Starlink is the best satellite internet in the market.
This article answers 13 questions that will provide you with facts on every aspect of Starlink that many don’t know.
The information here will also save you money by giving you honest advice on whether Starlink is a good fit for you. These answers will also help you to install and maintain Starlink for a smooth and uninterrupted internet.
Does Starlink Have a Contract?
One of the best benefits of ordering Starlink is that it doesn’t have contracts. When you purchase the Starlink, you own every piece of equipment that SpaceX sends you. You aren’t locked in to use the Starlink service for any pre-determined months.
As a user, you only have to pay a monthly subscription fee, and that’s it. You can cancel the Starlink internet any time you want without any monetary penalty. You don’t have to return the Starlink dish, router, and cables. It’s all yours.
This contractless internet is an industry first.
In contrast, HughesNet and Viasat have 24-month contracts. They will charge you a hefty fee if you cancel early. Moreover, they will charge you more if you don’t return their equipment.
The cable internet, however, has a 12-month contract. Still, if you cancel early, they will penalize you. Moreover, you also have to return the modem and router they gave you.
Can Starlink Get Wet?
Both the Starlink dish and router have an operating temperature of -22°F to +122°F (-30°C to +50°C) and are IP54 rated. These are waterproof and dust resistant. Therefore, the Starlink dish will operate perfectly well even when wet. It can also withstand hail, snow, and heavy showers.
The first generation Starlink router wasn’t weatherproof. However, SpaceX discontinued it a few years ago.
The current generation Starlink router can be placed outside because it’s IP54 rated. Therefore, it can also withstand rain and snow.
Does Starlink Get Affected by Weather?
Starlink does get affected by the weather, but it depends. The following paragraphs discuss how clouds, light rain, heavy rain, snow, and moisture affect Starlink’s internet.
Starlink dish is a phased array antenna and uses Ku and Ka transmission bands. Therefore, clouds do not affect the Starlink internet service. On a cloudy day, you will not face any service deterioration.
Snow and light rain also don’t affect Starlink’s service. Even on a heavy snowy day, you will not face any outages. Moreover, as the Starlink dish has a built-in heater, any snow that falls on the antenna will melt away.
However, even though light, fluffy snow doesn’t affect Starlink, heavy snow (packed with water) can affect your internet speed. But Starlink will not disconnect entirely. You will only face service degradation.
Heavy rain and moisture can and will affect Starlink. The satellite signal will deteriorate during heavy rain, and the SNR will become too high. As a result, internet speed will worsen significantly. If there is too much moisture in the air and it pours, you will lose Starlink internet until the heavy rain passes.
However, different customers will experience these weather events differently.
SpaceX is still building the Starlink satellite constellations. When complete, it will have more than 40,000 satellites. So far, SpaceX launched a couple of thousands of satellites. Therefore, the service will improve as more satellites are added to the network.
Therefore, if you purchase the Starlink but face service degradation during snow (which should not happen), it will go away as more and more satellites are added to the constellation.
Moreover, Starlink needs ground stations. These ground stations beam internet to the satellite, and the satellite beams internet to you. If the area where the ground stations are located is experiencing bad weather, your internet will also get affected.
The first generation Starlink satellites didn’t have inter-satellite laser connection. Only the second-generation satellite has the laser link. Therefore, until most of the satellites in orbit are the second generation, bad weather in the ground station area will deteriorate the internet on the user terminal.
Will My Starlink Work If I Move?
If you move to a new house in another city or another state, you can take your Starlink with you. It will work everywhere on the same continent. However, there are several critical things to consider.
SpaceX provides two service packages for consumers:
- Residential Starlink
- Starlink for RV
Which package is better for you depends on whether you are moving temporarily or permanently and whether you have good cable internet in your home or not.
The residential Starlink is tied to your home address. Typically it will only work where you live and its surrounding areas (usually a 15-mile radius). Starlink will warn you to use Starlink at your registered address if you go too far.
