See the Starlink FAQ below. Contact Concord to help get your yacht up to speed with Starlink satellite internet.
Latest Starlink Info
See Updated Text at the Bottom of this Page
How Starlink Maritime Blender Works
What is Starlink?
- Starlink is a global satellite internet service provider.
- Starlink's stated objective is to provide high speed, low latency, internet to remote areas of the world.
- When completed, the Starlink system is projected to have about 30,000 satellites circling the earth, in Low Earth Orbit. As of this writing, there are less than 5000 Starlink satellites in orbit. Starlink can be a great addition to your Yacht's internet system.
What is the purpose of this Starlink FAQ?This FAQ is written to assist potential Starlink Yachting clients, with the details that are not readily available from Starlink. Marine Data Solutions is your mobile internet provider for our Yachting clients, MDS want you to have the details that will help you make the best purchasing and upgrading decisions. Starlink is a great system but it does have limitations that you should be aware of, before making your decisions.
Click here to request a price list.
What Starlink antenna should I order for my Yacht?
- The only Starlink antenna we recommend is the Mobile High Performance, currently $2500 in USA. The Mobile High Performance antenna gives you access to all available Starlink plans, ($150 per month, to $6000 per month) and will work properly in motion, and Internationally (with the correct priority plan) We do not recommend any other Starlink antenna for use on a Yacht or Ship.
Does Starlink have Data Caps or Internet Data Limits for Yachts?
- Starlink currently is not enforcing any data caps. The Starlink airtime plan you select gives you a specific amount of priority data, after you have used that priority data, you continue to receive unlimited "standard" (non-priority) service.
What does Starlink airtime cost for my Yacht?Click here to request a price list.
How well does Starlink really work on a Yacht?
- There are significant interruptions in Starlink service when its raining, as in no service at all, until the rain stops.
- It has been reported that, after the latest software update, the standard antenna RV system will no longer work with vessel in motion.
- In our everyday use of the Starlink system in Fort Lauderdale, it has been observed that the system stops working, several times per hour, even with no rain. Using the system with our cloud based desktops, we lose the internet connection to the desktop and must log in again, when the service becomes available again, usually in a few minutes.
- As more clients are using the Starlink systems, we are seeing many Starlink internet service interruptions related to weather and lack of Starlink satellites in view of vessel. These service interruptions are happening multiple times per hour. The service interruptions cause secure web sites to “disconnect” requiring the users on board to log in again when service becomes available. We are seeing Zoom type meetings and gaming sessions disconnect, and the onboard user must reconnect to the Zoom meeting when Starlink service becomes available. We also see steaming audio and video services stop, so that the streamed program can “buffer”.
How can we reduce the Starlink Internet service interruptions?
- Marine Data Solutions has released New Hardware that will blend 5G and Starlink service to reduce the Starlink Internet service “drop outs”. The new hardware will “Bond” 5G and Starlink together, to make an even faster connection. When Starlink Internet service is interrupted, for whatever reason (Rain? Blockage? Vessel motion?), the new hardware will instantly switch to the vessel 5G connection, so that the onboard user has an uninterrupted internet session. Click hear to read about the MDS Blender
What do I need to know before deciding to purchasing a Starlink system for my motor yacht?
- Starlink Mobile High Performance Flat Panel ($2500) version is approved for use in motion, and approved for international use, the other versions of Starlink are NOT approved in motion, and not approved for extended international use.
- Starlink does not have phone tech support.
- Starlink tech support is email only.
- Starlink does not cover any onboard labor for warranty issues.
- There are no Starlink certified repair centers, Starlink will send warranty replacement parts to your account shipping address only.
- Starlink, as with all internet providers, will eventually reach a saturation point where a geographic area reaches a maximum number of users that the satellites can handle. Once this saturation is achieved, service speeds for that geographic area will decrease, and systems like the Starlink RV on a "best effort" plan, will see reduced speeds first.
Where can I purchase a Starlink system for a yacht?
- We carry Starlink systems in stock, for installation by our techs, in South Florida.
Who can install a Starlink system for us?
- Our techs have already installed many systems, and we keep inventory of the required installation parts.
- Please Contact Us today to schedule your Starlink installation.
What Starlink antenna works on a Yacht?
- Mobile High Performance Flat Panel antenna…… equipment $2500, service from $150 per month to $6000 per month. This antenna works in motion, internationally, and with all available Starlink Service Plans
- Can turn Starlink service on/off as needed, in 30-day increments.
Can we install 2 Starlink Mobile High Performance Flat Panels on the same boat?
- Yes, you can install multiple Starlink systems on the same Yacht. However, you will need an MDS Blender to connect the Starlink systems together to make a single network. More MDS Blender info here: https://marinedatasolutions.com/blender/
Where does Starlink high speed internet service work?
- Starlink coverage changes constantly, as new satellites are launched.
- Currently Starlink is working reliably worldwide, except for the Poles.
How do I contact Starlink for tech support?
