Starlink offers options for remote workers in remote places.
Starlink has made it possible for your office to open a new location high in the mountains, on an island, or even deep in the woods. Remote working can now truly occur in the most remote places imaginable.
Even with the many business internet options available, 66% of rural small businesses say poor internet or cell phone connectivity negatively impacts their business.
Starlink internet works by sending information through the vacuum of space, where it travels much faster than in fiber-optic cable and can reach far more people and places.
Now seen as “old school,” geostationary satellite technology has been around for over 20 years, and provides broadband connectivity to most places where the sky is visible. It has been considered a lifeline for rural areas that have no other options for internet providers
Starlink satellite internet is currently available in parts of the US and Canada to people who live between 44 and 53 degrees latitude. Starlink plans to be available worldwide by the end of 2022.
Having a connection anywhere you can see the sky sounds great, but there are some major drawbacks to the service. GEO satellite technology can be expensive, and lacks in performance compared to the landline options available in less rural areas. Overall, this can mean slower downloads and VPNs, spotty streaming, and poor video conferencing quality.
Latency is a major issue with GEO satellite technology, given that the satellites in orbit are about 22,000 miles away. Every bit of traffic is traveling twice that distance (there and back), resulting in a delay of over half a second.
Starlink, however, uses thousands (over 2,000) of smaller and cheaper satellites. They are less than 1/20th the size, and are only about 200 miles away as they orbit. That is about 1/100th the distance of the GEO, and results in low latency of around 40-60 milliseconds – much closer to the speed available with wired broadband in urban areas.
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Delta Air Lines is exploring the possibility of using SpaceX's Starlink service to offer in-flight internet access.
As The Wall Street Journal reports, Delta CEO Ed Bastian confirmed that "exploratory tests" have been carried out using Starlink's technology. However, there are several steps required before it can be used on commercial flights.
SpaceX wants to partner with carriers to offer Starlink on flights and has been granted FCC approval to test the system on aircraft. There is no regulatory approval for the system being used on commercial flights yet, though. Elon Musk also pointed out last year that Starlink needs to be certified for each aircraft type, so the focus is on the most popular ones first (Boeing 737, A320, and Gulfstream).
According to J. Armand Musey, founder of Summit Ridge Group, which is focused on the satellite industry, it's going to take several years before Starlink is an established in-flight internet provider thanks to regulations and the long-term contracts carriers already have with other providers.
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