What Is Starlink?
Starlink is the latest in satellite internet technology, from the serial entrepreneur, Elon Musk.
Starlink has recently been in the news due to the service being released in Ukraine early, at the request of Ukrainian leadership in a tweet to Elon Musk, requesting help after the Russian invasion destroyed much of the ground based Ukrainian internet services. Read about it HERE.
In basic terms, Starlink uses long range WiFi to send signals from multiple ground stations up to Low Earth Orbit Satellites, which form a mesh connection between them and simultaneously send that WiFi signal down to Starlink dishes of it’s growing user base.
How Fast Is Starlink?
You can expect speeds of up to 250mbps download and 50mbps upload, but in our experience, this is variable, but we haven’t seen it drop below 50mbps download or 5mbps upload.
In simple terms, Starlink should be fast enough for you to stream HD or 4K video and make and receive calls over the internet.
Is Starlink Available in the UK?
Yes! You can get Starlink in the UK.
Head to www.starlink.com and enter your service address to check. It is important to note that you can’t use your UK postcode as your service address, you need a Plus Code.
To find your plus code head to https://plus.codes/map and click on the location you want to have Starlink, you will be given your code at the bottom of the screen, which can be entered into the Starlink website to check if your area is covered.
Are There Any Drawbacks?
There are some people who may be concerned that satellite internet isn’t very good and that the latency (the lag) is too high.
Latency is the time it takes for one packet of data to leave from you to another server and back again, it’s measured in milliseconds, so the longer that time, the more likely it is that you will experience a delay, this is most noticeable when making calls over the internet, or gaming (parents of gamers out there will know the screams about a rubbish ping, this is what they are talking about).
The ping, or latency speed of older satellite internet solutions was terrible, this was due to them being a long way above earth, which meant that they only needed a few of them to cover the globe. These solutions were very expensive and really a last resort solution.
Starlink has solved this problem by using Low Earth Orbit Satellites. That means the distance is greatly reduced and the latency reduces as a result, with it being comparable to 4G latency speeds and expected to improve as more satellites and ground stations are added to the network.
Is Starlink Easy to Set Up?
Depending on your situation, Starlink can be very easy to set up. In some cases all you need is the included stand, set it on the ground at the registered address and switch it on, connect to the WiFi and away you go.
You will need to download and use the Starlink App to determine whether where you are putting the dish is suitable. It uses your device camera to scan an area that the Starlink Dish will be looking at and determine whether there will be significant obstructions that may cause interruptions to your service. See the video below showing how this works.
In most cases there will be some sort of installation work to be undertaken, in which case you may wish to employ a professional installer.
There are some great ways to install Starlink. Below are some photos from our latest install at a Dartmoor property, where we used the Pole Mount Adapter (not included as standard) to mount the Starlink Dish on a cranked antenna pole on the side of the building. We then ran the cable back across the front of the building discretely and entered the roof space through an existing hole to the Starlink Router.
Once we had this up and running and tested, we then used the Starlink Ethernet Adapter (not included as standard) to connect into the existing mesh WiFi solution we had installed previously, running throughout the property. The result was super-fast broadband from the stars through the entire property. A great result and a great saving compared to a leased line and the added installation costs that would have incurred.
How Much Does Starlink Cost?
As of writing this the associated costs are as follows:
- Hardware (Dish and Router only) – £529.00
- Shipping – £50.00
- Service – £89.00/month
You may need to order additional items from Starlink, such as the Ethernet Adapter (ethernet was dropped from the beta version in favour of having to buy it as an add-on), or additional cable from router to dish, or mounting adapters, depending on where you intent to place the Starlink. All these are available from within your Starlink account once it is active.
Also at the time of writing this, you are not tied into the service for any amount of time, it is a monthly rolling subscription and you are free to cancel at any time from within the Starlink App.