Starlink satellite internet open beta testing has begun

Starlink satellite internet open beta testing has begun
Starlink satellite internet open beta testing has begun

It seemed that quite recently Elon Musk's plans to provide the entire globe with the Internet looked like a fairy tale far from being realized. But only a year and a half has passed since the launch of the first batch of Starlink satellites - and the open beta testing of the network is already starting.

Starlink Satellite Solar Panel

On the Reddit sub-forum dedicated to this satellite Internet service, a user with the nickname FourthEchelon19 shared an invitation from the Starlink team. The email suggested "lower expectations a little" and provided indicative numbers for the quality of the connection. The beta testing program is called Better Than Nothing Beta.

According to the screenshot above, the first relatively mainstream Starlink users can expect:

data transfer rates in the range between 50 and 150 megabits per second;

signal delay of the order of 20-40 milliseconds;

periodic short-term network outages

In addition to this, a special program for customizing Starlink user equipment has appeared. So far, it can only be downloaded from the iOS AppStore.

Invitation letter is not a beta test of Starlink

Nevertheless, during testing, the company intends to improve the algorithms of work and improve the entire system. Thanks to this, the latency will be reduced to 16-19 milliseconds by 2021. Signal stability and maximum data transfer rates for the future are not given in the letter of exact data. It is only said that they will improve significantly.

In addition, the author of the post was told about the cost of the equipment required to connect. A set of an antenna, a tripod and a Wi-Fi router will cost $ 499 (about 38, 5 thousand rubles), and the cost of a subscription fee is still $ 99 (a little over 7,600 rubles). Additionally, for $ 99 or $ 24, you can purchase two different types of roof fasteners.

Starlink Roof Mounting Diagram for Roof Mounting with Ballast

More expensive involves placing the antenna on the ridge of the roof and does not require additional fasteners, only four bricks as ballast. It consists of an anti-slip mat and a ballast platform on which the antenna is mounted. To keep the structure stable, 40 pounds of weight (blocks or bricks with a total mass of about 18 kilograms) must be put on the ballast platform on both sides of the ridge.

The second option assumes that the future owner has a drill, a hex wrench and a wire or metal detector (or another way to find the supporting roof rafters). In other words, if you want it cheaper, you will have to work more with your hands. This fastener is screwed with six self-tapping screws through a sealing gasket to wood or metal beams under the roof covering.

Installation diagram of Starlink antenna mount on the roof using self-tapping screws

All the above prices and quality indicators of the connection, of course, are by no means final. It is quite possible that they will change significantly as a result of testing. As noted by FourthEchelon19, there was no nondisclosure agreement with the letter from the Starlink team. Therefore, he invited everyone to also share if they received an invitation to the beta test. It is noteworthy that many commentators were also invited and expressed strong jubilation on this occasion.

Recall that earlier the results of closed testing of satellite Internet from Elon Musk's company appeared in the public domain. At first, they were not that impressive - from 35 to 60 megabits per second. But then the numbers improved significantly, to 100 megabits per second. And even though these are still rather mediocre values, compared to a wired or optical data transmission channel for satellite Internet, such speeds were previously unattainable.

The Starlink satellite constellation will include up to 42 thousand spacecraft. By design, it should provide the entire earth's surface with Internet access. First of all, the project is aimed at those users who live in relatively hard-to-reach areas, where it is unprofitable for terrestrial providers to maintain a data transmission channel. In addition, Musk promised to interest his brainchild and many commercial structures - from transport companies to stock traders. One of the main theoretical advantages of Starlink is the extremely low latency of information transfer between remote sites.

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