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Fibre versus Starlink Discussion

jbcarioca

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2015
5,118
23,577
I have fiber now with fast internet, phone and tv all included. It is expensive, vastly better than what came before and still has frequent outages and unexplained drops as well as regular vpn problems. I am in a huge city, Rio de Janeiro. Compared with previous alternatives I have no complaints.

Still I just signed up for Starlink, which I am told will be confirmed for offering here in Brazil on a Federal level. Of course the obvious advantage is for those many millions who live in the Amazon and Pantanal regions with little or no connectivity today.
Obviously I'll not do so in the US where I have Google Fiber cheaply and well delivered.

Among my acquaintances are quite a few who have decent access, albeit at high price but who are concerned with data security and reliability. So even in large cities there are many who think it worthwhile to experiment with Starlink. The price is modest when considering the possible and/or probable advantages.

Worldwide how many millions find themselves in such a situation? From China, India to islands everywhere, most of Africa, Asia, Australasia, South America, plus large swaths fo North America and South America the prospective market is amazingly large. That ignores all the aviation, shipping, military and other. civil applications.

Glossing over all the perfectly soluble technical problems the only significant constrain, IMHO, is regulatory. It is absolutely daunting to gain the byzantine array of regulatory authorizations needed for global reach.

OTOH when they go public I shall buy!
 

Cosmacelf

Well-Known Member
Mar 6, 2013
8,405
20,027
San Diego
I have fiber now with fast internet, phone and tv all included. It is expensive, vastly better than what came before and still has frequent outages and unexplained drops as well as regular vpn problems. I am in a huge city, Rio de Janeiro. Compared with previous alternatives I have no complaints.

Still I just signed up for Starlink, which I am told will be confirmed for offering here in Brazil on a Federal level. Of course the obvious advantage is for those many millions who live in the Amazon and Pantanal regions with little or no connectivity today.
Obviously I'll not do so in the US where I have Google Fiber cheaply and well delivered.

Among my acquaintances are quite a few who have decent access, albeit at high price but who are concerned with data security and reliability. So even in large cities there are many who think it worthwhile to experiment with Starlink. The price is modest when considering the possible and/or probable advantages.

Worldwide how many millions find themselves in such a situation? From China, India to islands everywhere, most of Africa, Asia, Australasia, South America, plus large swaths fo North America and South America the prospective market is amazingly large. That ignores all the aviation, shipping, military and other. civil applications.

Glossing over all the perfectly soluble technical problems the only significant constrain, IMHO, is regulatory. It is absolutely daunting to gain the byzantine array of regulatory authorizations needed for global reach.

OTOH when they go public I shall buy!

Good point. In the US, infrastructure is generally well looked after, other parts of the world, not so much. Starlink may get oversubscribed faster in other countries than the US simply because the wired infrastructure isn't well maintained.
 

jbcarioca

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2015
5,118
23,577
Good point. In the US, infrastructure is generally well looked after, other parts of the world, not so much. Starlink may get oversubscribed faster in other countries than the US simply because the wired infrastructure isn't well maintained.
Although there are quite a few countries that have considerably better, faster and cheaper infrastructure than the US. South Korea has been the poster child for fast, cheap and ubiquitous but many others qualify.

I think the largest markets for Starlink will be ones that have some deficiencies in some areas, not necessarily everywhere. Thus remote parts of US, even Scandanavia will have opportunity. Similarly there are deficient major urban areas in most countries. if all Starlink does is gain 'errors and omissions' they'll thrive.

To be specific in my own case as an example; I live in a cul-de-sac bordering a national forest. My Fiber is at the end of the line. Were I to live less than one city block away I would have outstanding reliability. That is what I mean by 'errors and omissions'. Nearly all Satellite providers still rely on geostationary satellites so suffer from periodic outages from sun interference or any other blockage. Living where I do Satellite interference has been a major factor, as it is in many otherwise ideal locations. The Starlink approach should logically eliminate that specific problem.

Without much hyperbole just imagine the role Starlink could have in navigation aids in air, sea and land applications. Then think of the already demonstrated utility in guiding rescue services and emergency support. Then... the already proposed telephone services which obviously could be expanded to visual exchanges.

All this makes me think we've only scratched the surface of the probable applications. In fleet management we've already discussed Tesla vehicles, but every form of fleet management (air, sea,land) has obvious possibilities.

