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SpaceX Starlink customers present first impressions and unboxing photos

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SpaceX Starlink beta users are starting to share their experiences and confirm that the satellite service can deliver fast broadband speeds and low latency in remote areas. A beta tester using the Reddit username Wandering-Coder took his new Starlink devices and a portable power supply to a national forest in Idaho, where he connected to the internet at a download speed of 120 Mbps.

Starlink "works wonderfully," he wrote yesterday. "I did a real-time video call and some tests. My power supply is a maximum of 300W and the power consumption for the entire system was around 116W when it was active." Starlink did that in a place where Wandering Encoder couldn't get cellular service from Google Fi, which is based on T-Mobile and US Cellular networks. "There is no cell with a carrier here," he wrote.

Wandering-Coder took advantage of Starlink connectivity in the woods to compose this post on Reddit and upload a series of images to Imgur. Wandering coder told Ars that he used Starlink at home in northern Idaho and ran his test at the Hayden Creek Shooting Range in the Coeur d & # 39; Alene National Forest des Panhandles, Idaho.

Here are some pictures of the Wandering Coder's test in the forest and footage of the user terminal in front of his house:

  • Starlink satellite dish and equipment in the Coeur d & # 39; Alene National Forest of the Idaho Panhandle.

  • Another shot of the satellite dish and portable battery.

  • The Starlink satellite dish in a tree-lined area.

  • Another shot in the same tree-lined area.

  • The court in the courtyard in front of the Wandering Coder's house.

  • The Starlink bowl on a car, with some obstacles nearby that partially block the view of the sky.

With the Starlink user terminal / satellite dish placed on the ground in a relatively open part of the forest, the Wandering Encoder performed a speed test showing downloads of 120 Mbps, uploads of 12 Mbps and latency of 37 ms were measured. He got worse results in a different, more wooded location, where he placed the dish closer to the trees, as Starlink needs a clear line of sight to SpaceX satellites. "It didn't work well with a heavy canopy / trees right in line of sight as expected," wrote Wandering-Coder. "I would only be connected for about 5 seconds at a time. Make sure you have the clearest possible view of the sky!"

Wandering-Coder will not ask other Starlink testers to perform the same experiment in the event SpaceX disagrees with beta testers using the service outside of their registered location. "All in all, it is probably best to leave the user terminal where it is registered until the subject is officially addressed," he wrote. "However, just knowing that mobility is possible is nice."

"It feels like it's from the future."

Wandering-Coder also shared first impressions on another Reddit post and a series of pictures of the gear in his house. Here are some footage of the equipment unpacking:

"Everything is of extreme build quality, and it works a lot better than I ever imagined," wrote Wandering-Coder. "It feels like it's from the future. Given the cost of a premium cell phone in the $ 1,000 range, I'm amazed to have my hands on a setup like this for ~ $ 500, and I am therefore positive about this service. "

As announced last week, the Starlink beta costs $ 99 per month plus $ 499 upfront for the user terminal, mounting tripod, and router.

At home, Wandering-coder says it achieved download speeds of 135 Mbps, uploads of 25 Mbps, and 21 ms latency when the court was placed in a ground level location with "limited obstruction" between court and sky . He also tested the user terminal elsewhere with "significant obstacles" in the form of "bad weather, tree tops, fences (and) houses," he wrote. Even in this scenario, it reported download speeds of 46 Mbps, upload speeds of 15 Mbps, and a latency of 41 ms. He hadn't put the antenna on his roof when he ran the tests. advertising

"With all the barriers to this connection right now, I am amazed at how well it works," he wrote. "Streaming, low-latency videoconferencing, and gaming are fully available with this service. Even for the beta, it seems like they underestimated Starlink's capabilities, and I'm glad they are mature."

While mounting a user terminal on the roof must be complicated, Wandering-coder wrote that everything else is pretty straightforward:

It takes approximately 1 minute to boot up when connected to power. Then it takes between 1 minute and 15 minutes to mechanically align properly. Positioning is automatic, so basically plug & play … There is a single Ethernet cable with power supply from the antenna array to the power supply unit and a single Ethernet cable with power supply from the power supply unit to the router. The antenna wire provided is attached to the antenna, but well over 100 '(by estimating I did not measure the length). No setup is required other than physical placement and setting a name for the Wi-Fi network and password. All tricky tasks are automated.

Starlink is much faster than traditional satellites

New speed test data, collected by Ookla last week and published by PCMag, showed an average Starlink download speed of 79.5 Mbps and an average upload speed of 13.8 Mbps in October when the service came out was in a more limited beta. The same data showed average download speeds of 24.75 Mbps for Viasat's Exede service and 19.84 Mbps for HughesNet, both of which offer geostationary satellite services. The upload speeds for Viasat and HughesNet were 3.25 Mbit / s and 2.64 Mbit / s, respectively.

Starlink's low-earth orbit satellites significantly outperformed the higher-orbit satellites in latency, with Starlink averaging 42 ms. According to PCMag, Viasat and HughesNet achieved 643 ms and 728 ms, respectively.

In last week's invitations from SpaceX to new users, it was expected that data speeds would vary between 50Mbps and 150Mbps and latency between 20ms and 40ms over the next few months as we improve the Starlink system . For the latency, we expect 16 ms to 19 ms by summer 2021. "

A Montana resident posted a speed test result showing a download speed of 174 Mbps, an upload speed of 33 Mbps, and a latency of 39 ms. "A way out of rural Montana, where our alternative is to pay through the gig. Starlink will change the game forever," wrote the beta tester on Reddit yesterday.

The Starlink Reddit community has several resources for tracking beta progress such as: For example, a list of speed tests for users and a list of conditions in which at least some people have received beta invites. These states are Idaho, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin. You can also watch a user's 10-second video for a quicker look at the unboxing process.

SpaceX CEO Elon Musk wrote on Twitter today that "there are several thousand more invitations to join Starlink beta this week."

Listing picture of wandering coder

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Steven Gregory