Eight days ago I was happy with the speed of the Starlink satellite internet system that I'd been chosen to be a public beta tester for, but not with the reliability.
As I said in "My first Starlink beta test: fast but loses satellite connection," it wasn't a surprise that the connection kept dropping, since I had to put the Starlink on its tripod on one of our decks. We live in rural south Salem, Oregon, and our home is surrounded by large oaks and firs.
So I was eager to see how the Starlink did when the Ridgeline Roof Mount I'd ordered arrived, which it did yesterday.
UPDATE: I've heard from several fellow Beta testers wondering how I was able to order the Ridgeline Roof Mount since it still isn't showing up on the Starlink web site. That was the case when our Starlink arrived, so I put in a support request to Starlink saying I needed the Ridgeline Mount to be able to test the system in a place with a clear view of the sky. I got a response from the support person saying they could order that mount for me, using the credit card they had on file. So give that it a try if you want one. It might work for you also.
Installing the Starlink on our roof was easy. I'd already gone to Lowe's and purchased 16 5-pound red bricks, which were needed to weight the Ridgeline Roof Mount with the required 80 pounds of stability.
Laying a rubber mat on our roofline was easy, as was carrying the Starlink up a ladder in the bag that was included in the Ridgeline Roof Mount kit. The dish popped into the receptacle on the mount with a satisfying click. Then I threw the cable/power cord over the side of the roof, and thence through a sliding glass door into our living room.
My wife had figured out how to tape some insulation over the crack in the door to keep cold air out. I'd cut a small piece of wood to keep the door from being opened while we tested the Starlink in what hopefully would be its permanent location, after which we could drill a hole for the cable through our siding.
Then came the big moment. Plug in the Starlink, give it some time to find the satellites, wait for the router to come on line, choose "Starlink" for my iPhone's wi-fi network, and see how fast and reliable the Starlink is in its rooftop location.
Initially the connection dropped a few times, before becoming highly reliable.
We were able to watch an episode of Bridgerton on Netflix with ease, using Starlink wi-fi. It was a joy to see how much crisper the picture was, since our crappy 6 Mbps CenturyLink DSL often forces Netflix to supply us with a fuzzy image, and sometimes no video at all as we wait for buffering to take place.
Eventually we lost the Starlink connection around the time we switch to watching the KGW Portland evening news. When I checked the Statistics page on the Starlink iPhone app before I went to bed, I saw there had been 12 minutes of "Beta Downtime" in the seven hours since our Starlink had been operating.
That must have caused the dropped connection, since the router was showing a red light and wasn't able to reconnect to the satellites.
In the 27 or so hours the Starlink has been on our roof, download speeds have varied a lot -- from an unusual low of 6 Mbps, to the more typical 40-90 Mbps, all the way to an occasional 140 Mbps.
I'm beyond happy with both the speed and reliability.
The connection hasn't dropped once due to an obstruction, according to the Statistics I made a screenshot of not long ago. There was no downtime in the last 12 hours due to an obstruction and just 49 seconds when there were no satellites. However, there was a lengthy Beta Downtime of 48 minutes this morning, the price of being a Beta tester. Likely that's an aberration.
As soon as the Starlink app was released a number of months ago, I went up on our roof in the same location the Starlink is now and tried to figure out if these three tall firs and a couple of significant oaks to the north of our house were going to pose an obstruction problem. We own the property they're on, but I wasn't eager to cut down the trees.
Looks like they aren't causing a problem, which is good news.
By the way, that 5 Mb iPhone photo just took 15 seconds to upload to Typepad, my blogging service. With DSL, I have to wait a couple of minutes for a photo to upload. At the moment Starlink has an upload speed of 5.1 Mbps, while our DSL usually is about .75 Mbps.
When I sat on our roof a few months ago in the same place the Starlink is now and checked for obstructions, trying to get the tilt of my iPhone at a more or less correct angle, I was sure those trees were going to be a problem, since they appeared in the lower portion of the Starlink obstruction checker.
But this afternoon I sat next to the Starlink and placed my iPhone alongside the dish at the same angle the dish is at, about 35 degrees, I believe. This is the pleasingly clear screenshot. So I guess the lesson is that it is difficult to tell what, if anything, is going to be an obstruction until someone actually installs a Starlink.
This is the speed test I did a few minutes ago. As noted above, this speed is pretty typical for what we've been getting the past 27 hours. It's great, given that we never get above 7 Mbps with our DSL, and that's on a good day.
The Starlink router is generating an acceptable wi-fi signal. It seems to be usable everywhere in our 3,200 square foot house. So all in all, there's little I can criticize about Starlink now that the dish is up on our roof with a clear view of the northern sky.
Sure, it will be nice to have the Beta Downtime go away, since I don't feel comfortable ditching our DSL until Starlink is more reliable.
