High-tech

SpaceX Starlink Internet Experience & Performance (US Midwest, Mid 2022) Review

Last year I signed up for SpaceX’s Starlink satellite Internet service with hopes of using it to replace the Internet connection used for running Phoronix. After months of using Starlink and carrying out thousands of benchmarks, Starlink in the US midwest / Chicagoland area has proven reliable but the performance can be rather volatile still and it was frustrating at first waiting for some Starlink accessories to ship, but the self-service nature and simplicity of the setup were great.

My initial goal with Starlink was to replace Comcast’s Internet service with Starlink as my primary Internet connection. Comcast in my area has been increasingly unreliable with Internet outages ticking up more recently, Starlink would be slightly cheaper (initially $99 USD but the prices since raised to $110, still better than $140 USD for just Comcast’s Internet with no data cap), and liking the self-service nature of Starlink setup. After months of testing, at this point Starlink is augmenting my Internet connection for offloading some systems and IoT devices to it and using it as a back-up during periods of Comcast downtime. However, the speeds at the moment have been too unreliable for consistently outperforming the Comcast cable Internet connection — at least for the US Midwest / Chicagoland area.

After originally pre-ordering the Starlink Kit last year, earlier this year I was informed of availability — a quarter sooner than predicted. That was great and the $599 kit promptly shipped out. Unfortunately for the updated Starlink Kit, the router / user terminal base station is WiFi only with no Ethernet port. An Ethernet adapter for the Starlink Kit is available for purchase separately at $25 USD. When ordering the kit, I also ordered the Starlink Ethernet Adapter, Starlink Pipe Adapter, Starlink Short Wall Mount, and Starlink Cable Routing Kit with initially being undecided on placement. That yielded the first headache with availability on the Starlink accessories. While the Starlink Kit having availability delays is understandable with the supply chain issues and semiconductor shortages, it was surprising that the Starlink Pipe Adapter and Starlink Wall Mount Kit didn’t have immediate availability… As of writing, four months later it looks like availability may have eased up as the Starlink Shop does indicate these accessories to now be in stock. Originally I waited several weeks trying to order different accessories only to then cancel the orders when they weren’t fulfilled within the estimated shipping windows.

With the wall mount and pipe adapter not available at the time after waiting weeks, I decided to just mount it to my shed’s roof. The slope of the roof is rather shallow and simply using some lag screws (and roof waterproofing patches) with the standard Starlink base had worked out. The Starlink Kit was up and running easily. Setup was trouble-free and with the Starlink Android app it was easy to get everything going. It was a wonderful setup experience and loved the simplicity of the self-installation.

But then the wife didn’t like the location of the Starlink dish being visible on the roof…

So after removing it and patching the holes, waiting a while for Starlink’s mount kit to become available, and growing tired of waiting I ended up ordering the Winegard DS2000A Universal 22-inch Mount (Amazon.com, affiliate link). This satellite wall mount ended up working fine and without any issues mounting the Starlink satellite dish. The mounting to the side of the shed was at ease and the wife preferred the location. I wish I would have known originally that the Starlink satellite was compatible with this mount rather than having waited weeks for Starlink’s official accessories… But now I know and fortunately for new customers it looks like the availability has eased up.

Once having the necessary hardware, the Starlink setup was great and easy. No complaints from that perspective and a joy self-servicing it without the oversight and burden of having to deal with a utility company. But now to the Starlink performance…


Prior to caulking the exterior hole that had been filled with spray foam and cleaning up.


The wires then routed into my shed where the Starlink base station / router was connected.

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MAGASIR

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