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[Forbes] SpaceX Launches First Starlink Satellites In Space Internet Battle

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post #11 of 47 (permalink) Old 05-28-2019, 05:01 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by TheN00bBuilder View Post
This is the problem SpaceX is trying to solve, but I think it will just contribute to it, honestly. The satellites use Ku and V-band, V-band to talk between each other and Ku to link down to earth. HughesNet uses Ku band as well, and V band is very unacceptable to rain fade, aka signals being "soaked up" by clouds, rain, snow, etc. I think this is gonna be a bad thing.
These satellites do not need to worry about clouds or rain between them.

I do not see how this could be a bad thing. HugesNet is not very similar, those satellites are in a geostationary orbit, Starlink's are 342 miles away instead of 22000 or 1.55% of the distance. Are you worried about interference with HughesNet or something?

Quote: Originally Posted by ToTheSun! View Post
I don't think the point of this is to replace latency sensitive, high-bandwidth communications. For everything else, this will be fantastic.
Why are people talking about latency being a problem? Assuming they are not congested these low flying satellites should have lower average latency than a fiber connection. As mentioned in the OP, light travels faster in a vacuum and these can use nearly line of site to get from point A to point B, unlike the web of fiber we use on the ground.
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post #12 of 47 (permalink) Old 05-29-2019, 12:41 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by Asmodian View Post
Why are people talking about latency being a problem? Assuming they are not congested these low flying satellites should have lower average latency than a fiber connection. As mentioned in the OP, light travels faster in a vacuum and these can use nearly line of site to get from point A to point B, unlike the web of fiber we use on the ground.
I might be completely wrong, but it seems to me that it'd have higher latency, due to distance and hypothetical interference, for connections that are close enough by ground fiber. It probably gets the signal faster if we're talking, say, Europe to Australia.

What I really mean is that I don't trust this network to give me a lower, stabler ping in european PUBG servers.

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post #13 of 47 (permalink) Old 05-29-2019, 01:46 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by ToTheSun! View Post
What I really mean is that I don't trust this network to give me a lower, stabler ping in european PUBG servers.
It really could though. 550 km is not very far, only 2ms. It is half the height of even satellite phones. The phased array antennas they use are also pretty amazing, these are not yesterday's satellites. Interference does not cause latency, it reduces bandwidth or if bad enough will cause packet drop.

With a cluster like this you go up 550 km (~2 ms) and then bounce interference free to a satellite above a ground station near the server, or directly to that ground station if it is within range of the satellite. In glass signals go 31% as fast so that 550 km only takes as long as 170 km of fiber. The number of devices is also a lot less, that should help lower pings more than the speed of the signals for a lot of journeys, maybe even your PUBG server.

The fiber web is still a key piece of infrastructure, and I still want a fiber connection at home, but these might be able to offer a very competitive ping. Especially in larger regions, my servers are often thousands of kilometers away where this could offer a real advantage. It probably does not reduce the cost/bit for those who have reasonable costs/bit... but I have a datacap on a 1Gbps wired connection while basically next to Google's headquarters so the internet market in the US might be a better startup market for Starlink.
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post #14 of 47 (permalink) Old 05-29-2019, 04:00 AM
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Quote: Originally Posted by Asmodian View Post
It really could though. 550 km is not very far, only 2ms. It is half the height of even satellite phones. The phased array antennas they use are also pretty amazing, these are not yesterday's satellites. Interference does not cause latency, it reduces bandwidth or if bad enough will cause packet drop.

With a cluster like this you go up 550 km (~2 ms) and then bounce interference free to a satellite above a ground station near the server, or directly to that ground station if it is within range of the satellite. In glass signals go 31% as fast so that 550 km only takes as long as 170 km of fiber. The number of devices is also a lot less, that should help lower pings more than the speed of the signals for a lot of journeys, maybe even your PUBG server.

The fiber web is still a key piece of infrastructure, and I still want a fiber connection at home, but these might be able to offer a very competitive ping. Especially in larger regions, my servers are often thousands of kilometers away where this could offer a real advantage. It probably does not reduce the cost/bit for those who have reasonable costs/bit... but I have a datacap on a 1Gbps wired connection while basically next to Google's headquarters so the internet market in the US might be a better startup market for Starlink.
Hey, if this ends up viably replacing fiber connections for a wide array of applications, I'll welcome it!

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post #15 of 47 (permalink) Old 05-29-2019, 08:00 AM
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I actually saw these passing overhead last night, conditions weren't great, but it was still pretty interesting to see multiple satellites moving together.

Still pretty jealous of the people lucky enough to see them pass over when they were still grouped together tho.
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post #16 of 47 (permalink) Old 05-29-2019, 11:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote: Originally Posted by ToTheSun! View Post
I might be completely wrong, but it seems to me that it'd have higher latency, due to distance and hypothetical interference, for connections that are close enough by ground fiber. It probably gets the signal faster if we're talking, say, Europe to Australia.

What I really mean is that I don't trust this network to give me a lower, stabler ping in european PUBG servers.
Light travels 47 times faster in a vacuum vs fiber optic cables. The latency benefits would be very real. Interference for high powered lasers is a non issue for this kind of thing. These lasers are not visible and don't stop for clouds.

