Starlink, an internet service provided by SpaceX’s satellite constellation just recently expanded beta testing and speed capacities.
SpaceX is receiving more beta testing for their Starlink satellite internet service, at least according to a report to the FCC.
This Tuesday, SpaceX gave an update to the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) on their progress towards a final Starlink product. According to the update, Starlink has “begun beta service for users across multiple U.S. states,” signaling an expansion in their limited beta tests.
Anyone can sign up to beta test, by visiting Starlink.com, but whether you’ll get accepted into beta tests, or if others were chosen from that link is unknown.
SpaceX has been recently expanding the Starlink service, since it’s become a rather large part of their future plans. For those of you that don’t know what Starlink is, feel free to read my article about it here.
Part of this expansion apparently includes software updates that increase internet speeds 150% on average. While this follows Tesla’s route of unlocking features through software updates, the unprecedented 150% increase in internet speeds through one of the first internet upgrades through data is really impressive.
These speeds are part of SpaceX’s current aspirations for Starlink, including “prioritizing emergency responders & locations with no Internet connectivity at all.”
That quote brings some to believe that much of Starlink’s expanding beta tests are being brought about by its increases in access to emergency responders and those without internet access. These two would make up a large part of the base that would prefer to use Starlink, or can only use Starlink, compared to other internet service providers.
That’s one of the big sticking points of Starlink, the ability to get fast internet service anywhere around the world, for some of the cheapest prices available.
Another is the near zero latency that SpaceX is current developing for Starlink.
It looks like they’re getting closer every day however, due to “latency consistently far below 40-50ms round trip to internet” (from the report). Forty milliseconds of latency is very good for a generalized internet service. For a satellite service, which is known for massive amounts of latency, that’s incredible. This one number likely puts Starlink at #1 within satellite services, already.
According to this report, Starlink is able to reach a consistent latency of 30ms, on “actual consumer-grade equipment in congested cells,” with testing “performed using peak busy hour conditions, heavily loaded cells, and representative locations.” All of this means that SpaceX is applying immense pressure on their system, and even with incredibly busy conditions, the system is performing incredibly well.
To show that the system is in fact holding up, a graph was included from high-usage customers, with the median latency sitting at 30ms, which is relatively equal to non-satellite internet services.
The final goal for Starlink is to provide near zero latency satellite internet, as extremely affordable costs, with gigabit speeds. While this is a long trip for SpaceX, they’re getting closer every day.