When working towards implementing a printer to my current Starlink network, I wondered if Starlink offers a static IP.
Assuming not a lot of users know about this, I got to writing this article that answers whether Starlink actually supports static IP.
Starlink business users get a static IP or publicly routable DHCP. However, Starlink Residential users do not get a Static IP. Starlink has officially stated that the feature might arrive as an add-on in the future. Only Starlink Business has built-in support for publicly routable DHCP or Static IP as of now.
Does Starlink Offer Static IP?
Starlink offers 'publicly routable DHCP' or static IP in short, only for Starlink Business users at the moment.
This can be a huge deal for business owners, as they constantly rely on communicating with multiple devices in the same network.
Having their IP address change periodically would prove to be disastrous while implementing such tight networks.
But some user reports on Reddit threads do state that despite having Static IP, Starlink Business connection tends to change if the MAC address changes.
Basically, if you upgrade your downstream router then the MAC address of your connection will change, resulting in a static IP change.
This might not be a huge deal, considering that businesses typically don't keep changing their downstream routers periodically.
But this implementation is something to consider nonetheless.
Why Does Starlink Residential Not Have Static IP?
Starlink has opted to assign IP addresses using Carrier Grade Network Address Translation (CGNAT) for their Residential plan, probably owing to IPv4 address exhaustion.
IPv4 exhaustion is an issue the internet is currently facing regarding the depletion of available IPv4 addresses.
There are so many devices using the internet that there aren't enough unique IPv4 addresses for Internet Service Providers (ISP) to utilize.
This effectively means that the carrier, in this case, Starlink, does the Network Address Translation (NAT) upstream instead of locally processing it.
This results in a case where you can't set up a port forward for one of your local devices like a printer or secondary router, as Starlink handles the inbound traffic.
This CGNAT is what effectively restricts Starlink Residential from having a Static IP.
Now, there are workarounds to this, as having CGNAT does not necessarily mean your IP cannot be static such as Static NAT and routing your IP via your router's primary address.
But they are experimental steps that either require proper permissions from Starlink, or sacrifice other benefits NAT-ing provides.
Static IP vs Dynamic IP
Static IP or Fixed IP, simply put, is an IP address that is fixed or doesn't change periodically.
This is different from a dynamic IP address, in that Static IP is manually configured.
Dynamic IP, on the other hand, uses a DHCP(Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol) server to periodically vary the IP address depending on new connections.
Dynamic IP is the default setting for most networks, as the DHCP server does all the grit work in assigning the network information for all devices connected to your network.
Static IP means you will need to manually set up network information for each and every device you connect.
Uses of Static IP
Now, having a static IP address can seem like a chore initially, as dynamic IP offers plenty of convenience at first glance.
But having a single IP address assigned to all devices connected to your network is beneficial if they are devices that constantly access the network.
This is precisely why a lot of businesses prefer using a static IP, and hence probably the reason why Starlink made sure to incorporate it into their Starlink Business plan.
That being said, there are select niche uses of static IP for regular users too:
- You can easily set up a home server that hosts a Virtual Private Network (VPN) or your files throughout your network if you have a Static IP.
Although having a static IP is not necessary for setting up a home server, it does make the whole setup process much more simple.
- Implementing a secondary router to your Starlink setup.
- Remote access to home computers.
- Connecting peripherals over the network such as printers and IP cameras.
But there are a few downsides as well if you assign static IP for your network:
- The network is technically easier to hack.
Since the IP address is fixed, hackers can potentially pinpoint your server location much faster than a dynamic IP.
- It is quite inconvenient during the initial setup phases if multiple devices are connected to the network.
Future of Static IP for Starlink Residential
Starlink hasn't explicitly stated that they won't bring over 'publicly routable DHCP' to their residential plans.
In fact, the FAQ section of their official website clearly states that they might bring over the functionality as an add-on in the future.
This 'add-on' might add a few extra bucks to your bill, but the fact that the idea is still on board is promising nonetheless.
Regarding when this add-on will be available for public use, Starlink is yet to provide a timeline for launch so we will just have to wait a bit.
Workarounds for Implementing Static IP
Now that all the facts have been laid out, it's time to move on to some experimental setups you can use to technically achieve the use of Static IP.
Although I personally wouldn't recommend the steps mentioned below, it is something that the growing Starlink community has resorted to for their personal use:
- Use a VPN for obtaining a static IP.
VPN providers like ExpressVPN and NordVPN have a feature that lets you allocate a static IP address for your connection.
This feature will let you route your internet traffic through your VPN IP, thus technically having a static IP for your network.
This implementation almost has no drawbacks, as you are getting a static IP and all you have to do is make sure you are connected via the VPN servers.
But a slight downside is that you might face minor drops in internet speeds depending on your server location and you will probably need to invest in a premium VPN plan.
- Host your own VPN using a Virtual Private Server (VPS).
This works very similarly to using a commercially available VPN for getting a Static IP, but it is much more safer and private, considering you are hosting the servers.
If you have privacy concerns regarding trusting third-party VPN services or find their plans absurdly priced in your region, then you can use this method.
Sure, you will need to invest quite a lot of money initially in equipment and subscribing to a VPS server online, but in the long run, this can prove to be beneficial.
Just make sure to set up your VPN server with Reverse NAT enabled, and you probably should be good to go.
But do note that this method also has most of the drawbacks of just simply using a third-party VPN service.
I hope my article on whether you can enable a fixed or static IP address for your Starlink connection has been a helpful read and has aided you with the same.
Have a good day!
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Does Starlink support IPv6?
Starlink currently only supports IPv4 but has said that they will add support for IPv6 in the future, with some users even testing the feature in some regions
Can Starlink forward inbound ports?
Since Starlink Residential uses CGNAT, ports that are inbound are unavailable. But forwarding inbound ports is possible for Starlink Business.
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