- Unfortunately, there is no Starlink tech support by phone, unless you are working with a reseller that will provide phone support. All Starlink direct tech support is email only, on Starlink web site, or the Starlink app.
How can I get warranty support for my Starlink?
- After communication with Starlink tech support by email, Starlink will ship refurbished parts as needed, as they are available, for “Do it Yourself” repairs and replacements.
- Starlink parts are shipped to the account billing address.
- The is no “onboard/onsite” labor coverage by Starlink for warranty issues.
What will negatively affect the speed and quality of Starlink internet service?
- If the Starlink antenna is on the same horizontal plane as vessel radar beam, Starlink system will NOT work when radar is transmitting.
- Starlink satellites are always moving at high speed across the sky, any obstructions (Rain, heavy cloud cover, Mast, Boom, Radar, Tuna Tower, Tall Buildings, Mountains, etc.) will negatively affect Starlink system performance. Usually the blockage will cause intermittent internet loss, or significant internet speed loss.
What is the difference between Viasat and Starlink ?
- Viasat is Enterprise Grade, Superyacht Quality, Satellite Internet Service with 24/7 phone tech support, and worldwide local technical support. In addition to that, Viasat is able to quickly adjust their spotbeams to add more bandwidth to any areas with user congestion. As an example, St Barths and St Martin during Xmas and New Years 2022 was so congested that $5,000 per month Starlink Maritime users were only getting 5Mbps down. We had several Viasat yachts in the same congested area, that enjoyed uninterrupted high speed service.
- Starlink is a different quality of service and support. At this time there are about 4,000 Starlink satellites in low earth orbit. The full constellation of Starlink satellites is slated to be 40,000 satellites. Because Starlink is currently operating with a minimal number of satellites, there are several times each hour where there are no Starlink satellites in view of your vessels antenna, during that time (could be seconds, could be minutes) you will have NO INTERNET. In addition to these differences, the only way Starlink can increase bandwidth in any particular area, is to launch more satellites. There is no quick and easy way to add or adjust bandwidth for Starlink user congestion issues. Starlink is also very different from Viasat when it comes to support. The only way to receive support from Starlink is to send an email, and wait for an emailed response. There is no tech support number to call for Starlink assistance, and no local Starlink technical support.
Starlink Internet Satellites System
4G/5G Yacht Internet
Viasat Satellite Interent
Marine Data Solutions Provider
Tech Talk video dialog with Captain Douglas Meier from “The Bottom Line – Yacht Industry News” and Michael Robilio from Marine Data Solutions.Filmed December 2022, some details have been updated in this text version.
Captain Douglas Meier:This week on Tech Talk, we’re going to be talking about Starlink, what it can do, what it can’t do and where it’s going. We’re going to utilize Mike Robilio’s knowledge. He’s from Marine Data Solutions, and he’s going to give us an update on what’s going on with Starlink. Hi Mike, so Starlink constellation of low Earth orbit satellites, they’re all spinning simultaneously. They All look like Teslas.
Michael Robilio from Marine Data Solutions:Right, exactly…. Laughing……The Starlink satellites send Internet to a terminal that’s on your boat. There are two terminals that will work on the boat. Once called an RV, the other one is called Maritime.
Captain Douglas Meier:How much is the RV one?
Michael Robilio from Marine Data Solutions:RV is $600.00 for the hardware, and $135 a month for the airtime. Do you want me to explain to the differences right now? Yes. OK, so the RV system has been moved to “best effort” service, which means it does not have any priority service. So when you’re with your RV unit, whether you’re on land or whether you’re somewhere on the water in the Bahamas all the other dishes around you have priority over you. (Residential, business, and Maritime systems)
Captain Douglas Meier:I heard that a lot of guys were on the RV and a cruise ship pulled into the port like a vacuum and sucked all the Internet out and they were kind of like left with no service.
Michael Robilio from Marine Data Solutions:That’s exactly what happened. The cruise ships have the Maritime version, which has priority service.
Captain Douglas Meier:Can yachts get the Maritime versions?
Michael Robilio from Marine Data Solutions:Yes, they can. It’s $5,000 for the hardware and $5,000 a month for the airtime, which in the big picture is actually affordable as compared to the cost of traditional marine Vsat.
Captain Douglas Meier:Now, Marine Data Solutions, your company, you guys put this out. (holds up MDS 242 5G unit) This is a cellular based yes system, yes, this is good for about 20 miles offshore.
Michael Robilio from Marine Data Solutions:Yes, with the correct antennas, yes, 20 mile range.
Captain Douglas Meier:OK. So if you had this and then you want to go really offshore and you get Starlink, you have those two options, yes. And is the internet service the same? Is Starlink unlimited data like your sim cards?
Michael Robilio from Marine Data Solutions:The Maritime Starlink version is capped at 5 terabytes a month for $5000. When you go over that 5 terabytes, you have to pay $2.00 per GB.
Captain Douglas Meier:Per Gig? My son uses 5 Terabytes on Xbox every week !!
