What is Starlink, where is it available and when will it be available in Africa?

What exactly is Starlink?

The Starlink division was created six years ago within SpaceX, a company transporting astronauts to space, which is also an aerospace manufacturer. Over the past few years, more than 2,500 satellites have been put into orbit by the company.

Elon Musk wants Starlink to serve between three and four percent of the global Internet market in the near future. It is aimed at rural areas that do not have high-quality internet services and where 5G technology is not attractive due to the distance from urban areas. The satellite network is therefore not intended for urban areas. It will not be able to provide sufficient bandwidth for densely populated regions.

How fast is Starlink Internet?

It is difficult to give a fixed value on this at the moment because it depends on different factors. Since there are not enough operational satellites, the stability of this technology has not yet been confirmed. When we have a stable connection, it is likely that we will be able to achieve much higher speeds than SpaceX had indicated in its promises if we had a stable connection.

Those with a Starlink connection are promised a download speed of over 100 megabits per second, an upload speed of over 20 Mbps, and a ping (latency) of less than 31 milliseconds.

At this time, Starlink’s speed still varies, but testing shows it is faster than satellite Internet services available on the market today.

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What do you need to use Starlink?

Starlink won’t require a lot of hardware:

  • A tripod and a Starlink antenna.
  • A WiFi router
  • It is essential that there is a clear line of sight between the dish and the satellites so that the dish can locate them. Ideally, there should be nothing in between.

Where is Starlink available?

SpaceX announced that its Starlink service is now available in several countries around the world where connectivity has historically been difficult. The availability map on Starlink’s official website shows that the service is “available” in most of North America, Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and a small part of South America. South. In the future, more satellites will be added to the Starlink constellation, increasing coverage.

When will it be available in Africa?

All other countries, including Africa, are listed as “coming soon”, with availability expected in 2023. Two African countries are exceptions to the rule: Mozambique and Niger, where it will normally be available by end of the year.