If you're considering getting Starlink internet, you need to be well informed of certain disadvantages that come with it.
Before you spend almost $600 dollars on Starlink hardware, read every one of them and see if Starlink makes sense for you.
Slow speeds during Peak hours with Starlink
Starlink speeds can drop drastically when the network is congested and this happens most often during peak hours (7 PM-11 PM).
This can be especially bad if you're a Starlink RV or Starlink best-effort customer.
During these peak hours, Starlink residential customers get priority access, giving them faster speeds and more reliable internet.
Starlink RV and Best effort customers get what Starlink calls basic access.
It works well during off-peak hours, but if there's too much traffic in your area, basic access speeds can be relatively bad.
The advertised download speeds for Starlink RV and Starlink's best effort is 5-50 Mbps.
|Starlink RV speeds|
|Download Speed||5-50 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||2-10 Mbps|
During peak hours you can expect speeds in the lower end of that range if you live in a network-congested area.
Network congestion is worst in low-capacity areas, composed of Mid-west and Southern states in the USA.
Poor Customer Support
One of the biggest issues with Starlink in the USA is its poor customer support.
Due to the huge volume of customers it has in the USA, Starlink's customer support team isn't large enough to deal with issues promptly.
Unlike other satellite internet providers like HughesNet and ViaSat, Starlink doesn't provide a customer support phone number/line.
The only way to contact Starlink customer support is to create a ticket in your Starlink portal after you become a customer of Starlink.
What's worse is that support tickets get responses after several days often, sometimes even weeks.
If you're faced with issues such as slow speeds or broken hardware your best bet is to create a support ticket and try to troubleshoot it yourself in the meantime.
Starlink's troubleshooting resources on its website are also not very detailed, leaving customers scrambling for help.
For business customers, Starlink does offer 24/7 priority customer support.
Overall, Starlink might be good at coming up with pathbreaking internet technology, it does very poorly in providing good customer support.
High Latency/Ping of Starlink
If you're someone who does serious online gaming or if you regularly need to do video calls for work, having a low latency/ping internet is crucial.
With Starlink residential, the advertised latency is between 25 and 50 ms.
|Download Speed||20-100 Mbps|
|Upload Speed||5-15 Mbps|
While this advertised latency is good enough for most gaming and video calling, latency with Starlink can sometimes worsen during peak hours.
As the latency worsens, you'll notice your game or video call lagging.
This is also why most customers feel Starlink isn't ready for competitive gaming yet.
Latency can also suffer during harsh weather conditions, such as rain.
Weather-Related Issues with Starlink
All kinds of satellite internet is affected by bad weather conditions and Starlink is no exception.
While Starlink performs better than other satellite internet services such as HughesNet and ViaSat during bad weather, heavy rains do have an effect on Starlink's internet speeds.
|Weather Condition||How Starlink Performs on Average|
|Rain||Heavy Rain Can Cause Brief Outages and Lower Speeds.|
|Snow||Heavy Wet Snow can cause issues. Dry fluffy snow is not a concern.|
|Fog||No effect on Starlink|
|Wind||No effect on Starlink. The dish needs to be secured though.|
|Temperature||No effect on Starlink. The dish is rated for an extreme range of temperatures.|
The amount of moisture in the air directly affects Starlink's ability to communicate with its satellite.
What this practically means is that if there are heavy rains, there can be brief outages and slower speeds.
Most users report at least 20% slower speeds on Starlink internet during rains.
Dish Setup is DIY Only
Starlink gives you the instructions and hardware you need to set up your Starlink internet yourself.
Almost every other internet service offers a setup service where a technician comes to your house to install it.
Well, not with Starlink. However, the relatively easy setup process makes things better.
Often you'll want to install the Starlink dish on your roof, so you'll need to get on top of it and fix it on a mount.
As a part of Starlink installation, you'll need to decide the right kind of mount to use with your Starlink.
There are several types of mounts available including J-mount, flashing mount, and tower mount among others.
