Is Starlink Internet Worth it? The Ultimate Guide for 2023

Starlink by SpaceX is the Low Earth Orbit Satellite Internet company created by Elon Musk. Like any Internet provider, if you subscribe to their service, you can communicate with the world via the Internet.

The difference compared to every other Internet provider, is Starlink expects to offer service worldwide… oh, and also Mars. This design allows for broader coverage and reduced latency, making high-speed internet accessible even in remote Canadian locations.

Are you buying for a business? Check out our in-depth article Is Starlink Right for a Business?

Starlink Internet is fast for any home. According to the speed test company Ookla, the median download speed in Q3 2021 was 87.25 Mbps. Upload speed had a median of 13.54 Mbps. The median latency was 44 milliseconds (ms). 

This would be classified as high-speed Internet.

As a comparison, this is significantly faster than DSL or traditional satellite Internet. In the same study, they found latency was 1/12th to 1/16th the value, which means 12x – 16x the speed on latency alone.

With the increased bandwidth, you are looking at nearly 100 times the speed and performance of traditional satellite.

So yes…Star link Internet is fast. 

Speed Test Results Across Canada

Canadians have reported varied but generally positive experiences with Starlink’s speeds. Speed tests conducted in different provinces show an average download speed ranging from 50 to 150 Mbps. These figures represent a massive improvement over traditional satellite services, which often hover around 10 to 30 Mbps.

For a Canadian, as of December 2023, Starlink offers various plans to cater to different needs. The most popular is the Residential Plan, priced at $140 monthly. This plan offers unlimited data with download speeds up to 150Mbps, making it a solid option for those in remote areas seeking faster internet service​​.

  • 1. Residential: Priced at $140 (CAD) a month, the Residential service provides connectivity at a fixed location, typically your home. However, the availability of this service is limited to certain areas.
  • 2. Starlink Roam (RV): Priced at $170 (CAD) a month, Starlink Roam is tailored explicitly to RVers and travelers. It allows users to take their internet service wherever they go, and the most significant advantage is that users can pause and resume the service as they wish.
  • 3. Starlink Mobility: Starting at $329 (CAD) a month, users are not bound to one place and can use on-the-go. This is a new option in the Starlink suite of products. 
  • 4. Starlink business: starting at $185v(CAD) per month. For more information, read our article (Insert)

Read are more about each plan by clicking the links above.

Standard Hardware Cost: The price for the standard Starlink hardware kit, which includes the dish and other necessary equipment, is currently on sale for $499, down from around $759 last month. Refurbished kits are also currently available in Canada for $250

If you don’t want to install it yourself, expect another $500-$1000 in installation costs. We could not find Canadian companies promoting a price, but this installation company in Australia mentions installs starting at $479. 

If you want to do it yourself, plenty of videos on YouTube give step-by-step instructions on the installation. Installation of Starlink is user-friendly, with most users able to set it up themselves.

Cable management, routing, and drilling a hole in your house may not be for everyone. 

Essential Components

  • Dish: The heart of the kit, nicknamed “Dishy McFlatface”.
  • Tripod: For stable dish placement.
  • Wi-Fi Router: To connect your devices wirelessly.
  • Power Supply and Cables: For necessary connections and power. The cable length is 100 ft, which should be adequate for most installs. The cable is a proprietary Starlink cable.

Installation Tips

  • Clear Sky View: Ensure the dish has an unobstructed sky view for optimal signal.
  • App Assistance: Use the Starlink app to find the best installation spot.
  • Elevation Consideration: Keep the dish away from ground-level obstructions.

Terminal Design and Features

  • Sleek and Durable: Designed to withstand diverse Canadian climates.
  • Automated Alignment: The dish automatically adjusts for the best signal.
  • User-Friendly Interface: The Starlink app provides real-time signal quality information.

You must purchase an ethernet adapter and additional equipment if you require a longer cable. 

As of 2023, Starlink offers two types of dishes: the rounded and the rectangular Starlink dish.

Standard Dish

The standard kit, priced at $499 (CAD), is more suited for residential use and offers the following features:

  • Good Weather Resistance: Rated IP54, it can also operate in a wide range of temperatures and has a 100-degree field of view for its antenna.
  • Sufficient for Standard Use: With a power consumption of 50-75 watts, it’s designed for regular home internet use.
  • Wi-Fi Connectivity: Includes a dual-band, mesh-enabled Wi-Fi 5 router, but requires an additional purchase for Ethernet connectivity.
  • Portability and Ease of Use: Lighter and smaller than the high-performance dish, it’s better for casual use, like camping or recreational activities.

