Featured Image Source: Starlink dish render created by @ErcXspace via Twitter
SpaceX operates a constellation of approximately 1,325 Starlink broadband satellites that currently beam internet connection to a limited amount of beta users per region around the world. Overall, the Starlink constellation could have over 12,000 satellites. SpaceX officials state that before this year ends ‘most of earth’ will have access to the network. During the beta service phase, SpaceX says Starlink users can experience internet speeds ranging from 50Mbps to 150Mbps (megabits per second) and latency from 20ms to 40ms (milliseconds) “In most locations over the next several months as we enhance the Starlink system. There will also be brief periods of no connectivity at all,” the company said. “As we launch more satellites, install more ground stations and improve our networking software, data speed, latency and uptime will improve dramatically.”
Early March, SpaceX founder Elon Musk said that Starlink’s “Speed will double to ~300Mbps & latency will drop to ~20ms later this year.” For some Starlink Beta users the significant speed increase already became a reality. A couple of Starlink Beta users who have been using the broadband service for a couple of months report via Reddit that they are experiencing super high-speed internet connection of up to 400Mbps this week – which is a significant increase from the speeds SpaceX said users could expect during the Starlink Beta Test phase. “I’ve been averaging around 100mbs since Starlink arrived and they opened my area (Heber, Utah), but I noticed this morning that the speeds felt fast, sure enough I was getting 400mbs. Life changing!” a Reddit user who goes by the name BQBrad wrote and shared screenshot of a speed test, pictured below.
Source: BQBrad via Reddit
Another Starlink Beta user, who goes by the name ‘DontStayInOnePlace’ on Reddit, reported they are also experiencing high-speed in Canada. “Consistently averaging between 250-400 MBPS today, (Alberta, 54.4)” they shared, alongside a screenshot of their internet speed test (shown below). Likely, these speeds some Starlink users are experiencing this week will continue to fluctuate and not remain consistent until more satellites are launched this year, however, it provides a glimpse of what the Starlink network is capable of.
Source: DontStayInOnePlace via Reddit
The Starlink constellation is still under initial deployment and is already providing faster internet connection compared to established satellite internet providers. HughesNet offers speeds of up to 25Mbps and Viasat offers download speeds ranging from 10Mbps to 100Mbps, latency of around 590ms to 625ms for both companies, according to Reviews.org. Starlink offers a significant improvement in speed and latency because the satellites operate at a much lower altitude in low Earth orbit and feature advanced technology. The company aims to increase the speed even more long-term. SpaceX told the United States Federal Communications Commission it plans to increase Starlink’s data download rate to reach downlink speeds of 10 gigabits per second (Gbps) in the future! That will occur as the Starlink constellation’s size increases over time. [Edit: The article previously said SpaceX aims to provide speeds of 1,000Mbps = 1Gbps, which was corrected to 10 Gbps (gigabits per second). See SpaceX FCC Presentation document below.]
About the Author
Evelyn J. Arevalo joined Tesmanian in 2019 to cover news as a Space Journalist and SpaceX Starbase Texas Correspondent. Evelyn is specialized in rocketry and space exploration. The main topics she covers are SpaceX and NASA.