SpaceX’s Starlink, OneWeb, Amazon Kuiper and many others are sending thousands small satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO) to offer very low latency, high-capacity global broadband coverage. Despite these promises, an in-depth study on the performance of these LEO satellite mega-constellations is still missing. In this project, we (at the University of Surrey, Computer Science Department) work to conduct a user-centralized measurement campaign to assess and evaluate the performance of SpaceX’s Starlink broadband service, and compare it with conventional networks (e.g., cellular and optical fibre).
Starlink’s 1800+ LEO satellites are the largest operating satellite fleet, providing global broadband coverage for US, Canada and part of Europe. Thus, performing a measurement study on Starlink’s service will unveil some insights that can be generalized to other LEO mega-constellations.
If you are a Starlink user or a non-Starlink user who use any type of Internet connection (e.g., fibre, cable, cellular, etc) and you wish to participate, visit our webpage, download the Google Chrome extension from Google Chrome Web Store and install it to your web browser. You are ready now to start measuring your connection performance. Please note that by downloading the Chrome extension, you agree on the terms in this consent form.
The Chrome extension will be responsible for the performance measurement and data collection. The Google Chrome extension will measure performance metrics such as download/upload data rate, latency, jitter and web page load time. By default, the measured data will be stored locally (i.e., at your web browser) and you will be asked if you are willing to share the results. Specifically, there are three different data sharing options:
Do not share my data
Share the measured performance metric as well as the user’s coarse-grained location (e.g., city)
Share the measured performance metric as well as the user’s fine-grained location (e.g., Lat/Long)
Based on what data sharing scheme that you would choose, the web browser extension will reward you by sharing back the average performance metrics for all other participants (i.e., across the globe) or other local participants (i.e., with a specific region/city). During this measurement study, we will not ask you any personally identifiable data (e.g., name, email, etc). Also, any sensitive information collection (e.g., location) will be anonymized and we will ask you if you are willing to share this data for research purposes. Note that you are free not to share any data by not ticking any of the above sharing options.
If you are willing to share the results, the following is the set of data that we will be collecting:
Page Load Time (PLT): It is the latency between when the web page is requested to when the page is fully loaded on the browser.
Webpage URL: The link of the webpage that the participants access.
Timestamp: The time and the date when the participants access that a webpage.
Download speed: It is the average download rate.
Upload speed: It is the average upload rate.
Latency: The average ping round trip time latency between the client browser and the server.
Jitter: The variation of the ping latency and it is calculated as weighted average.
Coarse-grained location information - City and Internet provider name. (This is optional)
Fine-grained location information – Latitude and Longitude. (This is optional).
In each case, we will not be associating these acquired data with any particular individual’s identity. Each participant will be known only by a randomly generated user ID which is not linked to any offline identifier. You will be able to request that your data be removed by clicking on "remove my data" button. Note that, at the end of month 5 (approx. May 2022) of the project, your Web Chrome Extension will be updated automatically, and the updated extension will stop collecting any more data from your browser.
Any stored data will be deleted after the completion of the research project which is anticipated to be within 6 to 8 months.
This is a research project at the University of Surrey supported by the Higher Education Infrastructure Fund (HEIF). A favorable ethical opinion has been gained from the university ethics committee. If you have any further questions, please contact us at email@example.com. Thank you for taking the time to read this information.