4WD MODIFICATIONS - COMMUNICATIONS & NAVIGATION
Elon Musk’s low-earth-orbit satellite internet service is gradually expanding around the globe, but it’s not ready yet for reliable, remote-area mobile coverage.
We installed Starlink at our house in the NSW Southern Highlands, because we became entirely fed up with the lousy NBN service from Telstra. We were without reliable internet connection for three months while they blamed us for its inoperability.
Finally, after my better half read them the riot act, they sent out a technician. Like nearly everyone Down Under, we have Malcolm Turnbull’s el cheapo ‘fibre to the node; copper to the house’ connection and it didn’t take the techo long to find five pairs of incorrect connections.
We figured that next time people were working on that node, they’d bugger-up the connections again, so we checked out the Starlink satellite option. Our mates in Canberra loved theirs, so we bit the bullet.
We forked out $800 for the rooftop dish and modem, and our monthly account is $143. That’s more expensive than Telstra, but boringly reliable and fast. We average downloads in the 150-200Mb/s range and uploads in the 10-20Mb/s range.
Our dish is round – 600mm in diameter – but later models are rectangular – 300mm x 500mm. They weigh around 4kg.
Because it’s a satellite system, we figured it would be handy as a mobile internet service, but we were a tad ahead of the game. Starlink has around 2000 satellites in place at present and plans to have at least 10,000 in low orbit by 2023.
That’s when reliable, remote-area coverage, as well as ocean coverage, should be available. At present, most Starlink services are good for around a 40-kilometre radius from home.