SpaceX's Starlink service suffers brief but global weekend outage

Out of this world service for Musk's satellite broadband

It appears that even users of Elon Musk's Starlink service are not immune to the odd bit of borkage as the broadband-from-orbit system suffered an outage at the weekend.

Starlink boasts of serving up high-speed, low-latency broadband via its constellation of satellites, claiming download speeds ranging between 100Mb/s and 200Mb/s with network latency as low as 20ms in some locations, according to the company.

Users around the world reported issues on Saturday morning, around 04:20 Eastern (11:00 UTC), with dishes stuck hunting for satellites. Customers in Europe and the US were forced to face the horror of the real world for as long as 20 minutes as their Musk-provided service became unavailable.

There are currently over 2,000 Starlink satellites in low earth orbit with another 47 launched in March. More are planned, but the current total should be sufficient to reach many of the inhabitants of the regions supported by the company. Assuming the service stays up, that is.

While the occasional brief outage as a user's terminal loses connection to a satellite is understandable, the issue that occurred over the weekend appears to have been considerably lengthier and more widespread for some. Affected customers reported messages appearing in the Starlink app to the effect that the team were aware of the problem and were working on it.

Things have not gone entirely to plan for Elon Musk's out-of-this-world internet adventure of late, nor for his customers. The latter were slapped with some impressive price rises earlier this year (blamed on "excessive levels of inflation") while just last week the company's license was pulled in France.

Starlink also admitted in February that higher than expected atmospheric drag due to a geomagnetic storm would mean that dozens of recently launched Starlink satellites would be coming to a premature end mere days after their ascent.

The Register contacted Starlink and parent company SpaceX for comment and will update should a response be received.

Last weekend's outage is not a good look for the company, which presents its internet service as something suitable for video calls and other high-data-rate activities. Perhaps they are, so long as you don't mind your latency occasionally being measured in minutes. ®

Similar topics

Broader topics

Other stories you might like

  • Experts: AI should be recognized as inventors in patent law
    Plus: Police release deepfake of murdered teen in cold case, and more

    In-brief Governments around the world should pass intellectual property laws that grant rights to AI systems, two academics at the University of New South Wales in Australia argued.

    Alexandra George, and Toby Walsh, professors of law and AI, respectively, believe failing to recognize machines as inventors could have long-lasting impacts on economies and societies. 

    "If courts and governments decide that AI-made inventions cannot be patented, the implications could be huge," they wrote in a comment article published in Nature. "Funders and businesses would be less incentivized to pursue useful research using AI inventors when a return on their investment could be limited. Society could miss out on the development of worthwhile and life-saving inventions."

    Continue reading
  • Declassified and released: More secret files on US govt's emergency doomsday powers
    Nuke incoming? Quick break out the plans for rationing, censorship, property seizures, and more

    More papers describing the orders and messages the US President can issue in the event of apocalyptic crises, such as a devastating nuclear attack, have been declassified and released for all to see.

    These government files are part of a larger collection of records that discuss the nature, reach, and use of secret Presidential Emergency Action Documents: these are executive orders, announcements, and statements to Congress that are all ready to sign and send out as soon as a doomsday scenario occurs. PEADs are supposed to give America's commander-in-chief immediate extraordinary powers to overcome extraordinary events.

    PEADs have never been declassified or revealed before. They remain hush-hush, and their exact details are not publicly known.

    Continue reading
  • Stolen university credentials up for sale by Russian crooks, FBI warns
    Forget dark-web souks, thousands of these are already being traded on public bazaars

    Russian crooks are selling network credentials and virtual private network access for a "multitude" of US universities and colleges on criminal marketplaces, according to the FBI.

    According to a warning issued on Thursday, these stolen credentials sell for thousands of dollars on both dark web and public internet forums, and could lead to subsequent cyberattacks against individual employees or the schools themselves.

    "The exposure of usernames and passwords can lead to brute force credential stuffing computer network attacks, whereby attackers attempt logins across various internet sites or exploit them for subsequent cyber attacks as criminal actors take advantage of users recycling the same credentials across multiple accounts, internet sites, and services," the Feds' alert [PDF] said.

    Continue reading

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2022