Wait, Is Satellite Internet About to Get … Awesome?

Wait, Is Satellite Internet About to Get … Awesome?


Let’s start with two true things. First of all, satellite Internet sucks. Second, we’re all gonna
be using it pretty soon. Woo-hoo! Now I’m kidding, this is
actually a good thing. You may have already heard
rumblings of this already, and it’s something that
I’ve mentioned in passing a few times on this channel. But, pretty soon, satellite Internet won’t be that thing that you get if you can’t get anything else. It’ll be the new cutting-edge technology that brings high-speed
low latency Internet pretty much everywhere, honestly. So, let’s dive in. (upbeat electronic music) Now, of course, don’t forget to subscribe if you enjoy what we do, but today let’s dive into the
future of satellite Internet. So, first question is, why does satellite Internet
get such a bad rap right now? Let’s talk about the state
of things as they are. Well, in a word, it gets
such a bad rap because of latency. If we wanna use two words,
we can say, data caps, but we’ll get to that in just a second. With latency, what you
have to understand is that with Viasat or HughesNet, the two major satellite
Internet providers right now, they have satellites that
are operating at 22,000 miles above the surface of the earth. That’s a long way to go. And so, when we’re talking about latency, we’re talking about the
time that it takes for data to travel back and forth between you and wherever it needs to go, or wherever it’s coming from. So, if you’re playing a game and you pull that trigger button, or if you’re watching YouTube and you want to hit the play button, it takes an average of at
least a hundred milliseconds for that data to travel back and forth. Usually, as most satellite
Internet users will tell you, it’s probably more like three, four, five, or even 600 milliseconds. Now, we’re talking
milliseconds, you think, that doesn’t seem like that long. Well, for instance, this
is how it would sound, if I were at a 600 millisecond latency. Not very fun, is it? So, you wanna bring that
down as much as you can. So, satellite Internet right
now, not great in that way. Then, when it comes to data caps, the other thing you have to recognize is that this is a single satellite handling everybody’s
data at the same time. And so if tens of thousands,
hundreds of thousands, millions of people on a single satellite, it can only handle so much. For example, Viasat’s current satellite has a max throughput of
260 gigabits per second. It was supposed to be
300 gigabits per second, but some little wire got bent or something in the satellite, and now
it doesn’t work so well. So, 260 maximum gigabits per second spread out across everybody, so everybody’s speeds get
a little bit slowed down, and the maximum amount of data
that they’re allowed to use gets brought down as well. So, that’s why everybody’s so frustrated with satellite Internet right now. So, what’s it gonna
look like going forward? Well, there are a lot
of companies out there trying to fix the problems
with satellite Internet. And the first solution
is, more satellites. For example, Amazon’s Kuiper
Project is gonna launch at least 3,236 satellites
that’ll cover most of the US, except for some of the more
remote parts of Alaska, where the caribou don’t matter anyway, ’cause they don’t have
the thumbs necessary to use the Internet. And then there’s SpaceX. They’ve got plans to
launch 12,000 satellites, and they’ve just gotten
permission to launch up to 30,000 more after that. So they’re going for a
more global approach. We’re talking about
covering the entire globe with satellite Internet. And it’s not just about more satellites, it’s about a lower orbit as well. So, like I said, that HughesNet, Viasat, those satellites right now, they’re at 22,000 miles above
the surface of the earth. These ones are gonna be
more like 375 on average. And so, if latency, let’s just say, for the sake of argument, that your latency is at 300 milliseconds at 22,000 miles above the earth, then bringing it down to 375 miles could cut it theoretically
to about, one millisecond, or two milliseconds, again theoretically. In practice, what that means is, let’s say, it went from 300, let’s do that exercise again, this is what I sound like
at 300 milliseconds latency, and then I cut it down to three, now I’m at three, you can’t really tell that there’s any latency at all, can you? Now, as far as how you
are receiving this data, that’s gonna look awfully familiar. You’ll have a terminal, a user terminal, which is code for the 18 inch
satellite dish on the surface, and that’s how you’re
gonna receive this data. OneWeb, is a company that’s
also launching satellites. They’ve filed an
application for 1.5 million user terminals in the US, and then SpaceX has
filed their application for 1 million of those user terminals. So that part will be pretty familiar. So who’s doing all of this, and when are they gonna do it? Well, there are a few
players in the space. I’ve already mentioned
SpaceX, Amazon, and OneWeb. there’s also Telesat and LeoSat, yes, low earth orbit, LeoSat. Now, OneWeb and SpaceX will
likely be the first viable ones. OneWeb has launched six satellites, with 30 more launched by December. Those are their test satellites. But SpaceX has already launched 60, and so it’s likely that
these two companies will kind of be firing things up and really testing out the market by 2020. It’ll take a while after that before it’s widely commercially available though, so we will have to wait a little bit. So, why is it taking so long? Well, frankly, we’re talking about launching satellites here. This is actual, literal, rocket science. Yeah, it is more routine now
than it was 50 years ago, but it’s still a complex
and delicate procedure. So, they need to figure out the actual data transmission part, how to get you your Internet stuff, but also they need to figure out how to get all these
satellites into place, how to maneuver them
when they’re up there, and what to do if they fail. Do they use pressurized
noble gas propellant, or liquid ionic unpressurized propellant? So many choices, but I’m
sure you knew all that. – -Going through hyperspace
ain’t like dusting crops, boy.– So yeah, it’ll take a little while, but we should all keep our
ear to the ground on this because it is going to change the game. And not just for people who’ve never had reliable high-speed Internet, but for a lot of us who have, too. Here’s just one example: telecommuting is possible
right now, but it generally requires a really great
Internet connection. So, you can’t just decide
to move to rural Maine, or the middle of the New
Mexico desert for some reason, if that’s your thing. But once this is all up and working, I could be making these videos
from anywhere, anywhere. – -Able to be magically whisked away, to Delaware. Hi, I mean Delaware.– Alright guys, you know the drill, give this video a like and subscribe if it was helpful to you. Thanks so much for watching, and I will see you next time. Are you excited for Disney+? If not, go away. Well, nah, I don’t know,
maybe stick around, you might find this exciting. Reviews.org, the site behind this channel, is hiring up to five
people to watch Disney+ when it comes out on November 12th. But like, watch it a bunch. 30 movies in 30 days. So if you’re a Disney fanatic, this should be right up your alley. – -(shrieks)– If you are selected, we
will pay you a $1,000 and pay for your Disney+
subscription for a year. – -(screams)– Check the description below for the link. Make sure you’re subscribed
to our YouTube channel, that’s where we’re gonna announce
the successful candidates, and we all wanna share
our Disney+ experiences together there when it comes out. And here’s to you, future colleagues. (upbeat electronic music)

7 thoughts on “Wait, Is Satellite Internet About to Get … Awesome?

  1. As has been noted in the comments, I erred in saying that users would be using a dish to receive the signal — it would actually be an antenna. Even better! Thanks for the correction!

  2. Great video and informative, however some of us "Caribou" who live in Alaska do have thumbs, and our internet is the most expensive there is. Can't wait for the new technology and for Amazon to start selling large Ice blocks so I can repair the roof of my igloo ☺☺

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