Viasat Still Unable to Stop SpaceX Starlink Launch

Viasat has not been able to stop SpaceX Starlink from launching more satellites. SpaceX just had another good launch.

This is the fourth good Starlink launch in May, 2021.

There are 1638 good Starlink satellites in orbit.

Viasat is begging the FCC now to stop SpaceX from crushing Viasat. Viasat will go to the courts to try to stop SpaceX Starlink. Viasat is using the excuse of needing an environmental study to be performed.

The FCC granted SpaceX’s request to lower the altitude of future satellites in the Starlink Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) constellation. The FCC’s decision in April came despite protests from Viasat, Amazon, SES, and other satellite competitors.

The translation of the FCC protests is SpaceX competitors saying :
– help us. we are unable to compete against SpaceX. Either we cannot get our satellites into space or we have satellites that are forty times higher so they take 0.6 to 0.8 seconds to communicate with customers (latency).
– help us. Our high-altitude satellites are about to become worthless.
– please FCC stop or slow airlines and the military from being able to use a faster and low latency service.

You can also go to the Viasat blog where Viasat explains why latency is not a big deal. Viasat has some software and network prediction to minimize the latency lag. This does require them to guess what information you might need and waste your bandwidth if they guess wrong. Viasat also has quite low monthly data usage limits.

Here’s the super-condensed story: Unless you’re doing some types of online gaming or using “VPN” work-from-home software, satellite latency is not a big deal for most internet applications. If you’d like to learn more, read on.

What exactly is latency, anyway? Latency is a measurement of time delay in any kind of system. In satellite communications, it’s the length of time that it takes our signal to travel from your home to the satellite in orbit above the Earth), and then down to a ground-based gateway which connects you to the internet. Each leg of that journey is about 22,300 miles, which sounds like a long way until you realize that our signal travels at the speed of light ( 186,282 miles per second). The whole round-trip is measured in milliseconds, often referred to as “ping.” The ping on satellite internet is usually around 638 ms, compared to ping of 30 ms or less on a typical cable network.

How latency got a bad reputation Given that latency doesn’t really seem to slow things down that much, how did it get such a bad rap? Here’s the scoop, revealed here likely for the very first time: Earlier generations of satellite internet weren’t nearly as sophisticated.

SOURCES- SpaceX, Space News
Written by Brian Wang,

21 thoughts on “Viasat Still Unable to Stop SpaceX Starlink Launch”

  1. As far as I understand, VPN works in such a way that it allows you to connect to different servers and hide my IP address. To be honest, it's a little hard to understand, but in fact it's not that important. Now the main thing is to find a verified and reliable VPN, and it can be done on the website . There is a good selection of paid and free VPNs for any need.

  2. I would cede LEO to Musk in terms of Internet connection, but would build Orbital Antenna Farms with the ability to download a lot of high def. I don’t want new space to kill SLS…but I don’t want old space to kill Starlink

  3. The latency and speeds will only improve with more satellites and inter satellite laser communication. Currently performance with Starlink varies a lot depending on where the satellites are at the time (e.g. near the horizon or directly above).
    It can be as low 18 ms (which is 9 ms better than my WOW service). Their upload and download speeds are also slightly better.
    It is A LOT better than the service I had with Comcast in 2015 (which was extremely unstable), when I switched to WOW. Prices are actually competitive with the cost I had with Comcast which was over 100 USD (granted it included cable TV, but I don't even use that).
    Mind you, I live in in a rich suburb, not in some rural area. I can only imagine how happy people in rural areas must be with the service as it is.
    With more and better satellites this will only improve. In a few years, Starlink will make Comcast shit their pants.

  4. Reminds me of the joke about the farmers.

    A genie approaches an an Irish farmer and offers him one wish. The farmer says, "Well, my neighbor has a cow and I do not, I would surely be glad to have one myself."

    Next the genie approaches an American farmer and offers him a wish. The farmer replies, "Great! My neighbor has cow and I don't. I'd like a whole herd of cows."

    Finally the genie visits a Russian farmer and offers him a wish as well. The farmer is ready and tells the genie, "My neighbor has a cow and I do not. Kill his cow."

    That last one sure sounds a lot like Viasat in this case.

