A Multifaceted Look at Starlink Performance (2024)

Newly published research on Starlink’s performance. PDF available.


“In recent years, Low-Earth Orbit (LEO) mega-constellations have ushered in a new era for ubiquitous Internet access. The Starlink network from SpaceX stands out as the only commercial LEO network with over 2M+ customers and more than 4000 operational satellites. In this paper, we conduct a first-of-its-kind extensive multi-faceted analysis of Starlink performance leveraging several measurement sources. First, based on 19.2M crowdsourced M-Lab speed tests from 34 countries since 2021, we analyze Starlink global performance relative to terrestrial cellular networks. Second, we examine Starlink’s ability to support real-time latency and bandwidth-critical applications by analyzing the performance of (i) Zoom conferencing, and (ii) Luna cloud gaming, comparing it to 5G and fiber. Third, we perform measurements from Starlink-enabled RIPE Atlas probes to shed light on the last-mile access and other factors affecting its performance. Finally, we conduct controlled experiments from Starlink dishes in two countries and analyze the impact of globally synchronized “15-second reconfiguration intervals” of the satellite links that cause substantial latency and throughput variations. Our unique analysis paints the most comprehensive picture of Starlink’s global and last-mile performance to date.”