But if the outages are limited to a few minutes a day, that's fine. It's easy to shift over to DSL wi-fi, though now that I've experienced the much faster Starlink speed, it is already tough for me to put up with DSL.
A final note: I'm impressed with Starlink support staff. Whenever I've asked them a question, which so far has been limited to the status of an order, they've responded quickly and in a friendly manner.
That's pretty fast Brian. I just got a reading of 111 mbps download and 101 mbps upload with our CenturyLink fiber connection.
Posted by: Jim Scheppke | January 27, 2021 at 08:36 AM
I am envious, Brian! I signed up to be a beta tester, also. But, I am just one mile from a Comcast cable line and two miles from a Ziply fiber optic line. While I would hope Starlink would know that I have no ability to connect to those lines, they may think I can. I guess I'll have to wait until more satellites are online and the beta testing period is over. Musk has stated the service cannot supply urban areas with service, as the capacity won't be there. I hope they will, in the future, know I cannot get internet service from a wired hookup (we are too far from Ziply's switching station for DSL).
We have a large house and currently use WIFI extenders to cover all areas. I tried to find out if the Starlink router has to be used for WIFI coverage, but couldn't find any info on their website. Do you know the answer to that question?
We currently have 11MBPS WIMAX service that is fine if only one person in the household is watching TV (my wife and I don't watch the same programs). So, I can be patient as I wait for Starlink to build out. I assume the Amazon service will be years away. And Verizon could also provide me with Home 5G as their tower is just one mile away. At the age of 71, I may die or have to move before I see 140 MBPS on a speed test!
Posted by: William Fouste | January 29, 2021 at 10:26 AM
William, I've read that it isn't necessary to use the Starlink router, but that router is needed to get statistics on the time obstructions were in the way, when Beta Downtime occurred, and such. Naturally a speed test can be done with any router.
Seemingly it also would be possible to plug a wi-fi extender into the Starlink router, since it has an extra Ethernet port. We've been using the Google Nest device to give us a stronger CenturyLink DSL wi-fi signal. Since we're getting good wi-fi throughout our house with the Starlink router, I'm holding off on getting a Nest to plug into it.
Posted by: Brian Hines | January 29, 2021 at 01:50 PM
Can you please tell me where you purchased the Ridgeline Roof Mount? I don't see it in the Starlink store and I can't seem to find a reference with a google search.
Posted by: Steve Tone | February 08, 2021 at 11:22 AM
Steve, I also didn’t see the Ridgeline Mount available for purchase on the Starlink web site, so I submitted a support request asking about that mount. I got a quick response saying that a Ridgeline Mount could be ordered for me, using the credit card on file that I used to pay for the Starlink.
The reason it wasn’t on the web site supposedly was that the site was being updated. But that doesn’t make sense, since last time I looked the Ridgeline Mount still wasn’t available. Anyway, put in a support request asking for the Ridgeline Mount. Maybe you’ll be able to get the mount that way, like I did.
Posted by: Brian Hines | February 08, 2021 at 11:41 AM
Has anyone tried the ridge line mount on standing seam roof yet, because it may not lay flat like on asphalt shingle roof.
Posted by: Joseph Brassard | February 09, 2021 at 03:46 PM
I noticed on the Starlink app "Look For Obstructions" wasn't just one direction facing you. You had to move the phone around which then gave you a circle to view. It needs a fairly wide view. After rotating the phone to include the circle which may be the dish degrees needed, I had 3 trees that had to be cut down. My kit won't come until Fall but I'm ready. I wish they would open customer service up. I'd like to reset my password but there isn't any contact available of any kind. I've been trying for 3 weeks.
Posted by: Gretchen Frederick | March 04, 2021 at 02:18 PM
Gretchen, we have tall trees on the west, east, and south. The only mostly unobstructed view from our roof is to the north. That's the direction our Starlink is pointing, at a fairly steep angle. So I wouldn't worry too much about obstructions in any area except to the north. I'm assuming you live in a northern latitude. I'm at about 45 degrees north. I was thinking we'd have to cut some trees down, but that wasn't necessary. The Starlink app is showing that we have no obstructions at all, even though I thought we would.
Posted by: Brian Hines | March 04, 2021 at 07:37 PM
Brian, I've always wondered what elevation the dish might be looking for. You mention that you are at 45 degrees latitude and the dish is pointing north at "a pretty steep angle". I'm at 46 degrees latitude. I don't have a kit yet. But I'm on a lakefront with a lot of tall trees between the house and the lake. I'm trying to figure out whether I can roof mount and get over the trees or if I need to mount at lakeside and shoot over the lake. The determining factor is elevation and Starlink doesn't have much to say on that subject. I've seen photos of Starlink dishes that seem to be pointed straight up, which makes no sense to me unless you live at the North Pole. How steep do you think your elevation is?