High-Performance Dish

The high-performance dish, released to the public in early 2022, was initially part of a premium tier but has become more widely available. It’s priced at $3,170 (CAD), significantly higher than the standard kit, but offers several advanced features:

  • Improved Weather Resistance: Rated IP56, it can operate in temperatures ranging from -22°F to 122°F and has a 135-degree field of view for its electronic phased array antenna.
  • Higher Power and Performance: It consumes 110-150 watts of power and offers higher data throughput, making it better suited for business use, especially in demanding weather conditions.
  • Enhanced Connectivity: The kit includes a dual-band, mesh-enabled Wi-Fi 5 router and comes with an Ethernet cable for direct connections to personal routers.
  • Mounting and Accessories: While it shares similar mounting options with the standard kit, its cables are different, and it’s more suited for stationary, professional setups or use in harsh climates.
  • If you are a gamer, you can read this reddit post where the high-performance dish did make a difference for gaming.

Additionally, the FCC has approved a new mini Starlink dish, which is notably smaller, measuring about the size of an Apple MacBook. This version is designed to be highly portable and accessible, particularly useful for mobile or portable applications in rural and remote areas. The high-performance variant is also smaller than the current offering and is expected to provide improved fixed-user terminal capabilities.

Starlink availability is growing, and Elon Musk commented about it being globally available (except for the north and south poles) by the end of 2021. Based on (3rd party) satellite maps, the service does not extend everywhere yet.  It does show availability in all of Canada except the Great Lakes.

The Starlink Satellites do not communicate with each other yet, so they must communicate with a ground station and your dish to create a usable connection.

This issue leads to the limited geographic availability today, but we expect two upcoming changes. 

  1. Starlink will deploy a significant amount of new base stations around the world and/or
  2. The Satellites will begin communicating with each other. 

Both will likely occur, but based on the information we see, satellites will likely begin communicating if Musk expects the whole world to be serviceable very soon. This may result in higher latency in some regions for certain services. 

For example, if a home in Brazil wanted to access a local news feed, that traffic may take a long journey. According to the maps, the closest base station is in Chile. 

If we consider the example path of 4000km, the round trip latency, just to the Internet Gateway, is 47ms according to a free latency calculator tool. While this is still significantly better than Geostationary or Traditional Satellite, it will be about half as fast as expected throughput. 

The Internet is a network where latency and performance can’t be sure. If the server you are accessing is cached in a data center in Chile, the 47ms will feel normal and fast. If you need to reach a server back in Brazil, the performance may be degraded by the other local data networks it needs to traverse. 

Starlink requires an unobstructed view of the sky. The application can tell you if your balcony will work for receiving the service. 

Alternatively, if you are on the top floor/penthouse, you likely have a perfect sky view for a Starlink Internet service. 

Ideally, you could mount a Starlink satellite on the roof of an apartment building, but that will not likely happen for two main reasons. Owners of apartments like to keep roofs clean and will not let tenants drill holes in the roof. 

The second reason is cable length. There is a good chance you are further away than 100ft from the rooftop. Currently, there is not a simple method of extending the cable. 

Check out this Starlink review video where Starlink is tested on an apartment balcony. It’s not perfect, but it seems to work just fine. 

Do we have a whole article dedicated to Will Starlink Work in Apartments? Read here.

Comparing with Fiber-Optic Internet

  • Speed and Reliability: Starlink’s speeds are competitive with fiber-optic, especially in remote areas where fiber is unavailable.
  • Weather Impact: Starlink is more susceptible to weather-related disruptions than underground fiber-optic connections.

Advantages Of Traditional Satellite

  • Technological Superiority: Starlink uses advanced satellite technology with lower latency and higher speeds.
  • User Experience: These advancements translate into a significantly better user experience, especially regarding speed and connectivity reliability.

Suitability for Various User Needs

  • Urban Settings: In cities, fiber-optic might offer more stable speeds, but Starlink provides a viable alternative.
  • Remote Areas: Starlink excels in remote areas, offering high-speed internet where traditional services fall short.

Fiber-optic Internet service will always be faster if accessing local or regional servers. Fiber-optic Internet service is also more scalable in the medium term.

The math is simple: if your connection goes from your home to the nearby data center to access a server. With Fibre-optic Internet, Your traffic needs to travel 10km instead of 500km to reach the “edge” of the Internet, where it goes on to its destination. 

What is a Ground Station? 