However, residential users can take their Starlink with them during camping, vacations, or travels. For this, you must add a $25 per month portability add-on package. Once you complete your vacation and come home, you can cancel the portability add-on.
However, this is valid for only temporary movement.
Internet speed is the main difference between using Starlink at a registered address and a different location with the portability add-on.
Starlink always prioritizes residential users for internet speed. Therefore, in the portability mode, you will get slower internet in congested areas and cities. It will also become slower during peak hours (5 PM to 10 PM).
If you permanently move to another house or another state, you must update your service location. However, whether you will get Starlink internet or not at your new address depends on the number of users in that particular area.
Starlink provides internet service for a pre-determined number of users in a particular region. Therefore, if you move to an area where they already have too many customers, Starlink will put you on a waitlist.
You have to wait with other Starlink order holders to activate your service. In some congested cities, you may never get Starlink service again even though you have Starlink equipment.
Starlink for RVs:
If you have cable internet for homes and want to purchase Starlink for your RV, campers, or vacation homes, the “Starlink RV” package is better for you.
It has several benefits.
The residential Starlink service can’t be paused or unpaused. A user can only cancel the service.
However, the Starlink for RV subscription can be paused and unpaused. Therefore, before you start your trip, you can unpause the service and pause the service again after coming home.
Starlink for RV works anywhere on the same continent. For example, if you purchase Starlink in the USA, you can visit Canada, and it will still work there (provided you stay less than two months there).
Does Starlink Work Around Trees?
One of the critical drawbacks of Starlink is that it doesn’t work around trees. Trees and foliage will block Starlink’s satellite signal and severely affect the internet service quality. If the foliage is too thick, Starlink will not work at all.
For proper operation of the Starlink, it needs a clear view of the sky. Therefore, if you live in an area with lots of trees, you will have difficulty getting Starlink working.
Most Starlink users put their antennae on top of the house roof to get a better satellite signal. Some people cut trees.
If you live in an area where you don’t have a clear sky view, and it’s impossible to cut trees, we suggest you not buy Starlink.
Can I Turn Starlink On and Off?
If you are a Starlink Residential or Business user, you can’t turn on or off the subscription. You only can cancel the service.
However, Starlink for RV users can pause and unpause their service anytime they want. There are no restrictions. RV users also don’t need to cancel their service.
Are Starlink Antennas Heated?
Starlink antennas work perfectly well in winter weather. It has a built-in heater that melts and removes snow. It’s all automatic. A user has to do nothing. The Starlink dish automatically detects snow and activates the heater.
Therefore, people who live in cold weather and receive a lot of snow don’t have to worry about Starlink’s operation and performance. You can safely mount it on top of your house roof.
Starlink dish also has a hydrophobic coating that removes water.
However, winter customers have to remember a few things.
If your area receives a lot of snow, mount the Starlink dish high from the base (ground or roof). It’s because the Starlink dish will melt snow. And due to extreme cold, this water refreezes again and creates a frozen waterfall effect.
The above image shows that water from the Starlink dish has refrozen. If you don’t mount your antenna high enough, the entire dish will get stuck with icicles.
The Starlink dish has built-in motors that move and rotate the antenna. The motor will get damaged if it freezes with some structures due to icicles.
Does Starlink Have Unlimited Data?
Starlink provides unlimited data. There’s no data cap. They also don’t throttle internet speed if you use too much internet. SpaceX has also indicated that Starlink will always have unlimited data.
Even though Starlink doesn’t limit data, if you live in an area with too many Starlink users, the internet speed can vary between 50 Mbps to 100 Mbps.
Furthermore, if you use the “Starlink for RV” or portability feature, your speed can slow down as low as 5 Mbps.
However, service at HughesNet and ViaSat is even worse.
HughesNet and Viasat don’t have actual unlimited data. Even though these companies claim that they provide unlimited data, it’s inaccurate. At these companies, if you go over your data limit, they will throttle your speed.
Is Starlink Transferable?
