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Author Topic: Starnet update.  (Read 921 times)

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Online Ianab

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Starnet update.
« on: August 16, 2020, 03:20:38 AM »
Might be of interest to a lot of members with rural internet being a struggle

The system is now if "beta testing" with small group of guinea pig users. Some of their connection results have been "leaked" ( they are under NDA agreements). While initial connection speeds don't seem to live up to the early hype, that ARE a big improvement on what most rural locations can achieve, and ping times seem acceptable. Service should improve as they get more Sats and ground relay stations online. Connection speeds / ping times would suffer if the ground stations have to track a more distant sat that's close to the horizon. More sats should improve that. 

No official word on pricing yet, except it's supposed to be "competitive" with land based system. Likely not as fast as fibre or cable at the same price. but it's not supposed to compete with that. It's aimed at the 5-10% of folks that are remote and don't currently have a good connection option.  
 
https://arstechnica.com/information-technology/2020/08/spacex-starlink-beta-tests-show-speeds-up-to-60mbps-latency-as-low-as-31ms/

My results here in small town NZ are more like 11 ms ping, 203 download and 23.5 up, and that's not the unlimited speed option. (more money, no real benefit). But for someone a few miles down the road that's stuck with current satellite @ 5mb and $$$, or dodgy DSL, it looks pretty tempting if they could get even those figures at a sensible cost. 
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline btulloh

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Re: Starnet update.
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2020, 08:39:21 AM »
Interesting.  I've been following the progress but info is hard to come by.  This is the first thing I've seen that had actual performance data.  Hopefully it will improve as Starlink becomes fully implemented.

I signed up for beta testing when available in this area.  Not a lot of communication from them, but maybe one day it will happen.  I'm on gigabit fiber here right now, but I may be moving out of the fiber zone and don't want to lose out on high speed internet.  Maybe it will all come together in time.

What I've learned from actual use is that about 150Mbs is the sweet spot for a single user household.  There aren't many servers that will support data rates faster than that, and most are slower.  50Mbs is pretty darn good.  Where gigabit fiber really helps is with multiple users doing a lot of individual streaming, etc.  

I'm hoping this Starlink thing turns out to be a decent alternative in case I move out of the fiber/cable zone.  Once you've had fast, it's hard to go back to slow.

Thanks for posting.  
HM126

Offline nativewolf

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Re: Starnet update.
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2020, 09:23:14 AM »
The initial beta testers are limited indeed and these initial speeds are throttled.  The purpose is to help Spacex understand impacts of weather on user performance, test support systems, test throughput on backend, etc.  While it may be very useful for slightly well off rural users the initial consumers are expected to be airlines and shipping companies.  This current group of satellites is not really enough to provide coverage, they'll need another 200 satellites so another 4 launches or something like that.  It will likely be December before it hits a larger beta.  

By the end of 2021 there should be well over 2000 satellites in the constellation and then service should roll out to areas outside NA.  There is considerable debate in the space forums about actual ability to support millions of users.  However, consider that this is how Musk plans to fund the trip to Mars.  Therefore I expect it's going to be able to support hundreds of millions of users.  That's what is required to fund a trip to Mars.

They have a license to put 12,000 satellites in space, it will be interesting to see.  So far, long term negative bets on Musks's endeavors have failed.  This is the most important thing to him so I expect success.  
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Online Ianab

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Re: Starnet update.
« Reply #3 on: August 16, 2020, 04:17:09 PM »
Airlines and ships are certainly target users for the system, but for that to be practical they need global coverage. Many more satellites, more ground stations, and sat to sat relays to get signals from sats that are out of sight  of ground stations. They aren't ready to do that yet.  But they do have (or soon will have) enough sats and ground relays to cover a decent chunk of Nth America. 

Once they have that they can start signing up customers and generating income, and keep expanding the system to global coverage. 

Anyway, it's encouraging to see they are getting usable performance. It doesn't have to be as good as fibre, just has to be "broadband" and 30mb is good enough for several video streams etc. That's the speed of the cheapest fibre plans here. 

So why do we go faster? If I want to download the new version of MS flight simulator, it's 120gb of download, to get started. Then if you want to fly anywhere you have to download the terrain maps for that area etc. The Steam servers seem pretty fast, and I can get close to 200mb from them.
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline nativewolf

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Re: Starnet update.
« Reply #4 on: August 16, 2020, 05:19:23 PM »
upload speeds are really high too.  For several years I had an uncapped verizon fiber right to our home in Vienna, VA.  Just a few miles from all primary domain name servers.  I had more upload and download capacity than a company with 5k working in the US HQ in Charlotte NC.  More than our data warehouse in Pasadena CA that hosted several petabytes (back in 2005 that was a lot).  I was spoiled and still miss it.  120GB would have been no time at all, I downloaded terrabytes in an hour or two because it was faster to do that at my house and copy the data to a drive and deliver the data than for our clients to download the data on K st in DC.  Funny stuff....be careful if you get it next year, it will be hard to go back.  

So so glad I left that world though.
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Offline btulloh

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Re: Starnet update.
« Reply #5 on: August 16, 2020, 05:37:14 PM »
Vienna.  Lot of fiber in that general area and a lot of data being consumed and moved.  Probably can't poke a hole in the ground around there without running into fiber.

Interesting anecdote.
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Re: Starnet update.
« Reply #6 on: August 16, 2020, 06:15:38 PM »
This discussion has caused me to flash back to some of the days gone by and how far we've come with data speeds.  My first modem was a Hayes 300 baud dialup.  State of the art in the mid 80's.  No one would even think of using something like that these days.  Then on to the succession of faster modems, then DSL.  

In the late nineties, we decided at the company I worked for in LA to switch from DSL to a T1 line for internet service.  Pretty snazzy for the average company at that time.  A T1 line was the fastest thing available to anyone other than the very biggest internet oriented companies.  A T1 was around 1.5 Mbps.  Fast at the time, it would be disappointing now. 

Now we're talking about 20Mbps being marginal at best.  Perspectives change.  (If your only option is something like HughesNet or similar, 20Mbs UP/DOWN sounds pretty good I s'pose.)

HM126

Online ljohnsaw

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Re: Starnet update.
« Reply #7 on: August 16, 2020, 06:41:54 PM »
I'm stuck were I'm at.  I have DSL from my local phone company.  It is supposed to be 2mps but they don't throttle it so I get a whopping 3mps down, ~700k up.  It used to work great but now (way out at the end of the line), I get lots of resets.  Sure messes up watching Netflix or Disney+ :-\

We have fiber cable tv available but I refuse to use that company because they do a lot of bait and switch on their pricing.  They are offering 100mb data but you have to by TV and/or phone service and you end up spending $140-160/mo.  Then, if you want premium channels, like HBO, toss another $30-60 to them.

Funny thing about my phone bill.  About 6 months go it dropped a bunch.  Went online to check and it had a note on the bill about a special 1 year pricing.  They gave me a discount so I wouldn't switch?  Kind of appeased me over the crappy service.

I would love the Starlink's 20mb rate, even though I'm "in town".  However, would be really great up at my cabin where there isn't any land lines available.  Then I could have a "weather cam" set up to decide if I want to drive up in the winter.
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Online Ianab

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Re: Starnet update.
« Reply #8 on: August 16, 2020, 08:34:59 PM »
I can get uncapped fibre here @900mb, but naturally it costs more, for no real benefit. 

Fibre and copper lines in NZ are owned by separate lines companies, not the ISPs, so you can shop around for an ISP, and they just resell whatever your connection happens to be from the lines company. By 2022 they plan to have fibre to ~87% of the population. But there will still be remoter areas that would like Starlink. The network got a good stress test when the country was locked down for 7 weeks, between the remote work, netflix, video calling, online gaming etc. It mostly held up. 