A Starlink ground station is a location where satellites connect to the ground. SpaceX Starlink was not available everywhere early on because the satellites need to be connected to both the ground station and your home simultaneously to function.

From the ground station, they would have fiber-optic connectivity to the rest of the world, just as a mobility or cell tower would. 

The diagram below shows how this works with the three points of connectivity. 

Ground Station Sketch
Actual Ground Station – image thanks to

It’s expected the satellites will “talk” to each other in the future, which will make the satellite Internet service more accessible worldwide, as there will always be at least some satellites close to ground stations. 

The savvy reader would now realize individual satellites will become bottlenecks, if traffic is being consolidated through them they need much more throughput capacity. This is because they need the ability to support the neighbor’s satellite traffic as well as their own.

This math problem is why the world can’t sign up in these early days.

A SpaceX’s Starlink Terminal is the rectangular satellite internet dish subscribers use to connect to the Internet…and it’s named Dishy McFlatface. 

  1. Design and Components:
    • The Starlink Terminal includes a phased-array antenna, a flat, circular (in the initial versions) or rectangular (in later versions) dish.
    • The kit typically comes with a mounting tripod, a Wi-Fi router, and the necessary cables for setup.
  2. Phased-Array Antenna:
    • This technology allows the dish to electronically steer its beam to communicate with Starlink satellites without mechanical movement.
    • The antenna automatically aligns itself to the optimal position to communicate with the satellites overhead.
  3. Wi-Fi Router:
    • The terminal is connected to a supplied Wi-Fi router, which allows devices within the home or office to connect to the internet wirelessly.
    • The router supports Wi-Fi connectivity and, with an additional adapter, can also help wired Ethernet connections.
  4. Installation and Setup:
    • The Starlink Terminal is designed for easy user installation.
    • Users typically set up the dish outdoors with a clear sky view to avoid obstructions that could interfere with satellite signals.
  5. Performance:
    • The performance of the Starlink Terminal, in terms of internet speed and latency, can vary based on the location, the number of satellites in the constellation at any given time, and environmental factors.
    • Generally, it offers high-speed internet access with lower latency than traditional satellite internet, making it suitable for activities like streaming, gaming, and video conferencing.
  6. Power and Connectivity:
    • The terminal requires a power source to operate and uses Power over Ethernet (PoE) to connect to the router.
    • This setup simplifies cabling by combining power and data into a single cable.

Through the Starlink Store, users have various options for mounting the dish. You can mount on a pole, on a tower, on a roof (secured or tripod), and on a J-hook mount. 

Reviews of the reliability of Starlink as an Internet provider is constantly changing. With the launch of new satellites every month, you should think reliability is increasing, but as we mentioned earlier in the article, you still need more ground stations or inter-satellite communication to keep up with demand. 

Another factor that can alter your reliability is line-of-sight, or an unobstructed view of the sky.  If Dishy has a perfect view of the sky, you’re close to a base station, and you’re in an approved serving area, you may have near-perfect service. 

Users near urban Canadian centers, through our research and conversations, reported an entire month with no downtime in late 2021. This is much different from previous reports of multiple 5-10 minute outages daily. 

The jury is still out on the sustained reliability, but indicators point to the service becoming more reliable each year. 

Can I Plug in with Ethernet/LAN?

You can connect to Starlink using an Ethernet/LAN connection, though it requires an additional accessory known as the Starlink Ethernet Adapter. This adapter is necessary because the standard Starlink setup primarily focuses on Wi-Fi connectivity through the provided router.

  1. Starlink Ethernet Adapter: The Ethernet Adapter supports up to 1 Gbps for the LAN interface. It is designed to fit between the company’s dish cable and Wi-Fi router. The adapter has a single Ethernet port and two other connectors – one for the router and another for the cable from the dish​​.
  2. Adapter Connection Setup:
    • You will find two ports on the bottom of your Starlink router: one for the antenna and one for the power.
    • To connect the Ethernet Adapter, disconnect the smaller cable from the router.
    • Plug the adapter into the antenna port of the router. The antenna cable will then connect to the other side of the adapter.
    • Finally, use an Ethernet cable to connect from the adapter to your device or network​​.
  3. Cable Recommendations: It is recommended to use a CAT6 or CAT6A cable with a 23+ American Wire Gauge (AWG) for the connection. Starlink’s antenna/dish cable is essentially a CAT5e Ethernet cable that uses Power over Ethernet (PoE) to power the Starlink antenna​​.
  4. Compatibility and Functionality:
    • The Ethernet Adapter is compatible with both generations of Starlink terminals.
    • It allows for a wired connection to the terminal, providing an Ethernet port that the square-shaped dish antenna of the second-generation terminals lacks​​.
  5. Considerations for Third-Party Routers:
    • If you plan to use a third-party Wi-Fi router with Starlink, the Ethernet Adapter becomes crucial.
    • After connecting the adapter, you would be in a ‘dual-LAN’ situation, so you might need to adjust settings to disable the functionality of the Starlink router if you plan to use your router exclusively​​.
  6. Purchasing the Adapter: The Starlink Ethernet Adapter can be purchased separately from Starlink’s official website or authorized retailers. It is an additional cost to the standard Starlink kit.
  7. Benefits of Ethernet Connection:
    • A wired Ethernet connection can provide more stable and reliable internet connectivity, which is especially important for activities that require low latency or high bandwidth, like gaming or video conferencing.
    • It also allows for greater flexibility in networking setups, particularly for users who prefer or require a wired network infrastructure.

