DEPARTMENT OF COMPUTER SCIENCE
Systems and Networks Research Group

Simulating Starlink

Mark Handley

SpaceX has filed plans with the US Federal Communications Committee (FCC) to build a constellation of 4,425 low Earth orbit (LEO) communication satellites. This constellation will use phased array antennas for up and downlinks and laser communication between satellites to provide global low-latency high bandwidth coverage. To understand the latency propertes of such a network, we built a simulator based on public details from the FCC filings. In this work, we evaluate how to use the laser links to provide a network, and look at the problem of routing on this network. We provide a preliminary evaluation of how well such a network can provide low-latency communications, and examine its multipath properties. We conclude that a network built in this manner can provide lower latency communications than any possible terrestrial optical fiber network for communications over distances greater than about 3000 km.

Resources

Press Coverage and Discussion