SpaceX Starlink Set to Expand UK Broadband Capacity 

SpaceX is trying to increase the capacity of its ultrafast broadband via LEO (Low Earth Orbit) constellation of satellites by seeking approval from Ofcom to get a variation on its existing gateway. They plan to do this by increasing the number of gateway antennas at multipe UK sites and by adopting additional bands. 

Starlink LEO Satellites

At the moment, Starlink have a network of 5,289 LEO satellites. They orbit the Earth at an altitude of around 500km. 

SpaceX Starlink has approval to expand this number to approximately 7,500 satellites by the end of 2027. 

What is the Cost of Starlink Satellite Broadband? 

For UK customers, costs start at £75 per month. There is an additional cost for the £449 regular home kit which includes a standard dish, router and relevant kit. There is also a shipping fee of £20 on the Standard package. 

By the end of last year, Starlink had a global network of 2.3 million customers (now at 2.6m). 42,000 of those customers were based in the UK (which is up from 13,000 in 2022). Most of these UK customers are based in rural areas. 

Starlink Broadband Speed

The Standard Starlink broadband package promises download speeds of between 25 and 100 Mbps and upload speeds of 5-10 Mbps. It also offers latency times of 25-50 ms. 

What licenses do SpaceX currently hold for Starlink Satellite Broadband?

SpaceX Starlink currently holds multiple NGSO (Non-Geostationary Earth Station) gateway licenses to operate the network. These NGSO gateway licenses help to connect their NGSO system to the internet via large dishes on the ground. 

SpaceX is asking to update 4 of these in order to help boost capacity and meet the growing demand for its broadband services. This follows their recent upgrade to their latest Gen 2 satellites. 

In specific terms, SpaceX want Ofcom to give them permission to increase the number of antennas at 4 of their 7 sites:

  • Fawley
  • Isle of Man
  • Wherstead
  • Woodwalton

Currently, these 4 gateway sites are allowed to operate up to a 9 Ka-band parabolic antennas. These are used to operate their service to UK customers and those in adjacent countries. 

The request for approval to Ofcom from SpaceX includes:

  • An extra 24 antennas at Fawley, Wherestead and Woodwalton. This would bring the total to 32 antennas for these sites. 
  • These new antennas are planned to operate in bands 27.5-28.0525 GHz, 28.4445-29.0605 GHz, 29.4525-30GHz.
  • An extra 32 antennas at the site on the Isle of Man. This would bring the total to 40 for this site. SpaceX already have access to the frequencies they want to operate at for this site (27.5-30GHz).

The regulator’s consultation is open for responses until the 31st May 2024. They state that their initial assessment is that the requested variation from SpaceX should not:

  • Affect other licensed NGSO services
  • Future NGSO services
  • GSO services
  • Fixed links operating in the same user frequencies

Over in the US, SpaceX Starlink already have authorisation from the FCC for their Gen 1 constellation for 4,408 satellites and their Gen 2 constellation for 7,500. 

What are Starlink’s competitors upto?

Inmarsat (Viasat), another satellite operator, has also applied for an NGSO Earth Station Network License for its new GX-10 non-geostationary orbiting satellite system. 

Inmarsat also plan to extend the coverage of their existing Global Xpress satellite system over the polar region. This will provide communication services to government, defence, aero and maritime commercial customers. 

Whilst their primary focus for their service area is latitudes above 65N, their satellites will also provide intermittent service over parts of the UK. 

Their service will use the Ka-band frequencies 19.7 – 20.2GHz and 29.5 – 30GHz, and whilst Ofcom are consulting on this until the 31st May, they have provisionally approved the request. 

Starlink Satellite Broadband Hire for Events from Geekabit

Did you know about Geekabit’s new service? We can provide your event – Indoor or outdoor – with Starlink satellite broadband hire, even in rural areas. 

If your event is being held in London, Hampshire, Sussex, Dorset or Wiltshire and you’re interested in reliable event internet then get in touch with our Wi-Fi experts today. 

Fast Wi-Fi Hire for Events with Starlink

Here at Geekabit we’ve been very busy behind the scenes recently, working at a number of high profile events testing out our new Wi-Fi hire service. 

Our test events included supporting policing events in London, hybrid meetings, rural wedding fairs and a fireworks fundraising event. 

Following the successful deployment of our Wi-Fi hire offering at these events, we are very pleased to announce the launch of our new Wi-Fi Hire for Events, powered by Starlink. 

Are you looking for Wi-Fi hire for your next event?

If you’re looking to hire Starlink Internet for your next event, we can provide a managed expert service.

Have you been let down before by traditional internet suppliers? Our expertly managed Wi-Fi hire service will allow you to have a fast, stable and speedy Wi-Fi network in areas that other suppliers have previously struggled. 

Our Starlink event kit for Wi-Fi hire can be deployed very quickly for even the most last-minute of events, especially helpful in situations where you’ve been let down by another provider. 

Our fleet of Starlink routers and dishes are available to support any event where resilient and fast internet needs to be deployed at short notice.

Whatever the event, wherever it is*

Perhaps you’re running a hybrid Zoom meeting in a rural area, a festival with hundreds of traders requiring card payments, or running an event requiring media Wi-Fi facilities.

Whatever the event and no matter how rural, here at Geekabit our expert Wi-Fi engineers can build you the perfect temporary Wi-Fi network “in the field” for whatever you need the internet for.

This could be for a one-day event, or for an event running over several weeks.

Whilst it is perfect for areas where there is little mobile data connectivity, we can also provide backup 4G/5G service for resiliency and the perfect connection.

Improve reliability with back-haul solutions

You might be thinking that you’ve got pretty good Wi-Fi at your venue most of the time, but even if you have the perfect network and Wi-Fi setup, sometimes a specific event needs multiple back-haul solutions to improve the reliability of the connectivity. Starlink satellite broadband deployed by Geekabit would be the perfect solution.

