Ultrafast Broadband Satellites: SpaceX Launch Starlink v2 

You may have read our previous blogs on Starlink – the satellite broadband internet system from Elon Musk’s SpaceX. This low latency internet option is ideal for rural areas and consists of a constellation of small satellites in a low earth orbit, working with transceivers on the ground.

Last month, SpaceX launched its second generation of Starlink Block v2.0 satellites into Low Earth Orbit. 54 of these satellites have now joined the rest of the constellation, hopefully resulting in multiple improvements to the service, including:

  • Better capacity and faster broadband speeds
  • Better coverage
  • Improved network reliability
  • Delivery of mobile phone services from space

What do Starlink customers pay and what service do they get?

UK Starlink customers generally pay about £75 per month, plus the cost of the standard home kit at £460 (including the standard dish and router) in addition to a £40 shipping fee.

The standard Starlink package includes:

  • Unlimited usage
  • Fast latency times (25-50ms)
  • Download speeds of 50-200Mbps
  • Upload speeds of 5-15Mbps

With the latest number of subscribers currently at around 1 million – Double what it was just over 6 months ago) it looks like it’s becoming increasingly in demand. It is worth noting that the speeds quoted above may change as the network grows. 

What does the latest Starlink launch mean?

Starlink now has about 3,370 satellites in a Low Earth Orbit at an altitude of around 500km. The aim is to have 4,400 LEO satellites deployed by 2024. They also have approval to launch another 7,500 by the end of 2027. 

Interestingly, this latest Starlink launch looks like it includes an experimental batch of GEN2 satellites. These second generation satellites aren’t what tech experts were expecting to see as part of the launch, hence why they are being viewed as somewhat experimental. 

These trial satellites include some of the improvements wireless engineers were hoping to see from satellite broadband. 

Originally, the plan was for the second generation satellites to be launched on board their Starship rocket. These satellites would have seen the following enhancements:

  • Bigger – 7m long unfolded and 1,250kg
  • Lasers for inter-satellite links
  • Ability to use more spectrum bandwidth (e.g. the V band)
  • Reductions in brightness through dielectric film
  • Larger antenna
  • More power and support for connecting 4G and 5G smartphones from space (mobile broadband for voice and data) through twin solar array

However, unfortunately the Starship rocket still isn’t ready. As this would have been the only economically viable way to launch that version of second generation satellites, Starlink decided to adapt these Gen2’s so that they could launch with the Falcon9 rockets which is what we saw in December. 

These adapted GEN2’s are actually more similar in form to the first generation satellites. They are smaller than originally planned (just over 300m each) hence why they were able to launch earlier than waiting for the Starship rocket. 

Which features are being tested with this set of GEN 2 satellites? It’s not too clear, but likely to include enhancements related to Starlink’s acquisition of SWARm Technologies. Their tiny pico satellites were for connecting small IoT devices, utilised for agricultural sensors, buoys in the sea and smart energy metres. 

Whilst we may not be getting all the benefits that would be expected from GEN2 in this current form, SpaceX are preparing something intermediary in the form of a v2 mini which will weigh around 800kg and be 4.1m x 2.7m in size. Benefits such as improved bandwidth are likely to come along with this form. 

Why are we interested in the latest Starlink satellite launch?

Here at Geekabit we strive to offer the very best wireless broadband connectivity to our clients – Wherever they are based.

With this in mind, we will be starting to offer Starlink satellite internet for hire. This will be especially useful for those running temporary events like festivals, rural press launches, sports events and film crews.

All events depend on excellent communications and we are passionate about providing reliable internet access for some of the most prestigious events names in the UK. Keeping you connected is our passion.

For more information and to find the best solution to suit your internet needs, please get in touch with one of our event Wi-Fi experts – We’re here to get you connected. 

Looking for New Festival Wi-Fi For Your Live Event? 

If you’re planning a festival or live event in an outdoor location, then providing temporary Wi-Fi is probably near the top of your to do list. If it isn’t, then it should be!

Imagine going to see your favourite band play and not be able to stream it live onto your Instagram or Facebook stories? Or FaceTime your best friend their favourite song? Picture the frustration from not being able to upload the perfect selfie of you and your partner dressed up and living your best life! There is nothing as frustrating as wanting to get online, but having woeful Wi-Fi. 

We use the internet innumerable times a day – Wi-Fi is an integral part of all of our lives now. And it’s super important to bear this in mind when planning your festival or event. We know there are lots of utilities you need to take care of, from power supplies to toilets, water to Wi-Fi. 

Why do festivals need readily available Wi-Fi?

It’s not only the guests that need Wi-Fi – It’s the vendors too. With the prevalence of contactless payments, it’s no surprise that food and drink traders at your festival or live event will want to take payments that require an internet connection.

Festivals are requiring more and more connectivity – And it’s imperative that your Wi-Fi network is reliable and secure. 

Festivals are booming back after the pandemic and they’re big business, bringing in millions of pounds. The market is also full so it’s important your festival is at least offering what the competition is, if not exceeding them with unique selling points. Like site-wide reliable Wi-Fi! 

