25 Jun 2024

6G researchers evaluates Starlink’s performance in rural Finland

6G Starlink

A recent study led by the 6G Flagship programme at the University of Oulu set out to gauge the effectiveness of Starlink’s satellite internet service in Finland’s rural and remote areas.

Covering a geographical stretch from Oulu to Suomussalmi on the eastern border, the team aimed to determine whether Starlink could provide reliable internet connectivity in typical Finnish cottages.

For the study, the team chose a mix of locations, from open fields to wooded areas. The selected wooded areas were not densely forested, and the trees were relatively small.

“Starlink performed well in most test locations, delivering downlink data rates exceeding 100 Mbps. However, the rates dipped to around 65 Mbps in more wooded settings. Uplink speeds ranged between 15 and 40 Mbps. Connection times were also reasonable, varying from under 10 minutes to a maximum of 15 minutes. This is an important consideration given Starlink’s relatively sparse satellite coverage over Finland”, says university researcher Harri Saarnisaari.

The study encountered a limitation near the Russian border, where the connection failed. This occurred because Starlink does not serve Russian territory, and the beams intended for this area also cover parts of Finland, causing the service to be unavailable.

“Overall, our study suggests that Starlink could serve as a reliable internet option for Finland’s rural and remote regions, with some caveats. While the service offers robust data rates, these can be affected by environmental factors like forest density. Additionally, the time needed to establish a connection remains within acceptable parameters, even with lower satellite coverage”, clarifies project manager Timo Bräysy.