Starlink Hire from Geekabit

We are thrilled to launch this new Wi-Fi Hire for Events service, powered by Starlink and deployed by Geekabit Wi-Fi engineers. 

*We will happily quote for Starlink Hire in London, Hampshire, Dorset, Wiltshire, Sussex and the Isle of Wight.

We’re excited to see what this new Wi-Fi hire service can do for our clients. Get in touch today if you’re interested in hiring Starlink and securing reliable Wi-Fi for your next event. 

Confusing UK Broadband Terminology Found By ‘4th Utility’ Survey

Internet Service Provider 4th Utility published results of a new survey last month, reporting that among the 2000 respondents there was a major lack of understanding of vital broadband terms amongst consumers. 

4th Utility is an ISP who is currently in the midst of deploying a gigabit speed FTTP (Fibre to the Premises) network to large residential buildings and UK homes. Despite the fact that the term ‘full fibre’ is widely used and that the service is ‘being used by most UK households’, surprisingly their recent ‘Great British Broadband Survey’ found that just 1 in 5 residents actually know what that means. 

What Does ‘Full Fibre’ Broadband Mean?

Just in case you’re one of the 1 in 5 who aren’t sure what full fibre broadband refers to, full fibre broadband means that your home is directly connected to the exchange using fibre optic cables. 

Standard fibre cables are connected to your home via a street cabinet (so fibre cables from the exchange to the street cabinet and then different cables from the street cabinet to your home). This service uses older copper cables to connect to your home, which are an older technology and less reliable than fibre cables.  

28% Have Adopted Full Fibre Network, Ofcom Says

Whilst 4th Utility claims that full fibre is ‘already being used by most households,’ Ofcom says differently. 

Full fibre might be available to most UK households, but not all those who are able to adopt the service have done so. According to Ofcom, only 28% of households able to get a full fibre network have adopted the service. 

Coverage is not the same as take up! 

Is Broadband Baffling?

Despite the slight confusion about full fibre coverage and take up, the fact remains that many consumers are bewildered about broadband terms.

Some respondents said they still weren’t sure what full fibre meant, even after they had had it explained to them. 20% of the 2000 people surveyed said they weren’t sure whether they had the service in their home after having it explained to them, 25% said they didn’t have it and the remaining 45% said they did have full fibre in their home. 

Let’s run through some of the other terms that the respondents found confusing, as well as their meanings.

What is Bandwidth?

Only 9% of the respondents knew what bandwidth means. Network bandwidth is a measurement indicating the maximum capacity of a wired or wireless communications link to transmit data over a network connection. 

Bandwidth specifically refers to the capacity at which a network can transmit data. For example, if the bandwidth of a network is 60 Mbps, it implies that the network cannot transmit data faster than 60 Mbps in any given case.

What does FTTP mean?

FTTP stands for fibre to the premises and is a type of fibre optic broadband. FTTP is supplied by fibre optic cables from your local internet exchange — a physical location where network providers transmit internet data — directly to your business’s premises.

What is meant by ‘Superfast’ broadband?

Superfast broadband is a broad category of speeds, running from 30Mbps to 100Mbps. The faster your broadband speed, the faster you can download files, movies and games.

Superfast speeds usually reach homes via a part-fibre broadband connection, which uses fibre-optic cables up until the local street cabinet, and then copper phone lines for the final leg of the journey to your home.

Some form of superfast broadband is available to 97% of the UK from the majority of internet service providers, and in many cases is actually more affordable than slower, old-fashioned ADSL connections, especially if you happen to be out of contract on an ADSL package.

Some full fibre deals will offer superfast speeds too, but they come with the capability to boost your speed much further – all the way up to 1Gbps.

What is ‘Ultrafast’ internet?

Ultrafast broadband is generally considered any broadband connection that supplies 100Mbps or faster.

The telecoms regulator Ofcom defines ultrafast as “broadband which offers download speeds of at least 300 Mbps”. However, some providers that use the ultrafast broadband term don’t offer those speeds.

Several broadband providers use the term ‘ultrafast broadband’ to refer to their top-end broadband packages. However, providers use different technologies to deliver their broadband services to your home, and as a result the speeds they can offer also differ significantly.

It can sound confusing, but the general rule of thumb is, that if a provider is labelling a package as ultrafast broadband, it’s one of the fastest packages they provide. 

The fastest broadband you can get might not necessarily be the fastest broadband available on the market. It might not even be the fastest broadband your next-door neighbour can get. If you’re not sure what types of broadband are available where you live, you can check to see what the fastest broadband in your area is with the Uswitch postcode checker.

What does Internet of Things mean?

Just 8% of the people surveyed knew what Internet of Things (IoT) meant. The term IoT, or Internet of Things, refers to the collective network of connected devices and the technology that facilitates communication between devices and the cloud, as well as between the devices themselves.

Key Findings of 4th Utility ‘Great British Broadband Survey’

Let’s take a look at some of the more interesting findings from 4th Utility’s recent survey. 

What utility nightmare do Brits fear the most? 

  • 30% feared a boiler breakdown as the biggest utility nightmare
  • 23% were worried about a water leak
  • 13% were concerned about a total blackout causing utility problems
  • 12% of those surveyed considered a broadband outage as a utility nightmare

Slow internet causing household arguments

20% of respondents reported having slow internet at least 3 times per month, and 1 in 3 said it happened twice a month. Over half of those surveyed (51%) said that slow Wi-Fi caused heated arguments in their household, happening to 3 in 10 people a few times a month, or more. 

Over 50% of those surveyed said that they have broadband speed issues, with 14% of those saying it was a weekly occurrence. However, the root cause of those speed issues seemed to be challenging to identify, with 7% of respondents saying they thought that not turning their router off at night was the reason for their problems…

What do UK residents pay for broadband?

Of the 2000 people surveyed, nearly half said they pay over £30 per month for their broadband connection. 1 in 10 people said their broadband bill came to £50 or more per month. The average price for broadband per month was £33.52 for UK households. 

