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Why Starlink is Already a Gamechanger

Having worked with the satellite industry many years back, we spent a lot of discussing orbits, rollouts, spectrum, business case, etc. Starlink was the company we heard least from, at least in events, conferences, webinars, etc. The interesting thing is that Starlink is already delivering the results while others are still be debating the details and are yet to deliver the output. 

With 250 satellites already deployed in 2021, the total number of satellites have reached to 1,141. The eventual aim is to have over 40K satellites. 

During the beta period, Starlink customers can expect data speeds between 50Mbps and 150Mbps with latencies ranging from 20 to 40ms in most locations. The good news is that Starlink doesn’t have any data caps at the moment and hopefully will continue to do so.

You can see in the tweet above, why Starlink is already a gamechanger but that is not all. The whole setup process is very simple and it can take just 15 minutes to get online. I found this video below very interesting as it shows the unboxing and setup process.

As explained in the video, the antenna will detect and melt snow that falls directly on it to help prevent outages and interruptions since Starlink does require a clear view of the sky to connect. Starlink has a free mobile app that walks you through the entire setup. It also lets you use your phone camera to find the best location for the Starlink antenna. Another cool feature from the result of the Starlink antenna receiving power from the black cable is it’s not only used to melt snow but it’s also used to power the tilt motor which automatically adjusts the angle of the antenna to sync up with the nearest satellite so you don’t need to manually position the antenna angle.

During the current beta period, Starlink monthly internet service costs $99/month + a one time fee of $499 for the required Starlink kit which comes with everything you need to get started: wireless router, POE injector, network cables, mounting tripod, and Starlink antenna. There is a delivery fee and the costs in other parts of the world is sort of the same but in local currency and taxes.

In case you were wondering what Spectrum does Starlink use, the picture of network architecture below hopefully explains it.

Last year SpaceX had announced that they will mount a sun visor on each of its Starlink satellites and have them perform controlled maneuvers, to make them less visible to members of the astronomy community making detailed observations of the night sky. You can read the details and see pics here.

The whole process from ordering Starlink Internet to setting it up is simple and straightforward. The tweet above is another example of how users who have been deprived or a reasonable connectivity can dream of a connected future. 

The final point, as you can see in the Tweet above, there are challenges that will have to be solved once more people start using the service. This won't be the first time though when people are skeptical. Many such things existed during 4G/LTE deployments and the challenges were resolved. I expect the same for this service. Surely we will hear a lot more from and about SpaceX and Starlink in future.

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