Seasoned event organisers are probably familiar with the Starlink brand. In the last 12 months its burst onto the scene as a huge player in the event industry as a means of obtaining a reliable internet connection in the middle of nowhere.
Our team have been installing Starlink Satellites at events across the UK for years, helping improve the connectivity and WiFi in greenfield locations and festivals.
What is a Starlink
Starlink is a satellite internet solution developed by Elon Musk’s SpaceX. Using something called Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, it provides fast internet connectivity without reliance on any other internet connection (such as 4G or fibre).
The Starlink dish (nicknamed Dishy) above sends data to satellites orbiting the earth, which reflect the data back down to a nearby basestation. This all happens in fractions of a second!
Traditional satellite internet is slow and unreliable. With low speeds and high latency (the time it takes for information to travel from your device to the internet), the experience of using these legacy solutions wasn’t great.
However, Starlink uses satellites that are physically closer to the surface of the planet, which dramatically reduces the latency of the connection, as well as offering substantial speed improvement.
How Starlink is Helping Events & Festivals
With high speeds and low latency, it’s no surprise that Starlink is a big player in the UK event industry.
Many events are held in rural locations with little to no cellular connectivity (such as 4G or 5G). This makes it difficult for vendors to take card payments, for marketing teams to post on social media and for staff to communicate with one another. Even events in locations with good mobile signal struggle with high volumes of people on site—and this is where a Starlink comes into play.
By setting up a Starlink satellite (or multiple), your event will have access to fast and stable internet connectivity anywhere in the country.
Providing WiFi to Events Using Starlink
There is a big difference between internet and WiFi. While Starlink will provide you with good internet at your event, distributing that internet in the form of WiFi can be tricky. That’s where we come in.
Our team install specialised, stadium-grade equipment to distribute to the internet to the areas of the site that need it—creating a site-wide mesh WiFi network across your event.
Our equipment can broadcast multiple WiFi networks (such as a vendors/staff/production network) to these key areas. Each of the WiFi points are linked back to the Starlink via point to point or wired connections, and help to distribute the speed all across the site.
Other things to consider when looking into satellite internet at your event is the bandwidth. In our experience, Starlink bandwidth is usually between 150-200mbps download, but don’t forget this is shared between all the devices and users on your WiFi network. If you have 200 connections, then you’re sharing that 150mbps between 200 devices.
When we deploy WiFi networks, our event clients often require a 2mbps limit per device. This allows the bandwidth to be shared more equally, and prevents users from bandwidth hogging—giving everyone their fair share.
Hiring Starlink for your Event
Anyone in the event industry knows that purchasing equipment is not the most cost effective option. Many companies (including us) hire satellites to events across the UK.
As we mentioned, some events also require more equipment to distribute the satellite connectivity to the key areas of the event site such as bars, vendors and production/staff areas. In these instances, the satellite connection is used as the ‘backhaul’ internet connection.
If you’re considering renting a Starlink for your event, here are some things to consider:
- Where do I need WiFi at my event? Getting the satellite is the easy bit, distributing the WiFi to the areas across the event is more tricky!
- How many users are going to be connected? For large volumes, you may need two (or even three/four) Starlinks to load balance users.
- When do I need the connection? Many of our customers require connectivity during the build phase of the event, and some even before that.
- What networks will I need? Do you have vendors/bars/staff? What about ticket gates etc. Sometimes our clients like to split these out into their own networks which allows better network management and control.
Starlinks are a fantastic product—offering unrivalled speed to consumers and businesses across the UK with no fixed or cellular connectivity. They’re one of the best internet connectivity backhauls for any event. For more information about Starlink Satellites or event WiFi, get in touch with our team for a free, no-obligations chat about what is best for you.