Broadband Bewilderment is Nothing New

Here at Geekabit, we might be experts at all things Wi-Fi and wireless connectivity, but even we can sympathise with people getting confused over all the acronyms and terminology when it comes to broadband. It’s no wonder consumers feel a bit baffled. 

It’s not a new problem, and it doesn’t help that those in charge (regulators and government) seem to like to change the definitions of things fairly often. 

The threshold for ‘superfast’ broadband and download speeds has changed from 24 Mbps to 30 Mbps+ (to match with the EU). And with ‘ultrafast’ speeds on the scene, the speed of ‘superfast’ may be questionable anyways.  

Many in the Wi-Fi industry think of ‘ultrafast’ broadband as being 100 Mbps+, whereas Ofcom defines it as 300 Mbps+, so no wonder consumers feel confused at all the jargon. 

Often the best course of action is to look at what services are available to your premises, and then compare the advertised speeds from different providers. At the end of the day, even if you don’t know all the lingo, all you need to ensure is that you have an internet service that works, at the speeds you have been promised. 

New Ofcom Guidelines to be Introduced Later This Year 

Perhaps most annoyingly, some ISP’s use terms like ‘fibre’ broadband and ‘full fibre’ when it’s not strictly the truth. For example, using the term ‘fibre broadband’ to describe connections like FTTC (Fibre to the Cabinet) when it’s actually slower, hybrid-fibre connections. 

Ofcom’s new guidelines will mean that ISP’s will only be able to use terms like ‘fibre’ and ‘full fibre’ broadband when their network actually brings fibre optic cables all the way to your home (ie. FTTP/B). These new guidelines should help make things clearer for consumers, and will come in later in 2024. 

WiFi 8: What is it, What’s the Spec and When Will it Be Released?

As a society we’re always keen to get our hands on the latest technology – But no sooner as it’s in our hands, thoughts are already turning to what’s next. 

You might have barely got to grips with Wi-Fi 6, but with 233 million Wi-Fi 7 devices estimated to enter the market this year, is it any wonder we’re already looking ahead to Wi-Fi 8?

What is Wi-Fi 8?

Simply put, it’s the next generation of Wi-Fi and will be successor to the Wi-Fi 7 (IEEE 802.11be) standard. 

As with previous Wi-Fi standard successions, the aim of Wi-Fi 8 will be to improve wireless performance as well as introduce new and innovative features to advance Wi-Fi technology further. 

Generally this means that in comparison to previous standards, the new one will offer:

  • Faster speeds
  • Lower latency
  • Better performance 

What’s the spec for Wi-Fi 8?

We don’t actually know the specifications of Wi-Fi 8 yet as the details haven’t been officially released. 

But would it even be a technological advancement if there wasn’t speculation on the specifications? 

We are expecting the technical details for Wi-Fi 8 to be finalised and released imminently.

What can we expect from Wi-Fi 8?

Over the years we’ve seen a steady evolution of Wi-Fi standards, with each one playing its own vital role in providing our indoor and outdoor environments with seamless wireless connectivity. 

As the Internet of Things has also evolved over time, each standard has of course had its inadequacies, with a constant push for better. 

So what will the upcoming Wi-Fi 8 standard offer to help with the current connectivity challenges we’ve been facing? 

Wi-Fi 8 is expected to offer us a range of powerful new features and capabilities, designed to provide high-reliability, ultra low latency and support for extremely high node density.

A few of the major features we’re expecting from Wi-Fi 8 are:

  • Multiple Access Point Coordination and Transmission
  • Millimeter Wave (mmWave) Frequencies
  • Low Latency

So let’s take a little look at each of these major Wi-Fi 8 features and what they mean. 

What is Multiple Access Point (AP) Coordination and Transmission for Wi-Fi 8?

When a network has multiple access points deployed, e.g. in buildings and office complexes, they operate on the same radio frequency. This can cause interference and the degradation of network performance. To help alleviate this, the transmissions of the access points can be configured to avoid overlapping channels and coordinated accordingly.

Multiple Access Point (AP) coordination and transmission in Wi-Fi refers to the management of multiple access points in a wireless network to avoid interference and ensure efficient communication between the client devices and the network. 

We can ensure that transmissions do not interfere with each other by using coordination techniques for Access Points. This could look like: 

  • Channel Allocation: Interference can be minimised by configuring Access points to use non-overlapping channels. This can be done manually or automatically using techniques such as Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS).
  • Power Management: Interference can be avoided by configuring Access points to adjust their transmission power based on their proximity to other access points.
  • Load Balancing: Network loads can be balanced through configuring Access points by directing clients to connect to the least congested access point.

How can Millimetre Wave Links improve Wi-Fi 8?

Improvements in Wi-Fi 8 can be made using mmWave by providing access to a larger spectrum of frequencies. This in turn allows for higher bandwidth and data rates. 

By using mmWave, Wi-Fi 8 can support data rates of up to 100 Gbps. What would this be useful for? This feature would be perfect for things like 4K and 8K video streaming as well as virtual and augmented reality. Other high-bandwidth and low-latency applications like these would also benefit. 

Performance improvements will also be seen in environments with high node density with mmWave technology. Places like stadiums and concert halls will benefit from better coverage with Wi-Fi 8 as well as the reduction of interference between devices.  

Information on a Project Authorisation Request document suggests that Ultra High Reliability technology will be a key part of Wi-Fi 8. It looks like it will be capable of support carrier frequencies in the mmWave bands between 42.5 and 71 GHz and achieving an aggregate throughput of 100 Gbps. 

In comparison to Wi-Fi 7, it’s expected that UHR will offer improvements in maximum latency and jitter for latency-sensitive applications, especially those in the 99 to 99.9999th percentile range. 

Wi-Fi 8 and Low Latency

Why is low latency so important? In this day and age, our modern industries rely on Wi-Fi in many industrial applications, e.g. real-time control systems, remote monitoring, robotic automation. Without fast and reliable communication between devices, the performance of these applications would degrade and cause big problems. 