Michael Robilio from Marine Data Solutions:Yeah, understandable. The RV version is capped at 1 terabyte, but because you’re not priority service, the speed for RV system is limited to a maximum of 50 megs down. So they’re saying the speed on the Starlink Maritime is between 50 and 260 megs, and on the Starlink RV it’s between 5 and 50 megs is what you can expect for speeds.
Captain Douglas Meier:There’s talk online about Starlink RV geofencing offshore, and there’s talk online about if you have the RV version and you’re moving, it shuts down. Is there any truth to that?
Michael Robilio from Marine Data Solutions:Yes. What I hear is that when you’re over 10 knots, the Starlink RV does stop working, but it doesn’t do that everywhere. We hear reports that off of Baja, Mexico, it’s working great at 20 knots, and then there’s people in the Bahamas and it stops working at 10 knots. So some are having Starlink RV shutting down underway, and others are not having that issue. We can’t tell if it’s geographically a problem or if it’s just that the Starlink equipment got a different software update, we can’t tell yet. It’s so new, but there are definitely people with Starlink RV having problems receiving internet with vessel in motion.
Captain Douglas Meier:For sure. OK. And where do you see Starlink and yachts going, say in the next 12 months? Where do you see everybody? Where are we going to end up? Because it’s like nobody knows, right?
Michael Robilio from Marine Data Solutions:It’s all it’s the Wild, Wild, West right now with Starlink. They’re changing the rules as they go every day. But my expectation is going to be that the RV units will become less and less usable because they are not a priority system. And the more boats, ships and cruise ships that are out there with the maritime version, they will consume the high priority bandwidth. They’re gonna take the bandwidth that’s available in that location, and it’s not just a maritime version. So if you have a home or a business version in the Bahamas, those people with a home and a business version get their priority service and the RV gets whatever’s left over. So the RV is going to become less and less of a solid option. But there are other things coming that will help.
Captain Douglas Meier:OK last question, where’s the coverage for this system? You have this wonderful map. (Points at TV screen) This is yours? This is your network? Yes, this is really cool.
Michael Robilio from Marine Data Solutions:Yeah, this is our system.
Captain Douglas Meier:OK, but we’re talking Starlink. Where is Starlink available?
Michael Robilio from Marine Data Solutions:On the Starlink website, they’ve got a coverage map and it changes constantly as they launch more satellites.
Captain Douglas Meier:In Europe?
Michael Robilio from Marine Data Solutions:Yes, yes, the Med is completely covered. Some of South America is covered now. I think Australia’s completely covered. There’s a lot of coverage.
Captain Douglas Meier:Definitely the Caribbean, the Bahamas, yes, New England, Florida, Gulf of Mexico, all that.
Michael Robilio from Marine Data Solutions:Yeah, that’s all covered really well now.
Captain Douglas Meier:So basically, I guess what I’m gathering from this is it’s work in progress, yes, but with the cost involved. And let’s say you’re a Florida, Bahamas, Caribbean?
Michael Robilio from Marine Data Solutions:Yes, the Starlink system actually covers a lot of that ground too. It does. It covers all of it.
Captain Douglas Meier:OK, so maybe a hybrid of both systems?
Michael Robilio from Marine Data Solutions:So what’s coming is the problem with Starlink is that there’s not enough satellites up there yet. There’s less than 4000 and the constellation is scheduled to be 30,000. So we’re at 10% of coverage right now or a little more. So there’s a lot of times when there’s just not a satellite up there and so you have a 2 minute gap of no service or maybe you have a 30 second gap, which lots of people are currently experiencing.
Captain Douglas Meier:Right. And that’s what a lot of people are having happened right now. So between losing priority status and being throttled on the RV and you don’t have that quite as many satellites as we need, there’s dropouts in the service.
Michael Robilio from Marine Data Solutions:So what we’ve got coming is equipment that will blend the Starlink with the 4G and 5G systems. So the blended internet systems will eliminate those Starlink service dropouts and the user internet experience will be uninterrupted. Will also be faster than both of those systems singly. And when one or the other drops out, the other is going to give you what’s available. So what we’re trying to do is eliminate the internet service dropouts.
Captain Douglas Meier:OK, so and it’s coming, and over time it’ll be fixed with Starlink, but they’ve got to launch another thousand satellites. Is that what you’re doing?
Michael Robilio from Marine Data Solutions:Launching satellites? No…. (laughing)
Captain Douglas Meier:Well, I know you put one up the other day. No, I mean, Marine Data is going to kind of build a hybrid system.
Michael Robilio from Marine Data Solutions:Yes, yes. So we’re working with several manufacturers and we’re testing now to get that equipment ready to go where you’re going to be able to blend Starlink and 5G to have a seamless service. No matter where you go.
Captain Douglas Meier:Thank you!! All right, gang. That’s Tech Talk. It’s work in progress. There’s no cut and dry answer on what’s going on, but there’s a lot of stuff on the horizon. Thanks, Mike.
Contact Concord for more Starlink info.