What is Starlink and what does it mean for UK broadband?

Over the past few weeks we’ve been sharing articles about our clients’ experiences with slow, unreliable rural internet connections. We’ve been able to rectify this problem for them with the installation of 4G antennas and routers.

We’re no stranger to the issues rural villages face when it comes to internet connectivity. Over the past few days UK press has reported the beginnings of a potential new solution that could also help those that struggle with standard broadband connections. You may have seen Starlink in the headlines – But what’s it all about?

 

What is Starlink?

Starlink is a satellite broadband internet system from Elon Musk’s SpaceX. It is penned to provide a low latency internet option ideal for rural areas. It will consist of a constellation of small satellites in a low earth orbit, working with transceivers on the ground.

It’s made the press in the last 48 hours for securing a deal with telecoms mast company Arqiva, who will provide ground stations enabling SpaceX to spread its satellite internet service across Britain.

 

How does Starlink work?

As reported yesterday, Arqiva (based in Crawley, Hampshire) will be providing SpaceX with ground transceivers to increase UK coverage. With large ground station dishes at sites in Hampshire, Suffolk, Buckinghamshire and Bedfordshire, Arqiva has much of the home counties covered.

These ground stations will help to connected broadband satellites to the fibre network, allowing them to deliver internet signals.

The internet services that SpaceX will provide is direct to the consumer via a satellite dish. Although it’s not currently on offer throughout the UK, initial trials have been carried out in Devon and Cornwall with those taking part having received their dishes in early 2021.

The move to secure ground stations will help enable Starlink to expand its satellite coverage across the UK. They hope to cover much of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland by the end of this year.

 

When will Starlink have UK wide coverage?

Starlink’s network of low-earth-orbit satellites is growing rapidly. There are currently 1000 small satellites in orbit across the northern hemisphere, with plans to eventually have launched up to 12,000. Coupled with the provider’s move to lease ground infrastructure, this could well be an internet option for rural villages by the end of 2021.

 

Is Starlink connected to Project Gigabit?

This week, the government have launched Project Gigabit – A £5 billion government project to improve internet infrastructure and bring next generation gigabit broadband to hard to reach homes and businesses.

Officials from Starlink have been in talks with UK government in regards to how their satellite internet service could be used as a part of Project Gigabit, connecting remote parts of UK countryside to broadband speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second.

The rapid expansion of Starlink’s satellite network could accelerate this project.

 

How much will Starlink broadband cost?

To get set up as a Starlink customer here in the UK, you’ll need to first buy a Starlink satellite dish costing £439. There will then be a monthly subscription fee of £89.

 

How will Starlink’s satellite internet compare to other broadband offerings?

Trial customers that have started using Starlink’s satellite internet service already, have so far enjoyed speeds of 100-200 megabits per second.

If this standard was to be seen across the UK, especially in rural areas, it would be a significant improvement in internet speeds.

 

Are Starlink the only player when it comes to satellite internet service?

Earlier in the year, Arqiva reported to investors that they were actively ‘developing opportunities’ with low-earth-orbit constellations customers.

SpaceX was among those that were named, as well as Amazon and OneWeb so watch this space.

 

Can I get Starlink satellite internet now?

Starlink is currently only offering an initial beta service through trials, both domestically and internationally.

With the news this week in regards to ground stations, it’s expansion is expected to continue rapidly with near global coverage (including the UK) by the end of this year.

 

This week has certainly seen some exciting new developments within the Starlink satellite internet service. We’re keen to see what happens next, and whether their internet speeds will indeed be as fast and reliable as they hope.

But for now, we’re sticking with our 4G solution to rural Wi-Fi problems. If you need reliable internet now, and a slow Openreach connection just isn’t cutting it, get in touch about our 4G broadband option today. You can read more about how we’ve helped rural clients in Hampshire get a reliable 4G broadband connection here.

4G Broadband and the Teltonika RUT950 Industrial Cellular Router

If you live in a rural area, you may know only too well how slow the BT Openreach service can be. And we all know how frustrating patchy Wi-Fi can be, especially when so many of us are currently relying on it for work, home learning and socialising.

We’ve had quite a few clients recently that have asked us to install 4G broadband as a more reliable alternative to the slow BT Openreach service they’ve had previously.

The really great thing about 4G broadband is that we can use our equipment to test whether it will work for you before fitting any kit.

It’s becoming a more popular choice for home Wi-Fi networks, so we thought we would share with you our top product for 4G broadband installations – The Teltonika RUT950 4G LTE Wi-Fi Dual-SIM Router.

 

What’s it all about?

Here’s where we’re going to get technical. To skip past the tech jargon, scroll to the next section where we explain why the Teltonika RUT950 is our preferred choice for 4G broadband installations.

This industrial cellular router can be used both as a backup in-case your normal broadband fails, or as your main internet source. It guarantees a reliable internet connection with high data throughout (the amount of successfully moved data, usually in Mbps) and data redundancy (permits the correction of errors).

Connectivity

  • 4G/LTE (Cat 4), 3G, 2G.

 

WAN Failover

  • Automatic switch to available backup connection.

 

Wi-Fi

  • Wireless Access Point with Hotspot functionality. This router can support upto 100 simultaneous connections. Perfect if you’re currently a family of 2 working parents sitting on Zoom calls with 2 teenagers needing to be on virtual lessons via Teams! You can also balance your internet traffic over multiple WAN connections.

 

Dual Sim

  • With auto failover, backup WAN and other switching scenarios. If one SIM has a weak signal, reaches its data limit, has no network or network is denied, the data connection fails, or the SIM becomes idle, the router will automatically switch to the other SIM to limit disruption to signal. Custom data limits can be set up for both SIMs.

 

Ethernet

  • X4 Ethernet interfaces with VLAN (Virtual LAN) functionality. Ethernet adaptions can come in really handy, especially at the moment when households are fighting over their connection.

 

RMS

  • Compatible with Teltonika remote management system, which makes for simple and secure monitoring by us, for you and your network.
  • RutOS is a unified operating system that works across all of the Teltonika Network routers. Being powered by RutOS makes this cellular router highly secure and easily customisable.

 

Security

  • Unlimited configuration and pre-configured firewalls. WPA2 Enterprise (Wi-Fi Protected Access – Still considered the gold standard for wireless network security). Attack prevention. Mobile quota control.

For more detailed information and the complete specification on the Teltonika RUT950 Industrial Cellular 4G LTE Wi-Fi Router, you can head to their website.

 

Why is this product our preferred choice?

This 4G router enables us to have remote access to the network. This means that should any problems arise, we can provide support to our clients from where we are, rather than having to go to their premises.

The Dual-SIM functionality means that there is a backup should one of them fail, giving the client resiliency and reliability.

The units are powered by an operating system called RuTOS. This interface, a little bit like the way you use your smartphone, means that the manufacturer can send through newsletters and updates when new features have been added to the operating system.

Essentially, it’s a really powerful bit of kit, and well trusted by our Wi-Fi experts and engineers.

If you are struggling with a slow BT Openreach connection and would like to find out more about 4G broadband, head to our website. Or you can give our Wi-Fi experts a call and we can chat through whether 4G would be a good option for you.