Friday, January 21, 2022

Starlink internet performance still beating broadband download speeds in Canada

Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite internet performance remained relatively flat in the third quarter, but it’s still besting the median broadband download speeds in five Canadian provinces.

According to a Q3 analysis by Ookla, Starlink’s median download speeds only saw a slight increase to 90.67 Mbps, up 3 Mbps from last quarter. Its upload speeds remained relatively unchanged at 13.87 Mbps.

Starlink’s download speed continued to beat the median fixed broadband internet speeds in five provinces, outpacing wired connections in Manitoba, Nova Scotia, Prince Edward Island, Quebec and Saskatchewan. Out of the five provinces, Starlink had the highest median download speeds in P.E.I, at 118.02 Mbps. In contrast, the median broadband speed in the region was only 46.86 Mbps.

While Starlink was able to match broadband download speeds in New Brunswick, it was slower than broadband in Alberta, British Columbia, and Ontario. Starlink also lost in median upload speeds, with 13.87Mbps compared to 20.67Mbps of broadband.

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Latency measures the time delay between when the data is sent and when it’s received. It’s an important metric in time-sensitive applications and gaming. Because its network communicates with satellites in space, Starlink had higher latency than broadband: 56ms. Broadband, on the other hand, had just 12ms delay.

Starlink aims to beam the internet to anywhere in the world using its network of low-earth orbit (LEO) satellites, also known as a constellation. In Canada, the service mainly targets rural and remote areas without access to fixed broadband. Customers need to purchase and install a satellite dish for CA$649 from the company, then pay a subscription fee of CA$129 per month.

Starlink exclusively uses low-orbit satellites that hover between 550km and 1200 km above ground. In addition to reducing latency, low-earth-orbit satellites also reduce space junk, as they easily fall back down to earth when they are decommissioned.

To date, Starlink has launched over 1,800 satellites, far from the 40,000 it envisions to achieve one day. The most recent launch took place on Saturday, Dec. 18 when a SpaceX rocket sent 52 more satellites into orbit.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada
Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT World Canada. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at tli@itwc.ca.

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