New technology, especially in the internet space, is all about speed. Different companies compete to see how fast, strong, and powerful their connectivity is. So far, two names rise above the rest, dominating and battling for the top position– Starlink vs 5G.
The million-dollar question remains. Which of the two internet service providers is better, and which one should you go for? Here’s an in-depth guide comparing the two, right from the basics.
Table of Contents
- What is Starlink?
- What is 5G Internet?
- Starlink Vs. 5G: An In-depth Comparison
- Starlink Vs. 5G: Which One Is Better?
- Frequently Asked Questions
What is Starlink?
A Starlink dish is installed atop a house.
Thanks to Elon Musk’s SpaceX, Starlink takes a different approach to an internet connection. It comprises a satellite constellation (thousands of satellites in space) that connect to your home through simple routers.
Starlink’s mission is to provide high-speed broadband internet to the entire planet, including the most remote and unreliable locations. As of 2022, Starlink offers services to 32 countries around the world.
What is 5G Internet?
A hand holding a digital tablet with 5G network wireless systems
The Fifth Generation (5G) of the wireless mobile network is the latest cellular technology and an upgrade of its predecessors, 4G, 3G, 2G, and 1G. 5G network uses higher radio frequencies than previous versions for faster data speeds and fewer delays.
The speed and responsiveness of this technology are incredibly fast, with potential maximum speeds of up to 1 gigabit per second (Gbps). For comparison, 4 G’s peak speed was 100 megabytes per second (Mbps).
Don’t confuse 5G internet with 5 GHz. 5G is an acronym for the 5th Generation, while the 5 GHz band is the radio frequency from a Wi-Fi modem.
Starlink Vs. 5G: An In-depth Comparison
Here is the comparison between Starlink and the 5G wireless network.
Mode of Internet Connectivity
Hand-drawn metropolitan city
The first notable difference is how they transmit their internet.
As mentioned earlier, Starlink uses satellites to provide its internet. The satellites transfer data to the customer through a correctly positioned antenna dish and a router or modem.
5G, on the other hand, uses radio frequencies. But unlike previous generations, 5G frequencies have broad spectrum coverages.
There are three versions of the 5G signal; mid-band 5G, low band 5G, and millimeter-wave 5G. Millimeter-waves 5G uses the highest frequencies but can only do so over short distances. The soft band isn’t as fast as millimeter waves but has a more extended range. Mid-band is a combo of the two. It is fast and covers a vast coverage area.
Starlink has download speeds of 100 to 200 Mbps and allows users to surf the web, play online games and make video calls without significant problems. This is significantly higher than other satellite internet providers, whose speed is around 20 Mbps. Starlink’s corresponding upload speed is about 5 to 25 Mbps.
Theoretically, 5G has download speeds of up to 20 Gigabits per second (Gbps). This means that you can download a movie in seconds! Incredible, right? But in the real world, 5G speed is slightly over 200 Mbps. While this is significantly lower than promised, it is still faster than the previous 4G.
As things stand, 5G slightly outdoes Starlink in terms of speed. But both providers are high-speed and should see you surf the internet comfortably.
Cable internet is still the boss of speeds, with up to 500 Mbps download speeds.
Reliability and Stability
Modern city and rising arrow symbols.
Both 5G and Starlink are not highly reliable or stable. But this is understandable given that both are new to the market. However, the reliability of 5G internet is better than that of Starlink.
It’s not common for 5G to be disconnected frequently, the only issue being its latency. Ping spikes are expected in 5G, ranging between 70 ms to over 500 ms, regardless of the provider. This becomes a massive problem for any latency-sensitive apps or online gaming.
Starlink’s latency ranges between 40 to 70 ms. While it’s relatively low, it is smooth enough to play most online games, work remotely and make video calls. The only problem is that these drops can last for minutes disrupting everything you are doing online.
If you highly value a stable and reliable internet connection, fiber and cable services are the current best options. They are excellent for anyone working from home, playing an online game, or using real-time communication services.
Of course, with great convenience comes a price tag. While setting up the Starlink Kit– base, Wi-Fi router, cables, and the Starlink app– is easy, enjoying the service is relatively pricey. You’ll need to pay a hardware fee of $599 and an additional $99 monthly subscription.
5G is way more affordable than this. All 5G providers in the U.S. have their monthly fees under $100.
Starlink Vs. 5G: Which One Is Better?
Global communication technology and world network on earth
From our above comparison, although both services are fast, 5G bosses Starlink at its peak speeds. There is no winner when it comes to stability and reliability. 5G and Starlink are new to the market and still have a long way to go in this field.
Lastly, 5G is way cheaper than Starlink. Satellite internet is expensive due to the costs of equipment and the launching of satellites.
So, which of the two should you pick? Well, it depends.
Choose 5G internet if:
- You want the cheaper option.
- Don’t use video conferencing that often.
- Want slightly higher speeds?
Satellite internet service is an excellent option if:
- You are located in a remote or rural area.
- You often work from home, video conference, and play online games.
- Don’t mind spending extra for added convenience.
While both 5G and Starlink differ in many things, there’s one common ground – both services are equally complementary and competitive. The two use incredible technologies to improve the internet space. But this doesn’t come without pros and cons.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is 5G more reliable than satellite?
Both satellite and 5G internet are not highly reliable since they’re both new to the market. But this isn’t to say that they don’t function properly. You should have minimal internet issues when using them.
Is 5G home internet available in remote areas?
5G coverage is primarily available in urban areas. It lacks the infrastructure and technology to penetrate remote places. At the moment, satellite internet is the best option for rural towns.
What is the difference between 4G and 5G?
For starters, 5G is incredibly faster than 4G. 5G has speeds of up to 1 Gbps, while 4G has speeds of 100 Mbps. 5G also has lower latency ranges (less than 5 ms) than 4G (60-98 ms). 4G has more comprehensive coverage than 5G, but this is due to change in a couple of years.
Is Starlink Faster than 5G?
5G internet is faster than Starlink. Whereas Starlink’s peak download speed is around 200 Mbs, 5G maxes out at 1 Gbps. However, both services are adequately reliable for internet activities such as streaming and gaming.
Both 5G and Starlink are game changers in the internet world. The respective companies are working tirelessly to ensure that we live in a better world with better internet connectivity.
Starlink and 5G will have made extraordinary strides and improved on their weaknesses in another year or two. And again, we’ll come together to compare the two to have a better picture. Until then, go with what suits you best.