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What is Starlink Satellite Internet? Will it Beat 5G?

How does Starlink satellite work and will it beat 5G? Here’s everything we know.

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Starlink — a revolutionary high speed satellite-based internet service backed by billionaire and Space X founder Elon Musk — could come to India soon.

As per a tweet by Musk on Twitter, the company is looking to bring Starlink to India in the near future.

OnsetDigital (@Tryonset) on Twitter asked Elon Musk about when Starlink services will launch in India. Musk replied, “Just figuring out the regulatory approval process."

But how does Starlink satellite work and will it beat 5G? Here’s everything we know.

What is Starlink Satellite Internet? Will it Beat 5G?

  1. 1. What is Starlink?

    Starlink aims to bring high-speed internet to regions where connectivity has typically been a challenge.

    Unbounded by traditional ground infrastructure, Starlink can deliver high-speed broadband internet to locations where access has been unreliable or completely unavailable.

    The price for the internet service is an upfront cost of $499 (Rs 37,000 approx) for hardware and a monthly cost of $99 (Rs 7000 approx) for internet service.

    Expand
  2. 2. How Does it Work?

    Starlink uses a network of low orbital satellites which were put in space by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

    With lower satellites, the latency is reduced, which helps improve online buffering, gaming and video calling quality.

    Interestingly, the working of Starlink is quite similar to TV cable services. To install Starlink, a dish has to be mounted by the user which receives signals from what is called a mini satellite.

    As of June 2021, there are over 1,500 Starlink active satellites, making Starlink the largest satellite constellation around Earth.

    How does Starlink satellite work and will it beat 5G? Here’s everything we know.

    Live Starlink Satellite Map. Whit dot represents Starlink satellites around the globe.

    (Photo: Satellitemap.space)

    SpaceX now owns more than half of all active satellites circling our planet.
    Expand
  3. 3. How is Starlink Different from Traditional Internet?

    What sets Starlink apart from traditional internet services we have in our households is that it is a satellite-based internet service.

    What this means is that Starlink requires an unobstructed view of the sky in order to function.

    Most of the internet users in India rely on fibre-based technology, which gives higher speed as compared to satellite internet.

    However, what gives Starlink's internet services an edge is that it does not need any wired connections, and can be easily accessed from anywhere around the globe.

    Starlink’s internet speed is ranged between 50 Mbps to 150 Mbps, and the company aims to reach 300 Mbps.
    Expand
  4. 4. Does Bad Weather Have An Impact on Starlink's Performance?

    Yes. Starlink requires a clear and unobstructed view of the sky to provide internet.

    This means that heavy rain or wind can disrupt the connection, leading to either slow internet or even outage for several hours.

    The company also claims that the satellite dish has the ability to detect and melt snow falling directly on it.

    Expand
  5. 5. How Does Starlink Compare With 5G?

    5G has an edge over Starlink in terms of reliable service and speed, because it’s built on top notch cellular infrastructure.

    However, in terms of connectivity, people living in rural towns and cities will have a better chance with Starlink as it does not require an infrastructure like cellular towers in the case of 5G.

    The major problem with Starlink is when the load increases on its network.

    National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative CEO Tim Bryan during a recent press conference said, “I have no doubt that the Starlink constellation could be successful in some areas, particularly over things like the deep blue seas. I struggle to see how it’s going to reliably deliver 100 megabit service to the hundreds and thousands of customers in the census block groups it bid for.”

    However, this won't be a problem with 5G cellular networks, as 5G is expected to support up to 1 million connected devices per 38 square miles, 5G will be able to carry a lot more data and transfer it much faster than Starlink's internet service.

    Expand
  6. 6. What Regulatory Hurdle is Starlink Facing in India?

    The government is currently assessing if Starlink beta service will violate any provision of the Indian Telegraph Act of 1885, the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1933, India’s satcom policy of 2000 and the Information Technology (IT) Act of 2000.

