Steve could be anywhere – in the heart of the wilderness (or at festival in Oxfordshire), where the soothing sounds of nature (and folk bands) reign supreme – and his passion for the world of IT still knows no bounds. His insatiable curiosity and unyielding dedication led him to experiment with a Starlink internet-connectivity kit during his recent camping excursion. For Steve, the allure of technology is a flame that burns brightly even amidst the crackling campfires of the great outdoors. Read on…
“So, I have just returned from four days sitting in a field at a Folk Festival called Fairports Cropredy Convention near Banbury. I have been coming to this Festival for over 10+ years, with a few breaks in between (baby arrival, Covid pandemic, etc)
This year I decided to take along one of our Starlink kits to see and confirm how easy it is to get reliable high-speed connectivity in the middle of a field!
To give some background on the location and event, Cropredy is a small village located in the Oxfordshire countryside and once a year it hosts a Folk Festival with over 20,000 people attending. This number doesn’t include the numerous support crews for front and backstage, the bands and all the various vendors and the numerous devices they bring!
As you can imagine this sudden influx of people and devices puts a real demand on the local 3G/4G cell sites as the local population grows from around 800 to 20,000+ within 24hrs. I am unsure if any of the (mobile) networks put in additional capacity as they may do for certain events but my experience suggests they didn’t.
Typically, 3G/4G service during the day was at a crawl and/or was completely unusable as the field was full. In the evening or overnight when usage was lower, the service was a little more responsive.
I spotted various vendors having issues taking card payments and having to apologise for the length of time it took to authorise the payment as the queue grew behind the customer. Some vendors put notices up asking for cash just because taking card payments was slow.
This year was the first time I noticed a few Starlink dishes around the festival ground. The noticeable difference was that the event control had a Starlink Business dish (easy to spot as they are wider than the standard dish) and then a few point-to-point antennas to main areas such as the Bar and Ticket areas to enable fast Internet access for card payments and last-minute ticket purchases.
There were various vendors that had also taken advantage of Starlink and strategically placed a dish behind their stand giving them fast reliable connectivity including the mobile ATM trailer.
The arrival of Starlink in the last few years has given a truly affordable option for getting reliable high-speed connectivity pretty much anywhere!
Like with any gadget I like to understand how it works and how it can solve a problem. In this instance did I really need high-speed connectivity in a campsite for 4 days? Probably not, but it did allow my friend to keep in touch with his 1-year-old baby boy and fiancée and for my wife to have a FaceTime call with her father in the USA who was in hospital with a suspected heart attack. It also allowed me to take part in my weekly peer group call with over 20+ participants on the Thursday morning via Zoom (whilst holding a tankard of real Ale!)
In previous years that would have been near on impossible due to the load on the local 3G/4G network in the area.
Starlink is a fantastic product and something we have installed in permanent locations that can only get 1-2Mbps fixed line Internet and also for temporary locations that are only around for 4-5 days or so.
With the increasing demand for real-time reliable connectivity for taking orders, taking payments and other tasks, you no longer have to be like the ice cream van mentioned above and just accept that payments may not work or accept really slow connectivity.”
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