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Let’s Talk STARLINK

Discussion in 'General Yachting Discussion' started by DOCKMASTER, Jun 19, 2022.

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  1. DOCKMASTER

    DOCKMASTER Senior Member

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    So in another thread about satellite issues the topic of STARLINK came up. The other thread is here:
    https://www.yachtforums.com/threads/bell-satellite-tv-canada.36258/

    Reading the thread got me thinking and wondering how many others are using STARLINK ? How do you like it? Pros and cons? I’m aware it says it is not currently available (or intended) for mobile use. 95% of my issue is when the boat is parked at the marina. My boat is in a smaller town in Ketchikan, Alaska. Typical satellite service is not practical as we are too far north and the required dish size is too big to reasonably put on my boat. The local internet companies won’t offer service to boats. So I am currently using a cell based router with a SIM card. Wouldn’t be an issue if we had 5g or even 4g but our little town is way behind the times and cell speeds are very slow. So maybe STARLINK is my answer? Questions:

    1. Can you turn service on/off as needed? Our season is short and the boat sits on the hard in a building for 6 months of the year with no service required.
    2. Do these systems do OK with power shifts from shore to gen and back causing short power outage? Do you have to reset every time power shifts?
    3. How big is the cabling and cable ends from antenna to base? If I put the antenna on top of my hardtop I’ve got to run a cable into the bridge area.
    4. If I put the router in the flybridge console will it provide Wi-Fi coverage throughout my 54’ without an extender?
    5. If I get the option to move it around in locations maybe I can get coverage at my Marina and when anchored in bays and inlets when out on multi-day trips?
    6. What else am I missing here that I need to consider?

    Thanks in advance for all your input and knowledge sharing.
  2. Pascal

    Pascal Senior Member

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    I don’t have Starlink yet, not available in my zip code yet, but two easy answers

    We have back up UPSs on every electronic systems like routers, cell modems, direct Tv receivers etc. that solve question nr 2

    as to nr 4, I don’t see why a single router wouldn’t provide adequate coverage on a 50 footer.

    have you check their coverage / availability map to see if there is coverage where you are

    i ve seen a few reports in the last couple of weeks of dramatically improved coverage on some areas like the bahamas.
  3. ychtcptn

    ychtcptn Senior Member

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    All your questions can be answered on the FB page "starlink for boats.

    1. Can you turn service on/off as needed? Our season is short and the boat sits on the hard in a building for 6 months of the year with no service required. Yes, get the RV version. It can be used on a monthly basis
    2. Do these systems do OK with power shifts from shore to gen and back causing short power outage? Do you have to reset every time power shifts? It is dependent on A-C power, plug it into a UPS
    3. How big is the cabling and cable ends from antenna to base? If I put the antenna on top of my hardtop I’ve got to run a cable into the bridge area. Cabling is about the size of a coax cable, maybe a little bigger. The ends are quite large though
    4. If I put the router in the flybridge console will it provide Wi-Fi coverage throughout my 54’ without an extender? More than likely
    5. If I get the option to move it around in locations maybe I can get coverage at my Marina and when anchored in bays and inlets when out on multi-day trips? It will have service in the marina and at anchorage. When at anchorage it will have periods of short disconnect, as the antenna is moving while it re-acquires satellites. There is a hack to put it in a flat position and disable motors. This seems to help on a moving boat.
    6. What else am I missing here that I need to consider? Read through the FB group. Lots are using it on boats, moving, anchored and underway.

    I have one running for the past month in the marina, if you are planning on hooking it up to another router/pepwave etc., make sure you get the ethernet adaptor.

    I have heard of reports of it working sporadically in the Bahamas, which is supposed to come online in Q3 of this year. Coverage seems to be getting better by the day.

    It seems to shut off at 20 miles offshore and come back on at 40.

    This is going to be a game changer once they get the approval for use on boats, small cell companies in foreign countries are going to lose a lot of business. And the VSAT providers are going hurt really bad. We have KVH and are installing a Viasat unit. If KVH does not change their pricing model, they will gone, that is why we put Viasat on.

