Pigeons confuse satellite dishes for bird baths, causing an outage for Elon Musk’s Starlink in the United Kingdom.
Fans of Elon Musk’s Starlink satellite-based internet service are due for a rude awakening, as “pesky pigeons” are suspected of causing Internet disruptions for some users.
Professor Alan Woodward, a cyber-security expert at the University of Surrey, revealed the strange situation this week. Starlink, which is on the verge of providing global Internet service, links to the web through ground-based satellite dishes that connect to a network of low-Earth orbit satellites (LEO). And, thanks to pigeons looking for a fast wash, the dishes you put on your rooftop or balcony may provide an issue for future customers.
Unlike the large, vertically installed satellite dishes associated with services like Sky or Freesat TV, Elon Musk’s satellites are small and point upwards.
The satellite dishes communicate with Starlink’s LEO constellation, which flies over 340 miles above the earth’s surface (550km).
These concave, fruit bowl-like dishes may look to be bird baths to a pigeon’s vision, which could cause connectivity concerns.
Professor Woodward, who just had a Starlink satellite installed on his home, has complained about numerous service interruptions.
And, while he hasn’t figured out why his Internet connection is always being disrupted, he believes “pesky pigeons” are to blame.
“It’s actually been very good,” he told the BBC, “but I saw a series of outages — some a second, some a minute.”
Heavy rain, wind, and snow, according to SpaceX, can all slow down Starlink’s Internet speeds.
The business suggests placing the satellite dishes “in a location where snow and other barriers will not restrict the field of vision.”
What about pigeons, though? By perching on the edge of a satellite dish, may they obstruct the Internet signal?
@elonmusk has access to a lot of smart individuals – It’s almost magical that this works at all, and it’s even more fascinating that it works so effectively from a LEO satellite. Just have to get rid of the birds that are obstructing the signal 🙂 pic.twitter.com/p9Gf6QJAfU
Pigeons have been known to damage TV signals and generally prove to be a winged threat, according to several Internet forums.
“This generally goes on in warm weather because the dish is stuck out of the way in a sheltered.”Brinkwire Summary News,” according to one post on the Digital Spy forum.