Starlink Internet vs HughesNet Speed Test

Internet speed tests comparing HughesNet satellite internet to SpaceX’s Starlink beta, a low-Earth orbit satellite internet service. Photo: Reddit user u/steve40yt

With SpaceX’s Starlink beta already out and available to a limited number of users, the company is already garnering a lot of positive attention before truly releasing its product. The attention is warranted too, as shown by a new speed test between two satellite internet service providers (ISPs).

According to a post on Reddit, a new speed test comparing internet speeds between SpaceX’s Starlink and HughesNet satellite internet service has shown Starlink download speeds up to 60 times as fast as HughesNet’s service. The post, as shared by Reddit user u/steve40yt, shows a download speed of 160.18 Mbps for Starlink, with only 2.65 Mbps of speed from HughesNet’s service.

While Starlink satellites hover above Earth at 550 km (341 miles), traditional satellite providers are much further up at a whopping 35,405 km (22,000 miles).

According to HughesNet’s website:

A request for a Web page is sent from your computer to a satellite about 22,000 miles out in space. At this altitude, the satellite’s period of rotation (24 hours) matches the Earth’s, and the satellite always remains in the same spot over the Earth (geosynchronous orbit). Because Internet via satellite is so technologically advanced, this distance hardly makes a difference to satellite Internet speeds, even in rural areas.

Note the last line in that description from HughesNet. I bet new Starlink internet users will cast doubt on these “technologically advanced” claims.

While the discrepancy between the ISPs is clear, Starlink is still only in its beta form, meaning two things: it both isn’t yet available to the public, and this test is a long way from what the service will someday be capable of.

The results are incredibly promising to be sure, and they’re only corroborating past experiences with Starlink. Namely, they’re showing the service to be a success, and it’s yet to even be fully completed.

It isn’t clear exactly when SpaceX plans to begin releasing Starlink to the public, but the interpretation of the company’s speeds are crystal clear: low-Earth orbit satellite internet is here to stay, and we simply can’t say the same for traditional satellite ISPs like HughesNet or Viasat.