Posted by: Scott Reed | March 09, 2021 at 11:16 AM
Scott, I believe the Starlink only goes vertical when it is installed, hooked up to power, and starts searching for satellites. I just took a photo of our setup from our elevated carport, so I was pretty much level with the top of the roof, the photo may not be perfectly level, but fairly close,
I have a Handy Level app on my iPhone, Holding it up to the dish outside indicated about 26-27 degrees elevation. When I hold it next to the photo, I get more like 21 degrees. So maybe around 23-24 degrees, since the photo isn’t exactly level.
Anyway, hope this gives you a rough idea of where the dish is pointing, Like you, I was worried about three tall firs to our north. It turned out that the Starlink app is showing zero seconds of obstruction now, after showing brief periods initially. Can’t remember how long, no more than a minute or two every 12 hours, I recall.
Could be wrong, but it figures that as more satellites are launched, the dish will have an easier time finding satellites without obstructions. You’ll just have to see what happens with your Starlink. As you indicated the app isn’t clear about what elevation the dish will be pointing at. Seems like this could be done if the user provides an address or geographic coordinates, since the elevation probably varies with latitude,
I was sort of wrong about the “pretty steep angle.” I guess I was pleased that the angle was enough to get over the tall firs, which are a ways from our house but still showed up in the app when I checked for obstructions before getting the Starlink.
Posted by: Brian Hines | March 09, 2021 at 12:18 PM
I would like your opinion on using this set up on a metal, 12 pitch roofline. I found a high heat resistant rubber mat for a base. Just wondering what the flexibility is for the roof angle.
Posted by: Lynn Vorce | March 19, 2021 at 06:07 AM
Brian, I think that what the app is doing in "Check for Obstructions" is showing you what part of the sky Dishy will look at in your location and what part it will not look at. You hold the phone where Dishy is going to go and tilt it around to see where the 100 degree wide circle in the sky is. Wherever the screen is black can be ignored. Wherever it shows not black, you check if it is clear sky or an obstruction. Just being able to point the camera and see a clear sky in one direction isn't enough.
The app knows your GPS location so knows where in the sky the 100 degree wide circle is for you. Dishy points itself in the center of that circle, and then has a phased array antenna which can be aimed electronically to different parts of the sky within that 100 degree diameter cone without having to physically move to re-aim at whatever satellites are in view.
Posted by: Sidney Markowitz | March 19, 2021 at 10:12 PM
Has anyone tried the Ridge Mount over a Ridge Vent ??
Posted by: Sportsman x2 | March 21, 2021 at 08:12 PM
Does anyone have a Starlink customer service phone number so I can order the ridgeline mount ? They sure make it difficult to contact them.
Posted by: Alan Lane | April 27, 2021 at 06:03 AM
Thanks for your review!
I agree w/Alan Lane's comment. I have to way to purchase (shop) on my Starlink account AND no way to contact them. Support has been removed. I am supposed to receive my equipment mid to end of year, but no way to contact them. Only a way to cancel and get a refund of my deposit...which isn't very encouraging. Idk if they are having supply issues or ???
If anyone know of any other way to contact or another roof mount kit that would work, please post about it! I am rather concerned at this point since I have no way of ordering...but maybe they will get
Posted by: Julie S | August 17, 2021 at 03:44 PM
Where did you get the starlink ridgeline mount from
Posted by: jonathon duncan | October 24, 2021 at 12:39 PM
jonathon, as noted in this post, I got it from Starlink after noticing that it wasn't listed for purchase on their web site. I contacted support and asked about the Ridgeline Mount. I was told I could get one, so bought it. I don't know why it isn't available now. There are alternatives available on Amazon for satellite TV dishes, so that could be an option. Connection of the Starlink dish to it would be a bit more complicated, of course.
Posted by: Brian Hines | October 24, 2021 at 03:14 PM
would you be able to give me the size (LxWxH) of the bricks?
Your seems to be the neatest configuration I have seen so far.
Posted by: Roberto | November 10, 2021 at 09:53 AM
Hi I was wondering if there is a name in the ridge line roof mount. I have not been able to get to from Starlink at this time thanks
Posted by: Lucy | April 09, 2022 at 11:31 AM
How do I order the "Ridgeline roof mount' ?
Posted by: Buck | October 15, 2022 at 09:28 AM
Buck, as you're probably aware, Starlink no longer offers it for sale. I don't know why. I like it a lot, since it doesn't require drilling holes in our roof. Amazon offers other types of ridge mounts for satellite dishes and whatnot. You might find that one of these would work for you, maybe by buying the $24 Starlink pipe adapter and attaching that to the Amazon-purchased ridgeline mount. Here's one listing:
Posted by: Brian Hines | October 15, 2022 at 10:39 AM