Welcome to the Official Starlink Service Review

Living out in the country where there’s no internet, we opted for the Starlink service so we could connect with the rest of the world.

On July 1, 2021, we gave Starlink a deposit of $129.00 to get in line. We were informed the service would be available sometime in September. Over two years, I want to say we got one, maybe two notes from Starlink regarding when the service would be in our area.

After waiting almost two years, on April 28, 2023, the Starlink kit showed up at our front door.

Obviously eager to test it out, I opened up the box, only to discover dirty finger prints all over it, the package had clearly already been opened. Upon further inspection, I discovered that the dish didn’t pivot; we would boot up the router and nothing would happen; status showed the motor was malfunctioning.

Obviously, this would be the reason the box was opened.

So, I went to the website to see about returning the Starlink unit we waited two years to get. What a nightmare.

Why I composed this Starlink review….

As we continue this Starlink Review, you can really get a good glimpse of just how weird Elon Musk is by going to the Starlink website.

There’s no RMA form, a search for “return defective kit” reveals nothing.

Apparently, Elon is so confident in the Starlink hardware that the thought of a single customer returning a defective kit didn’t cross his brilliant mind.

And then…there’s sending a support ticket to Starlink. What a joke. For those reading this who are trying to figure that out, hit the “thumbs down” icon on your FAQ of choice and you’ll get a support ticket form. There will be an automated message sent right away. Read it carefully, because you have to scroll down to the bottom of the message, click on View Support Request and then, respond to the note so you can get “back” in the Starlink support queue.

Only three galaxies to explore to contact the Starlink mothership…… :-|.

The only option to return the Starlink hardware – per instructions on the website – was to cancel our service. So that’s what I did. The service was scheduled to be cancelled on May 9th, 2023.

I have to make sure I use the keywords “Starlink Review” in the headers, sorry. It’s an SEO thing.

I should mention in this official Starlink Review the plethora of strange FAQ’s on the Starlink website.

Questions like “Why is my Starlink kit dirty?” and “Why are you cancelling?” Option: “I couldn’t reach Starlink Support.”

Apparently Starlink has composed an FAQ for all the shortcomings of the company, if you can call it that.

And the icing on the cake?

It appears that the website was updated “after” the support documentation was composed.

Starlink Support leans heavily on this FAQ content because they’re overwhelmed with support requests. So – aside from the fact that they’ve made it difficult and cryptic to send a ticket to support – the information that they send in response to a support query……is either outdated, erroneous, frustrating….or all three.

It truly is galactic insanity. Band-aids on the band-aids.

I have no words…..and for a voice talent, that’s unusual.

I hope you’re enjoying this Starlink Review. I am.

One has to look at the big picture here. It’s common knowledge that Elon is autistic; high functioning. As such, he – like many who have autism – lack social skills and are usually narcissistic to some degree.

As such, it’s all about Elon – not the customer.

It’s not a stretch to say he would consider customer service a problem and/or unnecessary expense; certainly not something that has tangible value. He wants money from the customer, yes. But that’s where the romance ends.

Safe to say he likely treats his employees the same way. A necessary evil he has to deal with, because nobody is smarter than Elon, right? Look no further than his (mis…?) management of Twitter for proof of that.

Put it all together and it’s hard not to conclude that Starlink customer service right across the board will continue to be a horrific nightmare of quantum proportions.

I had to cancel my service to return equipment, facing the circumstance of getting back in the “two-year” queue. I had to go to the “dark web” to find out how to submit a support ticket.

Really Elon? You can’t do better than that? Shame on you. Does this work at all?

We should include internet service in this Starlink Review.

The service itself? Well…..after about 10 failed attempts to get the thing to work, it suddenly came to life!

“Houston, we have liftoff….”

Day 1, the weather was crap. Heavy cloud cover, heavy rain – really ugly. I still hadn’t assessed obstructions (the unit takes 6 hours to compile obstruction data/results).

I got about 25 mbps down and 2-5 mbps up, with a latency of 51ms.

Now, the aforementioned was a test using a laptop with a WiFi connection to the router, so this would be a “real world” speedtest – how most people would connect to the service; wirelessly.

However, what you need to understand about WiFi is that there’s a HUGE loss in speed between the router and a device connecting wirelessly to the router.

It is for this reason that – if you “really” want the best speed Starlink can provide – you want to hardwire as much of your equipment as you can and that starts with the Starlink modem to your own router. The dongle to do this is $50.00 and I think worth it; if you’re paying $150.00 a month for the service, why not ensure you get the best speed possible?