Frankly I think the plans are global and very extensive. We cannot really imagine the future because it has not yet happened. E. Musk and his colleagues habitually do impossible things.

BTW this explains my timing, in that Starlink opened Brazil subscription applications yesterday:
Starlink, de Elon Musk, abre empresa no Brasil para vender internet | Telecomunicações | Tecnoblog
It is in Portuguese and I did not translate but Google does pretty well, for Portuguese-English anyway.
 

hmcgregoraz

Member
Jul 16, 2014
109
187
Tucson AZ USA
Although there are quite a few countries that have considerably better, faster and cheaper infrastructure than the US. South Korea has been the poster child for fast, cheap and ubiquitous but many others qualify.

I think the largest markets for Starlink will be ones that have some deficiencies in some areas, not necessarily everywhere. Thus remote parts of US, even Scandanavia will have opportunity. Similarly there are deficient major urban areas in most countries. if all Starlink does is gain 'errors and omissions' they'll thrive.

To be specific in my own case as an example; I live in a cul-de-sac bordering a national forest. My Fiber is at the end of the line. Were I to live less than one city block away I would have outstanding reliability. That is what I mean by 'errors and omissions'. Nearly all Satellite providers still rely on geostationary satellites so suffer from periodic outages from sun interference or any other blockage. Living where I do Satellite interference has been a major factor, as it is in many otherwise ideal locations. The Starlink approach should logically eliminate that specific problem.

Without much hyperbole just imagine the role Starlink could have in navigation aids in air, sea and land applications. Then think of the already demonstrated utility in guiding rescue services and emergency support. Then... the already proposed telephone services which obviously could be expanded to visual exchanges.

All this makes me think we've only scratched the surface of the probable applications. In fleet management we've already discussed Tesla vehicles, but every form of fleet management (air, sea,land) has obvious possibilities.

Frankly I think the plans are global and very extensive. We cannot really imagine the future because it has not yet happened. E. Musk and his colleagues habitually do impossible things.

BTW this explains my timing, in that Starlink opened Brazil subscription applications yesterday:
Starlink, de Elon Musk, abre empresa no Brasil para vender internet | Telecomunicações | Tecnoblog
It is in Portuguese and I did not translate but Google does pretty well, for Portuguese-English anyway.

It is nice to hear some international views on StarLink.

I have not been to Rio de Janeiro, but I have been to São Paulo for work purposes (spent over 3 weeks doing training), and have a number of current and former colleagues down there.

I suspect employees in the tech sector will jump on StarLink, especially if Work From Home continues to be the norm/permitted. Commute times were insane. Restrictions on when certain license plates could drive also factored a lot. I had some co workers that owned two vehicles just so that they could ensure they could drive to work if the mass transit was not functioning.

-Harry
 

Cheburashka

Active Member
Jan 29, 2018
2,151
2,538
Los Gatos, CA
Good point. In the US, infrastructure is generally well looked after, other parts of the world, not so much.

Sorry but no.

Infrastructure in the USA is a complete disaster. Here in the Bay Area the infrastructure is absolutely awful. Rolling blackouts of the power grid, electrical shutoffs due to fire risk. Every time this happens, even my cell service goes down. This is worse than most 3rd world nations.

I live in a fairly affluent area of the SF Bay Area. Our ISP choices are limited to DSL which until recently only went up to 1.5Mbps, and wireless providers. The DSL provider put in a new DSLAM at the end of last year so some people get a whopping 30 Mbps now.

Some people have Comcast here, but only because their house is on the path of Steve Wozniak's old house, who paid for the whole cable run into our community.

I am stuck on AT&T LTE right now for my Internet, which goes down every time there is a power outage, and power outages have been happening on a regular basis for the past year.

Sure it's maybe better than Venezuela or North Korea but not by much.

USA is a huge market for Starlink.
 

Cosmacelf

Well-Known Member
Mar 6, 2013
8,405
20,027
San Diego
Sorry but no.

Infrastructure in the USA is a complete disaster. Here in the Bay Area the infrastructure is absolutely awful. Rolling blackouts of the power grid, electrical shutoffs due to fire risk. Every time this happens, even my cell service goes down. This is worse than most 3rd world nations.

I live in a fairly affluent area of the SF Bay Area. Our ISP choices are limited to DSL which until recently only went up to 1.5Mbps, and wireless providers. The DSL provider put in a new DSLAM at the end of last year so some people get a whopping 30 Mbps now.

