Briefly about Starlink – the most important thing you need to know about the “Internet from Elon Musk”
Until recently, Starlink was considered only as a way to connect to the Internet in remote areas. Now many users install this system at home. Regular power outages have made thousands of Ukrainians interested in Starlink. This is especially true for IT specialists and representatives of professions that are highly dependent on access to the World Wide Web.
In the article, we will touch on the main questions that arise for those who want to purchase such a device. How to buy, how much it costs, what subscription fee, where to install, how much energy it consumes, how to connect and configure? We will deal with the most common nuances and try to explain them “on the fingers” so that it is clear to all categories of users.
What is it and why?
Starlink is a satellite communication system that allows you to access the Internet almost anywhere in the world. These devices are manufactured by SpaceX. The system consists of satellites in orbit and receivers that you can purchase for your own use.
Roughly speaking, satellite dishes for television, which were popular 10-15 years ago, work on a similar principle. The receiver (dish) and the satellite exchange data with each other. This is how Starlink works, providing access to the Internet.
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Why use such a system when there is a mobile network? Data transfer speed and signal stability are the main problems of mobile communications. Operators and receiver manufacturers brag about the new 4G, 5G standards, but in real conditions, the speed still rarely exceeds the capabilities of 3G networks.
In good conditions, it is not always possible to get a stable 50 Mbps from your mobile phone. And during power outages, only the real lucky ones will be able to use a smartphone at a speed of 500 Kbps. A significant part will move to the “stone” age with a Dial-UP speed of 56 Kbps, or simply remain without coverage. Everything is very individual, depending on the region and place of residence.
Starlink provides consistently high speeds. It will work anywhere and will allow you to comfortably use the Internet. The ping will be slightly higher than with a fiber optic connection, but this is not critical.
Areas of use and alternatives
There are many professions that depend on the Internet. These people need uninterrupted access to the Internet. It would be possible to purchase an inverter and connect routers / modems during a power outage. But not everything is so simple. Substations of wired providers are also “covered” when the power is turned off. It all depends on which power line the amplifier is on, whether it has a backup power source, etc.
If the user still has access to the Internet during a power outage, then Starlink will be superfluous. It is easier to buy a charging station or an inverter with a battery and power stationary network equipment. With this, everything seems to be clear. What about 4G routers with amplifiers?
All mobile phones (even top ones) are equipped with relatively weak signal receivers. The smartphone shows a good result only in ideal conditions. During a period of high load, they are not able to cope with their task. The speed drops catastrophically, so distributing the Internet by phone is the worst option. There are standalone routers that support Ukrainian telecom operators.
Some models can be connected to external antennas. They will significantly amplify the signal. If you’re lucky, the speed will be sufficient for comfortable Internet browsing. It is important to take into account the individual geographical factor. IN
mobile communication shows itself differently in different regions. It is impossible to write a universal instruction for the inhabitants of Kyiv, Lutsk, Kherson and some backward village in the Ivano-Frankivsk region. If this method does not suit you, then only Starlink.
Starlinks have become popular precisely because they have no worthy alternative. It’s like an all-terrain vehicle. They are not very practical, expensive, but they will pass where all the comfortable cars get stuck or break down. Starlink is the only way to get high-speed Internet where there is no coverage of mobile operators and wired operators do not work.
Types of Starlink
Ordinary users are primarily interested in Residental tariffs. There are special models and tariffs for transport, aviation, business. Price and speed can vary greatly. Businesses often use Starlink’s business high-speed rates. For personal use it will be too expensive. Shops and bulletin boards mainly sell basic modifications for the private sector.
All tariffs and models can be found on the official website.
Business subscribers will have to pay a monthly fee of $500. Also for the equipment you need to add $2500. At the same time, the company guarantees speeds from 150 to 500 Mbps.
As for the base rate. The official website lists a subscription fee of $75 and $600 for equipment (as of 01/09/23). The preferential price will remain in effect until the company revises it. The connection package includes a terminal (antenna), a branded Wi-Fi router and a cable 20-30 meters long. Speed is promised up to 150 Mbps, ping 20-30 milliseconds.
The models of terminals also differ physically. There are standard and more powerful antennas. They have different dimensions, configuration, energy consumption level and maximum speed. For basic needs, choose the “STANDARD” set, and the more expensive “HIGH PERFORMANCE” is suitable for business.
