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  • My Experience with Starlink: A Glimpse of Hope for Zimbabwe's Internet Woes

    My Experience with Starlink: A Glimpse of Hope for Zimbabwe's Internet Woes
  • Washington Mkombodzi
  • Staff Writer
  • Posted Nov 16, 2023
  • As a developer and tech blogger based in Zimbabwe, where slow speeds and unreliable internet have become the norm, I recently had the opportunity to try out Starlink in Mozambique, one of the most highly anticipated technologies in the country. Despite its license not yet being approved in Zimbabwe, I was eager to see if Starlink could live up to the hype surrounding its fast speeds and accessibility.

    The setup process for Starlink was surprisingly straightforward. The package arrived in a box containing three main items: the satellite receiver, Wi-Fi router, and the necessary network and power cables. However, I was disappointed to discover that the network cable provided was not the standard LAN cable commonly used for networking. This meant that I couldn't easily connect the Starlink router to other devices using a wired connection. Additionally, I noticed that the Starlink router lacked LAN network ports, limiting the number of devices I could connect directly to it through Ethernet cables.

    Despite these limitations, I proceeded to test Starlink's performance. The download speeds were indeed impressive, with peak rates reaching up to 100 megabits per second (Mbps), equivalent to a remarkable 10 megabytes per second (MB/s). To put it into perspective, I was able to download a hefty 1 gigabyte of data in less than two minutes. This level of performance truly highlights why people in Zimbabwe are eagerly awaiting the arrival of Starlink, as it offers a glimmer of hope for those who have long suffered from sluggish internet speeds. 

    However, it's important to note that while Starlink excelled in terms of download speeds, its upload speeds presented some challenges. While I still managed to achieve upload speeds of around 30 Mbps (or roughly 3 MB/s), they were far from stable. There were noticeable fluctuations, which could potentially hinder activities such as live video streaming. This drawback may disappoint some users who were hoping for a more reliable solution for uploading content, especially in the growing online streaming and content creation industries in Zimbabwe.

    Furthermore, during my usage of Starlink, I encountered occasional service interruptions and network downtime. These disruptions, although infrequent, remind us that even promising technologies like Starlink are not immune to occasional connectivity issues. It is important to consider such factors when assessing the overall reliability of the service.

    While Starlink has its limitations and drawbacks, it undeniably offers the potential to revolutionize internet access in Zimbabwe. Its fast and reliable download speeds provide hope for individuals and businesses struggling with limited connectivity options and unreliable service providers. Despite the disappointment regarding the non-standard network cable and absence of LAN ports on the router, Starlink's performance is still a significant step forward in bridging the digital divide in Zimbabwe.

    As I reflect on my experience with Starlink, I remain cautiously optimistic about the future of internet connectivity in Zimbabwe. Though it may take time for Starlink to gain official approval and widespread availability, its potential to provide a more reliable and faster internet experience is evident. The shortcomings should be acknowledged, but they do not overshadow the promise that Starlink holds in transforming the digital landscape of Zimbabwe.

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