Totally annoyed with our lack of any speed on Sky Muster NBN satellite, I have been looking at StarLink. They presently have a sale on till 31 Dec '22; equipment half price, free delivery. $139/month. https://www.starlink.com/
Whistleout who Choice references with internet plans also offered the following.
The upfront cost has been discounted to $450 from the regular $924 but only to the end of the year. Whistleout has further details in the speeds etc offered for residential and business plans.
The design of the Starlink satellite network is such that a user experience will vary with location in Australia. Feedback from other users located in your near area will provide the best guidance as to actual performance and any issues with weather impacts.
I have a couple of colleagues who are happy with it - but my sense is that one wouldn’t swap it for a ‘good’ NBN service, even FTTN. Note that in some parts of the world, Starlink now has quotas - and the terms can change in the blink of a twitter post
I believe starlink still uses CGNAT on IPv4 (with 6 not yet available mainstream, just a few beta users with their /56 at this stage). If you use UPnP or other forms of port forwarding (gaming etc) then this might be an issue. If you host your own stuff, it almost certainly will be an issue - but I speak only of anecdotal evidence, albeit from colleagues.
If your only option is the ‘legacy’ sat services, and you don’t need port forwarding or super reliability in all climate scenarios, and not worried about future quotas, and price isn’t an obstacle, its probably not a bad choice.
According to a report published by Ookla , Starlink users in Australia experience average download speeds of 102.76Mbps across the second quarter of 2022. Upload speeds average 10.45Mbps, while users experienced an average latency of 49ms.
Consumers are paying a premium for this level of service compared to the NBN satellite offerings. Neither provide any allowance for the personal preferences of the respective CEO’s. An alternate definition of ‘crazy’ could be continuing to pay a typical $55 per month for unusable NBN satellite internet services.
That’s about sums up our situation. No mobile signal capable of data (can get SMS most times, a few drop-out calls, can’t get MMS & go to town to get messages). NBN Satellite is the only service. Before the NBN, Telstra would not allow us ADSL as our copper phone line was so poor. With no other way of getting internet at home I went for “off-net” which was TPG internet over the phone from an exchange remote from ours. The speed was in the kbs. I signed on to Skymuster as soon as it came available. The speed was amazing by comparison.
Over years the speed has degraded, equipment replaced, but no improvement, just a steady decline. SkyMusterPlus is SkyMuster, but with more data. I don’t need more data, we barely use any now (10 to 30GB a month). What we need is speed. We pay $50/m for 12mbs, but actually get much less. I get up at 5am to do things when it is 4.9mbs, then later in the day I either don’t have internet or it is in kbs. Facebook won’t load, ABC news loads without pictures, email won’t work, Banking keeps logging out. It goes down during rain, overcast, or any time speed is slow. It tossed me out part way through this reply.
StarLink has a Facebook offer of half priced equipment and 2 or 3 months free, but I can’t get Facebook up to look, let alone take advantage of it. I did get their site up with the half price till 31th Dec 2022 on it. Now, can I justify $139/m? It would make life easier. Is there any other solution on the near horizon?
Depending on budget your local Telstra mobile service may provide the lowest cost alternative. There are a number of alternate solutions to provide a better connection to the Telstra mobile tower and meet your modest needs.
You mentioned you have borderline mobile reception. I’ve reliably used Telstra data up to 40+km from the local tower with an external aerial.
Experience with Telstra data comes from travelling regionally plus as our fall back when the ADSL2 copper line went AWOL. All using a Telstra mobile 4GX modem. External antenna optional. We now have NBN FW. Telstra offer a number of mobile network modem devices. Data plans are from $25pm for 30GB as well as prepaid.
A roof mounted external antenna plus modem or antenna with integrated mobile modem will be required to provide a more reliable connection and speed. The options include a basic rod antenna through to directional antenna which can remedy very week signal strength. EG https://onwireless.com.au/
We are on a Fixed Wireless 50Mbps plan living 110km north of Perth. That’s all we can get out here and especially on weekends the NBN speed reduces dramatically. My daughter recently purchased 1 Starlink for an RV and was so impressed with the speeds of upto 100Mbps that she ordered a 2nd Starlink for their home where she can otherwise only get mobile internet (what she had previous) or Skymuster. She is over the moon with the new streaming possibilities etc.
I live 800km from Sydney in NW NSW and Star Link has provided the best internet we have ever had.
3G fixed radio is very slow - and is what our “fixed” phone service is on. NBN slightly better but has slowed down as more customers share the bandwidth. By installing a home CelFi kit we are able to access 4G from our nearest town and that is much better for both internet and mobile phones. As both my wife and I had to use systems such as Zoom, and others, when Covid hit none of them could cope with both video and audio at the same time. We generally used the 4G for the video and the separate phone link for the audio. With Star Link both work seamlessly and joining meetings is easy and a pleasure, not a frustrating hassle. So far, no problems with interference from storms which is a given with direct broadcast TV and radio via satellite.
Uding the OOKLA speed test our download speeds are generally about the 250 - 280mbs and upload 10-14. The best previously from the 4G was about 10 down and 1.5 up.