    This should be fun to watch!
  4. Slimshady

    Slimshady Senior Member

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    So we're getting starlink on new boat. New marine dish is better at following satellites but starlink isn't licensed for use while moving and Charlie (dish) is suing to stop it's use as such. My pilot has it on his boat and he's very pleased with it's performance.
  5. DOCKMASTER

    DOCKMASTER Senior Member

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    Thanks everyone. I’ll do a little more research but sounds like this is the way to go. My area is at the edge of coverage but I know people in town using it and they say it seems pretty reliable.
  6. MBevins

    MBevins Senior Member

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    I'm the info in the other thread, I have one on my boat, have for month, currently heading up Champlain to Quebec City.

    You recieved most of your answers. Yes get the RV version, turn on and off per month.

    A bad day of coverage is about 40-50 mps. A good day 150.
    There are methods to install, my router is currently just laying in my Ebox. I have an auxiliary 120vac recept. in there , boat has an inverter . Zero issues.

    There are ways to convert to 12vdc, ways to remove motors and install flat,
    For you it's probably a no brainer.
  7. Slimshady

    Slimshady Senior Member

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    Wait and get the marine antenna coming out shortly.
  8. MBevins

    MBevins Senior Member

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    Do you know something the rest of us don't know? Like when it's coming out.
  9. Slimshady

    Slimshady Senior Member

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    Check their website, I believe in about a month. Sailnet reported mid 2022 release.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2022
  10. DOCKMASTER

    DOCKMASTER Senior Member

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    What will the marine antenna do that the existing RV unit does not?
  11. Slimshady

    Slimshady Senior Member

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    Track better while moving. Rv unit will follow while going slow and straight but loses it after that.
    Don't know anyone with installation yet but will report back when I do.
  12. TahoeJohn

    TahoeJohn Member

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    Good information on this thread so far. The only thing I would add is that it's possible to get rid of the Starlink router and run the dish directly off DC. For our boat, I followed the directions from Ilker aboard SV Renaissance (google "Musings About Internet & Starlink"). I added the POE injector he lists plus a 24-to-48VDC converter, then connected Starlink's Ethernet directly into my existing on-board router. This would address any concerns about using AC power.

    I'll also add that I have the RV plan and that it's not great when in a congested cell. We're currently in the SF Bay and performance is pretty unacceptable -- browsing is nearly impossible, video streaming definitely impossible, streaming music is okay. As you've likely read so far, users with the RV plan are 3rd on the list of priority for bandwidth. That being said, I'm assuming that performance will return to stellar levels once we head up the coast and get out of this very crowded cell.
  13. Slimshady

    Slimshady Senior Member

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    Yes that's my understanding, each satellite is only able to move so much data, more users cuts your speed. You could upgrade to the $500 per month plan and skip everyone in line.
    With the new wifi booster the system can allow calls and data on cellphone from pretty far distance from boat.
  14. DOCKMASTER

    DOCKMASTER Senior Member

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    Well that would suck to pay for the service and not be able to get basic browsing or streaming. That’s worse than my slow poke cell based router now.
  15. MBevins

    MBevins Senior Member

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    Keep in mind he's talking about a very congested area, I suspect you won't have that issue where you are.
  16. TahoeJohn

    TahoeJohn Member

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    Correct. Starlink is very open about the performance of the RV plan in crowded areas.

    And as we all know, they are busy launching new satellites, 60 or so at a time. It's still early days of the program and will only improve over time as their ~2500 current constellation becomes 10,000+.
  17. MBevins

    MBevins Senior Member

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    For those of you truly interested, watch this video of a guy on a 43 Nordy in Seattle.

    tfbyrne2, Phillip Cohen and SteffenEB like this.
  18. Slimshady

    Slimshady Senior Member

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    Do any of you know the significance of dish's efforts to block starlink from using the service while moving. Will it stick in a court of law or are they desperately trying to keep what little market share they have left?
  19. Maxwell

    Maxwell Senior Member

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    He is a good friend and we were talking about this at dinner last week. He is very happy with how it’s working up in the PNW.
  20. DOCKMASTER

    DOCKMASTER Senior Member

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    This is looking more and more like another boat buck headed out of the wallet to get this and install. As suggested, I may wait for the marine version or at least see what it is going to be vs having to go through heroics to mount it.