Sci-Tech

Here’s what we know about SpaceX’s Internet network

The Starlink team attended an Ask Me Anything session on Reddit and revealed so much information about the high-speed internet network that Elon Musk had promised isolated regions.

A parable and let’s go

With the first satellites launched in May 2019, the Starlink constellation now has more than 800 in orbit. At the end of October, SpaceX started the public beta, which in the northern United States and southern Canada was called better than nothing without humor. The company assured Reddit that this version should be rolled out to the south of the country in early 2021. Beta testers paid a monthly subscription of $ 99 and also had to purchase a satellite dish for $ 499. The latter allows this to establish a connection to the satellites and to access the network.

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The recorded latencies are perfectly in line with what the company claims and allow people living in rural areas to enjoy quality internet. On the other hand, some bugs and premature interruptions were noted but nothing serious as SpaceX had previously stated that it would be due to the weather and the limited number of satellites currently in use. As a reminder, the company has approval to put 12,000 devices into low orbit and is hoping to get another Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval to launch another 30,000.

Regarding the weather, a SpaceX employee assured that the court operated in temperatures between -30 ° C and 40 ° C, but was not designed for extreme conditions such as tornado or hurricane during operation. He also said the device had a warming feature and that updates would soon allow the snow to melt on it. For now, beta testers should only be able to access the Starlink network from the address they gave SpaceX. However, this should change as other satellites launch: “You might be lucky trying to use Starlink nearby, but the quality of service might be poor. Mobility options, including moving your Starlink to other service addresses (or places that don’t even have an address!), Will be available when we can increase our coverage by launching more satellites. and by providing new software ”.

New users shouldn’t slow down the network

That Reddit session also allowed the team to reassure its users (and future users) about the future of Starlink: it is claimed that no consumption cap will be imposed even as new people join. the network. In addition, the arrival of new satellites to complete the constellation will logically lead to an improvement in the latency of the network, which should therefore not suffer from the registration of new users.

Finally, the employees of the space company mentioned the technology of data transmission between satellites using lasers:

“The speed of light is faster in a vacuum than it is in fibers, so space lasers have exciting potential for low latency connections. They also allow us to serve users where satellites cannot see a terrestrial gateway antenna, for example over the ocean and in areas with poor fiber connectivity. Earlier this year we had an exciting flight test with prototypes of space lasers on two Starlink satellites that could transmit gigabytes of data. Lowering the cost of space lasers and producing large numbers of them quickly is a very difficult problem that the team is still working on. “

SpaceX hopes to expand its network to the rest of the world sometime in 2021. If you want to give it a try, you can try your luck by registering on the Starlink website.

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