Starlink beta users get download speeds ranging from 11 to 60 Mbps, according to tests carried out by Speedtest by Ookla Starlink is SpaceX&...
Starlink beta users get download speeds ranging from 11 to 60 Mbps, according to tests carried out by Speedtest by Ookla
Starlink is SpaceX's project to provide high-speed Internet from space. The company has already entered a beta phase in parts of the United States, allowing Speedtest.net, also known as Speedtest by Ookla, to make some measurements on this connection, including data rate and latency. These tests show that beta users achieve download speeds of 11 to 60 Mbps. The tests by Ookla do not show the gigabit speeds that SpaceX has previously announced, but it is still early to judge.
Speedtest.net is a U.S.-based web service that provides free analysis of Internet access performance metrics, including connection data rate and latency. Several Starlink beta testers have used it to assess the state of their network. Links to 11 anonymous speed tests performed by Starlink users were posted by a Reddit user. Another user of the platform compiled some of the tests into a summary graph. On the latter, several remarks can be made.
It shows, for example, that users of the Starlink broadband satellite service from SpaceX have download speeds between 11 Mb/s to 60 Mb/s. The same tests, carried out over the last two weeks, have shown latencies or ping rates ranging from 31 ms to 94 ms. This is not a comprehensive study of Starlink's speeds and latencies, so it is not clear that this is what users should expect once Starlink satellites are fully deployed and the service is commercially available.
Other posts on Reddit also show that some Starlink users benefit from a much lower latency of 21ms and 20ms. These users have signed non-disclosure agreements, so these speed tests may be one of the only glimpses of actual Starlink performance throughout the testing period. Note that in 2016, SpaceX had announced to the FCC that its network will be capable of providing high-speed broadband connectivity (up to 1Gbps) with low latency for consumers and businesses.
However, this will only be possible once the system is fully optimised by the final deployment. To date, SpaceX has launched approximately 600 satellites and has received FCC approval to launch nearly 12,000. In addition, critics say that while 60 Mbps is not a gigabit, it is comparable to some of the lower speed levels of cable and is much higher than the speeds offered by many DSL services in rural areas where SpaceX is likely to be of great interest.
For example, some Internet users have stated that they would like to have the speeds revealed by Ookla's tests for Starlink, as they are currently blocked at 1Mbps or even lower. Regarding network latency, SpaceX should probably further optimize its offering before final deployment, as CEO Elon Musk has promised a latency of less than 20ms.
"We are aiming for less than 20 milliseconds latency, so that a user can play a fast response video game at a competitive level,"
This is feasible because SpaceX satellites have low Earth orbits, between 540 km and 570 km, which allows them to have much lower latency than geostationary satellites orbiting at about 35,000 km. That said, Musk's claims have not convinced FCC Chairman Ajit Pai. He questioned Musk's claims about latency and proposed in May 2020 to classify SpaceX and all other satellite operators as high latency providers, including latency above 100ms.
Although the latencies revealed by Ookla's speed tests for Starlink do not meet Musk's target, below 20 ms, they are below the FCC's 100 ms threshold. For competitive online games, Ookla indicates that players are in a "winning" position with a latency or ping of 59 ms or less, and "in the game" with a latency or ping of up to 129 ms. According to an Ookla report published last year, the world's top 35 cities for online gaming have ping rates of 8 to 28 ms.
Latency tests are affected by the distance between the user and the server. Ookla's tests revealed on Reddit showed that the tests go to servers in Los Angeles and Seattle. The SpaceX beta tests are planned for the northern US and southern Canada, but articles show that so far the testers are only in rural areas of Washington State. SpaceX has not commented on these performance tests.
Source: Speedtest by Ookla