Possible solution for remote areas: Internet reception via satellite antenna
Photo: Marie Reichenbach / dpa-tmn
Satellite internet has been around for many years.
But the speeds have not yet exceeded 50 megabits per second (Mbit / s).
But with Eutelsat and Starlink, which belongs to the SpaceX space company of Tesla boss Elon Musk, two providers are now also offering faster connections from space.
Up to 100 Mbit / s and more are possible - but with two completely different concepts.
Regular tariffs can already be booked nationwide for Eutelsat's new Konnect satellite.
For up to 30 Mbit / s you pay 30 euros per month, for up to 50 Mbit / s 45 euros and up to 100 Mbit / s cost 70 euros.
The upload is fast up to 5 Mbit / s in all tariffs.
There is also a one-time activation fee of 49 euros and installation costs (from 99 euros).
The minimum contract period is just under a year, after which it can be canceled on a monthly basis.
Eutelsat provides its customers with satellite antenna (74 or 90 centimeters in diameter) and WLAN router at no extra cost.
The thing about latency
A disadvantage of Konnect - and almost all other satellite Internet providers - is the delay (latency) of the signals, which cannot be switched off because of the enormous distance.
The satellites from which the Internet data is supplied orbit at an altitude of almost 36,000 kilometers.
In technical jargon, they are also called geostationary satellites because they appear to be above a fixed point on the earth's surface at this altitude.
Eutelsat itself advises against using Konnect for services that - such as many online games - require a very fast response from the connection, and points out that highly secure Internet offers and VPN connections may be difficult to access.
The data volume is unlimited with all tariffs.
Depending on the utilization of the satellite, Eutelsat reserves the right to go below the speeds specified in the product information sheets.
But only if - depending on the tariff - a data volume of 20, 60 or 120 gigabytes (GB) has been exceeded.
Incidentally, the data transmitted between 1.00 and 6.00 a.m. are not counted.
Something's going on in southern Germany
It will take some time before tariffs for Starlink Internet can be booked on a regular basis.
Interested parties can enter their address on the project page and then find out when the service should be available in their region.
This is often the case in mid or late 2021, sometimes not until 2022.
In southern Germany, Starlink can already be ordered in some cases - whether you can get it is another question.
Because according to the provider, the number of participants in the test phase is limited in certain areas.
And of course you don't get the service for free, it costs 99 euros a month.
Starlink delivers bandwidths between 50 and 150 Mbit / s in the beta phase.
To set up yourself: the hardware package from Starlink
Photo: Starlink.com / dpa-tmn
You have to buy the satellite antenna with WLAN router and accessories for 499 euros, plus 59 euros for shipping.
That sounds expensive, but you can set up the antenna relatively easily yourself in the supplied tripod stand and align it using a smartphone app.
Installation - sometimes expensive - by a specialist is not absolutely necessary.
Fast reaction due to proximity to the earth
One advantage of the Starlink satellites is their near-Earth orbit at an altitude of less than 600 kilometers.
This results in latencies that Starlink specifies in the beta test with values of 20 to 40 milliseconds (ms) and underlines that the Internet connection with these latencies is also suitable for online games and video chats.
According to the Federal Network Agency, which allocated the necessary frequencies in December, there are already around 800 small Starlink satellites in low-earth orbit, and more than 3,600 more are to follow, after all, the company wants to offer its service worldwide.
For comparison: If the Internet comes via fiber optics, DSL, cable or 4G cellular network (LTE), the latency is usually between 5 and 50 ms.
5G mobile communications should even offer latencies of less than 5 ms.
In the case of two-way Internet connections via a geostationary satellite, on the other hand, you have to reckon with latencies of 500 ms and more.
This not only applies to Konnect, but also to other Eutelsat satellites, Viasat and Astra satellites, which are already used to provide Internet services such as Astra Connect or Eurobroadband.
Icon: The mirror
By Dirk Averesch, dpa