Starlink’s Speed maybe hyped

Wilson Chua
3 min readMar 6, 2023

Philippine buyers of Starlink beware! Starlink speed tests using Starlink as a test server would show an ‘optimistic’ speed. This is NOT what you will get because the test data travels only a short distance between the user’s device and the server.

BNSHosting.net got our own Starlink kit yesterday. We deployed it today and did some speed tests. Here is the chart showing the results:

Using Starlink as the TEST Server is basically measuring the “Last Mile” speed. A better speed test would be to use destination servers like those of Globe and Smart that has more PH users. We see in the above chart that bandwidth is SIGNIFICANTLY lower for Globe networks than for SMART networks. https://starlinkinsider.com/starlink-gateway-locations/ reports that Starlinks LIVE groundstations are mostly in Japan. I suspect that this is a result of Smart’s NTT roots/links as the traceroute shows below:

Traceroute from Starlink device to Smart.com.ph shows the 6 hops only and a 74ms latency

It also reports that the only ground station is in Angeles, Pampanga (not known if this is operational or not yet):

However a better speed test would be to use a neutral location like that of ProjectBASS which is housed in premier IX PHOpenIX. BASS measure places Starlink bandwidth at only 18mbps. In addition, we also note that the bandwidth is asymmetrical. The download speed are larger than upload speeds by a factor of 9:1.

To understand why Starlink speed tests are faster when using Starlink as a test server, we need to first understand how Starlink works. Starlink is a satellite internet service that uses a network of satellites to provide internet access to users on the ground. The satellites are placed in low Earth orbit (LEO) and communicate with ground stations that are connected to the internet. The ground stations act as gateways between the user’s device and the internet, allowing data to be transmitted back and forth.

When a user performs a speed test on Starlink, the test data travels from their device to the Starlink satellite in orbit. The satellite then relays the data to the nearest ground station, which is connected to the internet. The speed test server is located at the ground station, so the test data travels only a short distance between the satellite and the server. This results in a fast connection and high-speed test results.

However, when using other speed test servers, the test data has to travel a much longer distance. The data travels from the user’s device to the Starlink satellite in orbit, then to the nearest ground station, and then to the speed test server. This increases the distance the data has to travel, which in turn increases the latency, or delay, in the connection. Latency is the time it takes for the data to travel from the user’s device to the server and back again. The longer the distance, the higher the latency.

Latency is a critical factor in internet speed, particularly for activities such as online gaming and video conferencing. The higher the latency, the more delay there is in the connection, which can result in lag and poor performance. When using other speed test servers, the latency is higher due to the longer distance the data has to travel, resulting in slower speed test results.

Another factor that can affect Starlink speed test results is network congestion. Starlink is still a relatively new service, and as more users sign up, the network can become congested, particularly during peak usage times. This can result in slower speeds and lower performance, particularly when using other speed test servers.

When using other speed test servers, the test data has to travel a much longer distance, resulting in higher latency and slower speeds. Network congestion can also affect Starlink speed test results, particularly during peak usage times. It’s important to keep these factors in mind when testing your Starlink internet speed to get accurate results.

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