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post #17 of 47 (permalink) Old 05-29-2019, 01:49 PM
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Quote: Originally Posted by UltraMega View Post
Light travels 47 times faster in a vacuum vs fiber optic cables. The latency benefits would be very real. Interference for high powered lasers is a non issue for this kind of thing. These lasers are not visible and don't stop for clouds.


good thing people have google

How-fast-does-light-travel-through-a-fibre-optic-cable
We can make a 1st-order approximation by assuming the following:
Spoiler!

Since L=3 m and t=14.1⋅10−9 s, then the "linear" photon speed in the fibre optic cable is vγ,fo=2.13⋅108 m/s, a reduction of about 30%.

What is precisely the speed of light in fiber optics?
Quote:
2/3 the velocity of light as glass has a refractive index of 1.5
Researchers create fiber network that operates at 99.7% speed of light, smashes speed and latency records
March 25, 2013
Quote:
Researchers at the University of Southampton in England have produced optical fibers that can transfer data at 99.7% of the universe’s speed limit: The speed of light. The researchers have used these new optical fibers to transfer data at 73.7 terabits per second — roughly 10 terabytes per second, and some 1,000 times faster than today’s state-of-the-art 40-gigabit fiber optic links, and at much lower latency.

The speed of light in a vacuum is 299,792,458 meters per second, or 186,282 miles per second. In any other medium, though, it’s generally a lot slower. In normal optical fibers (silica glass), light travels a full 31% slower.

Remember the golden rule of statistics: A personal sample size of one is a sufficient basis upon which to draw universal conclusions.
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post #18 of 47 (permalink) Old 05-29-2019, 02:57 PM
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Exactly. So, hypothetically speaking, this will only beat fiber in latency if a connection is established at a long enough distance.

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post #19 of 47 (permalink) Old 05-29-2019, 06:41 PM
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just take note that the distance the signal needs to travel between satellites gets longer the higher above the surface they get.

e.g. from one side of earth to the other, thats 550KM from ground A to satellite A ➞ 21,743KM from satellite A to satellite B ➞ 550KM satellite B to ground B.
so you're looking at a couple of thousand kilometers more than doing a "straight" point-to-point fiber link on the ground surface.

edit: on the other hand, i'd be more interested if this could flatten the latency on a global scale, considering that a "straight" point-to-point fiber links aren't really possible on the ground surface.

Quote: Originally Posted by Asmodian View Post
These satellites do not need to worry about clouds or rain between them.

I do not see how this could be a bad thing. HugesNet is not very similar, those satellites are in a geostationary orbit, Starlink's are 342 miles away instead of 22000 or 1.55% of the distance. Are you worried about interference with HughesNet or something?
satellite-to-satellite connection would not be a problem, i think he meant ground-to-satellite communications rain fade.

e.g. your house to the satellite, if theres cloud cover above your house then its gonna suffer from rain fade.

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Last edited by epic1337; 05-29-2019 at 07:22 PM.
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post #20 of 47 (permalink) Old 05-29-2019, 09:04 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote: Originally Posted by looniam View Post


good thing people have google

How-fast-does-light-travel-through-a-fibre-optic-cable
We can make a 1st-order approximation by assuming the following:
Spoiler!

Since L=3 m and t=14.1⋅10−9 s, then the "linear" photon speed in the fibre optic cable is vγ,fo=2.13⋅108 m/s, a reduction of about 30%.

What is precisely the speed of light in fiber optics?


Researchers create fiber network that operates at 99.7% speed of light, smashes speed and latency records
March 25, 2013

So sorry, I misheard the video in the OP. Light only travels 47% faster in space vs fiber. I misheard it as 47 times faster. MY BAD.

Quote: Originally Posted by ToTheSun! View Post
Exactly. So, hypothetically speaking, this will only beat fiber in latency if a connection is established at a long enough distance.
Ground to satellite communication is very good, be it via ground based lasers or otherwise there is really no meaningful atmospheric issues to interfere with communication. Keep in mind the atmosphere is only like 30 miles high, and only thick for maybe half that, so it's not a long distance to send signals through. Assuming idea satellite operation, I think this will basically bring international/overseas latency down quite a bit, probably close to normal gaming standards, but probably won't impact continental communication for quite a while. Once it's fully operational you would probably have to be pretty close to a server to beat satellite communication latency.

Just want to add, I did a little more reading up on fiber speeds. Apparently there are some research projects that put fiber at 97% the speed of light. There is also some variation in the claims about how fast fiber is vs a vacuum. Some claim 50% slower in fiber, some claim only 30% slower.


But here is the real question that I have not found an answer to yet:

Even if light travels at 100% speed in fiber, it still has to travel quite a bit further. Not only because fiber cables would be obviously longer than a direct line of sight link but also because the light has to bounce around in the glass.



So my next questions would be; how much further does light really have to travel to send a signal in fiber, and how will this really impact latency.

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Last edited by ryan92084; 05-30-2019 at 05:00 AM.
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