[LibreQoS] [Starlink] Starlink cell capacity (was; tarana strikes back)

David Lang david at lang.hm
Tue Sep 26 15:00:27 EDT 2023

On Tue, 26 Sep 2023, Jim Forster wrote:

> This is all true (as much as I understand), Worth noting as well, is that with 
> LEOs if one satellite is maxed out serving a cell, then getting a second 
> satellite to help with that cell mean adding *lots* more satellites. If 
> adjacent cells had very different loads then I guess nearby unloaeded 
> satellites could help out their busy neighbors.  But areas with busy cells 
> close together would mean doubling the number of satellites and therefore 
> platform Capex.  Whereas terrestrial towers can be densified in busy areas.

In 2021 when SpaceX had launched 1800 satellites they said that once all of them 
reached operational altitude they would be able to provide global coverage.

They now have >4k satellites in operation and (if fully approved) are aiming at 
~10x that number eventually. That leaves a lot of additional satellites to 
provide additional coverage for busy cells or smaller cells.

I agree terrestrial towers can be densified more easily in a specific area.

I'm saying that the crossover point where the density favors terrestrial towers 
is significantly denser than the original author was stating. (and as more sats 
are launched, will move further)

There's also the fact that satellite densification covers all areas, where 
terrestrial tower densification only covers that area. So around the already 
dense areas, you will have tower densification happening, pushing out, 
leveraging the nearby wired infrastructure. But you may see a different 
situation in areas where small communities are growing and you have to setup the 
tower and wired infrastructure from scratch.


a village that is a 30 min drive from the next community and doesn't 
have much fiber run to it. As it grows, you can't just put in towers without 
also running tens of miles of fiber to the area, so densification of towers in 
the area is significantly harder than seeing the suburbs of a large city grow 
where fiber is just a couple miles away.

David Lang

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