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Starlink Internet coming to Mexico


KevinR
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Unless and until  Starlink replenishes their stock of ethernet adapters one can find a 'work-around' on the Internet.

eBay is full of people selling those $25 Starlink adapters for $400 a pop!  Supply and demand I suppose.

 

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Quick update:

  1. My Starlink kit arrived today. I ordered it on April 10th, it left Cincinnati on April 13th, and spent eight days in transit.
  2. They sent me the Gen 1 kit, with the round dish and the original "router" design that includes an ethernet port. I'm totally fine with this. The goals of the Gen 2 kit were to make it lighter, therefore cheaper to  make, handle, and ship -- and I think they improved the built-in snow melter -- but there's no real performance difference as far as I can tell. Upshot: Gen 2 intends to benefit Starlink, not users. Plus, I don't need a separate $25 ethernet adapter.
  3. It works well. I just plopped it down in the middle of the mirador and ran the PoE cable down to the room with my other gear. Took maybe fifteen minutes. I've got a bracket and some other accessories coming to tidy up the installation.
  4. Starlink's app reports download speeds north of 300 Mbps and upload is [the rather standard] 1/10 of that (30 Mbps) expected of asynchronous providers, which is almost everybody.
  5. I'm still using TotalPlay as well. Right now, I have both wired and wifi networks using TotalPlay and a second Starlink wifi network. Starlink's wifi, coming from the second floor, is very usable on both the first floor and third floor mirador. It's stronger than my Google Nest wifi signal.
  6. Once everything's squared away, moving one cable will let me cut over to Starlink-everything, and I'll start thinking about cancelling TotalPlay. Their service (I don't mean customer service) is pretty great for the thirty-one bucks I pay them. The same thing costs $80 in the S.F. Bay Area, even with a corporate discount. But TotalPlay's fiber optic plant is fragile, and will get knocked out at least three times per year if I'm lucky. No bueno. As somebody said above, Starlink's wires are in space.
  7. Definitely recommend running your current provider in tandem for a while, and cut over when you're comfortable doing so.

More later, as we go along. We now return you to your regularly scheduled Golden State Warriors playoff victory, already in progress. :) 

LQ

ps. BTW, all of this is in San Antonio centro, on Libertad near Rámon Corona.

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We ordered on 19 April, had confirmation within hours and just received the notification today (25 April) that it is scheduled for delivery on the 29th!!!

Fingers crossed that it's the Gen 1 version. If not, we'll deal :)

I'll report back once we've received it and have it up and running. Whoo hoo!

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19 hours ago, Tingting said:

Whoo hoo!

Take a look at this Starlink coverage tracker:

https://starlink.sx/

screenshot-starlink.sx-2022_04.26-03_31_47.thumb.png.068a33162a15cdc2761b50dda2736f9c.png

 

It tracks all Starlink satellites, and which terrestrial point-of-presence (PoP) each connects to as it moves across the sky. By setting your location on a continuously-updating globe animation, starlink.sx can show you which bird you're connected to, which other one you're handed-off to as the first moves out of range, etc.

It's pretty nerdy, but fascinating. Click the "?" for some terse help information.

This is interesting for a couple reasons. First, it makes clear why a Starlink connection  has recurring moments of increased latency: you're continuously switched to the best/closest satellite. This is just the nature of the beast -- and unlike a wired terrestrial system, where any dip in throughput is a bad sign. Starlink provides you a pretty fat pipe (those gaudy download numbers) so that your real-world user experience won't notice the hand offs. Indeed, the Netflix or even YouTube video you're watching is served as an adaptive stream, forever tuning itself to what the requesting client (you, your device, and your network connection) can gracefully handle.

(I've been fortunate to work for the last sixteen years at the most famous of internet companies, doing -- you guessed it -- video compression.)

Another important reason to know the details starlink.sx provides (it's unaffiliated with Starlink or SpaceX, and there are other, similar sites) is so you can help Starlink tune your configuration. There are recent reports of Starlink users noticing that their connections could be better-optimized, notifying Starlink, then finding themselves better routed in a couple days, all because the user did a little research and spoke up. The story goes like this:

The delays that matter happen within Starlink's earthbound plant and the public network (the internet). Your request (say, clicking on a link in a web page) goes from your dish to the satellite in a millisecond or two, then down to a terrestrial PoP in another millisecond or two. Atmospheric conditions can affect things, but not very much.

The PoP next passes your request to the web site you want, waits for the response, then sends that response back up to "your" satellite, which sends it to your dish.

