Starlink speeds accelerate in Q2, with lower latencies than GEO satellite services, Ookla says
Starlink’s overall speeds continue to outpace those of fellow satellite broadband services Viasat and HughesNet, but its median download speeds in the US are starting to enter the neighborhood of fixed-line broadband networks, according to Ookla’s latest round of Speedtest data.
Ookla’s data for Q2 2021 found that Starlink’s median download speeds in the US climbed to 97.23 Mbit/s, up from 65.72 Mbit/s in Q1 2021. By comparison, HughesNet’s median download speed in the US clocked in at 19.73 Mbit/s in Q2 2021 (up from 15.7 Mbit/s in Q1 2021), while Viasat’s was 18.13 Mbit/s in Q2 2021 (up from 17.67 Mbit/s) in the prior quarter.
While Starlink’s US download speeds are “fast enough to handle most of the needs of modern online life,” they do trail the 115.22 Mbit/s median download speed for all fixed broadband providers in the US, Ookla explained in its report.
In some areas, Starlink’s US download median speed has surpassed its wireline cousins. In its analysis of the Ookla data, PCMag (Ookla and PCMag are both owned by Ziff Davis) notes that Starlink’s median download speed in Morgan County, Alabama, reached 168 Mbit/s. Starlink’s slowest median download speed for the US in the quarter, at 64.5 Mbit/s, appeared in Madison County, Indiana.
There’s a bit more parity between Starlink and tested wireline networks on the upstream side. Ookla said Starlink’s median upload speed for Q1 2021 was 13.89 Mbit/s, compared to a median upload speed of 17.18 Mbit/s among US fixed wireline networks. Both Viasat and HughesNet trailed with median upload speeds of 3.38 Mbit/s and 2.43 Mbit/s, respectively.
Starlink’s growing network of low-Earth orbit (LEO) satellites continued to deliver relatively low latencies, important for apps such as online gaming and videoconferencing, when compared to geosynchronous (GEO) systems. Ookla said Starlink’s median latency in Q1 2021 was 45 milliseconds. While that was well behind the 14 milliseconds of latency found on fixed-line networks, it was considerably better than the median latency for Viasat (630 milliseconds) and HughesNet (724 milliseconds).
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