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Quandary - not living up to expectations


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We live in area with the only option being Viasat which has a well deserved negative reputation so I have waited 18 months for Starlink move me up the wait list to delivery. Set it up yesterday and zero obstructions on roof. Issue is the performance is no where near the promised or hoped for and in the last 18 months Viasat has improved even on CS and Starlink with it's very limited CS and has raised prices. Starlink is running just slightly better speeds at generally 50 mbps versus Viasat running 30-45 mbps. Latency is similar. Starlink has shown no outages in the 24 hours and the pricing is about the same between the two except I just paid a hefty upfront cost for equipment and roof mounts. I have the 30 days to refund soooooo 1) can I or should I expect Starlink to get better? 2) How long can I expect Starlink equipment to last? 3) If Starlink satellite stops working how soon and what is cost to replace as my experience with Viasat on replacing has been a case of a few days? 4) Given my choices is it best to stay with the familiar flawed system or the one that seems over hyped for my area?

 

 

 

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Starlink is still developing network aspects and increasing satellite constellation numbers to increase capacity. Give the service sometime. Some users experience a not so ideal service whilst the majority receives 99%-100% service. Hang in there, don't give up - It will be worth the wait 🙂

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 6/24/2022 at 6:26 AM, Thisismelinda said:

We live in area with the only option being Viasat which has a well deserved negative reputation so I have waited 18 months for Starlink move me up the wait list to delivery. Set it up yesterday and zero obstructions on roof. Issue is the performance is no where near the promised or hoped for and in the last 18 months Viasat has improved even on CS and Starlink with it's very limited CS and has raised prices. Starlink is running just slightly better speeds at generally 50 mbps versus Viasat running 30-45 mbps. Latency is similar. Starlink has shown no outages in the 24 hours and the pricing is about the same between the two except I just paid a hefty upfront cost for equipment and roof mounts. I have the 30 days to refund soooooo 1) can I or should I expect Starlink to get better? 2) How long can I expect Starlink equipment to last? 3) If Starlink satellite stops working how soon and what is cost to replace as my experience with Viasat on replacing has been a case of a few days? 4) Given my choices is it best to stay with the familiar flawed system or the one that seems over hyped for my area?

I was offered service in April 2022. I'd been waiting over a year. So, I jumped in with both feet -- in the deep end of the pool wearing concrete shoes. I cancelled the WISP that I'd had for 4 years. Their transmission speeds and frequent, major outages were, I thought, unacceptable. In switching, I spent about $800 on a Starlink Kit, Ethernet adapter and two additional mesh routers. 

For the first two weeks, service was as expected with speeds in the range of 70-80Mbps down and 10-15Mbps up. Awesome! Then, at the end of May, everything changed. Since then, my download speeds have drop to 5-10Mbps. Surprisingly, upload speeds are still in the 10-15Mbps range most days.

I have performed many speed tests with the app from both my iPhone and from the browser on two different computers. It always reports download speeds around 100-200Mbps from the router to the Internet and speeds around 300-400Mbps from the iPhone to my router.

However, I cannot reproduce these numbers using any other speed test tool (e.g., Oookla Speedtest). I've tried running these tests from my iPhone over WiFi and from two different Macs -- a 2020 Mac Mini w/6-core Intel I-7 that is connected via Cat 6 to the ethernet port and a 2021 Macbook Pro 16 w/8-core Intel I-9 that is connected via 5GHz WiFi to the main router that is 6 feet away. All of them report download speeds of 5-10Mbps download speed.

On 5/25/22, I opened a ticket with Starlink. I got the usual, automatic response the same day... troubleshoot, etc. I did what was requested and reported back. On 5/27/22, I got a message saying "everything is normal with our connection, we are closing your ticket." I was livid. Nothing had changed. On 6/6/22 to reopen the ticket because I just couldn't stand fo the poor quality of service any longer. Despite multiple posts on that ticket, I got no response until 6/16 -- more than a week later and 22 days after my initial report. The response? "We're sending you a replacement router and cable. It took 10 days to get the cable and 2 weeks to get the refurbished router. 

