Updated: Mar 29, 2022
Starlink updated their speed test in the app again!
The new speed-test has three meters for testing. The one on the left is green and the one in the middle blue and the right is white. There has been some confusion around what these tests mean exactly . We are going to give you the best breakdown we can to help you use this tool properly.
First off why have a speed-test? What is it's purpose and can it help my internet experience? An internet speed test is a very handy and useful tool, this helps you understand how much bandwidth you have at your disposal. Think of it as a car on the highway going fast, how fast you say? Well looking at the speedometer tells you exactly what speed you're traveling at to prevent you from getting any tickets. The speed test in your Starlink app is telling you just that, how fast your internet is moving.
To run the speed test is very simple just push the speed icon in the opening page of the app. It takes around 1-2 minutes for the test results to be finalized, That is the easy part, understanding the results is a bit trickier so lets take a look at a few results.
Looking at the Starlink speedtest screen in the app. The Green circle shows you how fast the internet speed is to your device, (so essentially how fast your device is driving around the house - using our analogy). The Blue Circle number that shows up is what speed the internet was coming into your location. The third white circle is how fast your devices(Phone) Wi-Fi connection is.
Lets start with the green circle we have an 87 Mbps Download result. Just below the dials is a graph chart in which you can follow the speed over the testing period, looks like we peaked at just over 100 Mbps. Most speed tests will start off gradually and then peak quickly and taper off as you see in this graph. Just below the download speed result you see 3 Mbps upload 43 ms latency is the upload speed for that device, as you see here our result was 3Mbps. I'm not going to break down the difference between upload and download speeds and what they mean here, but all I will say is that the majority of users are using download on any given device, so the number is often going to be 10 fold that of the upload.
So through this test we can see that the device (keep in mind this test will change depending on distance from the router and what is in between) has achieved 87 download and 3 upload which is pretty good (taking into consideration many on site factors). That speed is more than capable of running many tasks with ease, including streaming live videos, zoom meetings, etc.
One quick but very important note inside the app check for what band your device is on. In the home browser select network then tap on your device and check what connection bandwidth your on and how strong you're device connection is.
.You have probably heard about 2.4 GHZ and 5 GHZ network connections in wireless routers, the Starlink has a smart system built into it that detects the best possible connection to the router and will switch this automatically according to the need and performance requirements. The big thing to note here is that you will usually see big speed differences between these 2 frequencies, lets go back to our driving analogy. Think of the 5 GHZ band as having the fastest road speed signs, but the roads are very short. So although you can travel at the fastest speed, you're very limited to how far you can travel on that road.
The 2.4 GHZ band has much slower speed limits (actually 1/3rd the speed of 5 GHZ) but it has really long roads, making it better for long trips far from your home. So depending on your location and need for bandwidth the Starlink router will assign you to either network. Most likely it will assign you to the 5 GHZ when you're close to the router or have very little interference between the router and your device, and in turn will assign the 2.4 GHZ to devices that have some distance between the router and device, and or a lot of interference. A special note here is that you can manually set up the 2.4 and 5 networks in the Starlink system. I wouldn't recommend this unless you have some knowledge of networking as you can do more damage than good. The AI in the Starlink I would say is pretty darn accurate in its decisions, thank you Mr Musk. So the main point here, is that when using this test take note of what network you're on and move closer or further away from the router to get accurate tests. If possible get the devices within range of the 5 GHZ network or better yet a hardwire connection (which still to this day is the best connection), we've consistently doubled our Starlink speeds by hardwiring our device's.
The blue circle is your true internet speed, unlike the green which gives us the speed to our device the blue circle calculates our total bandwidth being delivered to the location. The test reflects your Starlink systems connection to the world wide web (outside the home) unlike the green which is all about the inside connectivity to a single device in the home. So this test represents just how much bandwidth you have to split over all your devices. Lets take a look at our results and break it down a little. So we have 192Mbps download average speed being sent from servers around the world beaming down via satellites to our Dishy and 10 Mbps upload is what we can send back to the world wide web. Wow this was a good test, So in theory if I run one device on this network, having all the bandwidth to itself then this would be its performance. But we all know that there is usually multiple devices connected all sharing the network, well kind of sharing. Some devices absorb a lot more bandwidth and are essentially hogs when it come to the internet being shared. But that is a topic for another day.
The 3rd white circle lets you know how strong your device is. This is very handy if your having connection issues with devices. This is not your internet speed, but rather what your device would be capable of if you had the bandwidth. Where this test helps is when you're looking for dead spots within the house or comparative network connectivity . So our Starlink system clearly has a great connection to the Satellite Network and is able to feed multiple devices easily with these speeds.
