On Twitter, Elon Musk announced that Starlink’s quality of service will jump dramatically in 2021 with higher speeds and lower latency.
This could sound like a warning to the ears of traditional Internet service providers: Starlink is growing rapidly, not only in its constellation of satellites, but also in the very content of its offering. Indeed, Elon Musk evoked on Twitter the future evolutions of the service of access to Internet by satellite, and they are significant.
By the end of the year, the performance of the service will experience a remarkable leap. American billionaire indicated that the speed offered by Starlink will double to 300 Mbit / s. The rate expresses the quantity of data transmitted per unit of time. In September, Starlink already claimed a speed greater than 100 Mbit / s, which makes it possible to launch several videos in HD at the same time.
As for latency, the same promise, but in reverse: it should drop to around 20 milliseconds in 2021. This indicator measures the time between sending a request and receiving data. The lower the latency, the better the responsiveness. This is especially important in real-time online video games, such as shooting games or MMORPGs.
To have elements of comparison, the telecoms regulator in France observed at the beginning of the year that the debit average downlink, for a mobile connection is 45 Mbit / s. In landlines, VDSL2, landline 4G, THD Radio offer speeds between 30 and 100 Mbit / s. As for optical fiber, it is above 100 Mbit / s, with offers that can sometimes climb to 400 Mbit / s, 1 Gbit / s and more.
In France, the threshold from which an Internet connection delivers very high speed is set at 30 Mbit / s – in the past, this level was higher, at 50 Mbit / s, but it has been reduced to standardize the criteria. European level. It is an assessment: other countries having made different choices. In France, given Starlink’s clear commercial intentions, its offer will therefore fall into the very high speed category.
Earth coverage is on track
While Starlink can be a game-changer in rural areas, its offer remains expensive, especially with regard to the French market. It is advertised at $ 99 per month. Added to this is the purchase of a connection kit, billed at $ 500. For comparison, the price of optical fiber at Orange or Bouygues Telecom, reaches a maximum of 45 euros, with speeds up to 2 Gbit / s.
The difference, however, is that the optical fiber of French operators is not yet distributed everywhere. The satellite connection is able to cover any point on the globe a priori. However, France put in 2013 a plan to fiber the whole country. This site must be completed by 2025. Therefore, the price offered by Starlink will no longer be competitive enough to align – if it does not move.
Regarding the coverage of the globe, in fact, Starlink now has a fleet of satellites with more than 1,000 vehicles in low orbit – which is useful, in particular, to limit latency. Coverage of Earth is currently partial, but Elon Musk assure that the majority of the blue planet will be served by the end of the year. In 2022, all of Earth will be.
« Then, it is a question of densification of the coverage. It is important to note that the cell phone will always have the advantage in dense urban areas. Elon Musk warns. ” Satellites are best suited to areas with low or medium population density “. In the long term, Starlink is planning to have a constellation of a few tens of thousands of satellites in low orbit.
Starlink does not provide an interactive map that allows real-time tracking of the position of its satellites. Maybe that will change one day. In the meantime, the service Satmap, which we were talking about in 2019, offers a very decent alternative. Just remember to uncheck the other fleets of satellites in the menu. It is noted that most of the emerged and inhabited lands are covered. All that’s missing is the far north.
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Source: Numerama by www.numerama.com.
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