I replaced the router immediately and then watching things for a week. Initially, it seems their might be a small improvement, but after a week, things were status quo. So, I replaced the cable, too. I don't get up on the roof -- where dishy is mounted -- any more. So, I called a handy man and paid him to change the cable for me. That was two weeks ago. Still, no change.

On 7/11/22, I opened a second ticket. After posting to that ticket multiple times per day with speed test reports, etc., I got a response on 7/15/22 apologizing for the delay and stating that the customer base has grown so quickly that support can't keep up... REALLY?!?!? Oh, and I was asked "Could you send pictures of your installation?" No instructions on what they wanted pictures of other than "my installation".  I was so furious, I didn't respond until 7/20/22, asking then for clarification of the request. Getting pictures of the antenna and cable route will require calling the handyman again. 

I'm starting to think this was a very bad and costly decision. Maybe I should just go back to my WISP. I could pick up the phone and text or call the owners of the company and they always responded to me. Starlink's support is impossible to reach. Try finding ANY way to contact them other than the Support tickets in the app... there are no phone numbers published for Starlink or SpaceX. No email addresses. I don't do Twitter, but maybe I should open an account so that I can tweet Elon and ask what's going on..

Color me red for furious...

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22 hours ago, RIcochet said:

Oh, and for the record, I've done the factory reset numerous times through all of this as well as stowing the antenna and powering off for 30+ minutes... with no resulting changes...

Been through more or less the same things, slower than expected speeds,  email  starlink, wait a week, get a message obstructions may be a factor,  spend a couple hundred more to relocate the dish, no  obstructions, no change in performance, if anything, slightly poorer.  Email again,  wait a week, get a response send us a picture of the dish (WHY?),  and latest is unplug the ethernet adaptor try again.   I kinda suspect there is an issue with this new wireless only router that requires the ethernet adaptor to hook in any wired connections one may need,  but I think clearly increasing network congestion is the major factor, as speeds are much better early in the day and goes downhill as the day goes on.   One other check I have to run, and that is disconnect everything that is connected to the router  and do multiple speed tests one device only connected.    Not long ago I was getting speeds 60-180, every test way different, with an average in the high 80s, now  the average running 40-60. Uploads all over the map too, 5-15 typical

Compared to the DSL we had ,  correction , still have,  this is still a major improvement over 6-8 down and 0.5 up.  Its also its been up pretty continuously,   my DSL goes out every couple of weeks.   Web browsing at starlink is not that much different from  DSL.  Where we notice the improvement is  a once in awhile intermittent streaming service buffering problem we had is gone, and  pushing work out of here over 5 megs  is alot easier, and  accessing remotely our security cameras is alot better. 

For that we pay  an extra $110 a month and the question is, is it good value?.    I call it extra because with the email only long delays reaching customer service, I am not ready to cut the $50 a month bill to the DSL provider.  When the DSL goes out, even on weekends, it takes a phone call and 15 minutes of voice prompt hell to get it back up.  If Starlink goes down and the only way to connect to them is through the internet and the app,  what do you do with no internet, and then they take a week to get back to you?  Dont even get a cell signal here.

  Over the years I have had several satellite providers, all  promised x, all delivered 50% of x. The old sat tech was delivered at best 1.5 mbs, and I see today you can get 30+ mbs., but still with  the dreaded datacaps, which was the end of it for us, was so happy when DSL came.  At least Starlink does not have data caps. Maybe as Starlink puts more satellites in orbit, maybe as the customer base increases they will improve customer service,  more ground stations or whatever goes in,  and it will improve.

So bottom line, for now,  we will keep it on, but I consider it month to month.   If next month the speeds degrade further, I will probably pull the plug.

 

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 No I did not want to lose access to the data and app functionality.  To the ethernet adaptor I have a router connected that has been put in switch or access  point mode. 8 can run  speed tests connected to the starkink router or through the switch and adaptor and if  I find the sl router speed is way faster than the adaptor and switch.