Lets do another test this time with my phone connected to the 2.4 bandwidth.
Notice that the green circle has dropped quite a bit in speed (90 Mbps) and it is well under the systems potential at 139 Mbps. Notice my device connection was very poor as well at 95, this might have governed the green test...In order to get my phone on the 2.4 Starlink network I moved between rooms in my house to put some resistance between the devices. This is why the 2.4 Ghz network is still used today, because it has such a long range it helps with those hard to get spots still offering decent performance with range.
Looking at our connection now, we are on the 2.4 GHZ, which if you remember is a network that runs at 1/3rd the speed. The blue circle isn't impacted by this as it is reading from the modem (dishy) to the satellite 400-600 miles up and in the low earth orbit. One thing to note: is that the satellites are moving in
orbit, unlike previous satellite technology that had a geo-stationary orbit and stay constantly connected to your system, the Starlink satellites are constantly changing through out the day. This leads to a lot of fluctuation when testing, (doing multiple tests back to back we see big jumps of over 100 Mbps.)
You can see on this screen shot from https://satellitemap.space/ that the satellites are in constant movement above, meaning that Dishy can switch between satellites to deliver the best signals possible, but with that there can be some delay if your Dishy is attached to a distant satellite.
Now lets take a look at another speed test with a different result.
5 Ghz Speedtest. With this test our device speeds ended with a decent 109 Mbps, the blue circle ended up at 118 Mbps speeds and the white was a whopping 264Mbps! The 5 Ghz connection held true at only 9 Mbps difference. The other factor here that will mess with our consistency is changing between satellites and weather will cause a lot of variances. So don't get to caught up in these numbers, but rather on the overall experience you're having with the system. Most people wouldn't realize the difference between 25 or 100 Mbps running to their device as both are more than enough to perform a lot of bandwidth heavy tasks.
How can this help you?
There are a lot of ways this app can help you manage your networks health and understand what's going on. First off the connection status tells a lot about how strong your signal is. The connection here is 5 Ghz with only a 34% connection to the router.
I purposely did this test outside of my house to create as much interference as possible. This number will change as you walk form room to room placing walls between you and the router, at 34% it is still operational but the test was only 13 Mbps meaning that it would start to really lag on the load times. Knowing this, I now have a few things I can try to rectify this problem. I could reposition the Starlink router to bring it closer to the area being serviced. We could also add a booster to help push signals instead of the afore mentioned step. Keep in mind this would be at a cost and would require some extra set-up. Another option is to replace the Starlink router with a more powerful unit (lots of good options on the market), and most mainstream routers work just fine with your existing Starlink system. Special note that Starlink has 2 generation systems, so make sure to get the proper accessories for extending the system. The 2nd generation doesn't come equip with a ethernet port this is optional.
Testing The Device.
Being in the internet industry as long as we have has improved our speed and efficiency when diagnosing poor internet for our clients (even with new systems like Starlink). The one thing that no client wants to hear, is that it is their device acting up and it has nothing to do with the ISP. This speed test can help you in pinpointing problem devices by simply using it to find the best possible connection location and running your suspect device there as well. Now if your device is the suspect it gets a little bit trickier, but is much easier if you have a few devices to verify it on, most homes have multiple cell phones in them, so downloading the app on each device will help with figuring out the problematic device. Every device has its own WIFI processor, and older processors or faulty ones just can't keep up with the new technologies that are arriving everyday. Upgrading devices has become somewhat normal as much as we don't like it, if you want good internet that performs well it has just as much to do with your equipment inside the home as it does with your ISP's equipment outside the home.
Blue Circle Router Speeds Are Always Low.
This could be stemming from multiple problems and we definitely recommend contacting Starlink if this is your case, but before you do make sure to check the dish for interference (trees or buildings) that could be blocking or interfering with the signal. If your tests fluctuate a lot (good one day and not the next) then there could be some other interference in the area.
Although not common it definitely isn't out of the realm of possibility.
Best way to rule out external interference is to power down devices that are suspect (if possible) and rerun the test until you can pinpoint the problem.
Bottom line here is that if the blue circle router speeds are constantly low it doesn't matter how much you adjust or replace equipment on the inside, as the problem is more than likely external, (if not Dishy or attached cabling/which is only serviceable by Starlink).
We love that Starlink has built this into their app, its usefulness when needed is fantastic. It can really help you understand your networks health and make improvements as necessary. Starlink has come on the scene blistering fast, and with it has come a lot of questions and curiosity. This app has helped us to understand a lot about the behavior of the network allowing us to make articles like this for you. If you have enjoyed this article please make sure to subscribe to our site to stay up to date on our Starlink journey.
Check out our YouTube video on testing Starlink WiFi. .