Even the smallest of delays in data transmission can cause significant errors or delays further down the system, affecting response time as well as negatively impacting production processes and potentially even causing safety issues. 

The amount of data generated and transmitted over Wi-Fi networks is increasing rapidly as more industrial applications adopt the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT) and other advanced technologies. 

In order for this data to be transmitted accurately and quickly, it’s crucial that there is low latency to reduce delays and bottlenecks. 

Previously, a latency of under 25 ms was achieved with Wi-Fi 7, using Restricted Target Wake Time (R-TWT), Stream Classification Service (SCS) and Quality of Service (QoS) signalling. However, this standard falls short of the current demands of industrial applications which need latencies of less than a few milliseconds. 

Thankfully, the Wi-Fi world is expecting UHR to enhance and improve things in this area by minimising the maximum latency of Wi-Fi. 

When will we be using Wi-Fi 8?

It’s estimated and expected that Wi-Fi 8 could become a market reality in 2027/2028. 

Watch this space! 

Teltonika Network Setup – What is RSSI and RSRP? 

Enable yourself to get better understanding and control of your Teltonika networking solution’s performance with wireless connection support display RSSI and RSRP signal strength. 

Familiarising yourself with RSSI and RSRP metrics wireless network support will help to enhance your Teltonika Networks next steps. 

Wireless Networks are the preferred choice for IoT connectivity

When it comes to IoT (internet of things) applications, wired connections once held dominance. But it is becoming increasingly evident that the preferred choice for IoT connectivity is wireless networking. 

The wireless connectivity market is expected to continue to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.8% in the next 3 years, solidifying the trend of networking solutions becoming increasingly dependent on Wi-Fi or mobile networks. 

Due to the versatility and convenience offered by wireless connectivity, this doesn’t come as much of a surprise. 

Without the limitations of wiring, network devices can be configured, monitored and managed remotely – Even if they’re in a different city, country or continent. 

The benefits of using a wireless connection are indisputable.

What are the primary connectivity options? 

There are 2 primary choices when it comes to wireless connectivity: Wi-Fi and mobile technology. 


  • Operates on the IEEE 802.11 standard
  • Supports multiple protocols including 802.11a, 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n and 802.11ac (determining the connection’s speed and range)

Mobile Technologies

  • Have evolved from 3G to 4G to 5G
  • Each defines the connection’s speed and capacity available to users and end devices


Whether your network device operates on Wi-Fi or mobile technologies, if you’re checking out your network then you’ll likely come across RSSI and RSRP metrics. These metrics are vital for displaying the strength and power of your connection. 

What is RSSI, what does it do and how is it measured? 

  • RSSI stands for Received Signal Strength Indicator. 
  • At the moment radio frequency power and quality reaches the receiver, it’s measured by RSSI. For example, a network device or antenna. 
  • RSSI can be used to gauge the strength of the signal in any wireless system, it’s not exclusive to any one type of wireless technology. 
  • Whether you’re using Wi-Fi or mobile technologies, RSSI can provide signal strength data across different types of radio frequency communications. 
  • This means that RSSI can be a good indicator of whether your network devices have robust connectivity.
  • RSSI signal strength is measured in negative values, with stronger, higher quality signal values being closest to zero.
  • NOTE: RSSI values are not standardised across industries, so bear this in mind when interpreting network data for devices manufactured by different companies. 

What is RSRP? 

  • RSRP stands for Reference Signal Received Power and is measured in negative values.
  • RSRP is particularly relevant for mobile technology network solutions like 4G and 5G.
  • It is a type of RSSI measurement, but used to measure the power of mobile signals spread over full bandwidth and narrowband.
  • RSRP measurements can help you to see your network’s overall signal coverage and capacity across all frequencies used for your networking solutions by measuring across the full bandwidth.
  • The quality of your connection in specific frequency ranges can be assessed by measuring RSRP over a narrowband. This can be used to troubleshoot specific issues that could affect signal quality as well as optimising network performance.
  • By using the RSRP signal strength, you can determine a more precise measurement of the cellular connectivity that your network receiver obtains. Having this information can enable you to make informed decision about your network infrastructure as well as Quality of Service Assessments and further improvements.
  • NOTE: Just as with RSSI, the RSRP signal strength can differ by manufacturer.

Your Teltonika Network

Both RSSI and RSRP signal strength indicators are displayed for Teltonika Network devices enabled with Wi-Fi or mobile connectivity devices.

The display of these metrics can be accessed via RutOS. The latest 7.06 version of RutOS has enhanced data visualisation capabilities for mobile connections.

For help with your Teltonika Network, get in touch with our Wi-Fi experts today. Our professional wireless network engineers can help with both Wi-Fi networks and mobile connectivity. 

We can also help with alternative networks other than Teltonika. 

Starlink: Latency Improvements on SpaceX Broadband Network

Starlink from Elon Musk’s Space X mega constellation of ultrafast broadband satellites in Low Earth Orbit have revealed the progress they’ve made so far in improving the latency performance. 

Their goal is to deliver a service with a stable 20 millisecond median latency and minimal packet loss. 

Starlink LEO Satellites

At the moment, Starlink have a network of 5,289 LEO satellites. They orbit the Earth at an altitude of around 500km. 

SpaceX Starlink has approval to expand this number to approximately 7,500 satellites by the end of 2027. 

What is the Cost of Starlink Satellite Broadband? 

For UK customers, costs start at £75 per month. There is an additional cost for the £449 regular home kit which includes a standard dish, router and relevant kit. There is also a shipping fee of £20 on the Standard package. 

By the end of last year, Starlink had a global network of 2.3 million customers (now at 2.6m). 42,000 of those customers were based in the UK (which is up from 13,000 in 2022). Most of these UK customers are based in rural areas. 

