Thursday, May 23, 2024

Switched to Starlink

During my recent frustration with the Telstra supplied NBN fixed wireless I ordered Starlink. This morning the box arrived. More compact than I had anticipated.

The "out of box" experience is excellent, I would say it matches Apple's standard.

I put the "dish" (really a small flat panel) on the roof facing south and powered it up.

The app contacted a satellite and then asked me to rotate it 9 degrees. Within minutes it was working and speed is better than any internet I've ever had.

That Speedtest is run on a Wifi connected Mac. The Starlink app's Speedtest is faster but I assume testing at the router rather than what you really get. 

Not bad. I'm amazed at the ping latency given that I'm using a satellite internet service.

There's a small obstruction which I'm hoping to eliminate by moving the panel. It might even be the ladder which is propped up near the antenna.

I've cancelled my Telstra / NBN service who, incidentally, just wrote to increase the price. Starlink is a bit more expensive per month and I had to pay AU$600 for the gear. It's certainly better value per bandwidth and their customer support seems much better. I like the honesty of showing outages proactively. 

If you have a good view of the sky it's worth considering.

An outage!

On 29-May it looked like a software update was being pushed out but later, reading the Reddit Starlink forum revealed a global outage of up to 20 minutes for some people.

The honesty about outages, even ones I don't notice, is refreshing after the secrecy of Telstra and NBN.

Things are back to normal and download speed is amazing at times:

I read that outages like this one are rare.

Wind resistance

It's been quite windy recently and I was concerned that the little "dish" would move out of alignment or even get blown off the roof. So far, no movement as shown in the alignment tool in the app.

The alignment tool is excellent. I didn't realise at first that it is a live view so when I'm up on the roof I can push the dish around and see it move in the app in real time. Wind hasn't been a problem so far but as a slight help I've added a house brick.

Mesh router

Although I have ethernet between the sheds here I have had a little trouble with the link not coming up at 1Gbps so I ordered a Starlink mesh router. Very simple setup and seems to work well. Interestingly these mesh routers are well prepared for water resistance. I guess people mount them outside.

I do miss the control over my network that is in the GL.inet routers I was using - things like assigning static IP addresses. I tried putting the Starlink router into bypass mode but for some reason my router didn't get an IP address so I've put that project aside for the time being. I really hope Starlink ads some more advanced features to their router in the future.

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