The world of internet seems to be moving in a different direction lately, with both the physical line and wireless technologies growing side by side amd landing on the current Fibre to the home and 5G models. The next big evolution in internet technology may be here, if you believe in what Elon Musk has to say.
The ever-ambitious Musk has been working on a new Starlink system through his SpaceX company, which is designed to use the power of satellites to create a better-integrated network that will surround the globe and provide internet to the masses. It sounds like the stuff of science fiction, but like with most things he puts his mind to, his company is actually pulling off this bold idea with existing beta tests showing speeds of between 50Mbps to 150Mbps which can be achieved in certain remote areas. News which Musk responded to in a tweet claiming the speeds are set to double to an impressive 300Mbps with a reduced latency of around 20ms. That’s better than most terrestrial connections.
Musk does go on to remind everyone that cellular connections like 5G will always trump his Starlink service in densely connected urban areas, but considering the core purpose is to connect people in more remote parts of the globe to the internet, I would say if he can pull off what he claims then they will have better connection speeds than what the rest of us will be able to get in metropolitans.
It’s worth noting though that the latency of satellite communication will likely always be quite high, although if Musk can indeed get enough satellites in the sky over the next few years, that too could soon compete with the existing terrestrial connection if the right infrastructure is put in place. That and the interference that bad weather can cause makes this form of communication less reliable from time to time.
With the best part of Musk’s idea being that people can buy dishes and connect to Starlink for significantly less than what they could to many other service providers, it’s easy to see how this could be a game-changer especially in many rural parts of Africa and around the globe. Perhaps it’s early days as this technology continues to grow, but it seems that the future of the internet and our connectivity lies not in the massive fibre and undersea projects around the globe, but in space and the use of satellite technology, which television networks are abandoning. What a strange world we live in.
Last Updated: February 26, 2021