When you purchase the Starlink equipment, SpaceX permanently gives you the Starlink dish, router, and cables. They transfer those products’ titles to you. Therefore, you can sell that equipment.
Even though you can transfer the Starlink dish and router to a new user, you can’t transfer the subscription. You have to contact Starlink customer care on behalf of your buyer to transfer the subscription. However, the entire process will take less than one day.
Does Starlink Have a TV Service?
HughesNet, Viasat, and other satellite internet providers have internet and TV service. However, Starlink doesn’t offer any TV service. It only provides the internet. They also don’t plan to add TV channels in the future.
Even though you can’t watch TV through Starlink, you can watch it through YouTube or Hulu Live.
YouTube has a TV service that provides hundreds of Live TV at a reasonable cost.
Hulu also has an excellent live TV streaming package.
Therefore, even though Starlink doesn’t give you TV channels, you can watch it through the internet from YouTube or Hulu.
Does Starlink Offer Phone Service?
Almost every internet provider, such as optimum, spectrum, and Verizon, offers phone service with their cable internet. Even the legacy satellite internet companies such as HughesNet and Viasat offer voice plans. However, Starlink doesn’t have phone service.
In many areas where Starlink will be most useful, a phone line from the provider is crucial. Because in most rural areas, even the cellular phone doesn’t work properly. However, Starlink doesn’t offer phone service and doesn’t have any plans to add one.
However, WiFi calling does work over the Starlink internet due to low latency. Therefore, if you have a cellular phone service that offers WiFi calling, you can use the Starlink internet to receive and place phone calls even if you don’t have a cellular network in your area.
Does Starlink Come With a Roof Mount and Router?
SpaceX ships their Starlink with everything you need to get internet access. The package contains a dish, a router (with built-in WiFi), a cable, and a power cord. Therefore, you don’t need to purchase a router.
However, the second-generation router that SpaceX is shipping doesn’t have an ethernet port. It only has WiFi.
If you need an ethernet port, you must bypass the official router and use your router, which you have to purchase from the market. In most scenarios, however, you don’t need to do it because the Starlink router can transfer data at up to 1 Gbps speed.
Can I Install Starlink Myself?
SpaceX designed the Starlink so that anyone can install it. There’s no need to hire professionals. The entire kit is plug-and-play.
Starlink installation is straightforward. Here are the steps.
- Find a place where you have a clear sky view.
- Place the Starlink dish on the stand with the flat surface facing upward.
- Connect the cable with the router.
- Connect the power cable to the router.
- Wait a few minutes.
- Connect to your Starlink router WiFi to get internet.
As you can see, unlike HughesNet and Viasat, anyone can install Starlink. You don’t have to hire anyone unless you plan to install the Starlink dish on your house roof for better satellite signal reception.
- Starlink doesn’t have a contract. You are free to cancel the service anytime you want without any monetary penalty from SpaceX.
- Starlink will work anywhere within the same continent. It works across the state line and cross-country border.
- Starlink doesn’t work around trees. You will face severe service degradation or service dropout due to obstruction.
- Residential and Business Starlink users can’t pause their service. Their only option is to cancel. Only Starlink RV users can pause-unpause their subscription.
- Starlink dishes are heated. Thus, snow will not build up on the antenna.
- Starlink has unlimited data. SpaceX doesn’t put any data cap.
- When you purchase Starlink, Spacex transfers the title of the equipment to you. It’s your personal property. You can move or sell the equipment to whomever you want.
- Starlink dish and router are IP54 rated. Therefore, these are waterproof and dust resistant. Thus, it can get wet.
- Starlink doesn’t have any TV service.
- Starlink doesn’t offer mobile service.
- The Starlink package comes with a WiFi router. But they don’t provide a roof mount. You have to purchase the Starlink roof mount additionally from the market.
- Cloud, snow, and light rain doesn’t affect Starlink service. However, heavy rain and moisture in the air will degrade the Starlink internet. During a downpour, you may experience a service outage.