    A senior government official told The Economic Times that Starlink does not “immediately appear” to violate the Section 4 of the Indian Telegraph Act as SpaceX is yet to establish, maintain or work a telegraph in Indian jurisdiction.

    A 'telegraph' under the Act, is any instrument used for transmission or reception of signals, images, data, and sounds/intelligence by wire or other electro-magnetic emissions.

    The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is yet to firm up its final view regarding the Starlink offering.

    (At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

    Expand

What is Starlink?

Starlink aims to bring high-speed internet to regions where connectivity has typically been a challenge.

Unbounded by traditional ground infrastructure, Starlink can deliver high-speed broadband internet to locations where access has been unreliable or completely unavailable.

The price for the internet service is an upfront cost of $499 (Rs 37,000 approx) for hardware and a monthly cost of $99 (Rs 7000 approx) for internet service.

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

How Does it Work?

Starlink uses a network of low orbital satellites which were put in space by a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

With lower satellites, the latency is reduced, which helps improve online buffering, gaming and video calling quality.

Interestingly, the working of Starlink is quite similar to TV cable services. To install Starlink, a dish has to be mounted by the user which receives signals from what is called a mini satellite.

As of June 2021, there are over 1,500 Starlink active satellites, making Starlink the largest satellite constellation around Earth.

How does Starlink satellite work and will it beat 5G? Here’s everything we know.

Live Starlink Satellite Map. Whit dot represents Starlink satellites around the globe.

(Photo: Satellitemap.space)

SpaceX now owns more than half of all active satellites circling our planet.

How is Starlink Different from Traditional Internet?

What sets Starlink apart from traditional internet services we have in our households is that it is a satellite-based internet service.

What this means is that Starlink requires an unobstructed view of the sky in order to function.

Most of the internet users in India rely on fibre-based technology, which gives higher speed as compared to satellite internet.

However, what gives Starlink's internet services an edge is that it does not need any wired connections, and can be easily accessed from anywhere around the globe.

Starlink’s internet speed is ranged between 50 Mbps to 150 Mbps, and the company aims to reach 300 Mbps.
ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

Does Bad Weather Have An Impact on Starlink's Performance?

Yes. Starlink requires a clear and unobstructed view of the sky to provide internet.

This means that heavy rain or wind can disrupt the connection, leading to either slow internet or even outage for several hours.

The company also claims that the satellite dish has the ability to detect and melt snow falling directly on it.

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

How Does Starlink Compare With 5G?

5G has an edge over Starlink in terms of reliable service and speed, because it’s built on top notch cellular infrastructure.

However, in terms of connectivity, people living in rural towns and cities will have a better chance with Starlink as it does not require an infrastructure like cellular towers in the case of 5G.

The major problem with Starlink is when the load increases on its network.

National Rural Telecommunications Cooperative CEO Tim Bryan during a recent press conference said, “I have no doubt that the Starlink constellation could be successful in some areas, particularly over things like the deep blue seas. I struggle to see how it’s going to reliably deliver 100 megabit service to the hundreds and thousands of customers in the census block groups it bid for.”

However, this won't be a problem with 5G cellular networks, as 5G is expected to support up to 1 million connected devices per 38 square miles, 5G will be able to carry a lot more data and transfer it much faster than Starlink's internet service.

ADVERTISEMENTREMOVE AD

What Regulatory Hurdle is Starlink Facing in India?

The government is currently assessing if Starlink beta service will violate any provision of the Indian Telegraph Act of 1885, the Indian Wireless Telegraphy Act of 1933, India’s satcom policy of 2000 and the Information Technology (IT) Act of 2000.

A senior government official told The Economic Times that Starlink does not “immediately appear” to violate the Section 4 of the Indian Telegraph Act as SpaceX is yet to establish, maintain or work a telegraph in Indian jurisdiction.

A 'telegraph' under the Act, is any instrument used for transmission or reception of signals, images, data, and sounds/intelligence by wire or other electro-magnetic emissions.

The Department of Telecommunications (DoT) is yet to firm up its final view regarding the Starlink offering.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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