Starlink Broadband Speed

The Standard Starlink broadband package promises download speeds of between 25 and 100 Mbps and upload speeds of 5-10 Mbps. It also offers latency times of 25-50 ms. 

What About Latency?

Satellites in a Low Earth Orbit constellation are significantly closer to earth than GEO or GSO platforms. GEO satellites usually sit about 35,000 km away, whereas the LEO satellites, like Starlink, are only 500 km away. 

This means that the signal for Starlink satellites only has to travel a relatively short distance, which is good when it comes to latency. 

What is Latency? 

Network latency is the amount of time it takes for a data packet to go from one place to another e.g. from your laptop or other device to a remote server and then back again.

The delay or time between the data packet going to the server and then back again is measured in milliseconds (1 second is equal to 1000 milliseconds). 

Broadband connections these days will usually have an average latency of between 4 ms to 40 ms.

What can affect latency? 

Latency can depend on many different factors for your individual connection, but in general terms, the faster score for latency (the shortest time) is always best. 

These latency times can be affected, amongst others, by:

  • The performance of remote internet servers
  • The connection technology being used
  • ISP network congestion
  • Routing problems
  • Network setup

Lowering latency is an important part of building a good user experience. Faster latency means:

  • Fast-paced online multiplayer games are smoother
  • Internet actions are more responsive
  • Video calls experience less sync problems
  • And much more!

What are Starlink’s Latency Improvements?

The Starlink satellite broadband network from Space X is slowly delivering improvements in terms of latency. 

The latest update from Starlink claims that users around the world will have meaningfully reduced median and worst case latency. 

Customers in the USA can benefit from a 30% reduction in median latency, going from 48.5ms to 333ms during peak times. 

Worst case latency at peak times has also been reduced from 150ms to 65ms which is a 60% improvement. 

And it’s not just the United States that are enjoying lower latency. Outside the USA, the median latency has been reduced by up to 25% and worst-case latencies have been reduced by up to 35%. 

The stats are below if you want to take a look.

How do they measure Starlink latency?

Starlink’s latency is measured by operator who collect anonymous measurements from millions of Starlink routers every 15 seconds. 

The median and worst-case latencies are calculated using these 15 second average latencies. 

They look at latency across different time periods but focus on performance at peak times.  This tends to be 6-9pm local time to the router, which is when the Starlink network is under the most load and the biggest number of people are connected. 

Starlink’s Latency in 2024

Between January and March this year, monitoring and metrics have been added across the Starlink network in order to measure the latency on every subsystem down to the microsecond. 

Their algorithms are programmed to prefer lower latency pathways, even if the difference is only small, to mitigate and remove as many sources of unnecessary latency as possible, 

Software changes, additional ground infrastructure and the launch of more satellites are all being prioritised in order to continue to improve latency over the coming weeks and months, 

Why Wi-Fi Almost Didn’t Connect At All

It’s hard to imagine a time or place when you couldn’t quickly check your emails or have a scroll through Instagram. Isn’t it the most frustrating thing when you hit a Wi-Fi deadspot? No connection, nothing, no matter how many times you reload the page. We are so accustomed to working remotely (I’m actually looking out at the solent whilst typing this!) and taking the internet with you wherever you go, it’s very difficult to contemplate a life without Wi-Fi and mobile connectivity.  

Did you know that Wi-Fi very nearly didn’t happen in the first place? Wi-Fi almost hit its very own deadspot – And wouldn’t that have changed our lives as we know it! So how did Wi-Fi come about?

When was Wi-Fi officially launched?

On the 25th September 1999, coming up to 25 years ago, Wi-Fi was officially launched. If you think about the fuss that’s made over a new product launch from Apple, then you might have expected the launch of Wi-Fi itself to be a rather flashy affair. 

In reality, it was a bit Big Bang Theory-esque – A convention centre in Atlanta housing 8 technophiles ready to open their jackets to reveal polo shirts emblazoned with the made-up word Wi-Fi. And all in front of a crowd of just 60 people. 

Some of the biggest tech companies, and some smaller ones too, backed the launch enthusiastically. Even the likes of Apple, Dell and Nokia could never have imagined that they were backing such a huge global phenomenon with incredible economic, social and cultural impact across the world. 

It was the summer of ‘99

Think back to the summer of 1999, if you can. The working world was mostly using wired networks via Ethernet cable. LAN’s (Local Area Networks) connected desktop computers at a rate of 10 Mbps. 

Meanwhile, those trying to send emails from home did so to the sound of a modem trying to connect to another modem via repurposed telephone infrastructure. Dial-up internet and 56 Kbps dial up modems clanked and clanged their way online. Arguments were had over who needed to use the computer and who needed to use the telephone. 

There were products for WLAN’s (Wireless Local Area Networks) but these were predominantly just for businesses. The IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) official wireless standard specification for these wireless products was 802.11. Not only were these products expensive, they were also 5 times slower than their wired equivalent. 

Despite there being a specified wireless standard, this unfortunately didn’t mean that one standards compliant wireless product would be compatible with another. This was largely due to the fact that there were different ways of interpreting the specification. 

These weaknesses meant that some companies looked elsewhere and chose to support other rival technology alliances – Each with their own aim of becoming the actual standard. 

Wi-Fi’s rival – HomeRF

One of these rival specifications was developed by a consortium of other technology giants – Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, IBM, Intel and Microsoft. Their WLAN ‘HomeRF’ was aimed at consumers (rather than businesses) and was backed by over 80 other companies. In comparison to the other standard, the HomeRF products were not only cheaper but could also communicate with each other. 

With a name like HomeRF (short for Home Radio Frequency) it arguably had a catchier name than IEEE 802.11. They didn’t just have their eyes on the consumer market – They also had big plans for expansion and higher speeds for the business market. 

Despite all of this, the second generation of the IEEE standard, 802.11b was heading steadily for its final approval at the end of September. By the end of the year, there were products due to ship from company 3Com (later acquired by HP along with Compaq). Their products were based on the newer, faster standard and set for release before 1999 ended. 