  5. ViaSat being a bunch babies here, while humblebragging they actively surveil you to predictively cache/send content. Which, due to the rapid onset of SSL on the web in the last two years, means that ViaSat can't freely tap your comms to do that prediction anymore. They still get hints via TLS SNI and DNS requests, but with the new DNS-over-HTTPS stuff browsers are rolling out, you can't even tap into the DNS stream anymore to get caching hints.

  6. They pop off starlink sats low from the second stage so they can self-propel to high orbits of their choosing, so the retention clip you see floating off is somewhat quick to fall out of the sky.

  7. That's what Elon's Starship P2P service will have to face, even if everything else worked nicely.

    The whole organization of international travel has made impossible to have 1 hour trips, even if we had the tech to do them.

    Delivery might be another matter, if they could avoid the customs and processing overhead (yeah right).

  8. Latency is real. Satellites at geostationary orbit, 22,300 miles up, have 89,200 miles round trip (user A to satellite, to server B, back to satellite, back to user A). That comes out to 1/2 second delay just due to flight time, which is noticeable in audio communications (like zoom conference calls). Add in the usual server-to-server delays. It's also a big part of the delay you see on TV news, when they speak to a reporter in the field and it takes a second before they respond.

    For loading up web pages, delivering e-mail and such, it's not a big deal.

    Most satellites are in lower orbit than geostationary … GPS, some weather, photography, also the Iridium network which was originally launched by Motorola for satellite-based cell-phone use. To reduce latency in voice communications, Iridium is at 485 miles up, similar to the SpaceX satellites.

  9. If you work for Viasat in the San Diego area, you might be looking at a couple hour commute to SpaceX up in LA if things continue going badly for Viasat.

  10. Of Viasat's claims, I'm not much worried about atmospheric pollution when these satellites burn up, nor am I particularly concerned about the light pollution impacting astronomers (hey, astronomer-dudes! You're attacking the thing that will help finance the equipment that will get you observatories on the far side of the moon and even further out!).

    The space debris angle I do have one concern – the bracket or clamp or whatever it is that SpaceX apparently discards every time in order to release a set of Starlink satellites. It appears in the videos that it is allowed to just float away in orbit? Why not reel that back in and carry it until you've done your re-entry burn, then dump it? Assuming it is made of metal, it doesn't seem like the tiny drag experienced in that orbit would quickly pull it down. Has SpaceX taken care to insure it will reenter and burn up soon after the launch?

  11. It's all part of the plan, New Glenn is progressing nicely, first demo launch date hasn't even slipped, still penciled in for April 7, 2057.

  12. If anything, SST is in a worse position now than when concord was released. We now have huge delays at each end because of security (and quarantine, but hopefully that's just temporary).

    Reducing an 8 hour flight to 4 hours is great. Reducing a 2 + 8 + 2 = 12 hour total travel time to 2 + 4 + 2 = 8 is nowhere near as big an improvement.

  13. Still spotty for real-time comms, but good for buffered streaming.
    My dish mostly points skyward, so trees are not a big factor.
    Three and one-half stars. I'm sure it will turn into a five star system.
    Give it another year.

  14. Speaking of Aviation/Orbital companies facing bankruptcy: Did anyone else notice that Aerion Supersonic just ceased operations? This was supposed to be the company that succeeded where the Concorde supersonic jet aircraft failed. They were backed by big names like Boeing, Lockheed, and Warren Buffett. Supposedly, they had $11 Billion in orders just waiting on them to manufacture.

    Makes me sad.

    Boeing-backed supersonic jet start-up ceases operations – The World of Aviation

  15. Remote desktop lives or dies because of latency.

    And that's what remote working has come to mean these days for a lot of people.

    If your work already was calling n the phone, emailing and sending Office documents, your work was overdue for being remote.

  16. It is true that latency is not a big deal for several use cases, like email or B2B stuff like issuing a sales invoice from a diesel depot deep in the Amazon jungle. However, particularly since 2020, working from home suddenly became a much more important use case (particularly if you are using VPN or remote desktop protocols) and geostationary satellites are simply as SOL as the old petrol gas-powered public lighting companies, unless they can reduce their operating costs drastically.

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