idea behind this venture is to place thousands of satellites in LEO, somewhere between 500 to 700km above the earth, to serve internet to a million clients or so which will not only pay for the project in the long term but will also provide a constant revenue stream for Ol’ Musky. 

The trick to making this work is the large number of units in the satellite constellation, which allows you to successfully connect to a consecutive series of satellites Low Earth Orbit as opposed to a single satellite in a geosynchronous orbit located about 36,000km from the ground.  The shorter distance reduces latency from ~100ms to a mere ~10ms, making LEO satellite internet viable.  As for how it stacks up against fibreoptics, a bit of napkin math shows that if the linear distance between you and the endpoint of the connection is greater than four times the satellite’s height, satellite would be faster than fibreoptics.

It will be a while before this becomes an option, but for now you can learn about how it may work in the future at The Tech Report.

Still think that satellite internet is a non-starter because the pesky laws of physics make for an untenable ping? You're not wrong, but you might be soon. Read on to find out what Starlink could mean for the global internet landscape in just a few years.

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About The Author

Jeremy Hellstrom

Call it K7M.com, AMDMB.com, or PC Perspective, Jeremy has been hanging out and then working with the gang here for years. Apart from the front page you might find him on the BOINC Forums or possibly the Fraggin' Frogs if he has the time.

4 Comments

  1. serpretetsky

    “…as opposed to a single satellite in a geosynchronous orbit located about 36,000km from the ground. The shorter distance reduces latency from ~100ms to a mere ~10ms …”
    Just want to point out that 100ms is only the time for the signal to get up to the satellite. For it to get back to earth to its destination is another 100ms. Furthermore, if you want to measure round-trip latency (ping for example is round trip latency, most games show round trip latency) then you need to double it. So for current geosync internet you are looking at about 400ms of ping simply from the speed of light latency.

    • Jeremy Hellstrom

      Hence the napkin math … though if the LEO ones can provide 40ms in perfect conditions, that is still usable as opposed to a 400ms delay as your best case scenario from GEO. The old Iridium system comes to mind.

      • Sebastian Peak

        Jeremy you can’t be Sirius.

        • Jeremy Hellstrom

          THANK YOU! Someone got it.

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