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Rural Mesh WiFi: Part 1 – Starlink

I recently had the pleasure of designing and installing a network for a family member who lives in a rural part of the country. This experience has inspired me to share the details so that other may benefit from my research and learnings.

If you missed the other posts regarding this project, feel free to check them out.

First, we’ll cover the recent Starlink advancements that made my project possible. Then, we’ll go into TP-Link Omada and the detail of the network.

Starlink Availability

Thanks to the deployment of Starlink’s 2nd generation of satellites, as seen here …

Starlink is now generally available on all 7 continents, as seen here:

Impact

The availability of Starlink satellite internet access has allowed numerous people to drop the unreliable, under-perfoming, and over-priced internet service providers they used to patronize.

The other internet service providers (ISPs) restricted bandwidth to fewer than 10 megabits per second (Mbps) download speeds, fewer than 2 megabits per second (Mbps) upload speeds, and inherently had latency of more than 100 milliseconds (ms). Other satellite and wireless broadband internet service providers often charge prohibitive setup and equipment fees, along with a monthly service fee well in excess of $100 per month. The other providers require long-term contracts, such as a two-year contract or a 5-year contract. In order to break the contract, the customer is required to pay for the remaining term of the contract. Unfortunately, in many cases, the customer considers this contract buy-out worthwhile just so they can gain access to the level of internet service they were sold but never received. The alternative to buying out your contract would be to retain service from the other provider and to pay for Starlink at the same time.

The experience I’ve seen with Starlink is typically around 80 Mbps download, 10 Mbps upload, and 20-30 Mbps latency. All of this for around $600 in one-time equipment costs and around a $120 monthly service cost.

An internet speed test conducted in the Starlink application in the United States on October 12, 2023.

Disclaimers

I don’t use Starlink on a regular basis, and I don’t have a Starlink account. The information in this post is from my experience working with people who have Starlink internet service and from conducting my own tests on their networks. If Starlink had a referral link, I would certainly include it in my post. However, from what I can tell, Starlink only opens referral programs in certain markets with low participation and for a limited amount of time per market. You know you have a great product when you don’t have to incentivize people to purchase or advertise. People will talk about how much better Starlink is than their previous provider, if a different provider was even available before Starlink came on the scene. For now, you’ll have to just head on over to https://www.starlink.com/ and order service for yourself.

Conclusion

In my experience, Starlink is the best satellite internet service provider on the market today. I won’t name the other wireless broadband and satellite internet service providers with which I have experience, but none of them hold a candle to Starlink. See “Next Steps” for the next part in the series.

Next Steps

Check out the next part of this series which features the Starlink wired network adapter. Follow me on social media for notifications of new content.

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