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CCATP #737 Mark Pouley on Starlink Satellite Service

Mark Pouley, the photographer behind Twin Lakes Images lives in a home that is in an urban area, but on a long, private road that hasn’t been fed by fiber or cable. He and his wife also bought a vacation home in the far Northeast corner of the state of Washington where there’s very little infrastructure and not even reliable cell service. He needed to find service that would meet his tech geek needs.

In this episode of Chit Chat Across the Pond, Mark tells us about his experience with DSL service, and T-Mobile for home Internet, and why that lead him to pursue SpaceX’s new Starlink satellite service. He explains the process of acquisition, costs, installation, and the speeds he’s getting in his homes.

Starlink is hot in the news right now, especially with their recent announcement that they’ll be providing this service to the recreational vehicle (RV) community.

mp3 download

Outline of our discussion:

Options he found:

  • DSL at his main house was ~12mbps
  • T-Mobile worked for a while but became very unstable
  • At his vacation home, DSL was closer to dialup speed
  • Legacy satellite systems were very expensive with strict data limits

Starlink Experience

  • Much faster than the other options available to him
    • HughesNet is 25mbps down with 50GB cap
  • Averaging 150mpbs down and 15 up
  • Also more reliable than the other alternatives
  • Latency
    • Mark doesn’t notice any issues (but he’s not a gamer) and the latency is going down
    • Legacy satellite service averages 700ms latency
    • Starlink is 40ms because the satellites are in a low-earth orbit
    • For reference, fiber is around 3ms
  • Starlink satellite doesn’t provide a proper IP so he can’t easily log into his system while away from home
  • Live Starlink Satellite Map

Process to get Starlink

  • Input your address to see if service is available
  • Deposit if not immediately available (I waited 7 months for first unit)
  • Buy equipment when it becomes available
  • “Tricks” to getting it when it’s not really your turn

Equipment

  • The “dish” (first were round, about 24”, now rectangular)
  • “Modem” can be used to broadcast wifi
  • Now, ethernet adapter so you can use your own router

Hot Cats

Cost (just increased)

  • $600 dish ($50 shipping) (still selling below SpaceX cost)
  • $110/month service (formerly $99)
  • Extra $25/month allows “portability”

Controversy about StarLink
– Order process/waiting list is inconsistent and long
– Elon Musk haters
– On the good side – massive deliveries to Ukraine to provide internet
– Ukraine official: 150,000 using SpaceX’s Starlink in daily average (cnbc.com)
– Tiny satellites littering the night sky
– Problem for astronomers
– I think they’re putting a less reflective coating on th

1 thought on “CCATP #737 Mark Pouley on Starlink Satellite Service

  1. […] Before they left, Allison recorded an episode of Chit Chat Across the Pond with long time NosillaCastaway Mark Pouley of Twin Lakes Images. You may have heard of the Starlink satellites, and you may know that they provide internet services for areas that can’t get traditional copper or fibre services; or at least can’t get good service with those technologies. Mark Pouley knows more because he is a subscriber to the Starlink internet service. He chats with Allison about the strengths and weaknesses of the Starlink system. I had no idea how it was different to any other satellite system, but Mark explains it is quite different. You can take a listen on Chit Chat Across the Pond episode 737. […]

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