How well the internet portion of this request and response dance works is to some degree beyond Starlink's control, and can involve any number of "hops." That's how TCP/IP and related protocols work. Generally, these PoPs (think data centers, colocation centers, etc.) are built physically near internet backbones and the like, to cut down on hops. In the case of Starlink, though, there's one more consideration.

Let's say you're in Minneapolis, and Starlink connects you through their colo in Dallas. The service works great, fastest you've ever had, and everybody's happy.

But Starlink also has a colo in Chicagoland, much closer to you. Why are they sending you through Dallas? Is it intentional? Is it a conspiracy? Nah. They just haven't yet needed to optimize to that degree. It's a young, boutique service, their users are satisfied, and they've got other things to work on.

But if you tell them, they'll change it.

Will you notice a difference? Maybe, maybe not, or not today. But it's a move in the right direction that can only help, not hurt.

More than that, by going through the exercise, you'll learn stuff worth knowing as consumer satellite internet becomes more commonplace. And it absolutely will.

LQ

 

Edited by Lou Quillio
Insert better screenshot; typo
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6 hours ago, Tingting said:

We ordered on 19 April, had confirmation within hours and just received the notification today (25 April) that it is scheduled for delivery on the 29th!!!

Fingers crossed that it's the Gen 1 version. If not, we'll deal :)

I'll report back once we've received it and have it up and running. Whoo hoo!

Where do you live? I have been on the wait list for months here in lake chapala

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3 hours ago, Lou Quillio said:

Take a look at this Starlink coverage tracker:

https://starlink.sx/

screenshot-starlink.sx-2022_04.26-03_31_47.thumb.png.068a33162a15cdc2761b50dda2736f9c.png

 

It tracks all Starlink satellites, and which terrestrial point-of-presence (PoP) each connects to as it move across the sky. By setting your location on a continuously-updating globe animation, starlink.sx can show you which bird you're connected to, which other one you're handed-off to as the first moves out of range, etc.

It's pretty nerdy, but fascinating. Click the "?" for some terse help information.

This is interesting for a couple reasons. First, it makes clear why a Starlink connection  has recurring moments of increased latency: you're continuously switched to the best/closest satellite. This is just the nature of the beast -- and unlike a wired terrestrial system, where any dip in throughput is a bad sign. Starlink provides you a pretty fat pipe (those gaudy download numbers) so that your real-world user experience won't notice the hand offs. Indeed, the Netflix or even YouTube video you're watching is served as an adaptive stream, forever tuning itself to what the requesting client (you, your device, and your network connection) can gracefully handle.

(I've been fortunate to work for the last sixteen years at the most famous of internet companies, doing -- you guessed it -- video compression.)

Another important reason to know the details starlink.sx provides (it's unaffiliated with Starlink or SpaceX, and there are other, similar sites) is so you can help Starlink tune your configuration. There are recent reports of Starlink users noticing that their connections could be better-optimized, notifying Starlink, then finding themselves better routed in a couple days, all because the user did a little research and spoke up. The story goes like this:

The delays that matter happen within Starlink's earthbound plant and the public network (the internet). Your request (say, clicking on a link in a web page) goes from your dish to the satellite in a millisecond or two, then down to a terrestrial PoP in another millisecond or two. Atmospheric conditions can affect things, but not very much.

The PoP next passes your request to the web site you want, waits for the response, then sends that response back up to "your" satellite, which sends it to your dish.

How well the internet portion of this request and response dance works is to some degree beyond Starlink's control, and can involve any number of "hops." That's how TCP/IP and related protocols work. Generally, these PoPs (think data centers, colocation centers, etc.) are built physically near internet backbones and the like, to cut down on hops. In the case of Starlink, though, there's one more consideration.

Let's say you're in Minneapolis, and Starlink connects you through their colo in Dallas. The service works great, fastest you've ever had, and everybody's happy.

But Starlink also has a colo in Chicagoland, much closer to you. Why are they sending you through Dallas? Is it intentional? Is it a conspiracy? Nah. They just haven't yet needed to optimize to that degree. It's a young, boutique service, their users are satisfied, and they've got other things to work on.

But if you tell them, they'll change it.

Will you notice a difference? Maybe, maybe not, or not today. But it's a move in the right direction that can only help, not hurt.

More than that, by going through the exercise, you'll learn stuff worth knowing as consumer satellite internet becomes more commonplace. And it absolutely will.