Some people have Comcast here, but only because their house is on the path of Steve Wozniak's old house, who paid for the whole cable run into our community.

I am stuck on AT&T LTE right now for my Internet, which goes down every time there is a power outage, and power outages have been happening on a regular basis for the past year.

Sure it's maybe better than Venezuela or North Korea but not by much.

USA is a huge market for Starlink.

Sorry, I meant the parts of the US that haven't fallen into hellhole status :p
 

winfield100

Supporting Member
Feb 16, 2013
2,745
9,853
vivant non-traveler
Although there are quite a few countries that have considerably better, faster and cheaper infrastructure than the US. South Korea has been the poster child for fast, cheap and ubiquitous but many others qualify.

I think the largest markets for Starlink will be ones that have some deficiencies in some areas, not necessarily everywhere. Thus remote parts of US, even Scandanavia will have opportunity. Similarly there are deficient major urban areas in most countries. if all Starlink does is gain 'errors and omissions' they'll thrive.

To be specific in my own case as an example; I live in a cul-de-sac bordering a national forest. My Fiber is at the end of the line. Were I to live less than one city block away I would have outstanding reliability. That is what I mean by 'errors and omissions'. Nearly all Satellite providers still rely on geostationary satellites so suffer from periodic outages from sun interference or any other blockage. Living where I do Satellite interference has been a major factor, as it is in many otherwise ideal locations. The Starlink approach should logically eliminate that specific problem.

Without much hyperbole just imagine the role Starlink could have in navigation aids in air, sea and land applications. Then think of the already demonstrated utility in guiding rescue services and emergency support. Then... the already proposed telephone services which obviously could be expanded to visual exchanges.

All this makes me think we've only scratched the surface of the probable applications. In fleet management we've already discussed Tesla vehicles, but every form of fleet management (air, sea,land) has obvious possibilities.

Frankly I think the plans are global and very extensive. We cannot really imagine the future because it has not yet happened. E. Musk and his colleagues habitually do impossible things.

BTW this explains my timing, in that Starlink opened Brazil subscription applications yesterday:
Starlink, de Elon Musk, abre empresa no Brasil para vender internet | Telecomunicações | Tecnoblog
It is in Portuguese and I did not translate but Google does pretty well, for Portuguese-English anyway.

OT Sorta

@jbcarioca @Cosmacelf
"We cannot really imagine the future because it has not yet happened. E. Musk" and his colleagues habitually do impossible things."

A small caveat to the comment.
If you read speculative fiction, specifically Science Fiction, the better stories imagine a "what if this happens or that becomes true" and takes it from there.

there is an amazing amount of "what if's?" imagined, a bunch about getting out of our gravity well

Having read EssEff extensively for probably 60+ years there are lot of "what if's?" put there imagining various futures, good, bad indifferent, near future and far future.

A while back I realized I lived in the near future, but somewhere around 1995 - 2005, the future "red shifted", accelerating, past me, like punctuated, discontinuous, localized, singularities
try Iain M banks "Culture" series, Charles Stross "Singularity Sky" anything by Larry Niven bunch of others, Tony Seba, while not exactly EssEff is a visualing futurist of the obvious.
I had a very "buttoned down" very conservative staid researcher using fMRI to do read outs of brain functions say they had not quite figured out what the subject was thinking, but that doing a "write" was not that farfetched
There is a direct link to the story, later made into a bad movie by Philip K Dick from about 60 years ago "We can remember it for you wholesale"
(I would really like a neural-link but probably too old)

this though, never fails to inspire me. I have seen 1 or 2 of the paintings at old science fiction conventions
 
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bxr140

Active Member
Nov 18, 2014
2,684
3,587
Bay Area
Nearly all Satellite providers still rely on geostationary satellites so suffer from periodic outages from sun interference or any other blockage.

Just to align on this one, while legacy geo satellite internet services certainly do suffer outages, its almost never because of the satellites. In context there's no such thing as "sun interference", and "blockage" isn't a thing either--including weather related degradation like rain fade--unless the user's antenna is improperly installed/located. The satellites themselves are made up of hyper reliable components and conservative redundancy schemes. Traditional satellite reliability is a discussion on "how many 9's"...as in, how many 9's after the decimal point. I've seen them go as high as 5.

