In May of this year, a rocket from SpaceX, a company founded by Ilon Mask, put a huge amount of payload into orbit. It was under him and 60 satellites that will form the basis of the global Internet network Starlink. In the coming years, SpaceX plans to launch nearly 12,000 satellites to provide broadband Internet access services around the world. But what happens if this program works to its full extent?
Why do you need a global satellite network?
According to a recent UN report, by the end of 2018, 49.2% of the planet's population did not yet have broadband access to the World Wide Web. In Europe, with 80% of the population using the Internet without any problems, this figure is much more modest in Africa – only 22%.
This is because laying fiber optic cables in poor areas of our planet is not economical, and covering these zones with fast mobile internet requires a critical mass of paying customers, who for the reason already mentioned do not exist in these regions.
Who will provide the earth with fast internet
Currently, a number of companies are developing and implementing technologies that are expected to revolutionize the delivery of broadband access. The only question is who will be the first.
In addition to SpaceX, Amazon has announced the launch of more than 3,000 satellites. OneWeb, supported by SoftBank and Richard Branson, has also started to prepare and deploy a network of more than 600 satellites. New satellites are said to be faster, smaller, and more powerful than previous models with a 25-35 millisecond delay. And that is comparable to some cable DSL systems.
Another approach is offered by Google. The search giant experiments with balloons that function like flying cell towers. And Facebook, together with Airbus, is exploring the possibility of distributing the Internet with unmanned aerial vehicles.
Why is SpaceX the first to deploy a network of satellites?
Ilona Mask is already well ahead of the competition and plans to put up to 800 satellites into orbit by the end of 2020. Competitors are far from these numbers. OneWeb has committed to deploying the network by 2021, and Amazon does not cite startup data. Although it is hard to imagine that Jeff Bezo's company will miss such a promising market.
This is how Starlink works
By and large, the company Ilona Mask modified only the existing technology. Today, there are several providers worldwide that offer Internet access via satellite communication. For this purpose, a transceiver is used – a device for receiving and adding a satellite radio signal. Something like a modem, but for working with satellites. So why not use existing satellites? The fact is that they are at an altitude of about 36,000 kilometers. And because of this, the radio waves have to travel a long distance, resulting in delays. There are also interferences, so the connection speed is not very good.
Starlink should fix this problem. Satellites will be located at an altitude of 335 to 1325 kilometers, which will significantly reduce delays. In addition, it is planned to use ground stations that transmit information to satellites using radio waves. And the satellites are already exchanging data with lasers. For more information on how the SpaceX satellite network works, see our material on this topic.
Why do you need a global network of internet satellites?
Analysts predict that most of the world will have access to reliable and fast broadband over the next three to five years. According to their calculations, more than three billion people will have access to products and services not previously available to them. These include educational platforms, online shops and social networks. The new public of these services will contribute to the growth of the entire global economy.
That's interesting: Starlink satellite internet may be banned in Russia.
In addition, remote regions can communicate, exchange messages and receive information through high-quality audio and video communications. You can communicate securely over the Internet in areas where it was previously unavailable.
We can not rule out the development of entertainment content. Services for streaming movies, TV shows, and music are getting a new audience. Ultimately, not only will all these services receive additional resources, but they will also be able to use these resources to develop their platforms, from which, ultimately, everyone, including us, will benefit.
These and other news can be discussed in our chat under telegrams.