Elon Musk’s SpaceX is bringing its satellite Internet service to vehicles on the move, the company announced Tuesday. The rocket company launched Starlink for motorhomes in May, but the service only allowed customers to access the Internet while parked. The advantage for users was that they could move whenever they wanted, rather than creating a permanent service in one place.
In June, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) gave SpaceX permission to use its Starlink satellite Internet system in moving vehicles, including cars, trucks, boats and airplanes. The move represented a major win for SpaceX’s Starlink system, potentially opening up the service to a more diverse range of use cases and customers.
SpaceX sought regulatory approval from the FCC in March of last year to allow the use of Starlink Earth Stations in Motion (ESIM) terminals on vehicles in motion. To access the system and receive high-speed Internet coverage, customers must purchase a personal ground antenna or user terminal designed to connect to all Starlink satellites in orbit. Until then, these dishes had to stay in a fixed location to access the system.
Also, the FCC granted SpaceX’s request as well as that of another satellite company, Kepler Communications, paving the way for a new class of user terminals that can connect to broadband satellites while on the move. In doing so, the FCC chose to reject a petition by Dish Network that sought to block the companies from using frequency in the 12 GHz band. However, the FCC will continue to conduct analysis as it moves forward in developing rules for the presence of ESIM devices in the 12 GHz band, and has stated that Kepler and SpaceX will be subject to any future rules it imposes.
The FCC argues that approving the new capability is in the public interest. “We agree with SpaceX and Kepler that it would be in the public interest to grant their applications on bail,” the FCC wrote in its June 30 authorization. The authorization of a new class of terminals for SpaceX’s satellite system will expand the range of broadband capabilities to meet the growing demands of users who now require connectivity on the go, whether driving an RV across the country, moving cargo from Europe to a US port. , or on a domestic or international flight.
In May, SpaceX launched Starlink for RVs, a service that offers essentially the same guarantees as a standard Starlink antenna. Thus, the firm promises instant high-speed internet access with low latency. RV is the abbreviation of recreational vehicle (recreational vehicle) incorporating a structure designed for temporary accommodation for the purpose of travel, recreation or recreational use and capable of being driven, towed, parked or transported.
This satellite link should be accessible from all areas already served by the constellation. In theory, this should cover all of metropolitan France. Unlike fixed Starlink terminals which are still regularly subject to a waiting list, this RV version also has the feature of being available immediately. In addition, it is also possible to suspend the service when the vehicle is parked waiting for the return of good weather. All you have to do is visit the page to resume billing.
To take advantage of this portability package, you must first have a service at home, and the service warns users that they will not be prioritized when away from home. But if you’re an RV enthusiast and ready to buy a plate without having a priority service home address, Starlink for RVs will let you sign up and get a plate to use it.
There’s no waiting, but be aware that the service isn’t designed to work on the move and, as Elon Musk mentions, the antenna is a bit big for a car.
Vehicles in motion will be able to benefit soon
When the service was announced in May, Starlink unfortunately couldn’t be used while driving, but the company said it was actively working on a solution for vehicles in motion. Musk also tweeted that he was working on an efficient power solution that could plug into a car’s 12V cigarette lighter while maintaining connectivity. That hasn’t stopped some owners from testing Starlink in high-speed cars, with varying success.
A few months later, the company announces good news.
In fact, starting from December, Starlink for recreational vehicles will also be able to offer internet service for vehicles in motion. The new offering still costs $135 a month, but requires an upgraded $2,500 satellite dish instead of the standard $599 unit. Customers can pause and resume their service at any time.
On the company’s website, it is recalled that the standard Starlink kit is not intended for this use (vehicles in motion).
Beyond the simple use of residential customers
SpaceX has made it clear that it wants to expand Starlink beyond residential customer use. The company has been negotiating with various airlines over the use of Starlink Internet service and has reached agreements with Hawaiian Airlines and private jet service JSX to begin offering Internet connectivity on their planes within the next two years. In addition, Starlink has just introduced a special new level of service for RVs, allowing users to connect to Starlink satellites from multiple locations such as campsites or vacation cabins, without a fixed home address for an additional fee .
Starlink Maritime provides $5,000 per month, to which must be added the purchase of two high-performance satellite dishes costing $10,000 in total. A much higher price than the regular residential plan that costs $110 per month, as well as $599 for the necessary equipment. But the offer is above all designed for sea professionals.
At this price, the company promises to offer download speeds of 350 Mbps.
In a tweet, Musk clarified the importance of the special pair of terminals, saying they are important for maintaining connectivity in rough seas and strong storms.
The company claims Starlink Maritime can withstand extreme weather conditions and is suitable for applications from commercial vessels to oil rigs to high-end yachts. She said he uses the service to film SpaceX rocket landings at sea.
On October 18, SpaceX introduced its Starlink Aviation service for high-speed, low-latency in-flight internet with worldwide connectivity. The equipment needed to access the Starlink satellite constellation is a new phased array antenna designed specifically for aircraft called the Aero Terminal. It looks like a flat square panel that is installed on the outside of the aircraft as shown below. Starlink’s low-profile Aero terminal features an electronically steered phased array antenna, which enables new levels of reliability, redundancy and performance, the company explains.
The Starlink Aviation hardware kit costs $150,000 and is capable of providing wireless Internet access to all passengers on an airplane. The kit includes an Aero terminal, power supply, 2 wireless access points and harness. Online subscription ranges from $12,500 to $25,000 per month, depending on the airline’s needs. Customers can now reserve Internet service and pre-order equipment on SpaceX’s Starlink.com website with a $5,000 down payment. SpaceX plans to begin offering the service in mid-2023.
SpaceX says Starlink Aviation service is capable of providing internet at any altitude around the world: As the world’s largest satellite constellation with coverage across land, oceans and polar regions, Starlink is well positioned to connect passengers wherever they go lead your flight paths, the company says. Web page.
Some system weaknesses
Most satellite Internet services originate from single geostationary satellites orbiting more than 35,000 kilometers above the Earth’s surface. Starlink, meanwhile, provides high-speed connectivity from a constellation of small satellites in low Earth orbit. The devices circle the planet in 90 to 120 minutes. As a result, the data transfer time between users and satellites, called latency, is shorter.
In this way, Elon Musk’s company can provide a broadband connection in rural villages that traditionally did not have access to this type of service. This is in fact the main stated goal of Starlink, which seeks to bring connectivity to inaccessible areas and offer competitive services where other providers already operate.
However, one of the weaknesses of small satellites is their lower capacity, which can make it difficult to provide a signal for large aircraft on routes with heavy air traffic. SpaceX says the speed at which the system is being developed could offer major near-term improvements.
Recently, US regulators labeled Stalink’s satellites as an emerging technology when they rejected an $866 million government subsidy for the service. However, the company pointed to its April deal with Hawaiian Airlines, from which it will service its planes, as an example of the industry’s confidence.
Source: star connection
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