Fast and reliable internet has long been a far-fetched dream for those living in rural and remote areas of this world.
Starlink, which launched back in November 2020, changed that for people all across the globe. The fact that it has quickly risen to over 2 million subscribers is just one example of its staying power.
In the following article, I will detail the 10 advantages that Starlink offers, ranging from higher speeds all the way to its flexible cancellation policy.
I want to point out that these advantages largely apply to Starlink versus traditional satellite internet providers. Options like fiber will, in the majority of cases, perform better.
1. Global Coverage
Starlink, at least in theory, offers global internet coverage, which is made possible by the thousands of satellites that roam low-Earth orbit (LEO).
The service eventually aims to deploy tens of thousands of those. Given the relatively short distance to earth, its satellites normally re-enter earth’s atmosphere after 5 to 6 years where they burn up almost completely.
By deploying thousands of satellites instead of just a few, terminals always have at least one satellite they can connect to.
Technically, Starlink can thus be used anywhere. In reality, the service is constrained by local governments as it requires regulatory approval to offer broadband internet services to consumers.
However, various users have reported that Starlink does indeed work in locations it isn’t licensed in yet. With that said, Starlink may cut you off at any given time should you use your system in an unlicensed location.
You can check where Starlink can be ordered and is thus licensed to operate on its availability map.
2. High Download & Upload Speeds
Its LEO constellation not only provides users with worldwide coverage but access to high download and upload speeds.
Starlink claims that it is able to offer download speeds of up to 220 Mbps while uploads can be as high as 50 Mbps.
I can personally attest to that being the case and regularly receive download speeds of more than 200 Mbps here in Germany.
Unfortunately, the promised high speeds aren’t delivered everywhere in the world. Users in North America have reported lower download speeds as adoption and thus network congestion increases.
Starlink expects to resolve those issues with the deployment of additional satellites and ground stations – both of which should provide more total bandwidth.
With that said, Starlink should still perform considerably faster than its competitors who are relying on geostationary satellites (e.g., HughesNet or ViaSat).
3. Low Latency
Traditional satellite internet providers, such as HughesNet or Viasat, rely on a few geostationary satellites that are located much further away from earth.
In fact, the distance of a geostationary satellite is around 35,786 km (~ 22,236 miles). Meanwhile, Starlink’s satellites roam earth at a distance of around 550 km (342 miles).
As a result, the round-trip data between the user’s terminal and satellite, commonly referred to as latency, is much higher.
Plus, Starlink’s newer Gen2 Mini sats also utilize inter-satellite links (ISL), which further reduces latency and increases coverage.
While Starlink is able to offer latency of 20 ms to 40 ms, geostationary satellite providers often reach more than 600 ms.
Consequently, activities, such as online gaming, video conferencing, streaming, and other high data rate experiences, are much more convenient.
4. Easy to Install
Starlink not only offers fast internet but also makes it super easy for users to set up the system. For once, your Starlink kit comes with a self-explanatory installation guide.
Furthermore, the Starlink app helps you to identify the most optimal position with which you can minimize obstructions and thus downtime.
Related: how to set up your Starlink kit
Starlink also sends you a free replacement should your hardware malfunction for any reason. But do expect to wait for a few weeks or sometimes even months to receive a substitute.
The easiness of self-installation may be a detriment to some subscribers as well. Business customers, for example, will have to contract a professional installer in case they have a more complex setup.
We at Starlink Insider run a dedicated directory of professional installers, which you can access here.
5. Ease Of Use
Not only is Starlink easy to set up but it is also very straightforward to use – all thanks to its dedicated mobile app.
For example, its router settings allow users to change the password, enable content filters, or reboot the router, among many other things.
Furthermore, Starlink provides subscribers with a variety of different statistics, which enable them to optimize downtime and performance (e.g., by minimizing obstructions).
6. Flexible Cancellation Policy
Another huge advantage of Starlink is the flexibility it offers when it comes to contractual obligations. First of all, Starlink can be tested free of charge for the first 30 days.
This means that subscribers only pay the hardware ($599 in the US) and monthly subscription fee (between $90 and $120 a month in the US) after the first full 30 days of using Starlink.
Related: Starlink's biggest disadvantages
Additionally, Starlink can be canceled free of charge and at any time after those 30 test days expire. However, subscribers won’t get a refund on the hardware fees.
This is where the third flexibility perk comes in. You can transfer ownership of the hardware to another user who then pays whatever you two agree on with regard to hardware pricing.
Lastly, you can also rent Starlink equipment in selected markets (mostly in Europe) without having to pay for the hardware.
Meanwhile, other satellite internet providers either lock you in for 12 or 24 months at a time or charge hefty cancellation fees, which are dependent on the outstanding number of days/months on your contract.
Starlink’s internet services can not only be accessed at your registered home address but also while on the go. Subscribers can opt into its RV plan (now called Roam) to access Starlink.
Additionally, Starlink has developed a dedicated dish that can be mounted onto a moving vehicle (but also costs more).
The regular dish can be used remotely, too, so long you have a power outlet to plug it into.
But customers on the Portability and Roam plans have to cope with lower speeds since bandwidth is prioritized for Business and Residential users.
With the introduction of Roam, Starlink users now even have the option to access their kit wherever there’s active service coverage.
Starlink’s mobility and global availability has been particularly useful in Ukraine where it helps the war-riddled country to fight off Russian attacks, among many other use cases.
8. Various Options
Consumers like you and me aren’t the only ones that can subscribe to Starlink. It offers a total of seven internet plans, three of which are aimed at business customers.
These plans are called Aviation, Business, and Maritime, respectively. For example, with Aviation, airlines and private jet operators can offer high-speed and low-latency internet to passengers
A similar option is available to cruise ships, vessels, and oil rigs with Maritime. Lastly, Business for any enterprise that’s located in a remote location.
The main difference from Starlink’s consumer plans, apart from the substantially higher cost, is that B2B customers will always receive prioritized network access and thus the best speeds available.
Moreover, as I’ve written in the respective articles about Aviation and Maritime, Starlink actually undercuts many of its existing competitors on price.
As such, B2B customers can save substantial amounts of money while also benefiting from considerably better speed and latency.
Maritime, in particular, has been a runaway success. For example, nearly 300 cruise ships are now equipped with Starlink gear.
9. Strong Community
Another advantage that has emerged due to Starlink’s rapid ascend is the community that has formed around the product.
While sites like ours try our best to keep you updated on all the new things that happen in the world of Starlink, there are also dozens of very engaged groups available at your disposal.
On Reddit, for example, over 180,000 people engage in what’s probably the biggest Starlink community out there.
Similarly, there are over a dozen Facebook groups, each aimed at a different use case such as boating, camping, or user demographic (e.g., Australian subscribers).
And while you’re at it: make sure to visit our dedicated Facebook group to stay up-to-date on all Starlink related news – we are growing rapidly!
10. Constant Improvements
The last advantage of Starlink is the continuous refinements of its hardware and software. With regards to software, we do track all of its firmware updates here.
Those software updates have added a variety of neat features in the past, ranging from a heat mode to being able to put your dish to sleep and thus lower power consumption.
Its satellites go through dozens of adjustments, too. The previously-mentioned V2 Mini satellites, for example, added ISLs to the mix.
The constant improvements are mission critical for not just Starlink but its parent company SpaceX, which plans to use the profits from its internet service to finance the development of rockets able to reach Mars.
Starlink represents a great improvement in terms of speed and latency, especially when comparing it to geostationary satellite internet services.
Some issues, such as slower speed in high-demand areas, still persist but will hopefully be worked out over time.