SpaceX Starlink beta users have been sharing speed tests on social media, thanking the company for its great service. A Twitter user caught the attention of SpaceX founder Elon Musk when they shared that Starlink is providing them with high-speed internet service, download speeds of 260 Mbps (megabits per second), upload of 14.5 Mbps, and Ping (latency) of 58 ms (milliseconds). “Rural IL [Illinois]. Game/Life changer. Thanks @SpaceX @elonmusk,” they wrote in a Twitter post. “Glad it’s working! The sheer amount of work done by SpaceX engineering, production & launch teams is amazing,” Musk responded, “Ping should improve dramatically in coming months. We’re aiming for <20ms. Basically, you should be able to play competitive FPS [video] games through Starlink,” he said. Starlink will be ideal for online gaming because the internet will travel at the speed of light from the satellite in space to the user terminal, not constrained to terrestrial infrastructures.
Glad it’s working! The sheer amount of work done by SpaceX engineering, production & launch teams is amazing.— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 15, 2021
Ping should improve dramatically in coming months. We’re aiming for <20ms. Basically, you should be able to play competitive FPS games through Starlink.
Musk answered several questions by multiple Twitter users, his replies provided insight into how SpaceX plans to improve the Starlink network. He said that latency will improve as SpaceX sets up more ground stations to communicate with the satellites in space. –“More ground stations & less foolish packet routing will make the biggest differences” to improve ping rate, he said. “Looking at speed of light as ~300km [kilometers] per millisecond & satellite altitude of ~550km, average photon round-trip time is only ~10ms, so a lot of silly things have to happen to drive ping >20ms,” Musk explained.
To date, the company has launched 1,740 satellites to orbit. The latest fleets of satellites are currently moving towards their operational orbit at around 550-kilometers above Earth. Once each satellite is in formation at their designated orbital plane, the Starlink constellation will be capable of providing global broadband coverage. According to SpaceX officials, Starlink could beam service to regions around the globe as soon as September. To check Starlink availability in your area visit Starlink.com.
Next-generation Starlink satellites will feature inter-satellite laser links designed to enable even faster data transfer rates. The satellites will use the laser links to beam data to each other without the need to access data directly from the ground stations on Earth. “Some traffic could just go terminal -> satellite -> satellite -> terminal and never touch the regular Internet [ground stations],” Musk wrote to describe the interaction. “Laser links in orbit can reduce long-distance latency by as much as 50%, due to higher speed of light in vacuum & shorter path than undersea fiber,” he explained. The lasers will enable the satellites to transfer hundreds of gigabytes of data. As of today, SpaceX has only launched around a dozen satellites equipped with laser links to Polar Orbit. All satellites deployed in 2022 will feature laser communication technology.
Musk also shared that the ‘wavelength’ the Starlink network uses is “Similar to fiber optic,” he wrote, “We are trying to ride the terrestrial fiber optic laser technology forcing function, but modified for use in vacuum [space]. If we can do this successfully, then anything developed for ground/undersea fiber is automatically better in orbit,” he stated.
Some traffic could just go terminal -> satellite -> satellite -> terminal and never touch the regular Internet— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 15, 2021
If we can do this successfully, then anything developed for ground/undersea fiber is automatically better in orbit— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) July 15, 2021
Featured Image Source: SpaceX Starlink Logo / Pixabay photo / Edit by Tesmanian.com
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.