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Starlink From SpaceX Is Changing Term 'Rural' to 'Potential'

by Vincent Y June 21, 2020

Starlink From SpaceX Is Changing Term 'Rural' to 'Potential'

Image credit : inverse.com

The following article is contributed by our buddy @Totalyscrewedup, you can also follow him on Twitter!

Most IT pros won't consider living in rural Indiana, yet here I am. Living in 'the woods' has lots of appeals, including privacy, magnificent views, day and night, to name a few, but it has many drawbacks related to distance. While most think of work commute or trips to the store, for me, the biggest one always will be access to the internet. One would think that, like all things magical, the Internet should exist in remote areas but anyone working remotely, using their hotspot, can feel my pain.

You can't just call your local cable or phone company and tell them to bring it to your house. If you're one of the lucky few that enjoy such privileges, know I'm very jealous. Ultimately, being away from everything is the point, as well as the problem, of living in rural areas.


Certainly, there are options for rural regions other than just the expansive and limited cell service, like microwave and satellite internet services but anyone lucky to have the former understands that speeds are anything but broadband, while the latter is just dial-up 2.0. In addition to point of sight and data cap limitations, weather dependency, latency is quite literally a game stopper for anyone even thinking about playing any current popular games (Call of Duty, Apex Legends, Fortnite, to name a few). The frustration of the buffering circle while watching Serenity for 20x time on Hulu isn't even comparable to night time adds for class action lawsuits on local channels I'm forced to watch since I have to manage my data allotment.

Fantastically, there is hope for those on the 'outer rims' of society.
SpaceX has been deploying low orbit latency satellites since last year for the sister company Starlink. The promise here is providing reliable low latency, actual broadband to the 'Browncoats' like me.

While FCC considers anything below 100ms as low latency, Elon promises low 20ms or better, which is so hard to believe, that FCC has doubts that Starlink tech can deliver. As history has proven, Elon might miss the deadline but not the promise made and I, like many others, certainly am counting on him to deliver.
The simplicity of the answer to the tech is amazing. Instead of sending off extremely big and expensive satellite into high earth orbit, Starlink is sending tens of thousands of small, cheap ones into low earth orbit, allowing for shorter distance and stronger signal (think Wi-Fi at home, the closer to the routers you are, the stronger and better the connection).
Also, you're not relying on a single satellite but many that you can reach from different positions, which the antenna on the ground will automatically seek out. As Elon explained in a tweet, all you need to do is plug it in and point at the sky, in either order, and you're connected to this mysterious cloud.
It's like an inverted Avatar premise of the global network but instead of rooted in the network of trees, this one is tethered above the clouds.




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