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How Elon Musk’s Starlink Internet

Works That Makes RI Crazy

Jakarta, CNBC Indonesia – Starlink, Elon Musk’s low-orbit satellite-based internet service has just been inaugurated in Indonesia. This means that now people can use this service to meet their daily internet needs.

So, how exactly does Starlink work?

Starlink operates using satellite internet services that have been around for decades. Instead of using cable technology, such as fiber optics to transmit internet data, satellite systems use radio signals through the vacuum of space.

Each satellite in the Starlink constellation weighs about 259 kg and has a flat body. When launched, one SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket can carry up to 60 satellites.

SpaceX has proposed a constellation of nearly 42,000 tablet-sized satellites circling the globe in low orbit to meet demand on Earth.

Starlink is not the only satellite internet player. There are several competitors, including OneWeb, HughesNet, Viasat, and Amazon.

HughesNet has provided signal coverage from 35 thousand kilometers above Earth since 1996. But Starlink has a slightly different approach and provides improvements.

The following are Starlink’s advantages over its competitors:

Rather than using a few large satellites, Starlink has thousands of small satellites. Starlink uses LEO satellites that circle the Earth at an altitude of 482 kilometers above the surface. This shortened geostationary orbit can increase internet speed and reduce latency levels.

The newest Starlink satellites have laser communications elements to transmit signals between satellites, reducing dependence on multiple Earth stations.

SpaceX aims to launch as many as 40,000 satellites in the near future, this is to ensure global and long-range satellite coverage with reduced service outages.

Starlink has the advantage of being part of SpaceX, which, in addition to launching Starlink satellites, also carries out partner launches on a regular basis. Other satellite internet providers may not be able to schedule regular satellite launches due to high costs.

So, how does Starlink work in Indonesia?

Starlink technology risks

Like fiber optic cable services to homes ( fixed broadband ) or via radio frequency to cellphones (cellular), Starlink is also connected to the internet network via a gateway which is monitored and controlled by the NOC ( network operation center ).

The function of a gateway is to connect a network with other networks that have a different system of rules, known as protocols. Because the internet is a network of various information systems, an internet gateway is needed to “guide” from the internet service provider’s (ISP) network to the global internet network.

Every time a user views an email, accesses a website, or uses an application, the data is sent via the gadget via the ISP’s network in the form of a BTS, cable or satellite antenna, then the data traffic is forwarded to the global internet network via a gateway . If the internet is accessed via an internet gateway in Indonesia, the internet user’s IP will show the “origin location” in Indonesia.

All traffic on the ISP network is monitored via NOC.

Specifically for Starlink, data is sent via satellite to an internet gateway using a mini earth terminal device which costs more than IDR 7 million.

Currently, Starlink is collaborating with Telkomsat to utilize PT Telkom Indonesia (Persero) Tbk’s internet gateway . This means that even though Starlink uses satellites located in outer space, the “internet network” provided by Starlink still has an Indonesian location mark.

However, as mentioned above, Starlink services have low dependency on internet gateways in the locations where they operate because thousands of Starlink satellites can send data to each other.

This feature means that there is a possibility that internet traffic from Indonesia will be “channeled” or “leaked” via other satellites unmonitored within the country.

Therefore, the Minister of Communication and Information, Budi Arie Setiadi, has repeatedly emphasized that Starlink must place their NOC in Indonesia.

If there is a Starlink NOC in Indonesia, the government and security authorities can monitor the Starlink network to avoid potential legal violations.