Rather, outages in legacy GEO satellite internet service are almost exclusively a function of oversubscription. With fixed cap/opex, the natural inclination of operators is to sign on as many customers as are willing.

Here in the Bay Area the infrastructure is absolutely awful. Rolling blackouts of the power grid, electrical shutoffs due to fire risk. Every time this happens, even my cell service goes down. This is worse than most 3rd world nations.

Just to align on this one, rolling blackouts are few and far between in the Bay Area (extreme weather always taxes infrastructure, a la Texas) and electrical shutoffs due to weather risk (winds and/or fires) are not motivated by the state of the infrastructure, but rather the reality of extreme event fallout. PGE doesn't want to be the cause of more/bigger fires and...more practically...[I assume] they're not interested in another round of payouts for burning a town to the ground.

Its a bit of a no-win for PGE, but to their credit they're at least trying to make it better. They spent a ton of effort mapping their rural infrastructure since Paradise (think Google Maps cars, only with a PGE sticker on the side...and less uncontrolled desire to flip them off as they drive by) and then used that data to reduce risk. In my area, that was primarily going mad with tree service, limbing anything remotely close to overhanging lines. For reference, where I live, literally 15 minutes from The Top of Sand Hill (so, not exactly the boonies) redwoods frequently huck 20' long limbs from 100' when the winds pick up, and folks--at least the old timer mountain people--have a dedicated chainsaw living in the bed of their truck. Reality, as most ultimately accept, is.

While frustrating, none of the [multiple] times my power was intentionally shut off by PGE this past summer were without merit. Sure, I'd love to see a solution that better segments the grid so fewer users are shut off when there's a forest fire nearby, and sure I'd love to see a solution that is capable of not starting a fire when tree fall rips down overhead lines, but there aren't really any solutions to those scenarios that are fast, cheap, and effective.
 

miimura

Well-Known Member
Aug 21, 2013
6,102
5,699
Los Altos, CA
Anecdotally, PG&E finally getting aggressive with tree trimming has noticeably improved the electrical reliability in my neighborhood. My Powerwall backup history is truncated to 2 years (of my 3 years since install) and only 3 events are in the last 12 months. January 16 2020 to August 14, 2020 is the longest this house has had uninterrupted power in the 9 years since we moved in. I am in the suburban Bay Area core, relatively speaking, being on the east side of 280 in Los Altos.

Since this is a Starlink vs. Fiber discussion, I will say that I am waiting for AT&T fiber to come to my side of the neighborhood. My relatives only a mile away have it, and it's a huge improvement over Comcrap. AT&T gigabit symmetric is only $60/mo and speed tests around 850Mbps when directly connected to their box with Gigabit Ethernet.
 
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scaesare

Well-Known Member
Mar 14, 2013
8,242
13,177
NoVA
"blockage" isn't a thing either--including weather related degradation like rain fade--unless the user's antenna is improperly installed/located.

Having worked for a satellite ISP/VSP, I can assure you it is.

Heavy rain storms will degrade and may block service, and heavy snow storms can certainly block it.

These are with antennas properly installed and pointed.
 

jbcarioca

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2015
5,118
23,577
Having worked for a satellite ISP/VSP, I can assure you it is.

Heavy rain storms will degrade and may block service, and heavy snow storms can certainly block it.

These are with antennas properly installed and pointed.
I probably should not have said "sun... interference", although that is what term is often used locally where I live, euphemistically referring to heavy rains and wind, as well as trees shifting in inclement weather. Since I live in an area that has substantial rainfall, and am adjacent to a large forest so have a large amount to large tree movements. The original builder of my house was a newspaper publisher who needed uninterrupted connections, so installed multiple redundant antennas to reduce the problem. That did not help with the rain. The real question is how much the Starlink approach will actually conquer such problems. In the meantime fiber is my local solution, but that also has it's own issues, at least here in Rio. FWIW, my fiber in Miami, FL is better but not really perfect either. Those issues are connection-related, not intrinsic to fiber.

A major question for worldwide adoptions is stability, including simple connection problems. To be truly consequential it needs to be failsafe, does it not?
 
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jbcarioca

Well-Known Member
Feb 3, 2015
5,118
23,577
Failsafe? You mean like the electric grid?