LQ

 

I won't admit how many times I had to look up the terminology (technodino) but that was really helpful, thanks!

I honestly feel like a kid waiting to open up the big box under the Xmas tree. 

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Thanks, LQ - my recent cursory research into alternative ISPs for our ranch in a tight little valley in the wilds east of Napa revealed that further to the  northeast about 40km, there were two SL ground arrays within about 20km of each other - the only 'twin' installation displayed by the tracker app.  I imagined that this was great, until just now when tracing their activity, it appears that due to the sparse  geometry of the orbits (over the north Pacific?), two such sites were required, and there are still periods when no transmission is indicated.  Good to know.  Thanks again.

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16 minutes ago, RickS said:

Will any of this change as they continue to put up birds?

The price will probably go up. It's a great alternative for folks who have no other decent choice. 

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1 hour ago, pappysmarket said:

The price will probably go up.

There are reasons to think it will go down, perhaps substantially.

You might set a high price:

  1. to recoup high costs; that is, the business has no choice.
  2. that's detached from costs because the traffic will bear it, and no sound business leaves money on the table.
  3. to imply cachet, or exclusivity.
    or
  4. to set expectations for a service that isn't ready for the general public, but ready enough for the prosumer or other specially-motivated market that's willing to suffer through your growing pains.

I have the sense that Starlink is in mode #4, that is, they set a high barrier to entry right now to scare off the masses. The average home internet subscriber has high service and support expectations, which is super-expensive, and Starlink's not nearly ready for that.

But having a sophisticated, early-adopting, explicitly self-selected user base in the meantime is quite valuable. It often takes a proprietary interest in the product, willingly provides feedback, makes documentation and websites and discussion groups, and generally teaches the business stuff it can't learn any other way. More folks kicking the tires is great, but they have to be the right folks.

So I think Starlink, like Tesla, is priced artificially high for business development reasons -- a common practice in Silicon Valley -- and that both will become cheaper.  For now they must hold back the tide, and nothing does that like a high price.

LQ

 

Edited by Lou Quillio
Clarity
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On 4/25/2022 at 8:53 PM, Tingting said:

Fingers crossed that it's the Gen 1 version. If not, we'll deal

Let me try to put a bow on part of this.

Gen 1

Two ports, colored black and white:

  • Black ethernet port is for the PoE (power over ethernet) cable from Starlink.
  • White (aux) ethernet port is "data out."

I now have this white ethernet port/cable serving as my sole WAN source, plugged straight into my personally-owned gateway device, period, I don't have to change anything about my existing home network, or get involved with double-NAT. Starlink gives my gateway device (a Nest Wifi "router") an IP as though the device were one of its own. Simple.

There's nothing to do in the Starlink app. For Gen 1 devices there's no setting for "bypass mode," it just happens.

In this configuration, Starlink's "router" is like a big power brick for the dish, nothing more. It still makes a wifi network of it's own, but so does the TotalPlay router sitting next to it. They don't figure in my home network, so I ignore them. I've no way to turn them off and don't need to.

Gen 2

One port only, connected to the dish via provided PoE cable. To achieve the same thing as above (Starlink "router" is functionally a power brick, Starlink service is a dumb pipe feeding your own gateway), you need:

  1. Starlink's ethernet adapter, which creates the white "data out" port omitted in Gen 2, and
  2. To flip the "bypass mode" bit in the Starlink app.

Until the Starlink ethernet adapters become available again, you'll be limited to using Starlink's wifi.

LQ

ps. Call me Lou. Once I learn how to be retired, I'll probably document Starlink topics and other local lessons learn in a website at quillio.mx.

 

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Well been on the list since last year..... moved my location dot a few meters and boom I got accepted here in Rancho del oro!  Gen 1 incoming but lucky me most of my life was building the back bone of the internet and I have my own network so I like gen 1 with the ethernet port.

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WOOOOO HOOOO!!!!! Our Starlink package arrived today -- a day early -- and it's Gen 1. I'm so excited, I'm doing the "Happy Dance." We'll put it up tomorrow and I'll report back. Fingers crossed!

On a similar note, maybe the Gen 2 is no longer offered/available? I went hunting for the ethernet adapter (before Lou mentioned he received a Gen 1) and saw it is no longer mentioned in the "shop" section on their website.

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34 minutes ago, Tingting said:

maybe the Gen 2 is no longer offered

I've read that from Starlink's perspective they're interchangeable, and users shouldn't care, because Gen 2's benefits flow mainly to Starlink. Evidently there are plenty of Gen 1 kits still in their stock. (My Gen 1 had some fingerprints on the "router" and may have been a return.)