Also consider that the Starlink router is comparable to other consumer-grade offerings with respect to performance. The first thing I do with any gateway router from an ISP is put it into bridge mode and use my own router….and Starlink is no different.

In my opinion, the Starlink router is average at best, with limited range and WiFi speed, in my experience.

Official Starlink Review – Setup and Mounting

Ideally, the unit will “engage” – ala Jean Luc Picard – then, the motor inside the dish will rotate and pivot to find the satellite. It will then start collecting obstruction data and spit out the result which takes 6 hours.

You can use the camera on your phone to check for location. Sitting on my deck, there was obstructions resulting in a calculated network interruption every 9 minutes.

Elon is all about making things look really cool, but that doesn’t translate to his designs being functional. The stand this thing comes with is 12″ X 22″ – a sizeable footprint. The mast has to be vertical, making your mounting/placement choices very limited.

For instance, if you’re going to put this up on your roof to avoid obstructions, you’d have to construct a platform to compensate for the pitch of your roof!

This would be the most simple, affordable mounting solution:

Starlink Review how to mount your Starlink mesh or dish

The mast fits perfectly into an old satellite dish mounting kit. The old kits have all the hardware, including the clamp you see here.

You don’t have to buy more product from Starlink if you need mounting options.

Consider that many are “cutting the cord” and streaming content; which is literally what I did here. I cut the cords from the old service going into the house, removed the dish and used the mounting mast.

The satellite service was $1800.00 a year with limited content. Streaming – $720.00 – basically unlimited content. Total no-brainer. Starlink has unlimited data and easily enough bandwidth for streaming.

Anybody living in the country has an old satellite dish. If not, go to a garage sale or ask a neighbor. You do need to put in a rubber shim around the clamp. I used the rubber material from the satellite dish kit; the weather cover for the coaxial connections. Just use a utility knife and cut what you need, or a couple of layers of duct tape around the mast will do the trick.

The bonus with this setup is, the satellite mast can flip down if you need to do maintenance.

Note: Take a picture of the bottom of your Starlink mast and/or note the serial number. Sometimes, Starlink will need that information (it’s not on the box).

Where you place/mount the dish is really critical. Cord lengths vary depending on your unit. Mine was 75 ft. so I mounted it close to the area where the router will be located inside.

Many people make the mistake in thinking that they cannot disconnect the cable from the mast, because Starlink ships the unit with the cord already connected to the mast. You can; you just need to yank on it pretty hard. It has the same USB connector as the end that goes into the router, only a much smaller profile to drill the hole into your house.

It should be noted here that the aforementioned instructions are not included in your kit.

The Starlink Review Saga Continues

OK….back to my cancelled account.

As mentioned, I cancelled my account with Starlink because it was the only way to return (what I thought was) defective hardware. Service was scheduled to be cancelled May 9th, 2023.

So I contacted Starlink support and asked to “cancel the cancellation.” They responded within 48 hours and informed me the re-activation was done.

May 9, 2023 rolls around about 10 days later and suddenly…..

“Houston, we have a problem…”

“No Active Account” error.

Starlink Support – again, within 48 hours – responds with erroneous, outdated and ultimately useless FAQ information that resolves nothing.

I provided them the serial number from the bottom of the mast they requested……and that’s where it has been left.

I’ve been ranting at them for 7 days…..even went so far as to send a note to starlinkresolutions@spacex.com in the off chance they’ll respond before support will.

We were on cell phone data for internet and the bills are getting larger by the day.

Starlink finally addresses the support ticket. They re-activated my account and I had no further error.

This all happened overnight while I was sleeping. Apparently, Starlink Support concluded that there was a problem with my router and they were sending me a new one.

There is – to this day – nothing wrong with the router, or the service for that matter. There never was a problem with the router, but there was a problem with Starlink admin/support.

My best guess is, when support looked into the account issue they didn’t review the support notes stating that I had set the router in bridge mode. FYI, You can’t reset the router out of that mode unless you physically plug and un-plug the router six times.

Or…..somebody at Starlink support had to cover their ass for the accounting/admin issue and threw the router under the bus so Elon wouldn’t fire them, which is probably closer to the real truth.

So, I got a new router I don’t need sitting in a box on the shelf….and no, I’m not going through support hell to send it back. Keep it for a spare, I guess. My thinking is that just hooking it up will trigger more lengthy account/service issues that I don’t want or need.

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