How to buy Starlink?
Consider three ways to purchase a device in Ukraine. Let’s start with the least rational ones.
A difficult time for the state is a good time for speculators. Many sellers want to cash in on people’s problems. You can buy Starlink from them and support their families financially. The cost can be much higher than the official one. Virtually no guarantees. If problems arise, the user will be left alone with them.
Most of these sellers buy terminals abroad much cheaper, and they bring them here solely for the purpose of making money. Whether to buy from them is up to everyone to decide for themselves.
It is better to buy Starlink on the official website. It is also interesting that SpaceX does not consider Crimea to be the territory of Ukraine. But there is another problem. Availability for Ukraine in the status of “WAITLIST”. That is, get ready for serious delays. It is difficult to say the approximate time for which you can get your official kit. Specify your delivery address, pay part of the funds and wait.
You can purchase a terminal in online stores. This option is somewhat more reliable than resellers. The user will be sure that he will not be abandoned. Prices do not quite correspond to the official ones. Also pay attention to the tariff that comes with the kit. In any case, it is better to purchase in a store through a cash register than to transfer funds to a “huckster” who sells scarce goods.
Offers from shops on Hotline.
How to connect and configure Starlink?
So, the buyer has already received his network kit from Elon Musk. How to make it work? Plug and play terminal in its purest form. From its owner, only a few movements are required.
The procedure is as simple as possible:
- We unpack the device;
- We insert the cables of the router and power;
- We connect the antenna;
- We install the terminal on the stand;
- Downloading the program;
- Logging in;
- We are waiting for a few minutes for the antenna to catch the signal;
- We use high-speed Internet;
The antenna automatically returns and finds the optimal location. It is enough to take care that nothing prevents the terminal from receiving a signal. It is best to put it on the roof of a multi-storey building or take it out into the open.
For those who live in the private sector, this is easier to do. A spacious balcony will also do, although the speed will not be the same as on the roof. Do not be afraid that the receiver will freeze. The manufacturer claims that Starlink works at temperatures up to -30 degrees Celsius.
It can be controlled from a mobile app. When you first set up, you will need to create a password and login. No more difficult than setting up a regular router from a store.
That’s all, you can use high-speed Internet and watch your neighbors trying to catch at least some signal from their flagship mobile phone.
Energy consumption and autonomy
Using official data, the device consumes between 50 and 75 watts if you choose the standard package.
A more powerful version requires 110-150 watts. This is quite a lot, as for network equipment. Approximately the same consumes a gaming laptop.
The device is powered by the mains, there is no battery. Knowing the level of energy consumption, you can calculate the estimated operating time from an uninterruptible source. Consider the example of the base model and choose the average value of 60 watts.
For ten hours of battery life, you will have to use a charging station or a 650-700 Wh battery. But this is only for the terminal. If you plan to charge a laptop or other equipment, the battery will run out much faster.
For 8-9 hours of work, the Allpowers S700 606Wh charging station is enough. The issue price is 27,000 hryvnia. Is there something faster? Consider the possibility of using an inverter and a gel (traction) battery.
A 70AH battery and a 1200W inverter will cost much less. You can assemble an analogue of a charging station almost twice as cheaply. It will have a shorter resource, because lithium batteries will last longer than gel batteries and such a battery takes longer to charge.
Gel battery MAXX 12-FM-70 70AH 12V 9900 UAH
Inverter automobile TECHNAXX TE16 power inverter 1200W 4900 UAH
With such a battery and an inverter, you can count on 8-10 hours of battery life for the Starlink terminal.
Starlink remains an indispensable piece of equipment. These terminals have no worthy analogues and are in great demand. The high cost of content does not repel users in any way. Many depend on access to the Internet. It is for stability and good speed that buyers are willing to pay $ 75 per month.
We looked at various ways to purchase, power consumption, connection method and other nuances that might be of interest to users before buying.
First, make sure that this is the only way to secure access to the Web, because Starlink’s speed-to-cost ratio is terrible. Although for many it has become a real uncontested salvation and returned access to the civilized digital world. We recommend reading our editorial review of the station itself:
Overview of the Starlink terminal – the experience of using satellite Internet from SpaceX in the conditions of the Ukrainian metropolis