Our Starlink RV just arrived - here's our test vs NBN

Submitted: Friday, Nov 04, 2022 at 19:59
ThreadID: 145027 Views:1908 Replies:9 FollowUps:16
We just unboxed our new Starlink RV - 4.30pm Friday afternoon here in Perth and the first test we got was 3 times the speed of our NBN. 156Mbps vs 53Mbps. Time to go away again!

David (DM) & Michelle (MM)
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Reply By: Member - lyndon NT - Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 10:45

Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 10:45
Awesome, be interested to see what hardware you have to carry. Big dish?

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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 11:58

Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 11:58
There is no dish involved at all. The antenna is just a reasonable size flat panel. When you first switch it on some motors position it in a favourable direction. After that the individual elements in the panel are electrically steered to follow the satellites as they go across the sky. - Specifications - The journalists that call it a dish have no appreciation of the types of antennas used and call it a dish. These flat panel antennas are much more efficient area for area than dishes. You are not carrying anywhere the bulk that you do if you are watching satellite TV.

The standard panel is about the size of a 23" TV set.


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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 14:00

Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 14:00

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Follow Up By: Member - lyndon NT - Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 14:15

Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 14:15
Thanks Michelle

So large but not enormous. Guess the legs pack down like a camera tripod. Would the panel be about the same size as a stable table folks use to eat their dinner off when sitting in front of the TV?

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Follow Up By: Member - lyndon NT - Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 14:18

Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 14:18
Whoops, just saw Peter's description. About 500 x 400mm I'm guessing.

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Follow Up By: Member - lyndon NT - Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 14:22

Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 14:22
Bummer, website showing no coverage for the whole Top End ??
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 14:32

Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 14:32
Lyndon, if you have a look at the link I posted above, it shows there are three antennas available. The one in my link gives the size of the standard antenna (513 x 303 mm.) The other two are nearly square (575 x 511 mm.) (We do put these links up so you can get your information there!)

I note that Starlink refer to them as "dishy," however, they are not the big parabolic style dishes that we refer to dishes. They are more akin to baking dish style.Here is a bit more info on them (I present this without having fully watched the video, but here goes.) - Starlink Teardown: DISHY DESTROYED!


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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 23:39

Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 23:39
Further to my last link, the antenna they did the teardown on is the older round model, not the current ones. I have now found the article on how the antennas work. For those still interested it is - How does Starlink Satellite Internet Work? - again, this is also base on the round antenna but the same principles are applied to the rectangular models.


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Reply By: Steve in Kakadu - Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 14:29

Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 14:29
I have the RV coming and have to wait for the residential due to coverage not here yet, however on the Starlink FB page people are getting coverage in Darwin with no issue.
Mind you Dial up internet would be faster than the Sky Muster set I have at the minute.
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Reply By: Nomadic Navara - Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 14:54

Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 14:54
This thread has prompted me to do some more research. Sometime previously seen a very good page regarding the electronics within the radome, I can no longer locate it. However, from that I now know that the operation of the antenna is more akin to the flat panel UHF TV antennas with the 4 bow-tie receiving elements than it does the standard parabolic dish antenna.

I did see there are concerns from some regarding the performance of the system. This was from the USA on July 20, 2022. Everything You Need to Know About Starlink Internet for RVers

5 Starlink Frustrations

As we’ve traveled North America in our RV these past five weeks, I’ve regularly set up my system wherever we camped. And I’ve been frustrated by the following:

1 Starlink download speeds are really not that fast. Don’t get me wrong. Starlink is fast. Often broadband fast, regularly reaching speeds at well over 100 Mbps. But you know what? So does 5G cellular in many parts of the country. And those super-fast Starlink speeds have not been consistent. Depending on how oversubscribed the area may be and how congested Starlink traffic is, I have often found that cellular Internet — even 4G LTE — performs better than Starlink. Like cellular, Starlink throttles speeds (they call it “de-prioritizing”) when you are operating portable out of your registered home area.
2 Starlink upload speeds are terrible. This has been my most bitter disappointment. Sometimes upload speeds reach only 1 or 2 Mbps. Rarely over 5, which is the bare minimum needed for a reliable video upload or a quality Zoom call with a good camera. Not once in our travels have I been able to get enough upload speed to do our YouTube live streams on the road with Starlink.
3 Starlink doesn’t do well with trees. We love trees. We love boondocking in out-of-the-way places and forested places. Even mounted on a 20-foot pole on my RV, reliable and consistent Starlink connectivity requires a clear sky. Yes, it can connect with some trees in the field of vision of the dish. But it drops the connection every 30-40 seconds, every time the satellite its tracking is partially blocked by the trees. The drops don’t last long — another satellite is always right behind the obscured one — but the constant drops are annoying. So is always having to set up camp in a clearing, which is necessary for a solid connection.
4 Starlink is not allowed for in-motion use. At least not yet. Despite those YouTube videos you’ve seen from do-it-yourself RVers who have jerry-rigged ways to anchor the antenna on the roof of the RV and get it working while in motion, Starlink says such use is prohibited and those who do so can have their access pulled. We know Starlink is working on in-motion use but big questions remain on whether a different antenna will be required and how much more such convenience will cost. So, meanwhile, it has to be set up and taken down and stowed every time you set up camp and move.


