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A Space Exploration Technology Corp. (SpaceX) Starlink user dish has managed to deliver consistent performance despite being covered in ice and with eight inches of snow in the area. Shared by a customer from Colorado, an image of the terminal shows it covered with icicles, with the user reporting that she did not experience any signal drops from the service. Despite high snow levels in the area, the performance remained consistent even as snow levels increased from four to eight inches.
Starlink Delivers Astounding Speed Test Results In Colorado
In addition to sharing an image of her user terminal on social media, the user also shared Internet speed test scores for Starlink. These scores were taken before the user terminal, or DishyMcflatface, as SpaceX calls it, was covered in ice, as you'll see below. They are some of the highest scores for the service that we've come across, with the previous results showing 200Mbps in download speeds.
The latest results reveal that Starlink can achieve an astounding 300 Mbps in download speeds - at least as far as one user in Colorado is concerned. Since Starlink is in beta service levels, users have been reporting impressing Internet speeds. However, whether SpaceX will sustain these levels once the network is fully online is uncertain and will most likely depend on the number of users in a given area.
Update: 8 inches on the ground and counting.. Only 1 short beta drop so far, a few seconds long, not even registered on...
Details shared by SpaceX in November last year revealed that the user terminals can operate in temperatures as low as -30°C. Additionally, they also feature pre-built heaters inside them, which are capable of melting off snow in extreme weather conditions and since the dish itself is flat due to its use of phased-array antennas. snow or water does not accumulate in its center.
These features are a must-have for Starlink since SpaceX markets the service as targeting remote markets and areas which generally do not have mainstream land-based internet connectivity. Some of these regions are in the polar parts of the Earth, which often see high levels of snow. They include Alaska, which is currently the only region that is being served through laser-equipped Starlink satellites. These satellites, which SpaceX will introduce as part of its next generational satellite upgrade, remove the need for ground stations to connect the user terminals with Internet data centers.
However, other tests conducted by the same user showed scores ranging between 60 Mbps and 185 Mbps despite this high score. Such fluctuations are not unexpected due to the limited number of satellites currently in orbit, as user terminals often have to wait for signals as a satellite passes overhead.
A download speed of 300 Mbps is more than ten times what SpaceX's competitors offer on average, according to data compiled by PCMag. This compilation, which gathered data in October last year, revealed that, on average, HughesNet delivers a download speed of 20 Mbps and Viasat delivers a speed of 25 Mbps.
One key differentiator for Starlink over its competitors is the use of low Earth orbit (LEO) satellites. These satellites operate in altitudes as low as 540 kilometers. As a result, they reduce the time it takes for them to communicate with the user terminals and ground stations. SpaceX also claims that the lower altitude helps with space safety, with its request to further lower some satellites currently pending before the Federal Communications Commission.