If you live in an area without reliable internet and your only options are DSL, HughesNet, Viasat, or Starlink, then Starlink is the best choice.
However, there are situations when you should avoid purchasing Starlink.
This article explains eight reasons and the disadvantages of why you should avoid Starlink.
You shouldn’t buy Starlink internet because it has a high equipment cost, doesn’t work around obstructions, consumes a lot of power, has a higher monthly subscription fee, the speed slows down significantly during peak hours, and its service degrades in poor weather.
Higher Power Consumption and Costs
Power consumption of the Starlink dish and router is a huge issue. Each month you will spend up to $30 on electricity costs to use the Starlink (depending on region). It’s a considerable expense.
The first generation Starlink dish consumes 140W power on average. On a rainy or snowy day, average power consumption spikes to 180W.
If you keep the first generation Starlink on for 24 hours, 7 days a week, the total electricity consumption would be 140W x 24 (hours) = 3.36 kWh per day. If you pay $0.30 / kW, then the total monthly electricity cost to use Starlink is 3.36 kWh x 30 (day) x $0.30 = $30.24.
The second-generation Starlink dish, however, consumes less energy. On average, it takes 45W, and on a cold, rainy, or snow day, it consumes up to 85W power.
Therefore, if you use the second generation Starlink dish, your monthly electricity bill would be 45 W x 24 (hour) = 1.08 kW (per day) x 30 (day) x $0.30 = $9.72. However, this cost would double (around $18) during winter when the dish would consume 85W electricity on average.
Power consumption could be a severe issue if you plan to use Starlink on camping trips.
Most campgrounds are not electric. We rely on solar or generator power. Even the second-generation Starlink dish consumes significant electrical energy that is high for an RV. Thus, we can’t use it for 24 hours while camping or on a boating trip.
Many HOA will ask you to paint the Starlink Dish. In some areas, you must bury the cable to protect it from animal bites or lawn mowers. This article discusses 6 important things about the Starlink dish, router, and cable.
Doesn’t Work in Bad Weather
Weather doesn’t affect cable and cellular internet. However, Starlink internet gets seriously affected by rain, moisture, lightning storms, and snow.
During heavy rain, snow, and lightning storms, Starlink will lose satellite signal, your internet ping time will increase rapidly, and your internet speed will be degraded severely. If the heavy rain and snow persist, you will lose your internet altogether until the bad weather passes.
Starlink satellites need ground stations to provide internet to its terminals. Inclement weather at these ground stations will also affect your internet service quality.
In contrast, Cable internet isn’t affected by bad weather unless power outages happen due to severe storms.
We wrote an in-depth article explaining how rain, snow, clouds, storms, and other weather events affect Starlink. To learn more, you can read the article here.
Doesn’t Work Around Obstruction
Starlink needs a clear view of the sky for it to work flawlessly. Trees, houses, or high fences obstruct satellite signals and degrade the Starlink internet. Therefore, if the area where you plan to use Starlink has trees, you can’t install it.
For campers and RVers, it’s a problem.
It’s hard to find a place or campground with no trees. As this service doesn’t work around trees, you will have difficulty getting Starlink internet.
Starlink doesn’t work well in cities and urban areas. The satellites that Starlink uses have very low capacity. It’s why they need more than 40,000 satellites for better global coverage. So far, SpaceX has launched only a few thousand of them. It would take more than 5 to 6 years before Starlink becomes reliable as cable internet.
If you live in an apartment complex, Starlink isn’t a good idea because you will not get an unobstructed sky view.
If you are planning to buy Starlink for your vacation homes, remember that a single tree can quickly deteriorate Starlink’s internet speed. Sometimes you will lose the satellite signal entirely. Therefore, ensure that you have an area near your vacation homes that are clear of trees.
Sometimes, people install their Starlink dish on top of trees. But it also means you have to hire professionals to do the job and pay more to take it down.
Why Starlink doesn’t and will not work around obstruction can easily be understood by GPS.
You will notice that your phone GPS doesn’t work around big buildings, inside your house, or in the downtown area. It’s primarily because these structures obstruct and deteriorate GPS signal strength.
Similarly, the Starlink satellite’s signal deteriorates due to trees and structures. You will have a hard time getting Starlink internet in these areas.
