The Future of Internet Access: From 5G to Starlink
5G networks are coming and, for the most part, we should be excited about it. 5G represents a hefty upgrade in speed achieved by using much higher radio frequencies to transfer data. The good news: more data equals faster speeds.
The not-so-good news? The nature of higher frequencies means that 5G comes with a distribution problem. One that can only be solved by replacing existing cell towers and adding many, many more.
But there is a global initiative on the horizon that could help. Enter Elon Musk… His proposed solution is Starlink – a SpaceX operated network of 12,000 satellites which would provide high-performance internet access anywhere in the world to anyone with a small, affordable receiver.
The downside? 12,000 satellites at altitudes of between 550 and 1150 km is A LOT, and could contribute to an already problematic amount of space debris. Not to mention lighting up the night sky!
Either way, speed, accessibility and security will be key to ensuring the internet continues to be a beneficial force in our lives. But at what cost?