Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, home office work for professionals has become increasingly important for many commercial enterprises. However, those who do not have a powerful internet connection at home, such as a broadband connection, cannot work effectively for their company in their home office.
However, there will soon be a new solution for this problem on the global market: Elon Musk’s “Starlink Internet” promises to deliver stable and powerful internet access directly from satellite orbit.
As we think this is an ideal way for our customers to connect branches in areas that are not so well connected, or to provide a temporary connection for large construction sites, festivals and more, we decided to take a close look at Starlink ourselves and test it extensively.
To put it in a nutshell, Starlink is very fast. But what is Starlink actually?Starlink is a solution developed by the space company Space X. The innovative US company has already put about 1800 (as of June 2021) near-Earth satellites into orbit and is planning to increase this gigantic network to 13,000 communication carriers of this kind.
So Starlink has long been out of the starting blocks and now owns all the necessary frequency rights. Starlink plans to be available globally later this year and will be available for all users in Germany from mid-2021.
Our tests in our Berlin office show that Starlink does not disappoint – even if the Starlink bandwidth fluctuates, it returns consistent, and quite remarkable, values. In our measurements, the Starlink bandwidth was usually around 150 Mbit/s, at times only 70 Mbit/s, but occasionally over 240 Mbit/s.
The latency times are not brilliant, but definitely in the very usable range and certainly significantly better than one is used to from satellite connections.
With these values, the Starlink connection is clearly above the current average value for internet connections in Germany of 15 Mbit/s.
And that even in bad weather, rain at least had no negative effects on the Starlink bandwidth.
But what is the user experience with Starlink when working remotely? We tested the typical remote office applications, Azure Virtual Desktop via Starlink, video calls with Teams and last but not least, printing via ezeep and ThinPrint. In all cases the connection with Starlink presented no problems. Printing via Starlink is just as fast and stable as one would expect for a connection with this bandwidth.
This makes Starlink ideal for connecting construction sites, festivals and other locations with instable internet connections. Mobile use on ships and aircraft is also being planned. Soon, construction plans for building inspection, concert tickets at festivals or even ferry tickets in remote ports can be printed quickly.
Thanks to the Starlink Internet satellite system, far more people in the world will be able to have powerful access to the global web. This is especially true in areas in the Global South which have poor public internet infrastructure.
Here in Berlin, Germany, where comprehensive digitization is still in its infancy across the country, this new type of internet technology will offer many advantages to some commercial enterprises or even private individuals.
In particular, company offices, construction sites, event locations or even the increasing number of private households with home offices in the more rural regions will benefit significantly from this new development. For it is precisely outside the large cities and metropolises where broadband connections are lacking the necessary performance.
Finally, there is the question: how much does Starlink cost?
Starlink’s cost is actually quite competitive, but only for those users who have no alternative. $499 / £439 is the price for the hardware and $99 / £89 the monthly service fee. This is not a small amount, but the FAQ’s give hope for flexibility, as on the one hand a pause of the contract is promised, as well as the possibility to change the service address, which ultimately makes Starlink the only alternative, especially for temporary use. However, the national borders must be taken into account. At the moment, it is not yet possible to change the service address to another country.