Whether Mr Musk will overload the bandwidth is an unknown at this stage. We pay $141/month for unlimited data, which is expensive, but it is a business tool as much as an entertainment device. We found it easy to install with adequate amount of cable and the simplest installation instructions I have ever seen.
I second mark_m’s thoughts on what might be the easiest solution. Your existing poor Telstra (I assume) performance could be due to two things - distance from the tower, or an overloaded outlet. If it’s just distance (or obstacles) in your case, then by installing a local repeater you should be able to get good data performance Telstra GO Repeater - Telstra
You may even be able to get away with just a roof mounted antenna plugged into a phone, either your usual phone or an extra device (and account) dedicated to providing a wifi hotspot around home. Cheaper than Starlink and possibly more reliable in bad weather.
But if your poor service is due to an undersized/overloaded Telstra outlet then there’s nothing you can do phone-wise. Telstra seems to be happy to install tiny ‘thin-pipe’ outlets (towers) in some low population areas which become unusably overloaded with an influx of tourists or in a local emergency. In some cases towers have become overloaded just due to increasing use of data by the planned-for population, so the problem exists all the time. Tourist locations in outback South Australia are where I came across this - 4 bars of coverage but absolutely unusable for anything but SMS when we were there. There outa be a law against it.
I live about 100ks north of Melbourne. My NBN through SkyMuster regularly ran out of data a week before the monthly renewal with just two of us in the house and was often frustratingly slow. Starlink provides us with fast unlimited data. We are delighted with it
Had a look at boosting our mobile signal. The equipment most suitable is Telstra GO G31 Stationary Yagi Antenna Bundle $1176 (excludes installation) The internal boosters won’t work as our problem is a weak signal from a distant tower.
I went into this a while ago. I tried hoisting the mobile dongle on a pole above the roof (we are in a 2 storey house on a hill) and couldn’t get sufficient speed/data to do basic things. My mobile calls drop out, often have an echo, so you seem to be answering yourself. H+ and sometimes 3G (but phone’s 5G capable). There’s a narrow band with coverage, move an inch and you’ve lost the call. Telstra Technician doubted there was sufficient signal to boost (but that was a couple of years ago). I found Telstra had approvals for 2 towers closer, but in 9 years have not built them. New mobile - I think it picks up the SkyMuster internet at home and does a WiFi call(?), which is just as woeful. We kept the landline. Only have incoming mobile calls.
This morning, up at 4:45am to do banking etc. I bit the bullet and ordered the half price StarLink hardware before the sale ends. $450, free delivery. Wait time 2-4 weeks. I’ll try it.
Hope it works well for you and you can share the experience with the community. Being high set on a hill is an advantage.
My experience with the Telstra mobile broadband dongles (I’ve had 3 including 3G and 4G versions) has been woeful. The built in antenna is too small to be effective except in strong signal areas. They improved with an external aerial, marginally with a Telstra supplied mini style and significantly with a 4WD style rod aerial clipped to the house gutter. Two of the dongles when connected to the rod aerials would quickly overheat and slowdown or freeze.
I currently use the following portable broadband modem with good results, either with a house roof clip or rod aerial in the Ute.
The “local” feedback has all been very positive, with amazing speeds (vs SkyMuster) and a lot of very happy users. The only negatives have been two. One reported “Don’t get it if you have lots of gum trees on your property, we are now looking at raising it on a pole or burning down the neighbour’s trees …” The other reported 10cm hail which destroyed the dish.
Speeds are like 698mbs, 148mbs upload. compared to my best 9.4mbs, 1.5mbs upload.
Fair enough, I think many of us would be interested to hear how it goes – I hope you post your experience when it settles down. I’d like to use Starlink when travelling but despite apparent great success on Ukrainian boat drones(!) I’m not sure how well they work in practice yet, and it’s a significant amount of kit to carry.
The story so far. I ordered StarLink hardware on 31/12/22, half price + free delivery. It shipped 3/1/23. Despite holidays, it arrived with the Postie 6/1/23 - Amazing!
The email said billing for usage would start a fortnight after shipping. The downside - as you are being billed from Singapore, the bank charges an International fee - an extra $13.50 on the hardware and about $4 on the monthly charge.
Installation - Download the StarLink app - scan the southern horizon and it will locate the satellites and any obstacles. Do this before you commit to see if it will work for you. You can do this as many times as you like to find the best position for the flat rectangular dish. Unfortunately for us, south is rising ground and tall trees. SkyMuster faces north to our cultivation paddocks which slope away with no tall trees.
While you can’t purchase StarLink through third parties, there are businesses that have experience installing. When it looked like we needed to go on the roof of our high set house, I suggested we get one, but Mr Z, the octogenarian, wanted to do it himself. We compromised and erected a 7m “flagpole” on a 2m plinth, no ladders involved. This involved cutting keyways, welding lengths, dynabolting, a knuckle joint (so we can drop the pole), brackets etc. The cord is plugged into the free-standing modem, which is plugged into a power point.
Because Mr Z wanted to do it all himself, we are still not connected, but that should happen soon, even if we don’t have the final location for hardware. Will do an update then.