In summary, while Starlink’s standard offering focuses on Wi-Fi connectivity, the company can use an Ethernet/LAN connection by purchasing an Ethernet Adapter. This adapter enables a more versatile connection setup, catering to users with specific networking needs or preferences. 

How Does SpaceX launch Satellites into Space?

SpaceX, the company created by Elon Musk, is the method Starlink satellites launch into space. 

The SpaceX company has a service offering utilized by private companies and governments, which launch items into space for a fee. In 2022, It is expected to be approximately a 4 Billion dollar business. 

In 2021 alone, according to the SpaceX website, SpaceX deployed over 800 Starlink Satellites.

The reusable Falcon 9 rockets help make this possible. SpaceX is the first and only company to build a rocket that can repeat a launch from a stationary position on Earth. The company has also been developing the Starship rocket, with its orbital launch in 2023. Starship represents a significant advancement in SpaceX’s capabilities

As of December 2023, SpaceX had its 90th orbital launch of the year, indicating a remarkable increase in launch frequency compared to previous years. This launch included 23 Starlink satellites deployed into low-Earth orbit from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

How is this Different from Traditional Satellite Internet?

Traditional Satellite Internet is also called Geostationary Satellite Internet (GEO). This is often interchanged with Geosynchronous orbit satellites. For the sake of this article, we will be discussing Geosynchonous satellites, which seem to stay in one place all the time.GEO Internet uses a similar base station, satellite, and terminal system, but the satellite you connect to does not change.

A geostationary satellite circles the Earth at the same velocity as the Earth spinning. This speed can change relative to where the satellite is supposed to circle. The closer to the poles, the slower the satellite will go.

From an Internet speed and Starlink user’s perspective, service performance differences are based on latency and bandwidth. The latency of Starlink is consistently reported in the 50ms range, compared to traditional satellites at 600ms. That is a 12x faster connection related to the satellite’s lower orbit. Closer orbit means less distance for your data to travel.

The Starlink service is good, but is the customer service comparable? From reviews and Reddit groups, it’s clear that service is poor until you are a paying customer, then it’s just fine.

Wait times are reported to be years long to get a dish, and you won’t receive responses from customer service until you are a paying customer. You also won’t have a phone number to call.

Understandably, this would be the case when the company is trying to sell to the whole world; they cannot keep everyone happy nor speak every language at the call center.

From the reviews we’ve read in the research for this article, users report fairly positive support once they are paying customers.

Future Developments and Predictions

Satellite Network Expansion

  • Ongoing Launches: SpaceX’s continued launches are expected to enhance network coverage and reliability.
  • Global Reach: Plans to expand service to more remote and underserved areas.

Technological Advancements

  • Enhanced Speeds and Reliability: Ongoing improvements in technology to provide faster and more reliable service.
  • New Features: Potential introduction of new functionalities and service enhancements.

Impact on Canadian Internet Landscape

  • Market Dynamics: Starlink is poised to change the Canadian internet service market dynamics.
  • Increased Accessibility: Broadening the reach of high-speed internet, especially in rural areas.


After reading this, I hope you have all the information you need to make an informed decision about Starlink Internet. If the next step if for you to join the waiting list, we wish you luck!

Thanks for reading.

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Michael is the main author and Editor on the InternetAdvice blog. With a decade of experience under his belt, Michael stands at the forefront of the telecommunications industry. As a Senior Telecom Strategist, Michael has witnessed firsthand the rapid advancements in technology and has been an integral part of pioneering efforts in the adoption of cutting-edge telecom solutions across Canada.

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