At the time, networking firm 3Com formed WECA (Wireless Ethernet Compatibility Alliance) bringing together 5 strong advocates for IEEE. Their aim was to make sure that any products using the pending second generation standard would all be compatible with each other. 

Originally tipped to be named ‘FlankSpeed’, connectivity as we know it today was trademarked as Wi-Fi. There began the establishment of the rules by which wireless products could be deemed ‘Wi-Fi Certified.’

What if Wi-Fi had not won out against HomeRF?

Wi-Fi won the wireless standard race, but what if HomeRF had in fact taken the lead? There are ways that all might not have worked out as it has. 

If the second generation standard 802.11b had been delayed, then HomeRF may have been able to sneak ahead. It was only due to a compromise between WLAN industry pioneers (and foes) Lucent Technologies and Harris Semiconductor that meant there was no delay. 

What if FlankSpeed was only available at work?

So what if WECA had decided only to focus on business connectivity? That was a discussed possibility. ‘Go anywhere’ connectivity almost wasn’t on the table. And what if ‘FlankSpeed’ had been chosen over ‘Wi-Fi’? 

A big chunk of today’s workforce rely on being able to bring work home with them. And not just home – What about coffee shops, airports, on the daily commute sitting on the train, the beach even? Nowadays we tend to take work with us wherever we go. 

Had we been using FlankSpeed at the office and HomeRF at home, this would have made things very difficult for anyone working from home. And you can forget about coffee-shop-working and catching up on emails waiting for a plane – It’s possible neither of these public access options would exist. Zones that were not home or the office would have been a no-go (or NoHO (Not Home, Not Office) for working online. Spaces that were neither office nor home would have been a connectivity no man’s land. 

And if you’re wondering about FlankSpeed and Smartphones – That would have been a no as well. The mobile world of online connectivity disappears into the mist, out of grasp. Can you imagine? No, we can’t either. 

Would it have been beneficial to have more than just one wireless standard? 

The benefits of having a singular focus on just the one standard meant that there was more scope for innovation and cost reduction. 

Even if FlankSpeed or HomeRF had gone forth alongside Wi-Fi, it couldn’t have ever become as cheap to run or prevalent and globally penetrating as Wi-Fi. 

Having a universal standard means that retail stores, public spaces and anywhere where we would now expect to be able to connect, could roll it out uninhibited. Had this not been the case, the ability to stream video whilst sipping a coffee or connect to emails whilst sitting on the train may not be available. 

Thinking on a global level, those living in emerging market countries like Nigeria, rely on free Wi-Fi hotspots to be able to connect to the rest of the world. Remote islands like the Bahamas also rely on Wi-Fi to get support following adverse weather conditions like hurricanes. In this way, Wi-Fi provides critical connections all over the world.  

HomeRF folded in 2003 – So how did Wi-Fi succeed so quickly? 

As with all well-laid plans, it’s all in the preparation and timing. With the announcement of the name Wi-Fi and the promise of certified interoperability from WECA, companies investing in this new wireless standard had the assurance that their products would all work together. 

In 2000, 86% of Wi-Fi devices were used for business. Wireless connection in businesses was big business in itself, with chipmakers and PC companies quickly hopping off the fence to support and join Wi-Fi. This led tech giants Microsoft and Intel to jump ship from HomeRF to Wi-Fi. Wireless for business soared in popularity ahead of in the home, which gave Wi-Fi chip volume a boost. This in turn led to closing the cost gap between that and HomeRF, leading it to fold in 2003. 

Since then, over the past 2 decades the Wi-Fi Alliance and IEEE have worked together to represent, guide and oversee Wi-Fi and its subsequent standards. 

The IEEE committee continues to roll-out new standards, and the WI-Fi Alliance makes sure that certified products can communicate with each other. 

So the next time you hit a Wi-Fi deadspot, or find that the Wi-Fi is down in your favourite coffee shop – Stop and breathe. Count your blessings that you can take your work with you wherever you go (mostly) and that you can largely connect via Wi-Fi wherever you need it. 

International Broadband Scorecard Comparison Scrapped by Ofcom UK

Do you wonder how the UK fares against other European countries in regards to broadband and mobile connectivity? Well, you might have to wonder a bit more. 

Ofcom, the telecoms regulator, carries out various reports on performance, looking at things like UK broadband and mobile connectivity compared with other major EU economies like France, Germany, Spain, Italy etc. 

However, it seems that Ofcom have covertly scrapped their annual international comparison despite having been publishing it since back in 2013 when they began the International Broadband Scorecard. 

The report examined various connectivity benchmarks within fixed and mobile broadband performances across different countries, such as:

  • Network availability
  • Take-up
  • Use 
  • Prices  

This then enabled them to measure and compare them with the relative performance of the UK. 

Where did the data come from?

Ofcom normally relied on Omdia-Informa Tech, a third party provider, to supply the data for the non-UK countries included in the report. 

However, as this data is available from Omdia-Informa Tech (as well as other similar telecoms research companies) to anyone who is prepared to pay a fee, Ofcom decided that them stopping their publication of the data would not hinder stakeholders and the like from being able to benchmark the UK broadband offering against the international market themselves.

Scrapping of International Broadband Scorecard a Cost-Cutting Measure?

It would seem to us that this move to scrap the report is likely a cost-cutting measure. This is unfortunate as the reporting was a useful point of comparison to see how the UK was doing in regards to broadband and mobile connectivity on an annual basis when compared without our European counterparts. 

Despite the fact that Ofcom rarely promotes their reports which meant the information they provided was often missed, they have provided some handy and relevant information in past years. 

Can I get the Broadband and Mobile Connectivity Data Somewhere Else?

Thankfully, yes! There is an annual report published from the European Commission that goes some way to compare the UK with EU countries on Broadband and Mobile connectivity (you can find the latest one here). 

