Starlink – Is It The Answer?

Jul 11, 2022

June has arrived and so has Starlink for RVers! After months of hype, speculation, and rumors, Starlink is here. Now comes the hard part, is it the answer for you? We will get to that- patience!

What Was Satellite Internet?

I will give you a quick intro to how satellite communication works so you can better understand the “Clever” part of the design.

Satellites became a mainstay of military usage followed by commercial enterprises. It was hard to watch a “Live” event on TV without seeing, “Live, via satellite,…” Satellite has been very reliable and generally has a high speed “downlink” and a much slower “uplink”. The downlink channel is the one that would stream the event or news report to your home. Fast-forward to today, Dish and Direct TV are using satellites nearly the same way. Hughes and ViaSat are satellite-based internet providers whose business is to give internet access to folks who can’t get a “wireline” service like DSL or Cable internet to their home or office.

The downside of satellite is latency. We have seen download speeds from satellite services increase exponentially making it more usable but, not without challenges:

  • Upload (sending from you to the satellite) speeds are slow. Typically, 1-3Mb isn’t unusual. If you are sending files or pictures, make sure you put on a pot of coffee and “stay a while”.
  • Latency kills, literally. Latency is the time from when you click or hit “send”, until you get a response. Think of this as round-trip delay. Latency is just physics, the great distance the information has to travel from start to end. Most communication satellites are many miles up in space, so, latency is measured in hundreds of milliseconds. For comparison purposes, satellite latency is ~600ms (more than ½ second) while a DSL or Cable service might have 15-25ms of latency. This delay “Kills” real time applications like phone calls, video conferencing and as you online gamers know, latency will kill your fun.

Why is Starlink Internet Different?

Starlink is the innovative dream of Elon Musk, founder of Tesla. Musk came up with a very clever way to utilize an old technology, satellite communications.

Starlink came up with a clever approach to latency. They have launched “LEO” (Low Earth Orbit) satellites. Traditional internet satellites are nearly 35,000km away from earth, Starlink satellites are 7X closer, orbiting the earth approximately 550km above the earths surface. The reduced distance greatly improves latency. HughesNet & ViaSat customers usually experience latency in the 500-700ms range, that’s just over half of a second! Starlink customers are reporting much better latency, between 31ms-88ms according to a recent report by This is not comparable to wireline internet and even most 4G/5G cellular networks average better latency. Starlink has stated their goal is 18-19ms of latency which would be much closer to cellular and wireline services. Time will tell if they can achieve that.

Starlink Service Tiers

Currently, Starlink is offering 3 types of services. All data provided per Starlink specifications:

  • Equipment- $2,500 one time
  • Monthly cost- $500
  • 150-500Mb download, 20-40Mb upload, 20-40ms latency


  • Equipment- $599 one time
  • Monthly cost- $110
  • 50-250Mb download, 10-20Mb upload, 20-40ms latency


  • Equipment- $599 one time
  • Monthly cost- $110 + $25 portability fee ($135 monthly)
  • 50-250Mb download, 10-20Mb upload, 20-40ms latency

Is Starlink a good fit for you?

Starlink has the potential to become your primary Internet source. There are many factors you should be aware of.

Things to Consider:

  • Are you mobile, stationary or both? The Starlink antenna, “Dishy” is pretty large and will need to be stowed and redeployed. I have talked to several “Starlinkers” who travel and relocate often. Safe stowing a large dish can be a challenge if you are space constrained as many of us RVers are. And if you’re like me, you aren’t looking forward to our next trip to the roof of the RV to deploy your antenna. Mobile users must pay the monthly $25 “Portability” fee. Portability is new so there’s not enough information to determine how long it will take Starlink to move you to your new location.
  • Trees? If you’re stationary, trees are a “Static” problem. They don’t move so you could look to place your Dishy where trees won’t be an issue or, you could work on your landscaping. If you’re mobile, RV parks have little patience when RVers “Help-out” with their landscaping. In either case, you should remember that your Dishy will track the satellites, it won’t just point in one direction.
  • Speed? I do not think speed will be a problem. Cindy & I are very content when we get a good solid 10Mb download and 2-3Mb upload speeds.
  • Latency? If you’re a gamer, latency will be a problem for you. Very few Starlinkers that I’ve spoken to are happy with the latency issue. Starlink has stated that they are working on it but, Physics laws are tough to break. If you use a VoIP phone or do a fair amount of video conferencing, you could have some challenges. *Note* latency in networking is more than just distance. Overall latency also includes processing time through internet routers, servers, and network congestion.

Real World Performance

We are still on the waiting list for our system but, after talking to 5 or 6 Starlinkers who are also RV Mobile Connect Customers, I’ve consolidated their thoughts here:

  • Speeds have been good. Some folks have seen 200Mb. The lowest download speed was about 32Mb. Uplink speeds seem to be about 10% of the available download speed.
  • Latency does seem to be a problem for most. Gamers ALL complain but compared to traditional satellite Internet, it is the best.
  • Environmental conditions have created many challenges for most. Heavy rain, snow (although the Dishy is heated to melt snow), fog and dust storms all create dense atmospheric conditions which negatively affect or completely interrupt Internet service. Some have reported that ANY trees will affect performance, so they only deploy in completely open areas.
  • Hardware has been generally good but there have been challenges with the system. Proprietary connectors “not connecting properly” has been a common complaint. One person complained that their Dishy couldn’t take the desert heat and shut down often.

Final Thoughts

Starlink would be my first choice if satellite Internet was my only choice. It’s performance is much better than HughesNet & ViaSat. Flat rate pricing and 10X better upload speeds make it a “No-Brainer”. I do worry that as Starlink continues to add subscribers if we will see the same challenges that other Internet providers have,- too many users and too little bandwidth. Starlink has only launched a small percentage of their target number of satellites so more users will likely add more contention for the available bandwidth. Time will tell.

Our view is that Starlink is another piece of the Internet puzzle. I’ve recommended to RV Mobile Connect customers to connect their Starlink system to their cellular router. When Starlink is available, use it unless the latency will be a problem. If Starlink is not available or reliable, use your cellular data plan as a backup or when latency would be a problem. Then, you get the best of both worlds!

We sincerely thank you for subscribing to this newsletter. We hope we’ve been able to enlighten and possibly entertain you!

Safe Travels and Thanks!- Bryan & Cindy

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