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February 23, 2022

Starlink’s zoomready Rating Is Going Down

The service is usable for teleconferencing but has annoying glitches. Lately quality seems to be deteriorating, at least here in central Vermont.

Zr2-16-22
zoomready is open-source shareware I wrote to measure the suitability of an internet connection for teleconferencing. As you can see above, Starlink had an average zoomready rating of 2.66 out of a possible 3.0 over the four measured days. The problem is NOT bandwidth, which has fluctuated but stayed above the minimums needed for good teleconferencing. The problems are failures (most of them short), latency, and jitter. Too often it takes too long for a packet to get from my machine to the internet and back (latency); the latency varies widely (jitter). Together subpar latency and jitter make for momentary freezes and poor audio during teleconferencing.

I am now fortunate in having both a Starlink dish and a fiber connection through Stowe Cable. I’ve stuck with Starlink on my machine; but Mary is connected through fiber. Note below how much better the results are when running zoomready  on her machine during an overlapping period of time.

Zrsc

There were no failures during the ten days we were monitoring and only a brief period when jitter and latency were subpar, so brief that the average zoomreadiness was 3.0 both for the last hour and for the whole monitoring period.

I’m disappointed in these results. Starlink has improved since I first installed it over a year ago but lately it seems to be getting worse here in central Vermont. This decline in service levels may be caused by more users sharing the service; it is still way, way better than traditional satellite which can’t be used for teleconferencing at all and better than most DSL. It can be used for teleconferencing – I use it that way; but there is a definite quality difference from fiber. The service may improve as more satellites are launched with satellite-to-satellite laser and other technical improvements are made.

In some rural areas the latest promises are that fiber is still five years out. Starlink, once you clear the waiting list, is an alternative today. Unless Starlink improves; its users will be at a substantial disadvantage as the teleconferencing environments of the future require both more bandwidth and lower latency.

If you run Windows and want to monitor the quality of your Internet connection, you can learn more about zoomready and download it free at http://freecheckip.com. It has no ads, does not use cookies, and doesn’t spy on you in any way.

See also:

Freecheckip.com – My New Website

When Zoom Freezes Over – Free Way to Find Out Why

https://blog.tomevslin.com/starlink/

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