If you want to check out the latest summary from the final Scorecard from Ofcom for 2023 (with data from the latter part of 2022) the interactive report is online here

Ubiquiti U7 Pro – The Lowest Cost Wi-Fi & Enterprise AP in the Industry

Last month Ubiquiti launched the U7 Pro, purported to be the industry’s lowest cost Wi-Fi 7 enterprise AP currently on the market. 

How Much is the new Ubiquiti U7 Pro?

This new device is a 6-stream ceiling-mount AP delivering a total of 9.3 Gbps across the three bands, with a price of £143 + VAT.

Why are industry professionals about the price point on this unit? Well, this new Ubiquiti AP at this price means that every enterprise will be able to embrace the introduction of Wi-fi 7 technology, even smaller businesses. 

Rumours have it that Apple’s next iPhone will be Wi-Fi 7 compatible, meaning that businesses across industries will need to be embracing Wi-Fi 7 and making sure their devices and Wi-Fi are compatible.

What’s the Spec of the Ubiquiti U7 Pro?

The Ubiquiti U7 Pro is a ceiling-mounted Wi-Fi 7 AP with 6 spatial streams and 6 GHz support for interference-free Wi-Fi in demanding, large-scale environments. You can find the full specification on the Ubiquiti website here

  • WiFi 7 with 6 GHz support (in these countries only)
  • 6 spatial streams
  • 140 m² (1,500 ft²) coverage
  • 300+ connected devices
  • Powered using PoE+
  • 2.5 GbE uplink
  • Multi-Link Operation (MLO) capability is coming soon and will be provided via software update.

Ubiquiti U7 Pro – Hardware Specifications

  • Networking interface – (1) 1/2.5 GbE RJ45 port
  • Management interface – Ethernet
  • Power method – PoE+
  • Power supply – UniFi PoE switch
  • Supported voltage range – 44—57V DC
  • Max. power consumption – 21W

Ubiquiti U7 Pro – Software Specifications

  • WiFi standards – 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax/be
  • Wireless security – WPA-PSK, WPA-Enterprise (WPA/WPA2/WPA3/PPSK)
  • BSSID – 8 per radio 
  • VLAN – 802.1Q
  • Advanced QoS – Per-user rate limiting
  • Guest traffic isolation – Supported
  • Concurrent clients – 300+

Ubiquiti U7 Pro – Application Requirements

  • UniFi Network – Version 8.0.26 and later
  • UniFi OS – Version 3.2 and later

The Ubiquiti U6 Pro vs U7 Pro – What’s the Difference? Which is Better?

Trying to decide whether to put the U6 Pro or U7 Pro to regular use in your enterprise? Let’s take a look at some real-user experiences since Ubiquiti launched their U7 Pro. 

According to some in the Wi-Fi community, issues have been reported of difficulties with 6Ghz performance.

6GHz Performance with the U7 Pro

One UI Community user noticed that the 6 GHz performance on the U7 Pro seems to be worse than the U6 Enterprise. They said:

‘In real-life performance, I’ve noticed the transfer speeds to be more variable on the U7 Pro; with the U6 Enterprise it’s possible to consistently saturate the gigabit backhaul that I currently have. The U7 Pro tends to be more unstable, that is, it will hit 112 MB/s and then drop down to the 40s and back up again multiple times during a large transfer.

If I check the RSSI in the Network Application for the U6 Enterprise, it reports my client device as -53 dBm. If I swap it with the U7 Pro and leave everything in the same physical location the RSSI drops to -64 dBm. The RSSI on the client side is pretty much the same with both APs (roughly -46 dBm) so it only seems to be the AP’s ability to receive from the client device that’s inhibited. This only seems to affect 6 GHz, my 5 GHz devices show similar stats with either AP.

Could this be related to the U7 Pro being a 2×2 device compared to the 4×4 on the U6 Enterprise?’

They’re not the only user to experience this. Suggestions were made as to the reason for this issue as well as possible resolutions:

  • A difference between the U6 being a 4×4 device compared to the 2×2 nature of the U7 (and should the U7 Pro therefore be called the U7 Lite instead?)
  • Issues with custom transmit power, solved by sticking with the ‘auto’ option on the U7
  • A possible resolution with further firmware updates

Boost In Throughput with the U7 Pro

One Reddit user reported a 10-15% throughput boost to their MacBook Pro (M1) and MacBook Air (M2) (both were WiFi 6, non-E). 

Previously, whilst using the U6 Pro,  they had never been able to break 600 Mbps with either one whereas now using the U7 they routinely hit 650 Mbps, and occasionally break into the low 700 Mbps on occasion. These speeds were tested using iperf3.

U7 Pro Offers Higher Bandwidth, More Quickly

A Reddit user noticed that the U7 Pro seems to ramp up to higher bandwidth more quickly than the U6 Pro, according to iperf3. 

The user reported seeing 1-2 seconds at around 150 Mbps before getting into the 500 Mbps range using the U6 Pro. 

With the U7-Pro, the first second is already at 500 Mbps and then achieves over 600 Mbps for the remainder of the test.

(The Bandwidth tests above were using the same manually-configured channels (11@20MHz, 149@80MHz) on the U6-Pro and U7-Pro).

Note: These claims (both positive and negative) are unverified via various user experiences on Reddit and UI Community platforms. 

The Ubiquiti U7 Pro can be Installed Using Pre-Existing Mounting Plates

Users have also noted that the new U7 Pro fits on the AP Pro Arm Mount (UACC-Pro-AP-AM). As per the FAQ’s on Ubiquiti’s new product announcement, the U7 Pro can be installed using the following pre-existing mounting plates:

  • U6-Enterprise
  • U6-Pro
  • U6-LR
  • UAP-AC-Pro

U7 Pro is Backwards Compatible

U7 Pro is fully backwards compatible with Wi-Fi 6E and earlier client devices. A Wi-Fi 6E or Wi-Fi 7 client device is required to utilise the 6 GHz band.

U7 Pro is managed with UniFi Network 8.0.26 and later.

