How does Starlink compare to Viasat and HughesNet?
Satellite internet from traditional carriers like Viasat and HughesNet (the other residential satellite internet providers in the US) has low speed and high latency, which isn’t a good thing. HughesNet tops out at 25 Mbps, while some areas of Viasat’s network can hit 100 Mbps speeds, but that connection will still deal with high latency.
High latency (or lag) means you’ll have a noticeable delay between the time you request information on the internet (such as clicking on a link to request viewing a web page) and the moment that it displays on your computer. This delay is caused by several factors, including the time it takes for your request to travel to servers and satellites orbiting the Earth, and then back to you.
Starlink can offer faster speeds and lower latency than Viasat and HughesNet due to the satellite design and location. Starlink’s satellites are much closer to the Earth than satellite systems used by Viasat or HughesNet. Starlink satellites orbit 550 kilometres (340 miles) from the Earth’s surface, while Viasat and HughesNet satellites are approximately 35,405 kilometres (22,000 miles) away from Earth.9,10
Thanks to their closer proximity, Starlink satellites will deliver broadband internet with lower latency than other satellite providers—simply because data just won’t have to travel as far. Starlink’s lower latency will be helpful in everyday internet usage as well as in online gaming, video conferencing, and other tasks that are done in real time.