Did you know that 90% of festival goers are smartphone users? And 65% ranked their smartphone as the most important item they brought with them, being keen to stay connected to their social networks whilst attending the festival.

It is vital that temporary Wi-Fi for festivals and live events is done properly – That’s why it’s best to leave it to the experts! Like our Wi-Fi engineers here at Geekabit. We know good Wi-Fi and our professional Wi-Fi technicians can ensure your festival Wi-Fi is going to provide the service that your guests and vendors need.

What do we need for successful Festival Wi-Fi?

It’s all in the planning! Our professional team of Wi-Fi engineers will plan out the perfect Wi-Fi solution by mapping out your site, generating heat maps and designing a network with seamless coverage and no black spots. 

  • Seamless site roaming

    A successful festival Wi-Fi set up will allow your internet users to roam the entire site seamlessly.
  • Configure multiple networks to the same hardware

    Modern Wi-Fi equipment also allows you to configure multiple networks to the same hardware. This means you could have separate networks – Think staff, vendors and guests – All being broadcast from the same devices. There is no need to have 3 separately configured networks.
  • Technical support

    It’s a good idea to make sure that you have either on-site or on-call technical support from the Wi-Fi engineers that set up your network(s). This ensures that if any adjustments need to be made or there are any issues, they can be resolved as soon as possible. 
  • Wi-Fi hotspots

    In previous years it has been tricky to keep festival goers connected across large sites, especially across remote areas like fields. Back in their cosy tent they might have struggled to get mobile coverage let alone festival Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi hotspots were utilised to try and combat this problem. You might be familiar with Glastonbury’s ‘Wi-Fi cows’ which worked as 4G hotspots via the EE network – Keeping everyone connected. More recently, we have the technology to create site wide Wi-Fi networks – A giant hotspot if you will! 

Festival Wi-Fi Features

There are certain features that Festival Wi-Fi requires in order to provide the necessary connectivity for the event. From huge festivals to small, intimate venues, every live event will have its own specific solution to the Wi-Fi requirements. 

Strong and Reliable Wi-Fi

First and foremost, the Wi-Fi for your festival needs to be strong, reliable and cost-effective. If you don’t have a dependable network, your vendors will be unable to take card payments and your staff members may not be able to communicate with other another. Not to mention the guest experience which is paramount if you want people to return year on year! 

Guest Wi-Fi

We’ve mentioned this already. And although you might think that festival goers are more inclined to enjoy the moment and be present with the live music they are watching, guests will still demand Wi-Fi, and most often what they want is an open network. 

It’s even been suggested that free guest Wi-Fi at festivals can increase your number of guests, with festival goers actively looking for a gig that offered free Wi-Fi. So it’s pretty obvious that connectivity is important. 

Let’s not forget that every social media post of your festival is like free marketing for your event, encouraging people to book tickets for the next one. When guests share a positive experience online of your festival, there and then in that wonderful moment, you can connect with a whole new audience – Simply from providing good, strong, reliable Wi-Fi. 

Wi-Fi for Festival Vendors

In this day and age, very few people carry cash in their everyday lives. And this is no different at festivals. No one wants to carry a weekend’s worth of cash around at a festival, and they won’t want to leave it back in their tent either! What they want is to carry their bank card or smartphone and be able to pay for food and drink via contactless payments.

Your vendors are going to want to take card machine payments, and they’re also going to want to avoid huge queues at their trading post. That means quick, reliable Wi-Fi powering their contactless transactions.  

Wi-Fi for Festival Staff 

A well executed event relies heavily on excellent communication. If your team can’t effectively communicate with each other, then your event is going to struggle. And when your event is outdoors across a large site, you need to know that your team members can depend on reliable communications. 

Being able to use VoIP, send emails or instant messaging with colleagues is super important. Providing a site-wide Wi-Fi network will mean that everyone on your festival team can stay connected whether they’re in the events office or roaming the site. 

Do we Really Need to Provide Wi-Fi at our Festival? 

This article has aimed to outline the features of festival Wi-Fi and why it’s so important to get it right. Events that offer reliable, strong Wi-Fi are celebrated. Streaming the gig live on their social media pages or FaceTiming family have become a big part of the festival experience. If you haven’t documented your festival weekend on Instagram, did you even go? 

It’s vital that your festival goers stay connected throughout your event – Both with the friends they are partying with and the ones at home. Festival Wi-Fi is a must – And it needs to be strong and reliable with seamless roaming. 

What would your first impression be of a business that had little or no connectivity? Probably not a great one! And your festival or live event is no different. Wi-Fi is a vital asset, whether it’s an office-based business or a festival in a field. 

Would you like some more information on how to make sure your festival is well connected? Give us a call or drop us an email today and one of our Wi-Fi experts will be in touch to discuss how we can ensure your festival has the Wi-Fi you need. Our Wi-Fi engineers work out of Hampshire, London and Cardiff and are on hand to make sure your festival has a reliable Wi-Fi network.