U7 Pro is powered by PoE+ with a 2.5 GbE uplink. Ubiquiti recommends pairing U7 Pro with a UniFi PoE switch that features 2.5 GbE performance and PoE+ output, such as Pro Max and Enterprise PoE switches.

Customise the Appearance of the U7 Pro 

The Ubiquiti U7 Pro has a fully customisable cover which will be available in the second quarter of 2024.

How Do I Decide Between the Ubiquiti U6 Pro and the New U7 Pro?

Really, the only person who can answer this question is you. You know the needs of your enterprise and how your current Wi-Fi performance is working for your business. 

There is a fine balance between prioritising what works well for you today, as well as what is going to work well for you in the future. Some things are worth investing in now in order to future proof your Wi-FI, keeping your business running smoothly and up-to-date with the latest technology. 

Call the Experts Here at Geekabit

If you’re unsure what the best Wi-Fi solution would be for your business, then get in touch with our Wi-Fi experts today. Our wireless engineers can look after you from the Site Survey stage all the way through to deployment. 

Don’t let poor performing Wi-Fi hold you back. 

Top UK Mobile Networks for H2 2023 Revealed by RootMetrics Benchmark

How did UK mobile networks perform in the second half of 2023 when it comes to 4G, 5G and mobile broadband?

RootMetrics (now an Ookla company), a mobile analyst firm, has not long published their latest benchmark study of UK mobile networks (4G and 5G) and mobile broadband performance for H2 2023. 

RootMetrics offers scientifically collected and crowdsourced mobile network performance information to consumers and the industry. The firm captures user information by testing network performance when consumers are using their mobile phone for voice or data communications. 

Results of the latest biannual benchmarking report which once again see EE (BT) come out on top against their UK network rivals at Vodafone, Three UK and O2 (VMO2). 

Which UK mobile network is the best for 4G/5G?

When it comes to 5G performance, the picture painted by this recent report isn’t so clear-cut.

This latest study used data from a 5G-enabled, latest model of Samsung smartphone (the actual model was not disclosed in the report). It was purchased from operator stores and tested for both 4G and 5G performance across all 4 primary UK operators within 16 of the most populated UK cities. 

In summary, the study consisted of:

  • 1 latest model Samsung smartphone
  • 4 primary UK mobile operators
  • 16 UK cities
  • 634,942 tests across hundreds of locations
  • 788 locations were indoor
  • 24,179 miles driven during both the day and night

Results were divided into the following categories:

  • Network reliability
  • Speed
  • Data
  • Call and text quality

Scores were given out of 100 (100 being the highest score). As you can see from the data representation from RootMetrics below, EE came out on top across all categories, while VMO2 were found at the bottom of most. 

Interestingly, every one of the 4 primary UK operators saw a decrease in their overall scores when compared to the last RootMetrics report 6 months prior. 

The Overall Scores for H2 2023 (vs H1 2023), in order of best to worst, are:

1. EE – 94.2 (down from 95.9)
2. Vodafone – 90.1 (down from 92)
3. Three UK – 89.3 (down from 90.2)
4. O2 – 86.4 (down from 86.7)

So which is the best UK mobile network? When we look at the average (median) UK download speeds for both 4G and 5G networks, then the strongest data speeds were delivered by EE (68.6Mbps, which was up from 65.1Mbps in the last report).

Vodafone also saw an increase in data speeds, increasing to 34.5Mbps (from 29.4Mbps). Despite O2 improving their data speed score from 15.5Mbps to 19.9Mbps, they still scored the bottom of the 4 providers. Just behind Vodafone to take 3rd place, Three UK fell slightly to 32.3Mbps (down from 34.7Mbps). 

How is 5G performing on UK networks so far?

However, when we look purely at 5G networks, we see a bit of a different picture emerge when compared to the previous report for the first half of 2023. 

Whereas H1 2023 saw Three UK as the fastest median 5G download performance, that award now goes to EE. O2 were unfortunately at the bottom with a score well below the other 3 primary UK networks. The scores for median download speeds for 5G from the H2 2023 report were:

  1. EE – 174.1 Mbps
  2. Three – 165.7 Mbps
  3. Vodafone – 158.3 Mbps
  4. O2 – 68.7 Mbps

What is the availability of 5G on UK mobile network providers? 

As well as 5G speeds, the availability of 5G across UK networks was also tested. 

All 4 of the UK mobile network providers had 5G availability of over 52% during this latest UK wide testing. 

The UK providers in order of 5G availability are:

  1. Three – 57.6%
  2. O2 – 54.5%
  3. EE – 52.3%
  4. Vodafone – 41.9%

You can find more data below for particular regions as well as the most improved cities. 

What can we take away from this report on 5G speed and availability on UK mobile network operators?

So it would seem that even though EE has the fastest 5G speeds, that 5G connection is less available than that of its competitors Three and O2. 

Despite coming second place in terms of speed, Three weren’t too far behind EE and are also slightly more available. 

O2 might have decent 5G availability, but the speed of that connection is pretty dire according to this latest report. 

In terms of 5G speed, Vodafone aren’t too far behind rivals EE and Three, however they are at the bottom of the pile with the lowest 5G availability. 

What more would we like to know about 4G/5G connections across the UK mobile networks? 

If you’d like to read more on this and see further data, head to the full report from RootMetrics UK Mobile Performance Review 2H 2023 here

Whilst this review does shine a light on 5G speeds across the UK and how UK mobile networks are performing, it does only give select information. 

It would be interesting to also see how the networks perform when it comes to upload speeds and latency using 4G/5G connections. 

As you can see from the review, there seems to be a strong focus on urban areas across the bigger cities in the UK. Here at Geekabit we talk a lot about the struggles of rural businesses and more remote locations that still need strong 4G/5G mobile broadband connections. Some more data on the performance of UK mobile networks in these areas would be beneficial and would give a clearer picture of 4G/5G availability and speed across the UK as a whole.