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Old 01-23-2020, 07:41 AM   #1
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StarLink

Is anyone following what SpaceX is doing to create a satellite based world wide high speed internet called StarLink? My understanding is it will go active in the second half of 2020 but it will probably be a few more years until all the satellites are launched for worldwide coverage. It should be a real game changer for boaters and RVers. I am kind of wondering how large the antenna/receiver will be and what the service will cost.
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Old 01-23-2020, 10:35 AM   #2
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I did a little reading on it and found most of the info out there is fluff. So not much in actual technical detail, but I did see mention of the Starlink satellites transmitting to "Earth based hubs". If so, that means there would still need to be your typical network distribution via wifi or cable to remote wifi hubs. Not particularly helpful to boaters.

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Old 06-09-2020, 02:14 PM   #3
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This YouTube video does a nice job of updating on Starlink and how it might impact RVers and Cruisers. The bottom line is it might be a few years down the road for ocean crossing or out in the stream but should come sooner for coastal cruising.

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Old 06-09-2020, 05:16 PM   #4
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More space junk for me to avoid when I launch my personal rocket ship.
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Old 10-27-2020, 10:26 AM   #5
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https://www.cnbc.com/2020/10/27/spac...st-begins.html

"SpaceX is expanding the beta test of its Starlink satellite internet service, reaching out via email on Monday to people who expressed interest in signing up for the service.

Known as the “Better Than Nothing Beta” test, according to multiple screenshots of the email seen by CNBC, initial Starlink service is priced at $99 a month – plus a $499 upfront cost to order the Starlink Kit."
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Old 10-27-2020, 11:18 AM   #6
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Antenna size is approx 24" around
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Old 10-28-2020, 12:01 AM   #7
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Saturday morning I woke just before dawn and peered out my aft cabin window watching the stars when I noted a satellite moving across the sky, then a second later on the same path another, and then another, and another, at least a dozen in a row. Apparently that was Starlink, I had not previously been following it much. But with those speeds and wanting a net connection I can reliably work from, this may be something I look into.
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Old 10-28-2020, 07:23 AM   #8
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Starlink is in its infancy and still needs to launch thousands of small sats in order to deliver service throughout the country/world, this is in addition to ground stations and other support. PNW and Great Lakes will be some of the first areas where it will be available commercially. While in beta the technology was used to support responders to the recent wildfires. The technology has promise and will be good for a mobile environment but for many of us it is a few years away at the earliest.
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Old 10-28-2020, 07:47 AM   #9
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Their self contained collision capabilities must be pretty durn good!
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Old 10-28-2020, 08:13 AM   #10
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There are at least 3 companies attempting to get 2,000 to 3,000 sats in orbit at this time.
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Old 10-28-2020, 12:11 PM   #11
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Considering the wallet behind it I have very few doubt about starlink success. Only question is will the demand be there to justify the operating cost and keep monthly fee low enough. Future will tell.

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Old 10-28-2020, 02:41 PM   #12
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We are signed up for the beta at a few of our northern/remote addresses. It would be great for the motorhome or boat as in both worlds, Marina/Campground wifi is worse than dialup in most cases - the exception being where you get an actual cable connection to your dock.

Edit to add: the game changer here isn't just the bandwidth, but the latency which is showing sub 40ms. We've had satellite internet which in the past has been 600ms+. If you are talking to someone with that latency it is almost like you need to say "over" to avoid interrupting eachother.
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Old 10-28-2020, 03:35 PM   #13
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Also to fully deploy Starlink will need 15,000 satellites, Amazon is proposing similar and the 3rd player a few thousand.
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Old 11-03-2020, 10:52 AM   #14
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https://www.businessinsider.com/musk...ign-up-2020-11

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In follow-up tweets, Musk indicated when other locations would get Starlink internet.

He said European countries will get access as soon "as the company get country approval," which he estimated would start in February or March.

"This is required for each country individually, as no EU-wide approval system exists. Probably start receiving final (there are many steps) approvals around Feb/March," he said.

Florida could get the public beta in January, he said, adding that "lower latitude states need more satellites in position."
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Old 11-12-2020, 02:59 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lollygag1 View Post
Antenna size is approx 24" around

Suspect KVH is working on a marine antenna solution but have no specific knowledge of such.
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Old 11-12-2020, 03:10 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Donsan View Post
Suspect KVH is working on a marine antenna solution but have no specific knowledge of such.

I thought with a phased-array antenna you don't need to track because the antenna can receive the signal across a wide enough arc. Anyone know for sure?
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Old 11-12-2020, 03:17 PM   #17
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You are correct, provided there are sufficient satellites which is the key to the whole technology. Ideally the antenna would be on some form of gyro to address for up and down and side to side motion in stronger seas.
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Old 11-12-2020, 05:10 PM   #18
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I thought with a phased-array antenna you don't need to track because the antenna can receive the signal across a wide enough arc. Anyone know for sure?
Their home antenna would work on a boat without all the stabilization and tracking needed for geostationary satellites used by KVH for TV.

The lower the earth's orbit, the faster the satellite has to move to stay in orbit, since it has higher gravity. So, any motion of the boat would be insignificant compared to the velocity of the satellites going by overhead. They may have some orientation requirements so the antenna knows which way is north, but I would suspect, to make it customer friendly, they probably have built that into the antenna to dumb down installation. That way, all you have to do is provide power to the antenna, and it finds the orientation, location and satellites. From there, it simply beam forms for highest gain, switching satellites as they go overhead.

I have not seen an antenna first-hand, so an environmental dome may be needed to protect the antenna from salt spray and other weather issues but that's a no-brainer, since the antenna is quite small, compared to a tracking dish antenna. The down-side is that it is fairly power hungry and the higher the bit rate, the more power it will take to deliver the desired bit rate.

From what I can find on the internet, the antenna is a disk like flying saucer shaped antenna, and includes internal heating elements to keep it ice-free in cold climates. This too will require power since it has resistance heating strips to melt ice off the face of the antenna. ice or water vapor will cause "rain fade" a common problem with satellites, especially those with smaller antennas.

The antenna performance may degrade in the tropics due to rain, but it won't have as high a look angle as many stationary satellite systems. If it loses the link, it should be able to acquire a secondary satellite in the constellation with less rain fade. I'm sure some features will arrive over time, since they are getting it to market quickly and adding features later. One example is the current satellites are not using their laser interconnections that lets each satellite have an optical link with its neighbors and not use RF, so it would have faster bit rate and no jamming issues, like what could happen with RF. I don't know if the hardware is on the early satellites but disabled, or they are expecting the early satellites to be de-orbited and replaced as time goes on.

Unlike most other satellite companies, SpaceX plans for these satellites to be brought down after 5 years or so, and replaced with new satellites. So the spiral updates plan works, getting them to market faster than anyone else and boosting capabilities over time.
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Old 11-12-2020, 05:36 PM   #19
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I believe they have just not activated the laser function yet. The satellites do have a fairly short life span so there will be continuous launches to replenish those that are obsolete.
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Old 11-12-2020, 06:01 PM   #20
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My friend at SpaceX is no longer there, so I don't know the answer to that. I hear that they are not using the laser data links, but using RF instead communicating between neighboring satellites.
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