 

 

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On 7/23/2022 at 7:02 AM, DirecPC said:

...now  the average running 40-60. Uploads all over the map too, 5-15 typical

I'd love to have 40-60Mbps download. I'm getting 5-10, sometimes 15, occasionally more, but very seldom. Weird thing is my upload speeds are typically 2-10Mbps faster than my download speeds... go figger, right?

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2 hours ago, RIcochet said:

I'd love to have 40-60Mbps download. I'm getting 5-10, sometimes 15, occasionally more, but very seldom. Weird thing is my upload speeds are typically 2-10Mbps faster than my download speeds... go figger, right?

Working from home I have had a chance to do alot of tests and track the results  I found with Starlink the speeds vary so much from test to test one or two tests dont mean much its the aggregate average speed you get.   What I found is the average goes down during the day. And it is weird uploads are sometimes faster than downloads.

On the customer service front, shared my data with SL and they have been much better getting back to me within a couple of hours.  Based on the data i sent them,they are sending out a new router and adapter.   I get the impression from this forum and reddit that is not unusual.

Here is yesterdays average DL speeds , sub 40 is when I am getting as the days goes on:

10-12 84.9
12-2 80.6
2-4

28

 

 

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21 hours ago, DirecPC said:

Working from home I have had a chance to do alot of tests and track the results  I found with Starlink the speeds vary so much from test to test one or two tests dont mean much its the aggregate average speed you get.   What I found is the average goes down during the day. And it is weird uploads are sometimes faster than downloads.

On the customer service front, shared my data with SL and they have been much better getting back to me within a couple of hours.  Based on the data i sent them,they are sending out a new router and adapter.   I get the impression from this forum and reddit that is not unusual.

Here is yesterdays average DL speeds , sub 40 is when I am getting as the days goes on:

10-12 84.9
12-2 80.6
2-4

28

 

 

FWIW, My average speeds going back to the end of May are... 5-15Mbps. Over and over and over again. I have a daemon running on a Linux box on my network that tests twice an hour. I had another utility running on my MBP testing twice an hour (at different times than the Linux box). Guess what? All are around 5-15Mbps, though, in truth, many times it is less than 1Mbps. So, as I've maintained all along, I'm seeing 5-10% of the speeds that most people are regularly reporting.

As for encouraging better response times from SL support, I've sent them my speed test histories back to the end of APril when this all started. They still take a week to respond. I've tried pinging tickets every day to see if that helps... it still takes a week.

I have had a couple of anomalies in the last few days. Sunday, Ookla Speedtest reported first 120Mbps and then 200Mbps(!) from my iPhone 13. Then, I couldn't reproduce the result on any other device... or again on my iPhone. What happened? Where did that download speed go?

On Monday morning, I downloaded the macOS 12.5 update -- a 2.7Gb image on my MBP. For 15 minutes at the start of that download, I was getting 35-70Mbps download speed. Then, suddenly, the speed dropped to less than 1Mbps where it remained for the two hours it took to download the last 25% of the image.

So, what's going on here? I don't have a clue. I know that with the WISP I had before Starlink, I could regularly reach 30-50Mbps download speed across numerous devices... when they weren't down. The slow speeds I'm experiencing with SL are also manifested on multiple devices (as are the "anomalies"). So, I'll postulate -- with great confidence -- that the issue(s) here are not on my devices. What's different? The (W)ISP and the WiFI router.

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While waiting for the new router and adaptor to get here,   am noticing some different behavior on the speed tests with Ookla.  It will start out fast then increase speed with the meter showing fluctuating digits then,  it will stop at a certain speed, no change in digits for awhile,  then the speed drops way back and then slowly ramps up again, but never faster than it started out.   Run the speed test through the dish app,  it shows less of a  level halt, but  you can kinda see how it can ramp up, drop back, and the come back

Now this is the AM and Starlink for me has been consistently better in the AM than later in the day, and I sometimes get over 150 once in a while in the AM.   This AM  I think  74/10 is OK.   I heard this was marketed at up to 200,  but I also see the target service level for non commercial accounts is 50 down and 10 up.   That is quite an improvement over my DSL.  Still wondering if its $110 more. Two nights ago, lost service for about 45 minutes, still had DSL and not sure I can pull the plug on that yet.

