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Study compares the four largest internet meganetworks

MIT researchers assess the data capacity of proposed satellite mega-networks from SpaceX (top left), OneWeb (top right), Telesat (bottom left), and Amazon (bottom right). Shown here are the satellite configurations of each network as specified in their filings. Credit: Massachusetts Institute of Technology

In recent months, people have reported seeing a parade of star-like points passing across the night sky. The formation is not extraterrestrial, or even astrophysical in origin, but is in fact a line of satellites, recently launched by SpaceX, that will eventually be joined by many more to form Starlink, a "megaconstellation" that will wrap around the Earth as a global network designed to beam high-speed internet to users anywhere in the world.

Starlink is among a handful of global satellite networks currently in development (though not without controversy, due to effects on our view of the night sky). Each is designed to deploy thousands of satellites ...

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