May 5th Update: this feature is now official, and is called "Portability." To enable it, you will need to pay an extra $25/month, though I haven't been charged yet despite using the feature. Starlink says mobility (using Dishy while in motion) is not yet supported and will void your kit's warranty.
I've logged into my Starlink.com account, and I now see a note that reads Click "Manage Service Options" to add Portability. — that screen leads to this Starlink Portability FAQ page with more details. I haven't signed up for it yet, and I'm waiting to see what happens next billing cycle... I still can't update the service address to my cousin's location.
Today's video is about Starlink—I've had an active subscription since last February, and as it's been a year, I figured I should post an update.
The tl;dr: when I had a new roof put on late last summer, I took down 'Dishy McFlatface', but I haven't put the dish back up. I have been holding out hope I could transfer my hardware to my cousin, who lives on a farm 70 miles away, and only gets 300 Kbps upload on her DSL, but so far that seems to be a pipe dream.
In the video below, I outline four problems that have tempered my optimism when it comes to SpaceX's Starlink Internet service:
The rest of this post is a lightly-edited transcript of the video.
SpaceX's Starlink internet service uses satellites in low-earth orbit to provide high-speed Internet to underserved parts of the world, especially places without easy access to cable or fiber.
SpaceX's Starlink beta opened up in my area, so I installed Dishy—that's the nickname for the large white satellite dish above—and I've been testing it and comparing it to my Cable internet.
I have Raspberry Pis monitoring my Internet—one on Starlink, and one on Spectrum. And I also have a power monitor measuring power usage. And I've tracked everything since day one to see if weather like snow and thunderstorms affect service, and how Starlink compares to Cable.
Here's the bottom line: Most of the time, I couldn't tell I was using Starlink. And that's good. Everything felt the same.
Internet Service Providers are almost universally despised. They've pushed for the FCC to continue defining 25 Mbps as "high use" broadband, and on top of that they overstate the quality of service they provide. A recently-released map of broadband availability in the US paints a pretty dire picture:
Here in St. Louis—where I guess I should count my lucky stars we have 'high use' broadband available—I have only two options: I can get 'gigabit' cable Internet from Spectrum, or 75 megabit DSL from AT&T.
And you're probably thinking, "Gigabit Internet is great, stop complaining!"
I recently wrote about using a Raspberry Pi to remotely monitor an Internet connection, and in my case, to monitor Starlink (SpaceX's satellite Internet service).
One other important thing I wanted to monitor was how much power Starlink used over time, and I was considering just manually taking a reading off my Kill-A-Watt every morning, but that's boring. And not very accurate since it's one point in time per day.
In March, I got an email from SpaceX saying Starlink was available at my address, and I could pre-order. I paid $500 for the equipment, plus $25 for a Volcano Roof Mount, and $99 for the first month of service, and a few weeks later, I got the kit you see in the image above.
I was a little too excited about getting Starlink, though, because I realized after I started looking for mounting locations that Starlink needed a 100° view of the northern sky, and my house is literally surrounded by 70-80 ft trees.
So I thought, why not let a cousin who lives out in a rural area try it out while I figure out what to do about mounting 'Dishy' (a common nickname for the Starlink satellite dish) on my own house?
After all, my cousin Annie, who lives in Jonesburg, MO, currently pays for the maximum available DSL plan to her farm (Haarmann Farms), and gets a measly 5 Mbps down, and 0.46 Mbps up—on a good day:
So... recently I acquired a Starlink 'Dishy', and I'm going to be installing it at a rural location near where I live, but since it's a bit of a drive to get to it, I wanted to set up a Raspberry Pi to monitor the Starlink connection quality over time.
I know the Starlink app has its own monitoring, but I like to have my own fancy independent monitoring in place too.
The wrinkle with a Starlink-based Internet connection, though, is that SpaceX is using Carrier-Grade NAT (CGNAT) on their network, so there won't be any kind of IPv4 address I could reach the Pi at, nor does SpaceX yet have IPv6 set up in their network.
So to make remote access possible, I would have to find a way to have the Pi reach out to one of my servers with a persistent connection, then I could 'tunnel' through that server from other locations to reach the Pi.