Starlink may be many things - excellent satellite internet service with faster speeds and low latency - but when it comes to security, it's the same as any other service. Hence, the need for VPNs.
A Virtual Private Network helps users secure their digital adventures from the many interlopers and intruders waiting to profit from your naivety.
But does Starlink work with a VPN?
Starlink works well with VPN services such as ExpressVPN. To use a VPN on Starlink, install a VPN client service on your device, and enable it while connected to the Starlink network. However, you can't install VPNs on the Starlink Router (except Business Plan) since they lack a Public IP.
VPN on Starlink: Does it Work?
As with other internet services, Starlink, too, shares a similar modus operandi when it comes to VPN.
Not only can you use most VPN services on Starlink, but it does quite well.
When it comes to using a VPN with satellite internet services, the foremost issue most users experience is latency overshoots.
When you enable a VPN service, you establish a connection to the internet via a distant source (the VPN server). And so, latency tends to rise exponentially above the usual limit.
Unlike land-based services, Satellite internet services tend to fare disappointingly with latency.
And as you may know, when latency increases, buffering kicks in, download speeds start to fall off a cliff, and so on.
But not in the case of Starlink. Since Starlink satellites are concentrated in the Lower Earth Orbit, communication between the Dish and the satellites is very efficient.
And that's why latency is so very low on Starlink. Hence, we arrive at the conclusion that with better latency, using VPNs should not be a problem on Starlink.
Should You Use a VPN with Starlink?
In our current day and age, VPN services have become an indispensable part of the internet.
Users, both professional and private, have inculcated VPN services into their digital endeavors solely for the sake of security.
Even corporations that depend on the internet for their bread have mandated the use of VPNs for all their business ventures.
In the case of Starlink, it wouldn't hurt to supplement the security even further with VPNs.
Starlink is no different from other Satellite services when it comes to security.
Also, Starlink has instituted CGNAT instead of public IP-based NAT. Let's talk about that first!
Starlink Uses CGNAT Instead of Public IP
Carrier-Grade Network Address Translation (CGNAT) is a type of NAT by which the ISP allows a large chunk of its users to use a single IP address for identification and authentication.
Among the many limitations of CGNAT, one that begs the need for VPNs is that CGNAT thwarts access to several websites which otherwise work just fine.
CGNAT also causes issues for gamers as you can't host a server for gaming.
While CGNAT may be deemed primitive and obstructive for modern consumer-grade networking gadgets, it would be the ideal authentication protocol for satellite services.
Here's a table to let you understand the NAT situation on Starlink services:
|Service||NAT on offer|
|Starlink Business||Static/Public IP|
With the exception of Starlink Business, all other plans operate on CGNAT. Hence, you may not be able to access several websites and experience latency issues with most others.
With a VPN service, you get to tunnel your Starlink connection through a unique IP address, making all the websites you will ever want accessible.
Starlink Performance with VPN
Starlink Satellites are concentrated on the Lower Earth Orbits, meaning latency shouldn't be a problem most of the time.
If you have a deprioritized service, like the Starlink RV plan, latency, and speed can cripple under traffic.
And so, with all the other plans, using a VPN can be justified with the nominal difference in latency and speed hence experienced.
Here's a table explaining the same:
|Parameter||Without VPN||With VPN|
|Latency||20 - 60 ms||50 - 100 ms|
|Speed (Download)||100 - 250 Mbps||20 - 100 Mbps (variable, can exceed 100+)|
Unlike most other competing services like HughesNet or ViaSat, Starlink fares exceptionally well under VPNs. Comparatively, the latency of Starlink is quite stable even when connected to a remote server.
Network speeds may seem a bit affected, but that's a given with VPNs.
Overall, Starlink performs exceptionally well even under heavy tunneling.
Enhanced Security Aspects
Security is the key factor in question when talking about VPNs.
One of the vulnerabilities one could face while tinkering with the internet is compromising his/her personal information.
