Starlink Standard Kit Gen 3 Router review
Image: Starlink.

Starlink Standard Kit review: connect from anywhere

8.4

Eighteen months ago, I started to write about Starlink. At the time, Australia did not have full coverage (it did a month later), and there were 2,400 satellites in orbit. As of April 2024, there are now 5,800 operational Starlink satellites. One month ago, I purchased one of the first Starlink Standard Kits with the Gen 3 Router available in Australia. This review is based on testing the latest Starlink Standard Kit after a month on the road in remote Australia.

Starlink Standard Kit review

What is Starlink? 

Starlink is a side project by SpaceX, an Elon Musk company that makes rockets and satellites. These low-orbit satellites are designed to beam an internet signal down to people on Earth, kind of like a giant constellation of Wi-Fi hotspots in the sky.

The idea is to provide internet access to places that don’t have it yet or where the internet is slow and unreliable. This could be people living in rural areas, in the mountains, or even at sea on boats. Starlink could also be an option for people who are unhappy with their current internet provider.

Starlink is still under development, but thousands of Starlink satellites orbit Earth, and 2.7 million people use the Starlink service. It is revolutionising access to the internet from anywhere with a view of the sky and has many more developments to come.

Starlink uses smaller, lighter, lower-cost satellites that have been launched up to 50 at a time by one SpaceX rocket. These satellites communicate with your Starlink dish and relay internet traffic back to Earth stations scattered around the globe.

Why would I need Starlink? 

A friend of mine was frustrated by the lack of internet access as he travelled the Nullarbor Plain in his caravan and stopped at the first opportunity to purchase a Starlink router.

The NBN offers a satellite service and guarantees a broadband service to every Australian home. So why would I buy Starlink?

NBN solutions are only available to homes, and if you are on a boat or touring Australia, you have traditionally had to rely on mobile broadband when you could get it or install a very expensive solution.

NBN in-home solutions for remote customers are either wireless or satellite solutions. Both of these can suffer from slow speeds and, in some cases, poor connectivity.

Starlink V4 dish
Starlink V4 dish. Image: Angus Jones.

Along comes Starlink, and you can now access speeds of up to 400MB/s versus the standard big city 50MB/s standard (eight times faster). This is a real revolution for the bush. This fast speed is made possible by having lots of satellites with the latest technology that are much closer to Earth than traditional communication satellites. 

The hardware is designed as DIY, and you can be operational in less than 30 minutes.

How much does it cost? 

In Australia, Starlink can be bought directly from Starlink online, but it is just as easy to pick up a unit (hardware) at Bunnings, Harvey Norman, JB HiFi, Office Works, etc. 

The service is through Starlink with a monthly fee, but Telstra has also started offering it as a residential solution. Starlink is easy to buy and set up as a service in Australia. 

Types of Starlink products

Standard (Home): A fixed location that will not be moved.

  • Standard hardware: $599.
  • Monthly access: $139 with unlimited data and the best available speed. 

Telstra Home: Fixed residential address with data speed restrictions available from Telstra.

  • Standard hardware: $599.
  • Monthly: $129 with unlimited data capped at 50Mbps download speed.

Mobile (Roam): Designed for travellers who connect from different locations, e.g. RV use.

  • Standard Hardware: $599.
  • Monthly Australia: $174 unlimited data for use anywhere in Australia (vehicle cannot exceed 16km/hr) *I used this plan for this review.
  • Monthly Global: $300 unlimited data for use anywhere in the world.

Mobile Priority: It can be used on a boat and in a moving vehicle anywhere in the world. Data speed is provided as a priority of standard plans. You can also add Mobile Priority temporarily via the Starlink app for $3.19 per gigabyte.

  • Flat high-performance hardware: $3,740.
  • 50GB data: $374.
  • 1TB: $1,486. 
  • 5TB: $7,433.

Plans can be suspended after the subscription’s current month finishes to allow travellers to switch the service on and off when not needed.

Separate business plans are also available and include aviation solutions.

What’s included with the Starlink Standard kit? 

The Starlink Gen 3 Router comes as part of the Standard kit, which is the mainstream hardware solution to enable high-speed broadband anywhere in the world via satellite.

The box contains a square satellite dish with an attached pop-up stand, a mesh router, and a power supply. 

The dish can be purchased with several mounting accessories or simply placed on the ground. Mounting accessories include a pole adapter and various roof mounts. The dish is square and, once installed, does not need to be moved. It is designed to withstand sun, rain, and winds up to 96kph. If you live in the Snowies, an ice/snow melt feature can be activated. 

Rear of Starlink Gen 3 router
Rear of Starlink Gen 3 Router. Image: Angus Jones.

