Starlink Satellite Internet
If you follow Elon Mush or TESLA Motors, you have probably heard about Starlink Internet from SPACEX.
Starlink is a new technology that is provided by Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites. There are thousands of the LEO satellites already in place, and these form a "constellation" that provides internet at speeds and latency that are similar to DSL or cable. The constellation consists of thousands of satellites working in combination with ground transceivers. They are not in a fixed position, but orbit around the earth, and the motorized dish follows their path from west to east. You can actually see the constellation with a pair of binoculars.
Here in Minnesota we are fortunate to be part of Starlink's "Better than nothing" beta test of the product. SpaceX needs to launch 20,000 more satellites over the course of 2021 for it to be able to support a massive amount of users. SpaceX long term plan is to cover the entire earth, and offer speeds of up to 10 Gig per second. They are hoping to have this done by the end of 2022.
Starlink Internet Speeds
We have installed Starlink in the Minneapolis area, and speeds have been excellent. The range of speeds was the only concern, as it was anywhere between 40mpbs and 230mpbs, depending on the time of day. But as more satellites are put into orbit, the speed will get more consistent.
The big advantage that Starlink has over traditional satellite internet (VIASAT or HughesNet) is latency. Latency for traditional satellite
Latency measures the time the request is sent to the servers and the time it takes to get back and load in your web brower. Lower is better (see chart).
Starlink latency has been averaging between 10 and 40ms. This is very similar to DSL or a slower cable connection. SpaceX has been receiving 9ms or lower latency in some of their new test sites in 2021.
How do I get Starlink Internet?
The button on the top of the page will take you to the Starlink homepage. Once there, you can sign up to be on the wait list to be part of the beta. Some customers are approved very quickly, but sometimes it takes over a month to be approved, so you have to be patient.
Installing Starlink in Minnesota
Starlink is being sold by SPACEX as a self install kit. The basic kit costs $600, and you can add items such as a roof peak mount that doesn't penetrate your shingles or a "Volcano mount" that is similar to a dish tv mount, but much shorter. If you would like it professionally installed and grounded you would need to contact a local satellite installer, such as Satellite Pros.
Things to consider when using the Self Install Kit.
Satellite Pros - Starlink Installs
A professional Starlink install from Satellite Pros. We repurpose a DISH mount to get it up and away from the snow on the roof.
The DISH mount also uses bigger, strong lag bolts than the Volcano mount, so it is more secure.
The cable has the proper "drip loop" and the mount is perfectly level to the ground.
We properly ground your Starlink to a grounding block, and then to your homes main ground.
Sign up for the Starlink Beta program here.
Starlink's tripod install vs Minnesota's reality.
Designed and built in California, the "tripod the ground" install just isn't feasible in most locations in Minnesota.