Before installing your Starlink Dish, you need to know some crucial things to get optimal internet speed. This article describes 6 essential things about installing and maintaining Starlink for the best user experience.
Can’t Match Cable Internet Speed
If there is cable internet in your area, you should not order Starlink. Cable provides way faster internet speed than SpaceX’s Starlink.
Starlink has three internet packages:
- Starlink for RV
The Business package provides 150Mbps to 500 Mbps speed, the Residential package provides 50Mbps to 150 Mbps, and the RV provides 5Mbps to 50Mbps speed.
On the contrary, cable internet, on average, provides a minimum of 100 Mbps, and in some areas, the speed can be up to 1 Gbps.
The Starlink internet speed also depends on the user area and the number of users.
In the early beta program, many Starlink users reported download speeds up to 300 Mpbs. However, as more and more users have been added to the network, the average download speed has dropped significantly.
Many Starlink users report very slow speeds during peak hours (5 PM to 10 PM). Sometimes it drops below 50 Mbps. The upload speed also suffers. It typically doesn’t happen with most cable internet.
Therefore, if your area has cable internet, you should take the cable and avoid Starlink.
DIY Self Installation
If you order Starlink, SpaceX will only send their DIY Starlink kit. SpaceX doesn’t offer any professional installation service.
As we previously mentioned, it doesn’t work around obstructions.
Therefore, many people install their dishes on rooftops for better satellite signals. You have to hire professionals to do the job if you don’t feel comfortable going up to the roof.
Moreover, if your house has too many trees, you have to cut some of them to get better internet access. Depending on the area, it means additional costs.
Clearing land and cutting down trees is very expensive. These costs would add up on top of your Starlink equipment cost.
Related: This article discusses everything you need to know about Starlink dish and the router to become an expert.
Starlink is Very Expensive
Starlink is very expensive to order. The business package has an upfront cost of $2500 without tax and shipping. The residential package has a $600 hardware fee.
In contrast, cable and cellular internet have very initial setup costs. Most of the time, it’s free. If it costs something, it’s less than $150.
The Starlinks monthly subscription is also very high. The business package costs $500 per month, the residential package costs $110, and The RV package costs $135 per month.
But if you look at the speed, you will understand that the price and speed don’t match. Even though you will pay $110 per month, you will not get uninterrupted internet and will face a slowdown during peak hours and bad weather days.
Moreover, in most cities and urban areas, Starlink is already over-subscribed. Therefore, users are facing internet slowdown even outside of peak hours.
Starlink is a substantial investment. Sometimes, you no longer need the Starlink equipment for personal reasons and want to recoup some money. This article discusses 5 things about Starlink sales, transfer, service cancellation, and related problems when you move to another address.
Can’t Pause the Service
Typically with any internet service provider, we can pause, cancel and restart the service. Most of the time, these ISPs will even try to give some discount if you stay with them.
However, you can’t pause-unpause the Starlink service. You can only cancel it. But if you cancel, there’s no guarantee that you can restart your service.
SpaceX is still building the Starlink constellation. Every day, more and more users are subscribing to their network. Therefore, they put a limit on user count in each area.
If you cancel your service and try to restart, they will put you on a waitlist with other order holders. Even though you have Starlink’s expensive dish and router, they will not activate your subscription.
Therefore, once you buy Starlink, you are stuck with it.
Note: Starlink added a pause-unpause feature for the Starlink RV users.
Starlink for RV Gets Deprioritized Internet
Starlink’s one of the main potential is that it can be used during camping or on vacation homes. It could have been an excellent option for campers, RVers, and boating.
However, Starlink prioritizes residential users over RVers and campers. If you use the RV package, you will get deprioritized internet.
Starlink will slow down your download speed to as low as 5 Mbps and throttle your upload speed to 1 Mpbs.
Moreover, residential users can add a portability add-on ($25) with their service to take their Starlink on their camping trip. But their internet also gets deprioritized.
Therefore, on the RV package, you pay more ($135/month) but get deprioritized slow internet on the Starlink network.
Many RVers are surprised that they are getting very slow internet access over Starlink. Starlink is not always the best internet for RVers. This article discusses the important reasons you should remember before ordering your Starlink for RVs.