Starlink and Cox Communications are both Internet providers servicing customers in the United States, but the two companies couldn’t be more different. They use different models, pricing schemes, and even technology. Today, we are going to take a look at both of these Internet providers to find out what makes them different. Additionally, we will tell you which one is right for you. Let’s get started.
Starlink vs. Cox: Side by Side Comparison
|Primary purpose||Satellite Internet services for people in rural areas||Digital cable television, telecommunication, and home automation services|
|Data delivery methods||Extremely low-orbit satellites||Cable and fiber optic Internet services|
|Special equipment||Extensive set-up kit, including a satellite receiver and router base||Standard wifi equipment (router and modem)|
|Standard pricing||$110 a month with a one-time equipment fee of $599||$49.99-$99.99 a month, depending on the plan|
Starlink vs. Cox: What’s the Difference?
One of the biggest differences between Starlink and Cox is their potential market. Although both ISP (Internet service providers) offer high-speed Internet, they aren’t marketed or intended for the same people. Starlink‘s ultimate goal is to provide Internet to rural users internationally. Using a satellite network, people can tap into the Internet regardless of the infrastructure and development in their area.
Cox also provides high-speed Internet, but its services are primarily intended for residential and commercial users. People who live in towns, cities, and metropolitan areas with existing infrastructure are the primary users of Cox’s Internet services. Usually, the places that Starlink services don’t have any existing companies digging lines in the area, whereas Cox does.
Data delivery refers to how an Internet connection is provided to the user. Both companies have the same end result (high-speed Internet), but the method of data delivery is different.
Starlink is a subsidiary of SpaceX, an aerospace company. Using new technology, Starlink provides Internet through closely orbiting satellites that are distributed across the sky. While older satellite companies used high-orbiting satellites with low speeds and high latency (high ping), Starlink has many more satellites that are significantly closer.
As of September 2022, the company has launched over 3,000 satellites. Compared to traditional satellite Internet companies (Hughesnet or Viasat), Starlink is up to 10 times faster, more stable, and has a much lower latency.
Cox uses traditional methods of delivering Internet services, usually through the digging of cable lines. In most homes today, there are two methods of data delivery: coaxial cables and fiber optic lines. Both of these data delivery methods require existing infrastructure and extensive construction. Usually, these lines are placed under roads and dug individually to residences.
Speed and reliability
Starlink is unique in its standing as a satellite Internet provider. Historically, satellite Internet was painfully slow, had a massive lag, and was incredibly unstable. With the network of low-flying satellites, most of those problems have disappeared. In ideal circumstances, Starlink can reach speeds of 150-200 Mbps with a ping of less than 200 ms.
Additionally, the lower satellites are usually more stable, resulting in fewer dead zones and greater stability. Still, satellite Internet isn’t as fast or stable as most residential cable connections are.
Cox uses cable lines to provide an Internet connection, making it generally faster and more stable than Starlink. The highest speeds available for most Cox users are around 1 Gbps, or 1,000 Mbps. Additionally, ping is often lower than 25 ms in most situations. Also, the wired nature of the data delivery is inherently more stable, as potential obstructions aren’t a problem like they are for satellite dishes.
Starlink requires a custom equipment package in order to be operational. This package is available for a one-time fee of $599 and is known as the Starlink Kit. The Starlink Kit includes the satellite dish, a base unit, 75 feet of ethernet cable, and an indoor wifi router. The satellite dish sends and receives data to the low-flying satellites in space, while the base unit and router translate and allow access to the data.
In most residential situations, no extra equipment is needed for Cox’s Internet connections. In some instances, a modem and router are required if the home doesn’t already have one. This equipment is either provided for free or leased to the user. If a user upgrades from coaxial cables to fiber optic Internet, a line is usually dug from the street and has a slight cost (usually around $50). Apart from that, equipment isn’t typically necessary.
Part of what makes Starlink so successful is its pricing. There is a one-time equipment fee of $599 and a monthly subscription fee of $110. For the solid speeds and national availability, this price is extremely competitive with slower, less stable satellite Internet providers. Still, it’s more expensive than almost any cable-based ISP, like Cox.
Cox offers different packages for different data delivery speeds. These prices can vary but usually range from $49.99-$99.99 a month. The fastest speed available from Cox is their Gigablast plan for $99.99 which provides 1 Gbps. Fiber optic Internet is faster, more stable, and usually cheaper than Starlink.
Starlink vs. Cox: 6 Must-Know Facts
- Starlink uses a network of low-orbiting satellites to provide the Internet.
- Starlink’s service isn’t available everywhere yet.
- Starlink is faster and more stable than other satellite Internet providers.
- Starlink is ideal for rural regions of the country.
- Cox operates in 14 states.
- Cox offers tiered packages with different prices, and can be bundled with phone or television services for a cheaper overall price.
Starlink vs. Cox: Which One is Best?
Usually, deciding between different ISPs can be tough. Thankfully, the difference between these two companies makes deciding between them pretty easy. Even more importantly, Starlink and Cox aren’t really competitors since they provide Internet to different people.
Go with Starlink if…
You need internet but don’t have an ISP near you. If you live in a rural place or out of a traveling van, getting an Internet connection can be tough. Starlink provides a high-speed alternative that allows you to have Internet, no matter your location. What’s more, Starlink is faster, cheaper, and more reliable than any other satellite Internet provider out there right now.
Go with Cox if…
You live in a home that already has traditional access to the Internet. Buried cables allow for faster speeds, lower ping, and usually cheaper prices. The one caveat is if you live in a region that only offers speeds of up to 50 Mbps. In that case, Starlink is a better option for you.
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