STARLINK internet- a game changerJanuary 07, 2023
If you’ve looked up on a beautiful starry night at any point, you may have seen some unexpected new additions to the vista. No, I’m not talking about UFOs. Instead, thousands of new low Earth orbit satellites that form part of SpaceX’s Starlink project are moving around in a train-like pattern.
Starlink is a satellite constellation project that will place thousands of small satellites in low Earth orbit (LEO), 550 kilometres above us. The array will beam internet signals from the satellites down to ground transceivers, which broadcast locally or wire directly to your Starlink router.
Starlink is not the same as a cellphone signal or 5G. Instead, it allows a home or remote location to connect to the internet via satellite.
As of now, more than 3,000 Starlink satellites are orbiting the planet. In future, SpaceX plans to deploy at least 12,000 satellites, with plans for up to 30,000 to ensure global internet coverage via Starlink (some figures put the total as high as 42,000).
train of Starlink Satellites
“The night is even more richly colored than the day. . . . If only one pays attention to it, one sees that certain stars are citron yellow, while others have a pink glow or a green, blue and forget-me-not brilliance. And without my expiating on this theme, it should be clear that putting little white dots on a blue-black surface is not enough.”
– Vincent van Gogh, Painter
Satellite internet works similarly to cable internet, except there are a few more moving parts (literally!).
Here is how it works:
1. Your data request passes from your computer or any other device to the router and onto the satellite internet dish attached to your RV/vehicle.
2. The satellite internet dish broadcasts the data request to a satellite orbiting the Earth. In turn, the satellite sends the request to the Internet Service Provider.
3. Sending your data back reverses the process, transmitting data from the provider to the satellite, then the satellite to the satellite internet dish, down to your router, and onto your computer.
That is basically how satellite internet works.
Last but not least you need a big open sky for the satellite dish to find its targets.
Our satellite dish lovingly called ” Elon” pointing to the sky
Having fast, reliable internet anywhere and not relying on cell coverage or wifi has been a challenge for us since we started our journey on the road.
Internet in the desert
Internet at the beach
In November 2022, we took the plunge and purchased Starlink. The hardware costs $599, shipping of $75 and $135 per month of service makes it pretty pricey to start. Thank goodness Starlink had a special promotion of one month free. So we ordered the RV version, which is portable, and you can interrupt service anytime without paying connection and disconnection fees. And less than ten days later, Starlink arrived in a compact, pretty box. So we drove out to the desert, camping without internet or cellphone service. We unpacked and installed the system at our site in less than 5 minutes. The internet speeds are impressive, reaching over 100mbps. The amount of devices on our network hasn’t seemed to affect the speed. The bad part is that if there is any sky interference will cause drops. While these drops aren’t long, they can be a nuisance. Also, If there are not many satellites in your area, drops may happen even with clear skies (we experienced this in Baja). Overall, with the easy setup and the fantastic internet speed in places outside cell coverage, the good outweighs the bad.
Now the question is; Should you get Starlink for your road adventure? We couldn’t be happier with our purchase of Starlink. It will be a total game changer for our work, connecting with friends and family and streaming movies while we travel to our favourite locations. For around US$135.00 a month ( I know this is pricy), we will have unlimited high-speed internet everywhere we go (even Baja, which we are super excited about!); we would recommend it for anyone that needs strong, fast internet and enjoys travelling to remote locations.