New satellite service being tested

NQ Dry Tropics is trialing new satellite internet service Starlink, allowing field staff to take high speed internet to areas with limited or no internet access service. 

Initial tests have been encouraging.

Grazing field officer Angus Hogg tested Starlink from a paddock at a property 30km west of Collinsville, an area with no reception. He was able to video call the Townsville office over high speed internet, with the portable satellite plugged into the back of the car. 

He also successfully made a call, and sent the photos accompanying this post, from an area with no internet service from a property south of Charters Towers. It was also successfully used at a Maps and Apps workshop held in Greenvale where slow internet often causes connectivity issues.

NQ Dry Tropics grazing team will use this technology for mapping in the paddock, to hold field days in remote areas where they haven’t been able to before, and for emergency communications.

The portability of the kit enables staff to move the Starlink satellite dish and router to locations around the region. The hardware kit includes a small satellite dish, wifi router and the necessary cables and power supply.  The dish can stand freely on the ground.

According to Starlink, users can expect to see download speeds between 100 Mb/s and 200 Mb/s and latency as low as 20ms in most locations. NQ Dry Tropics’ initial testing recorded download speeds of more than 200 Mb/s.

Tropical North Queensland Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub (TNQ Drought Hub) purchased the hardware kit. NQ Dry Tropics, a node member of the Drought Hub, will test its reliability and speed at locations across the Burdekin Dry Tropics region.

Starlink is a constellation of low orbit satellites, an offshoot of Elon Musk’s aerospace company SpaceX, which aims to bring internet to people around the world.

NQ Dry Tropics Grazing Field Officer Angus Hogg in the field meeting with Grazing Team Leader Josh Nicholls (inset on phone) using the Starlink device.