SpaceX Starlink Satellite Dish Internet Review

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In this first video, I’m excited to get my new Starlink satellite internet dish set up on the roof of our RV and check out some of the amazing speeds! IMPORTANT – Currently, this isn’t a good option for RVers who travel. If you can get it, and that’s an if as it’s only available in certain geographic regions and mostly aimed at rural areas, it’s geofenced to one specific address or location.  Also, currently, they only have a fraction of the planned number of satellites launched, so any obstruction in the sky like trees can dramatically affect it.

I have no relationship with SpaceX or Starlink. I paid the regular price a total of 799 Canadian dollars to buy the hardware and have it shipped, and the monthly cost of the service is CAD 129. USD cost is $499 plus tax and shipping and $99 a month. 

Starlink Internet Unbox, Setup, and Test Video

Starlink Dish Internet Power Consumption Test Video

In this second video, I test out the power consumption used in watts over the course of 5 hours for my new Starlink Satellite Internet Dish and Router. Then I convert it into amp hours at 12VDC so you can get an idea of its off-grid RV power draw.

At this time it’s only guaranteed to work at the address you put down when ordering. We plan to stay put here until at least September so was worth it to me to try out the service and review the product. I asked support about using it when we travel and this is what they told me

Hey Ray! Thank you for your reply! At this time Starlink is intended for use only at the service address provided on Starlink beta sign-up. Unfortunately we cannot accommodate Starlink service while traveling or away from your service area, but we do understand that that is a heavily requested feature from customers. We are working to provide this option in the near future, but for now we can only offer service at the intended location. As Starlink continues to launch satellites and the network reaches full saturation the ability to install and use your Starlink on an RV will likely become possible!
I also found this statement from Starlink on a Ask Us Anything Reddit Q&A thread:
Right now, we can only deliver service at the address you sign up with on starlink.com You might get lucky if you try to use Starlink in nearby locations, but service quality may be worse.
Mobility options – including moving your Starlink to different service addresses (or places that don’t even have addresses!) – is coming once we are able to increase our coverage by launching more satellites & rolling out new software.

Starlink Internet One Month Update + Distance From Service Address Test

In this third video, I update you on our experience with the Starlink Satellite Internet service after using it for one month. I also take the dish and test it in a few nearby locations to see how far from our service address it will actually work. I got my first bill the other day. They gave me the first month after the shipping date for free. Now I’m billed $129 plus GST and PST for a total of $144.48, currently about $115 US.

Weather

  • Handles wind, rain, and cloud very well, barely notice a difference. Tested at sustained winds of 60 KPH (40 MPH) with gusts of 90 KPH (55 MPH)
  • Heavy wet snow wiped out reception for about 20 minutes until the dish powered up and melted it away.

Speeds

  • Consistent speeds of 50-150 Mbps up and 15-25 Mbps down
  • The last few days after an automatic firmware, I noticed max download speeds increased into the low 300 Mbps range!
  • I recently experienced a few days of lower rates and downtime, as much as 1/2 hour – 2 hours in a day. During that time, there was a message on my account page and in the Starlink app that stated, ” Your area is currently experiencing intermittent service. Our team is investigating”.
  • Over the last month, I’ve only had 3-4 times that video on services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime or Youtube has buffered with spinning wheels. Much better than our previous so-called premium WIFI service from the campground. Netflix shows generally load instantly.
  • Complex websites don’t load particularly fast as many are making a lot of web server calls and small downloads per page, so the speed isn’t as important as latency. I find the Starlink latency is usually around 20-40 ms, just OK, so initial page loads of sites like Facebook aren’t that super snappy but acceptable. Still lightyears better than the old satellite internet.
  • So far, my streaming video upload tests have been good, with no problem uploading HD quality streams to YouTube. But obstruction glitches and beta downtime could be an issue for video conferencing like Zoom or Skype.

Of Interest to RVers

  • Rumors are Starlink will come out with a mobile offering or let a person move to new locations and update location via a web interface. It appears this is hinging on Starlink getting many more satellites launched to get more coverage over all areas of the country.
  • Currently, it needs a relatively clear view of the sky to work as it is tracking moving satellites, a significant negative for RVers. That may improve as more and more satellites are placed in orbit.
  • My power tests show Starlink’s average drain is 100 watts, so if it runs 24/7, that eats up 2400 Watt-Hours which is equivalent to roughly two fully charged 100 amp-hour lithium batteries or four lead-acid batteries.
  • The dish and router can be shut down and turned on with no harm to save power.
  • The Starlink router range covers the whole RV and nearby outside but is pretty basic and has no admin screen. Some people use third-party routers with success, but I haven’t needed to do so.

Starlink Update & Heads Up to Fellow Canadian Snowbirds (May 1/2021)

In this video, I give you an update on how the Starlink internet has performed over the last month or so. I also give my fellow Canadians a warning about not being able to currently travel to the USA and use your Canadian Starlink Dish.

Camping Test – 22 Miles from Registered Address

In this update video, we take the Starlink Dishy 22 miles from its registered address to a treed campsite and see how it performs. I also describe an intermittent problem with the dish losing power due to a bent ethernet socket pin.

Starlink Satellite Internet – 6 Month Update

Forest Camping Tests + First Location Changes

This video gives you some real-world feedback on my experience camping in forested campsites with Starlink. Also, so far, we have moved the dish address location three times, and each time it worked. Of course, though, your mileage may vary. The connectivity results varied depending on the density of the tree canopy, but overall it performed better than I would have imagined.

Related Links:

SpaceX Starlink Satellite Dish Internet Review Videos

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