Paul Butzi |||

Starlink, Part II

We’ve had Starlink running for 4 weeks now with good success. It’s been our day to day internet service without any problems for just under 4 weeks.

Observed speeds vary depending on time of day and day of the week but at no point have been slow enough to be a problem. During some times of the day (in particular, in the morning) speeds can be startlingly high - 180 Mbps or faster. Upload speeds are considerably slower but our needs are, as are most residential users.

The internet service we’ve been using for the past 19+ years has a billing cycle that ends/starts in sync with the calendar month, so we’re coming up on the decision point.

The pros of Starlink:

  • Speeds are typically dramatically faster than the service we’ve been using.
  • The costs for Starlink are considerably lower than the costs for the service we’ve been using.
  • With Starlink we will/would no longer need to invest time and energy in maintaining the line of sight for the microwave link, nor would we have to deal with the risks of the maintenance (tree felling is not a low risk activity)
  • Starlink is inherently structured in a way where if there is a localized disaster, Starlink will be able to route our traffic from our home to the internet well outside the blast radius’.

The cons of Starlink:

  • The task of aintaining the line of sight is replaced by keeping a clear view of the sky. Basically this amounts to dealing with keeping a circle of trees close to the buildings from growing too tall. This is a more manageable task than maintaining a line of sight through a forest.
  • Latency and jitter are considerably higher, because the microwave link we’ve been using is basically two hops to a very high bandwidth internet backbone connection. So far this doesn’t seem to be an issue in the VOIP/videoconferncing apps we use.
  • The service provider we were using up until now have given us excellent service over nearly two decades, we have a great relationship with them, whereas Starlink is a big corporation with only email support.

I’ll probably try to find a way to keep our previous internet connection on some sort of stand-by status so that if Starlink goes toes up we can fire up the hardware and be back online, hopefully at some very low cost. But we are already using Starlink full time, and will continue to use it as main connection going forward.

I’ve already taken the steps of upgrading our wifi network and hardware as well as upgrading our ancient 100Base-T wired network to much faster and modern switches throughout. (I’m frankly astonished that the main switches, now 19 years old, have not failed)

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