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Follow Up By: ExplorOz - David & Michelle - Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 15:53

Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 15:53
Peter,

I think trees and sky visibility are going to be the worst problems but for speed in AU we are fairly constant above 130Mbps down and around 20Mbps up. The uplink speed does flip around a fair bit but it seems to work better once you are sending constantly from testing I have done thus far. Anyway time and travelling will tell.

David
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Reply By: ExplorOz - David & Michelle - Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 15:48

Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 15:48
Another equally import piece of information for those wanting to take this into the field is the power consumption. I have just rebooted our unit after moving it to a different piece of roof and from startup to fully running I set my clamp meter to hold and the most current I pulled at 240V was 210mA. It generally sits around 180mA at 240V. Yes it only connects to 240V so an inverter is a must but the power is not bad at around 50W.

David

PS: This post was made using StarLink!
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz - David & Michelle - Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 20:06

Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 20:06
More testing with devices connected made it max to 100W but it generally sits 50-60W.
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Follow Up By: Member - LeighW - Sunday, Nov 06, 2022 at 10:12

Sunday, Nov 06, 2022 at 10:12
Some have moded the router to enable a 12V to 48V power supply to be used. You can also use your own router, power inserter and supply. There is a mob in the us working on a 12V supply with integrated POE supply you will just need to add your own router.

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Reply By: Briste - Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 16:47

Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 16:47
Another question for those wanting to travel with Starlink and minimise costs is if you have your RV subscription paused, and you find yourself in a location without any mobile coverage for long enough to warrant turning it back on, can you turn it back on via Starlink?
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 20:06

Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 20:06
Good question but don't know the answer sorry!
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Follow Up By: Member - LeighW - Sunday, Nov 06, 2022 at 10:05

Sunday, Nov 06, 2022 at 10:05
I seem to remember reading for the fixed service they indicate log int your account and submit a support request and they will activate the service.

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Follow Up By: Briste - Sunday, Nov 06, 2022 at 10:44

Sunday, Nov 06, 2022 at 10:44
I did a little research on this, and it would seem that the answer is no. You pause and unpause from your account page, and for that you need internet access, which you don't have via Starlink when your account is paused.

This information came from some Reddit posts by people who tried and failed. There's nothing on the Starlink help pages specifically about this. They say that you can pause and unpause whenever you like, which is probably true, provided you have another source of internet connectivity.

Also of possible interest - if you pause before the end of the current monthly billing period, service continues until the end. The cut-off time is specified in UTC.
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Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 20:09

Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 20:09
Another bonus discovery...our Telstra phones use WiFi calling, and now with our Starlink this means we can receive calls to our usual phone numbers in areas with no mobile service (provided the Starlink is connected so not whilst we're bumping down a track but when stopped and setup). Both inbound and outbound calls will be a huge help for our business on the road.
Michelle
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Follow Up By: Member - Jim S1 - Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 20:21

Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 20:21
I understand, Michelle, but being out of "range" is rather nice too.

Cheers
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Reply By: ExplorOz Team - Michelle - Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 20:46

Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 20:46
Another bonus discovery...our Telstra phones use WiFi calling, and now with our Starlink this means we can receive calls to our usual phone numbers in areas with no mobile service (provided the Starlink is connected so not whilst we're bumping down a track but when stopped and setup). Both inbound and outbound calls will be a huge help for our business on the road.
Michelle
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Follow Up By: Briste - Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 21:21

Saturday, Nov 05, 2022 at 21:21
But be wary of relying on this for SMS. We have Optus mobiles, and when we are in a Telstra-only area we have a Nighthawk modem with a Boost SIM for data and the occasional call. Calls are generally ok, although it can be problematic to be heard in areas of weak upload speed.

However our experience is that replies to our SMS messages often totally vanish, and are never received. It's far from clear where the blame for this lies. Hopefully Telstra over Starlink wi-fi is better. It's probably worth testing so as not to be surprised.
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Follow Up By: ExplorOz - David & Michelle - Monday, Nov 07, 2022 at 12:34

Monday, Nov 07, 2022 at 12:34
Hmm interesting comment about SMS Briste. There's only 1 use of SMS that we would use and that is the office phone Messagebank service so that is definitely something to consider. All our family and friends communications are done via messenger apps such as Messenger, What's App etc which avoid the issue you describe.
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Reply By: Gronk - Sunday, Nov 06, 2022 at 15:09

Sunday, Nov 06, 2022 at 15:09
And reading an article today….Starlink, due to customer demand, will start throttling speed back for people who use more than 1Tb/mth……may not worry most, but for heavy users it might be a problem.
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Reply By: Dusta - Saturday, Nov 12, 2022 at 23:02

Saturday, Nov 12, 2022 at 23:02
i've just deployed a service to sandstone .
going from skymuster with unworkable data limits and shit speed to a very respectable service now . makes remotely accessing their network a pleasure now

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