Quote
 It is supposed to be 2mps but they don't throttle it so I get a whopping 3mps down, ~700k up.  It used to work great but now (way out at the end of the line), I get lots of resets.  Sure messes up watching Netflix or Disney
Yeah, streaming Netflix reliably needs around 4mb I think. Good DSL should be around 8mb and would work, but if the lines a bit long or old, it has to train back to a lower speed.  :(
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

Offline clearcut

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Re: Starnet update.
« Reply #9 on: August 16, 2020, 10:30:39 PM »
$92/month for up to 10 MB down. $150 for up to 15.

Wireless ISP  (cal.net) using the former analog TV signal bands.

Anything but HugesNet.

Fiber installed in the ground less than a mile away - no last mile provider because AT$T can provide "broadband" (25 MB down) via cell - no they cannot - not here anyway.

Offline Brucer

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Re: Starnet update.
« Reply #10 on: August 16, 2020, 11:45:14 PM »
This discussion has caused me to flash back to some of the days gone by and how far we've come with data speeds.  My first modem was a Hayes 300 baud dialup.  State of the art in the mid 80's.  ...

Oh, my. The decision I had to make in '84: Buy a "state of the art" 300 baud Hayes, or stick with a conventional (and much cheaper) 110 baud unit. I went high tech :D.

Bruce    LT40HDG28 bandsaw with two 6' extensions.
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Online Ianab

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Re: Starnet update.
« Reply #11 on: October 27, 2020, 09:22:42 PM »
https://www.theregister.com/2020/10/28/spacexs_starlink_pricing/

Quote
SpaceXs satellite broadband service Starlink has finally revealed its pricing: $99 a month for speeds that vary between 50Mbps and 150Mbps... plus 500 bucks to buy the necessary equipment.
So it's not stupid prices for that level of service. Obviously wont compete with fibre or cable in town areas, but for the more remote folks it's a valid option. 
Weekend warrior, Peterson JP test pilot, Dolmar 7900 and Stihl MS310 saws and  the usual collection of power tools :)

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Re: Starnet update.
« Reply #12 on: October 27, 2020, 11:02:43 PM »
That's a heck of a deal!  I pay ~$45 for supposedly 3mb but in reality I get .5 to 1mb with my DSL connection.  That's all I can get here "in town".
John Sawicky

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SkyTrak 9038, Davis Little Monster backhoe, Case 16+4 Trencher, Home Built 42" capacity/32" cut Bandmill up to 54' long - using it all to build a timber frame cabin.

Offline Sedgehammer

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Re: Starnet update.
« Reply #13 on: October 28, 2020, 04:55:53 AM »
In town you get that? Yikes. We are out in the country and have 15 down and 5 up. We were with a tower company, that was 10 down. We pay $89 a month with phone service. 

Offline farmfromkansas

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Re: Starnet update.
« Reply #14 on: October 28, 2020, 09:47:14 AM »
Couple years ago HCI put fiber past our place, and at first I was not going to connect, but then did when found out they would charge 2500 to connect us later, or free now.  So we have internet and TV by fiber optic.  Speed is pretty good, and was the first time in 50 years we had cable tv.  We have one step up from basic, get History, Discovery and Science channels. The more expensive channels are shown, we just can't get them.  See no reason to buy movie channels, mostly old stuff seen years ago. Since my wife retired, she keeps the TV pretty warm.
Most everything I enjoy doing turns out to be work

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Re: Starnet update.
« Reply #15 on: December 08, 2020, 06:47:29 AM »
Already beta testing in remote communities up here. Said went from 2 Mbits on old provider to 144 Mbits/sec on Starlink. True broadband is considered to be 50 Mbits/sec as a minimum. It's expensive though.

Elon Musk's Starlink offers fast internet connections to rural Canadians. But it's not cheap | CBC News
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