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Last Thursday, I opened the box on a new MBP 16 M1 Max... oh... yeah... OK, sorry. Distracted.

On Thursday evening, I started the update from macOS 12.3 to macOS 12.5 on the new MBP... surprisingly, for the first 80% of that download, I got 35-70Mbps download speeds. Then, after 15 minutes, the speed chart looks like the Cliffs of Dover -- straight down to less than 1 Mbps where the speed remained for the remaining 2 hours it took to complete the download. Hope springs eternal only to be dashed upon the rocks of despair.

I've been pinging my ticket on SL Support every couple of days. I got another reply on Friday. I'm told they've escalated my issue to network engineering for which I thanked Andrew, the support engineer. Of course, I first raised these issues with SL Support in the last week of May. So, after two months, in the last week of July, they decide that they should look into this. Oy-vey!

The good news is that they provided me with a courtesy credit of one month's service fees as compensation... and that network engineering is now (supposedly) looking at the issues I've been experiencing.

We'll see what happens...

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  • 2 weeks later...

Once in a while my numbers run that low but it's rare. Still have typical early AM speeds 80 to 120, which degrades to 20 to 40 by late afternoon  and is also when I might see less than 10. Numbers vary wildly each test.  Starlink last month said they were shipping me a new router but never did. Each time I check the account they roll the expected ship date forward.    

Some odd behavior.  Storms don't bother it much, we can lose sat tv and star link usually stays up. But when it doesn't we notice it does not always recover when conditions abate. Have to reboot it.  Lately in the evening we notice in the status log we get a ton of network issues. Doesn't seem to effect performance much though. 

Still keep my DSL,  so I am paying 160 a month for internet.  Overall, starlink has reliably delivered way better service than the DSL but the two major strikes against it are we are not getting the 100 to 200 mbs speeds it was sold to deliver except like 8 AM,  and is well below that as the day goes on; and lack of readily accessible responsive customer service.   

It's causing me to have another look at other alternatives for backup.  One thing I discovered was it's not the case that I don't have a cell signal at all its just very weak. Been taking decibel measurements around the yard and up on the roof .  Been talking with signal boost vendors and found I have enough signal I could boost it and get 4g speeds, maybe.  It would not be a replacement for starlink but it would be a possible backup to replace the DSL via Hotspot  which I get with my cell plan. Or if starlink degrades to sub 4g  just get a cell router and pull the plug on starlink.

I hope it doesn't come to that, starlink is launching more satellites but it's got to Improve customer service 

 

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It's been three weeks since my post above. Starlink support asked me to (a) my mesh routers; (b) connect directly to the main router via ethernet -- thank goodness I already had the Ethernet port; and (c) run several speed tests outside of prime time hours, preferably in the very early morning. 
 

I did as they asked. At 4:30am MDT on Monday, August 21, 2022, I unplugged my two additional mesh routers. Then, I ran two Ookla speed tests hard-wired to the main router, switched to WiFi for two more speed tests, and then back to hardwired again for the last two speed test. Here's what I saw. 

  • At this time of day, my speed tests were 130-150Mbps. Great! Now, how do I get those speeds during regular working hours... or during the evening hours? That's the $64K question...
  • The up/download speeds reported while hard-wired to the router were 15-20% faster than the speeds reported using WiFi.
  • When I exported the Ookla Speedtest results to a .CSV file, I couldn't upload it to the ticket. I kept getting an error stating the file was too big. It is 3K. I fixed this by renaming the file from `*.csv` to `.txt`. Then I was able to upload it...

Now, we wait. I'm averaging a response from the support team ("Andrew") about once a week. He admits that they are overwhelmed with support requests. That doesn't surprise me given the reports we're seeing online of (a) people with service who are experiencing poor connectivity and/or diminished speeds and (b) people who's paid for and received their equipment, but can't get connected due to their account not being associated with their email address and/or phone number.