As you may know, the instant you enter the digital domain, your personal info is at risk of being compromised online.
Websites tend to store the info you share for their own gains. What follows is an onslaught of personalized ads and spam messages/emails.
One way to stop such atrocious acts is to shroud your identity online. A VPN should do just fine for this very purpose.
Once you enable a VPN on your Starlink network, you get to tunnel your internet access through a distant server and bypass the IP configs.
Some VPNs also offer enhanced encryption methods to further protect you from predators on the world wide web.
How to Add VPN to Starlink
Enabling a VPN on your Starlink network is quite simple. It's pretty much the same procedure as you would do with any other internet service.
But if you prefer to add the VPN service directly to your Starlink Router, you simply can't. The reason is the mode of authentication.
Since Starlink operates on CGNAT, the Router doesn't come with a public IP. Static/Public IP authentication is necessary for VPNs to work.
The only exception to this case is with a Starlink Business plan. Starlink Business adopts Public IP NAT instead of CGNAT.
With that said, here's how to use a VPN on the Starlink network:
1. Download and install a VPN service on your device.
2. Make sure the device is connected to the Starlink network.
3. Open the VPN app and accept the permissions. Follow the on-screen prompts to sign in/enable the service.
4. Select a region to which you would like to connect.
5. Enable the connection.
Now you have successfully connected to the internet via a VPN server.
Run a speed test to check the speed and latency of the network.
Perform the speed test from the Starlink app itself. From the home screen, tap on the Speed tile to do so.
Which VPN Should I Use With Starlink?
In a world where VPN services are a dime a dozen, choosing one that fits the bill could be tricky.
We recommend ExpressVPN for all intents and purposes.
Available on almost any device on the planet, it's hard to miss out on ExpressVPN on your device. And if you prefer to enable VPN on your Router, ExpressVPN got that covered too - Aircove.
ExpressVPN is a paid service. Here's how the pricing goes with ExpressVPN:
Apart from the usual security enhancements and networking features, here are some of the more advanced features on offer with ExpressVPN:
★AES-256 Encryption Standard: Claimed to be the best-in-class encryption standard by industry specialists and security experts alike, with AES-256 bit encryption, you're safe from any potential risk when surfing the web or downloading files.
★Connect to Servers in over 94 countries: with servers in over 94 countries across the globe, you can easily find the perfect connection for all your digital endeavors.
★Runs on Lightway protocol: ExpressVPN's proprietary Lighway protocol makes light use of bandwidth and helps maintain stable latency all the while you use it.
★Split Tunneling: VPN split tunneling directs traffic through VPN servers from some users, while others can access the network directly. By doing so, the traffic remains stable, and so does the latency.
★Network Lock Feature: ExpressVPN employs the Network Lock feature to halt online service in times of VPN connection drops and blackouts. Doing so thwarts websites and online services from accessing your info.
You can connect and use up to 5 devices simultaneously with ExpressVPN.
You also get an in-app speed testing application to test the servers before you can connect to them. The onboard threat manager blocks websites and services from accessing network trackers and info.
And there you have it, a comprehensive guide on everything you need to know about using VPNs on Starlink.
Online security may be the most crucial aspect of modern-day technology, and turning a blind eye to the same may land you in a marl pit of trouble.
A VPN may be considered rudimentary in terms of online security, but an effective one nonetheless.
With premium services like ExpressVPN, enabling and using VPNs on Starlink could never get any better.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
Can you use NordVPN with Starlink?
Yes, you can use NordVPN on Starlink. All you have to do is to install NordVPN on your device and enable it while connected to the Starlink network.
Does Starlink have an IP address?
Apart from the Starlink Business plan, all other plans, including Residential, don't support static/public IP protocols. Starlink relies on CGNAT for NAT.
How do you put Starlink in bypass mode?
Follow these steps to enable Bypass mode on your Starlink Router:
1. Open the app and select Settings.
2. Scroll down to Bypass mode.
3. Toggle on the Enable Bypass Mode option.
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