WRT the ethernet adapter, it's a bit quirky that the out-of-stock item doesn't even appear in their store, but it's not unheard-of. It would be foolish of them of them not to offer one, because it's super-simple gear that an enterprising soul could easily duplicate and sell. If you've ever had, say, a USB-to-ethernet adapter, you know what I mean. Not exactly high tech. Heck, the whole kit is relatively low-tech.

LQ

 

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Ok got mine up and working.  From the starlink satellite webpage that shoes live locations and the phone app that let's you use you phone camera to see how good your location for the dish is.  I have found you need north facing as most important then east and west as the next. South seems to be the least important.

 

Starlink.sx is the webpage that shows you live sat location. You can place your location on the map and it will show you what sat is best live and show where the base station for the satellite is located on the ground.

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For Lou and Mexicoafterlife:  have you been monitoring the electrical usage?   I check ours daily (long story but involves CFE) since we have solar and make more than we use, but have noticed a LARGE increase in power that doesn't seem to match the results of others online. The speed is fast and reliable but the usage concerns me. We're going to do some checks over the weekend but it seems too large to be normal.

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3 hours ago, Tingting said:

have you been monitoring the electrical usage?

We're renters on a 12-month lease, so the CFE bill's not in our name.

But there's a lot of discussion about Starlink [dish] power use and, looking quickly, a spot test might show it drawing 100w-150w (not horrible), but that doesn't take into account the "always on" factor.

It also seems that power consumption is a challenge Starlink's still refining, which is what I'd expect. Don't know enough about their design to have a sense of what improvements are possible via software update.

I'll have to look into this more.

https://www.google.com/search?q=starlink+power+use

LQ

 

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It looks like you're hitting the same sites I'm hitting. I'm going to run some checks over the next few days, but it's just the 2 of us and 20 solar panels. We make roughly 50kwh/week more than we use, so based on the other sites, thought we were fine yet we lost 5kwh in just the first two days. It's very possible that I  screwed up my figures, so I'll do a more controlled check starting tomorrow and test 2 full days with dish on and 2 with it off. 

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That's a strange 'availability' map.... tons of small hexagon-shaped spots amid a sea of not. How does a satellite throw out that kind a sporadic pattern. And why?

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2 hours ago, RickS said:

That's a strange 'availability' map.... tons of small hexagon-shaped spots amid a sea of not. How does a satellite throw out that kind a sporadic pattern. And why?

Elon...anyone, anyone?

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2 hours ago, RickS said:

That's a strange 'availability' map

The only questions their map can answer are (1) "Is Starlink even available to me?" and (2) "If it's available and I order, will Starlink send my kit now, or will I go on a wait list?" That's all it's good for.

To wit, if you zoom in on, say, San Antonio Tlayacapán, you'll see that kits and service are available for street addresses in San Juan and points east now, but Jocotepec addresses will be wait-listed. Por ahora.

As for the hexagons, I suppose they could be circles instead.

But if you're breaking availability down to street addresses or street segments -- in order to decide go, no-go, or wait list for a specific customer address -- a field of small circles with gaps and overlaps gives meaningless detail (plus injects ambiguity, plus is hard to interpret), because the gaps and overlaps don't matter. At this granularity, obstructions are much, much more significant. A hex grid, then, is the least ambiguous depiction. The hexagons are about 24 klicks wide side-to-side (not point-to-point); sides are ~14 km long. The area of each hex is something like 500 km² (192 mi²). That's plenty granular for Starlink's ~700-mile orbit altitude.

Remember, these aren't geostationary satellites, but swarms of low-orbit birds operating at selected latitudes, which (broadly speaking) hand-off your connection to the next bird passing overhead as "yours" moves out of your range.

If they were geostationary, the satellites would be more analogous to cell towers (that is, fixed locations), and you might see a Starlink map similar to a cell service map.

But that's neither here nor there because this map embeds business logic we don't know about. It's a business tool, not a science project. I imagine it's a sanitized version of an internal tool, made public and soft-launched, mostly because people are constantly asking for a map.

LQ

 

ps. How do they determine the latitudes to serve? Technological ease, population density, and ability to pay. It's not exact. SpaceX sent a bunch of Starlink kits to Ukraine -- which it didn't need so much because its network engineers are heroes, too -- though Ukraine probably wasn't on this map at the time. Still, it's at a covered latitude, so service was certainly possible.

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