Lately, most days, I figure Elon Musk is throwing money down a hole with Starlink. Surely, they can't have misjudged the needs of their business so badly. Starlink's capabilities are an integral part of theSpaceX plan to launch more rockets -- the the moon and eventually to Mars. Have they put so many resources into this aspect of their roadmap that they cannot support their customers who have spent $500-1,000USD to connect to Starlink and $110USD/month for service?

Aye-yai-yai! 

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Well for sure, if you have no other options,  wait and see what happens is the tack to take.  I waited 18 months on a waiting list to get this, like most of us did, and now its here. Patience was rewarded,  good thing I waited and not asked for my $99 back.  Now that its here, however,   I am seeing  a steady degradation in performance. When we first hoisted it aloft, early am was consistently hitting over 100 mbs, now its consistently hitting 40-60 mbs.  Still way better than my DSL, but  seeing performance drop by nearly a half in  almost two months does not bode well for the future, one wonders what it will be  like two months from now?  Is 20 mbs off peak, 1.5 mbs  peak in October the future? .  

However,  one can appreciate this is a new industry, a new technology, it has growing pains. The big problem the other sat providers who promised x and never delivered more than 0.5*X I have used had was not enough bandwidth from not enough satellites.  Starlink is clearly working on  getting more satellites aloft.  

They are also working on getting more customers and more people online now that are still waiting for their unit.  According to pcmag,    they are going to bring more people into already full cells or zones or whatever they call them and they will get "Best Effort" service, meaning degraded, depriortized service over  existing "residential" customers.   Also did I mention they are going to help TMobile out with their dead zones.  Those of us residential customers  already seeing degraded, deprioritized service who signed  up before "Best Effort" are wondering what this means.  If there is any good news to look forward to, PCmag says " people may have to wait until “mid-2023” before SpaceX has enough capacity to offer them standard residential Starlink service, which can receive download speeds between 50Mbps and 200Mbps".   So perhaps next year it will be improved.

https://www.pcmag.com/news/spacexs-starlink-tackles-pre-order-backlog-with-best-effort-tier

 

 

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On 8/26/2022 at 8:45 AM, DirecPC said:

They are also working on getting more customers and more people online now that are still waiting for their unit.  According to pcmag,    they are going to bring more people into already full cells or zones or whatever they call them and they will get "Best Effort" service, meaning degraded, depriortized service over  existing "residential" customers.   Also did I mention they are going to help TMobile out with their dead zones.  Those of us residential customers  already seeing degraded, deprioritized service who signed  up before "Best Effort" are wondering what this means.  If there is any good news to look forward to, PCmag says " people may have to wait until “mid-2023” before SpaceX has enough capacity to offer them standard residential Starlink service, which can receive download speeds between 50Mbps and 200Mbps".   So perhaps next year it will be improved.

https://www.pcmag.com/news/spacexs-starlink-tackles-pre-order-backlog-with-best-effort-tier

This makes no sense to me...

I am a Residential Customer (since May of this year) and I am mostly seeing download speeds UNDER 20Mbps. To me, ti seems like I already have "Best Effort" service.

I have had a support ticket open for more than 7 weeks now (since 7-11-2022) with no resolution and no real answers. They keeps asking me to try this or that test that only prove that, under ideal conditions, Starlink can hit their advertised rates of 50-200Mbps. 

Of course, those results can only be achieved during the wee hours of the morning with a device hard-wired to the router via the Ethernet connector. By midday, using 5GHz WiFi with my Starlink mesh routers enabled, I'm down to 3-5Mbps. During the evenings, it's all we can do to stream 4k video from Netflix/AppleTV+/Prime and using a web site like eBay to make updates is erratic.

I am really tired of constantly having web pages fail to load completely and having to refresh the browser one or more times to get the page to load.

To compound things, I have been told by at least one support engineer that they are overwhelmed and understaffed. There just aren't enough support personnel to address customer requests... 

I just read FCC Cancels $886 Million in Funding for SpaceX's Starlink. I wonder if they are trying to make up this revenue shortfall by bringing on more paying customers. This will, of course, worsen both the support staffing issue and the service degradation we are seeing.

Maybe this explains the addition of "Best Efforts" plans...

Edited by RIcochet
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