The included Starlink Gen 3 Router supports Wi-Fi 6, has a range of just under 300 square metres, and has two Ethernet ports to attach a printer or even your own router. The router supports up to 236 devices (smartphones, PCs, Wi-Fi cameras, etc), which is plenty for home or away. Two additional mesh nodes can be added to increase the coverage area. 

The dish (antenna) cable is 15 metres in length, and Starlink also sells longer cables.  

The separate power supply requires 240 volts, so travellers will need a portable power station or inverter capable of supplying up to 150 watts of power.  

Starlink Standard Kit specifications 

Typical download speed: 220Mbps + 
Operating temp:  -30 to +50 deg Celsius 
Antenna Dimensions 60 x 38 x 4cm 
Price (RRP) $599 plus a monthly subscription 
Website Starlink 
Antenna Weight 3kg 
Warranty Two years 

Using Starlink Standard Kit for internet access

When I went to buy my Starlink, the old version was still available in Australia, despite being phased out in America some months before. A lot of people still want the old model as the dish automatically orientates itself.

The new model is officially known as Version 4, but it is confusing as the router is referred to as Generation 3, which is simply a square dish that needs to be manually orientated. Beyond this, the new dish is larger, has better reception than the old, and uses slightly more power. The net effect is faster internet speeds, and orientation is not as important.  

The new Starlink Gen 3 Router supports Wi-Fi 6, which will provide better, faster Wi-Fi coverage. The router also has two spare ethernet ports which was a separate accessory on the old model. If you wanted to extend the coverage to another building, you could use one of these ports for up to 100m of ethernet cable or use a long-range wireless bridge (up to 20km) 

Starlink Dish alignment
Screenshot: Angus Jones.

As with all things Elon Musk, everything is done via an app. There is no customer service via telephone. The app allows you to set up your account and then leads you through the setup. The dish requires a clear view of the southern sky, so no trees in the way. If you do have obstructions, the app will alert you to them and also indicate what effect they will have on your service.

Practically, the worst I experienced was an indication I would have a few minutes of outages an hour, which is no real issue unless you are on a video call. The app will also help you orientate your dish to ensure maximum performance.  

Power usage, if remote as I am, is one of the big issues. The solution will consume 70-100W an hour, so if left on for 24 hours, that’s 2400-watt hours or the equivalent of more than a 200amp-hour battery.

My recommendation is that you will need lots of batteries and lots of solar panels to replenish them. I generally use Starlink for up to four hours daily, equating to 400Wh. This translates to around 500Wh when you take into account conversion losses from an inverter to supply the 240 volts. There are some third-party 12-volt solutions for $300-$400, but the power savings are only minimal, and you would probably be better off buying another portable solar panel with the money. 

Starlink speed test
Starlink speed test. Screenshot: Angus Jones.

If you visit a Starlink Facebook forum, you will see some people complain about download speeds of less than 100Mbps. This has not been my experience. Every test I have done has exceeded 300Mbps.

A 4K video stream needs 25Mbps, so there is a lot of spare capacity in my eyes. Starlink is designed for the US market, which has a much higher population density. Each satellite revolves around the earth, so in Australia, we benefit from a lot more capacity. Our only limitation is the number of people using it in a small location and any bandwidth constraints at a Starlink Earth station. It’s not dissimilar to trying to use a mobile phone at a football stadium. 

Starlink has become a valuable tool for my wife and I as we travel Australia while still working. However, there are some downsides. Starlink monthly subscriptions are a lot more expensive than mobile broadband, and there is latency involved with extra time for the signal to go to space and come back again. Unless you are a gamer, then this should not be too much of an issue. Starlink reception will also be affected by heavy rain.

Who is the Starlink Standard Kit for? 

If you are about to do a lap of Australia or have exhausted other means to get good internet, then Starlink is a game changer. Starlink provides high-speed internet in a simple-to-use package for a very affordable price compared to historical solutions, which would have set you back many thousands of dollars and not worked as well. 

Starlink has not finished its journey yet, with 42,000 satellites as its goal. These satellites will soon provide text messaging from a standard smartphone and, in some countries, including Australia, voice communication. Every Australian smartphone could soon be using the service, especially in an emergency, without having to invest in new hardware, providing coverage anywhere you can see the sky. 

Starlink often runs specials, including a $1 one-month trial, which helps determine if it suits your needs. 

Four weeks in, I have conducted bi-weekly 90-minute webinars and have not had one outage. Thanks to Starlink, I now publish this review from outback Australia.

Starlink Gen 3 Router
The Starlink Gen 3 Router connects you from anywhere in Australia. I even published this review from the outback using Starlink internet.
Features
8
Value for money
7
Performance
9
Ease of use
9
Design
9
Positives
DIY setup running in less than 30 minutes
Fast broadband internet anywhere with a view of the sky
Wi-Fi 6 mesh router with Ethernet
Negatives
High monthly subscription cost
8.4