No, I don’t think failsafe is necessary for adoption.
Some of the most lucrative areas for Starlink sea to be military, aircraft, naval, rail and, perhaps, trucking. Thinking through the utility of unimpeded communications in those areas suggests that 'failsafe' is the correct word. Obviously, my example was residential service where 'failsafe' exists in almost no imaginable reference. Sorry, if I was misleading.
 

bxr140

Active Member
Nov 18, 2014
2,684
3,587
Bay Area
Having worked for a satellite ISP/VSP, I can assure you it is.

A properly installed and locate dish will suffer some db of rain fade. Certainly not enough to result in a service outage, unless the satellite is already oversubscribed and can’t be ramped up in power.
 

scaesare

Well-Known Member
Mar 14, 2013
8,242
13,177
NoVA
A properly installed and locate dish will suffer some db of rain fade. Certainly not enough to result in a service outage...

Dishes properly installed and aimed, both by yours truly as well as the engineers responsible for the system, indeed faced degradation in heavy precipitation and outages in snows.


...unless the satellite is already oversubscribed and can’t be ramped up in power.

These were nor oversubscribed systems. In many cases it was the uplink from the VSAT terminal that struggled.
 

bxr140

Active Member
Nov 18, 2014
2,684
3,587
Bay Area
Dishes properly installed and aimed, both by yours truly as well as the engineers responsible for the system, indeed faced degradation in heavy precipitation and outages in snows.

--So, good news is it sounds like we agree on degradation vs outage with respect to rain fade.
--Snow...I'd contest a properly installed dish includes snow mitigation.
--Potentially belaboring the point, certainly there are high- failure modes that are impractical for a system to accommodate (eg, once-a century weather events as opposed to typical rain storms). What's important here, and the reason I chimed in, is that [honest] misinformation passed on by [honest] conflation of failure modes does no good.
--Finally, I will also agree that older generation GEO internet would suffer from weather related service interruptions and, similar to someone comparing any kind of consumer product, I'd encourage folks to consider their data in context of the technology timeline. If someone was getting satellite internet when Wildblue-1 or Anik F2 were cutting edge...yeah, service sucked.
 

scaesare

Well-Known Member
Mar 14, 2013
8,242
13,177
NoVA
--So, good news is it sounds like we agree on degradation vs outage with respect to rain fade.

I'm not sure we do, unless you are pivoting... as I read your assertion you said rain fade isn't a thing, no?:

"blockage" isn't a thing either--including weather related degradation like rain fade--unless the user's antenna is improperly installed/located."



--Snow...I'd contest a properly installed dish includes snow mitigation.
--Potentially belaboring the point, certainly there are high- failure modes that are impractical for a system to accommodate (eg, once-a century weather events as opposed to typical rain storms). What's important here, and the reason I chimed in, is that [honest] misinformation passed on by [honest] conflation of failure modes does no good.
--Finally, I will also agree that older generation GEO internet would suffer from weather related service interruptions and, similar to someone comparing any kind of consumer product, I'd encourage folks to consider their data in context of the technology timeline. If someone was getting satellite internet when Wildblue-1 or Anik F2 were cutting edge...yeah, service sucked.

Dishes can mitigate snow locally (heaters, etc...), what they can't do is prevent signal attenuation through the atmosphere due to heavy weather. This isn't limited to once-in-a-century events.

If your on-prem VSAT terminal can't transmit it's HTTP request through to the bird, then it doesn't matter if the system is capable of receiving... the service is effectively out.
 
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MorrisonHiker

S 100D 2021.4.15
Mar 8, 2015
9,437
8,588
Colorado
I worked for Primestar and DirecTV for over 7 years back in the late 90s and early 2000s. We would get notifications twice a year when the sun could potentially affect customer signal reception due to the satellite being in the direct path of the sun. I can't remember precisely, but it could've been close to the spring and fall solstices. That was nearly 20 years ago so maybe things have changed. I can remember really early on, there was only one satellite carrying all signals and dishes only had single LNBs. I can't recall if the issue went away as they started adding more satellites, spot-beams and multiple LNB dishes.

Rain fade was an issue in many parts of the country, especially during torrential downpours. Snow was also an issue at times, depending on the amount of moisture in the snow. I had the service at home and it would sometimes work fine even with a couple feet of champagne powder on the dish...but signal might be lost if there was a thick coating of ice.

Neither of these issues were due to improperly installed satellite dishes or oversubscription (because it was a one-way service).
 
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