Modeling Starlink capacity (Starlink Coverage Tracker)

It has been 18 months since Michael Puchol launched, a personal simulation project aimed primarily at increasing his understanding of how SpaceX’s STARLINK constellation worked, and how it could be applied to an environment such as Kenya, where his startup Poa Internet, offers affordable broadband to underprivileged communities, using Fixed Wireless Access (FWA).

Given the general lack of good fiber infrastructure in most of Africa, using Starlink as a backhaul method for FWA distribution seemed credible.

It soon became apparent that the bodies of knowledge involved in placing a Low Earth Orbit (LEO) Non-GeoStationary Orbit (NGSO) constellation into operation are many, and not just in aerospace engineering, orbital mechanics, or wireless communications, but also legal, financial, and regulatory, to name a few. I was in for a wild ride.

This month, Michael Puchol have released v2.0 of the site, with the first stab at simulating potential service capacity in a country of choice.


Some topics covered in article:

A brief intoduction to Starlink’s capabilities

  • Satellite capacity
  • Gateway capacity
  • Optical Inter-satellite links (ISL)
  • Constraints and limitations
  • Frequency re-use and co-frequency spot beams
  • Gateway spectrum availability
  • GSO protection
  • A simplistic capacity simulation attempt
  • Resource allocation mechanisms
  • Time Division Multiplexing (TDM)
  • Beam spread
  • Predictive cell demand
  • Complex simulations
  • Simulation with TDM only
  • Simulation with beam spread only
  • Simulation with TDM and beam spread combined
  • Adjusting for population density

The capacity simulator explained

  • Simulation settings
  • Exploring the simulation results
  • Exporting the simulation data
  • Other interesting simulations
  • Known issues

And the Link to Simulation:

Starting Simulation

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I am amazed by Starlink satellites of Elon Musk.

Although they don’t deliver bandwidth and latency it is yet quite good for everyday internet. Over 3400 LEO satellites and counting.

Other useful Satellite Visualization tools: :point_down:

Low Earth Orbit Visualization | LeoLabs :point_down: