In 2019, Starlink—a sub-division of Elon Musk’s trailblazing SpaceX—launched the first of its satellite fleet. The company had a clear mission: Provide global internet connectivity and high-speed access via a constellation of Starlink satellites.
Starlink’s mission has been a resounding triumph, definitively changing the satellite industry in just three years. With 3,500 satellites already in orbit and more than 20 additional satellites launched weekly, the company is well on its way to creating a mega constellation of over 42,000 satellites capable of providing even the most remote areas with fast and reliable internet coverage.
But how exactly does Starlink address many of the challenges remote operations face regarding internet connectivity?
Challenges of Remote Operations and Internet Connectivity
Whether it’s an enterprise oceanic shipping company, research facility, off-grid oil and gas operation or a rural farm, companies with remote operations still rely on digital tools and IoT technologies. These tools power modern business operations and dictate how companies communicate. As such, they face unique challenges, especially when it comes to obtaining and maintaining internet connectivity.
- Geographic constraints – The most clear-cut issue remote operations face is that they’re typically located in places with little to no existing physical wired infrastructure. These locations usually include mountainous or desert regions, offshore locations and rural areas far removed from urban centers. Building the necessary infrastructure in these areas may be logistically challenging or even impossible.
- Low population density – The limited number of people in these remote areas makes it less economically attractive for costly and time-intensive investments in infrastructure. Traditional internet service providers (ISPs) will typically prioritize more densely populated and urban regions, leaving remote areas with inadequate coverage.
- Limited bandwidth – Conventional satellite internet and cellular data providers may offer some connectivity but often fall short in bandwidth, restricting data-intensive applications like cloud-based services, video conferencing or real-time data analysis. Naturally, this limits the effectiveness and connectivity of remote operations, especially during peak usage times.
- High latency – In remote areas, high latency can result in communication and data transfer delays, while limiting your ability to operate using real-time data. Traditional satellites used for telecommunication are located in geostationary orbit (GEO), approximately 22,236 miles above the Earth’s equator. While they remain fixed over a particular spot, the distance often causes latency issues.
- Reliability issues – Cellular data depends on the availability of cell towers. Traditional satellite connections can be impacted by weather conditions, line-of-sight obstructions, and atmospheric disturbances. These can result in unpredictable downtimes, less than ideal for remote teams that rely on a steady connection to operate safely.
How Starlink Can Benefit Businesses with Remote Operations
Starlink was designed to address many shortcomings inherent in traditional satellites and cellular data options. It’s already begun to transform many remote operations for the better. Some key benefits include:
GPS High-Speed, Low-Latency Connectivity
Starlink’s stated mission is to provide high-speed internet access to all. Unlike traditional satellite internet services that use geostationary satellites, Starlink deploys its satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), which is much closer to the Earth’s surface.
The result is faster, lower-latency internet connectivity. This empowers businesses to efficiently use the data-intensive applications and communication tools they rely on to operate in a modern business climate.
Starlink delivers high-speed internet, far exceeding traditional broadband services, no matter where you are. Starlink Business users can expect download speeds of up to 220 Mbps, upload up to 25 Mbps and latency of 25-50 ms, enabling high throughput connectivity.
Unlike traditional telecommunication providers, which prioritized the most populated urban areas, Starlink aims to provide global coverage, extending internet connectivity to even the most remote corners of the planet.
Starlink can provide internet access to virtually any location on Earth with a constellation of LEO satellites that can be re-positioned at any point. This means that reliable internet access is now possible, whether you operate in the Congo, the Arctic, or on an oil rig located hundreds of miles offshore.
This global coverage could be transformative for remote or underserved areas previously deprived of adequate connectivity, dramatically improving their quality of life and access to the modern world.
Reliable and Scalable
Starlink’s large constellation of satellites offers built-in redundancy. If one fails, others can take over, ensuring the consistent and reliable connectivity that remote operations rely on.
Similarly, this solution will be scalable, able to grow and expand alongside the operation’s changing needs. With more satellites being launched daily, Starlink will continue to expand its network. Over time, this will result in:
- Faster speeds
- More coverage
- More reliable service
- Lower latency
Starlink in Ukraine: The Real-World Test Case
Starlink’s capabilities have already been tested in Ukraine. During the initial invasion, the country’s telecommunications network was degraded severely, making it practically impossible to coordinate an effective counter-response.
In response, Elon Musk deployed Starlink to the nation. Suddenly, the country was back online.
As the Economist noted, Starlink became “an integral part of the country’s military and civil response to Russia’s invasion … not just allowing Ukraine to fight back; it is shaping how it does so, revealing the military potential of near-ubiquitous communications.”
For Ukranians, Starlink became “an information lifeline, keeping battered hospitals connected and serving as a link to drones targeting artillery strikes against Russian forces.”
A year later, more than 10,000 Starlink terminals operate in Ukraine. And this resounding real-world success only underscores the tremendous potential Starlink holds for businesses with remote operations.
IP Access International and SuperGIG™
Technology like Starlink has been a game changer for remote operations, bringing reliable, high-speed, low-latency connectivity to even the most isolated places. However, Starlink is just one of many potential connectivity solutions. For maximum coverage, consider using multiple combined solutions (like wireless and satellite) to maintain the best possible uptime and quality.
At IP Access, we’re leveraging satellite constellations to provide our users with fast, robust internet when and where they need it most. So whether you’re running a business with remote operations or a first responder handling a life-threatening emergency, our connectivity solutions at IP Access can help.
Our all-in-one connectivity solution, SuperGIG™, transforms your internet experience by providing a reliable broadband connection that blends a dual-satellite network and multiple LTE carriers. When using SuperGIG™ to access the internet daily, you will benefit from a reliable, high-speed, uninterrupted satellite connection.
To discover more about our connectivity solutions, contact us today.