Updated: Apr 9, 2022
Have you been thinking about ordering a Starlink system? If so you might be wondering if its speeds are fast enough to deal with your day to day needs. In this article we will break down how Starlink stands up to some of the most common uses of bandwidth and see if it is a good option for you and your family. Starting with common but less demanding examples (emails, video conferencing) and working our way up to very taxing examples (streaming 4K, online gaming). Let's get right into it
Will Starlink be able to send emails?
Let's start small. Emails are definitely not a huge drain on your bandwidth. Considering that on average only 1Mbps is recommended to send emails. This shouldn't be difficult for any provider to achieve. That being said, Starlink can very easily handle emails. Now if your current internet tends to go offline quite often then the stability of a Starlink system may be beneficial for you.
Will Starlink be able to video conference?
Nowadays many people work from home. They may be working for a company or starting their own home based business, either way video calls with employees and clients have become very common. Even personal calls to friends and family are a very popular method of communication, primarily brought on by the pandemic. Zoom, for instance, had 10 million daily meeting participants in December 2019, but by April 2020, that number had risen to over 300 million. If video calling has become a necessity for you, then this is a big one. Zoom is very flexible when it comes to bandwidth; they recommend upstream connection speeds of 1.5-3.0Mbps for optimal performance in group meetings with HD video quality. If your connection speed drops below these thresholds, your video quality will be automatically adjusted to keep you in the meeting.
Will Starlink be able to stream?
The short answer is yes it will… in fact very well. The Starlink system that we have been using over the last year has averaged around just above 100Mbps download speeds. This is more than enough to comfortably stream your favorite shows even in 4K. In this example we will use one of the most popular streaming services Netflix. (Most other streaming services will fit these specs as well). Netflix recommends that you have a minimum speed of 3 Mbps for streaming standard definition (480p) and 5 Mbps for high definition (720p or 1080p). These numbers are not too difficult to reach. In fact most rural internet providers can offer these bandwidth speeds. Where Starlink starts to separate itself from the pack is in 4K streaming. Netflix recommends that you have a minimum of 25 Mbps for 4K (3840p). This is doubled for each device that is streaming in 4K. So if you have 2 TVs streaming in 4K at the same time you would need a minimum of 50 Mbps to stream smoothly. So as you see the bandwidth needs add up very quickly and it's important to meet these requirements to have an enjoyable experience.
Will Starlink be able to play online video games?
This is a difficult question because of many factors involved, but in a word YES. A multi-layered question like this takes some explaining but in a rural setting especially, Starlink is a no brainer. Online gaming is much more demanding on your internet than simply streaming a YouTube video. The first question is what type of gaming are you doing. There is a large difference between playing “Words with Friends” on Facebook and playing “Fortnite” with all your settings cranked to max. Most video game manufacturers say that 3 Mbps download and a 1 Mbps of upload should be sufficient to game. From my experience I say double these numbers at least to avoid lag while playing. The download speed is how fast data is pulled from the server and upload speed is how fast you send data to others. Download speed is typically much faster, because most of what you do online (loading Web pages, streaming videos, etc.) consists of downloads. Additionally, the term “ping” or “ping rate” refers to how fast you get a response from your Internet connection after you send out a request. Surprisingly when it comes to gaming your ping rate is just as important than either download or upload speeds. Ping is also called latency and Starlink is well within the parameters to have a fluent gaming experience. The Ping rate is measured in milliseconds (ms) and 50ms to 100ms should be just fine for even the most demanding online games. From our testing Starlink is consistently around 40ms and often below.
As you can see the amount of bandwidth needed drastically changes depending on your task. Hopefully this article gave you a better idea of how your provider may stack up with your day to day needs. Starlink is rapidly becoming a great option for many people across the world and will continue to be for years to come. If you are having trouble with your current internet situation, maybe Starlink is for you. Thank you and don't forget to subscribe!