You'll need to figure out the appropriate mount and accessories for installing your Starlink.
Expect no help from Starlink on this.
Also placing your Starlink dish appropriately is crucial for getting the full speed out of your Starlink internet.
Starlink is sensitive to Obstructions
Starlink needs an unobstructed line of sight for it to work well.
What this means is that you need to place it where there's a clear view of the sky, away from trees and shades.
This can be particularly difficult if you live in a heavily wooded area.
You might need to even invest in a tall tower setup to mount Starlink well.
Starlink is also sensitive to shades such as roof overhangs which means you cannot place the dish in locations such as under your gable.
Fortunately, Starlink app lets you check for obstructions and help place it optimally.
Starlink is Expensive
Starlink internet is not cheap. The hardware alone costs $599 for the basic dish and the monthly recurring fee is a minimum $90 for Starlink residential.
|Purchase Fee (Onetime) for Hardware||$599|
|Monthly Recurring Fee||$90 or $120 (low traffic regions)|
|Data Cap||1 TB|
With almost all other internet services, the hardware comes for free.
However, you need to return the hardware with other services whereas you're purchasing the hardware outright with Starlink.
The disadvantage to this is that you could be stuck with almost $600 hardware if you decide to cancel Starlink.
But you also have the option to sell your Starlink dish to someone else, albeit for a discount.
The monthly recurring fee of $90 is also relatively high if you compare it with other types of internet such as Verizon 5G or fiber internet which start at almost $50 a month.
However, Starlink is cheaper than other satellite services such as HughesNet and ViaSat considering its relatively high soft data cap (priority access) of 1 TB.
Limiting Data Caps of Starlink
With Starlink residential, you have a soft data cap of 1 TB.
What this means is that you get priority access data of 1 TB every month. If you exhaust this data, you only get basic access data for the rest of the billing cycle.
Basic access data isn't terrible but it gives you only lower priority during peak hours when there's network congestion.
This essentially gives you the same speed as Starlink RV or Starlink best-effort users who only get basic access at all times.
Starlink offers a reprieve in that your priority access data use is metered only between 7 AM-11 PM.
This means you can freely schedule large downloads and backups such as your iCloud and iPhoto during these non-peak unmetered hours (11 PM-7 AM).
You can also buy additional priority access data at $0.25 per GB.
The average US household consumes 536 GB of data every month according a study by Openvault in 2022.
But if you are a 3-person household that uses the internet heavily (e.g. stream 4k videos daily), your monthly consumption is likely to be close to 2 TB.
What this means is that in addition to the base $90/month recurring fee you'll have to pay $250 extra for 1 extra TB of priority access data.
Long Waiting List
If you're in the pre-buying stage, you should know that there's a huge waiting list for Starlink residential in certain parts of the USA (most mid-west and southern states).
There's no waitlist if you live in another part of the country or if you just want Starlink RV.
A lot of customers waited more than year after paying the booking deposit for Starlink residential only to be offered the best effort tier Starlink service.
The disadvantages with Starlink are plenty and it makes sense to get Starlink only if you live in an area where you have no fiber internet available.
However, it's still magnitudes better than other Satellite internet services such as HughesNet and ViaSat which are much slower than Starlink.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Is Starlink worth buying?
Starlink is worth buying if you live in a remote location where other faster types of internet such as fiber internet isn't available. Starlink is significantly better than other satellite internet options in terms of speeds and data offered.
Is Starlink Unreliable?
Starlink can be unreliable during heavy rains and severe weather events. Another situation where Starlink can be unreliable is during peak traffic hours when the network gets congested. This mostly affects Starlink RV and Starlink best-effort users. In most other situations, Starlink's internet is quite reliable.
Why is Starlink so laggy?
Starlink can be laggy if your Starlink dish is obstructed or there's severe network congestion. Lagging due to network congestion mostly affects Starlink RV and Starlink Best Effort users.