This is how Starlink satellite Internet works in snow: extreme conditions

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Brian Adam
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starlink snow

Starlink it is taking more and more shape. With more than 800 satellites deployed and thousands of people participating in the alpha and beta, the company is showing that the service perfectly replaces an ADSL connection, and even comes to compete with fiber exceeding 100 Mbps with ease. Now, a video shows how the satellite internet connection with extreme conditions.


We have already seen how starlink works in normal conditions, as well as in an area with trees and rain. However, extreme conditions such as snow are even harsher as the signal going to and from the satellites has more obstacles in the sky if it is snowing, as well as the snow itself falling on the antenna.

Starlink and snow don’t get along very well

Some days ago, Brett batie He shared a video on his YouTube channel where he unboxed, installed and tested the system. Now, he has uploaded a video doing speed tests in snow in the area where he lives.

Batie claims that she normally gets between 50 and 100 Mbps speed, which is normal with the current satellite deployment, and will improve as there are more in the sky. The density of population and users in an area will also affect the speed, but luckily that will not be a problem for users of the service because the idea is that it allows access to the Internet anywhere where normally no connection.

However, with snow on the antenna, the speed plummets, with figures of 25 Mbps download and 12 Mbps upload, with 27 ping. However, in a second test, the figure drops to 13.75 Mbps downstream and 7.51 Mbps.

The problem there is not only the speed drop, but also the ping is very unstable and reaches figures between 80 and 400 ms, arriving the connection even to fall off at times. With rain and clouds these types of problems do not occur, and the connection is very stable.

The antennas have a built-in heater to melt snow

Snow can be a specific problem; especially if the antenna is in an area that is difficult to access. Fortunately, SpaceX engineers already thought that this could happen, and the antenna has a built-in heating system that causes the antenna to rise above 0ºC. In the following video we can see how the antenna is at 4 ºC, while the environment and snow are below zero.

In fact, in Batie’s first video we can see how at 5:35, when he goes up to manually clean the antenna, part of the snow has melted with a certain texture of spring snow, as well as drops of water from snow that already it has melted.

After cleaning the antenna, the speed partially returns to normal, with 100 Mbps downstream and 16 Mbps upstream, and a somewhat more stable ping, but it continues to have ups and downs due to the snow that is falling in the sky continues to negatively affect to the stability of the connection.


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