Of late, the number of people using the Starlink internet is rising. Its high internet speed can be attributed to the glorious hike in the number of users. However, when it comes to power consumption, consumers still harbor a question in their minds. Not much is known about how much power Starlink consumes. Is the power consumption similar for people living in homes, in an RV, or in any off-grid location? What effect do Starlink dishes have on electricity bills?
In this article, we will discuss the topic that has been doing rounds for quite some time- Starlink power consumption. Before that, let us read briefly about Starlink.
As the company has not disclosed much about power consumption, consumers are still unaware of the power the dish and the router use.
Here, we have decoded the power consumption of Starlink’s different dish models.
The Standard Starlink square dish consumes 45 to 75 watts when the power supply, router, antenna, and cables are active. However, during booting and configuration, it uses more power.
In cases where there is no active connection to any satellite or no activity on the WiFi network, the consumption drops to 20 to 30 watts.
The dish uses 100-240V AC power at 50-60 Hz. Currently, the device is not powered via DC. But the latter would multiply its efficiency.
High-Performance Starlink Power Consumption
The High-Performance dish uses 110 to 150 watts when the power supply, router, antenna, and cables are active. Furthermore, the power consumption spikes at the time of booting and configuration.
Once connected to the satellite, after a lag of a few minutes, the dish derives power from the lower end of the spectrum. But, with constant activity and high traffic, it can switch to the higher end of the spectrum. While not in use, the power consumption drops to 45 watts.
Similar to the Standard type, the equipment uses 100-240V AC power at 50-60 Hz. However, it draws 4.5 amps.
Original Starlink Power Consumption
The Original Starlink dish uses 65 to 100 watts when the power supply, router, antenna, and cables are active.
This dish is large and dated. It lacks in terms of efficiency. It uses more energy during booting and configuration. When the network is inactive, the power consumption drops to 40 to 60 watts. Similar to the other models, this one also works at 100-240V AC power at 50-60 Hz. It draws 5 amps.
Standard Dish (First and Second Generation)
The first-generation Standard Dish has gone out of the arc. So, it sells no more. On average, it drew between 60 to 110 watts, but the power consumption would reach 160 watts during cold weather.
During the inactive or low-traffic phase, the dish would draw 30-40 watts and up to 5 amps at 100-240 AC power at 50-60 Hz. While at rest, the consumption drops to 20 to 30 watts.
Talking about the second-generation Standard Dish, it is a rectangular dish that operates on 50 to 75 watts, uses the standard 100-240V AC power at 50-60 Hz and pulls up to 2 amps.
High-Performance Dish (Flat)
The flat and regular high-performance set-ups use 110 to 150 watts when active and 40 to 50 watts when inactive. This dish operates on 100-240V AC power at 50-60 Hz. Furthermore, this dish pulls up to 4.5 amps.
The power consumption of a Starlink Device depends on several factors. Here they are.
1. Network Activity
Just like any other internet device, the number of devices connected to the router and their data requirement affects Starlink’s power consumption. If the data consumed by the connected devices is more, the dish and router will require more power to send and receive signals from the satellite.
Activities like downloading large files, streaming videos, doing video calls, and playing video games consume more power. However, activities like sending emails, browsing the internet, making phone calls, etc., consume less power.
2. Location of the dish
Another factor that affects the power consumption of a Starlink dish is its location with respect to the Starlink satellite constellation.
Starlink constellations are Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites that do not orbit the planet. They move freely and do not have any fixed position. As a result, a Starlink dish frequently changes its connection. It always connects with the satellite closest to it. The frequency of these connections and disconnections is a leading cause of high power consumption by Starlink.
However, as there are many Starlink satellites in orbit, this factor does not pose much problem. But people who live in areas with poor Starlink satellite coverage bear the brunt of high power consumption.
Starlink works well in most weather conditions. However, extreme conditions impact power consumption. Thick clouds, heavy precipitation, and heavy thunderstorms call for high power.
Bad weather obstructs signals. Under these circumstances, the dish sends stronger signals to receive them efficiently.
However, Starlink offers a snow melting feature that enables better signal receiving under snow. The Snow Melt feature, as the name says, melts the residual snow or ice by heating the dish surface (through an inbuilt heater in the dish). It can be set to on, off, or automatic through the Starlink app.
Once the ice melts, there remains no obstruction between the dish and the satellite and signals are restored. However, this feature uses high power to work efficiently.
4. Ambient Temperature
The temperature of the environment also impacts power consumption. The dishes consume more power in cold temperatures.
Apart from snow and ice, other natural obstructions like hills or trees between the dish and the satellite hinder the give-and-take of signals. The dish consumes more power to reconnect to the satellite moving in the sky.
Starlink aligns with the requirements mentioned by the NEC (the US National Electrical Code). Therefore, you do not need to ground the system. Having said that, if your area is prone to power failures or extreme weather conditions, such as lightning storms, you must get an external grounded lightning protection system.
Starlink does not provide any external power source with its RV kit. But you can use any external power source to get the required power.
In general, the communication satellites of today consume anywhere around 12 to 18 kW. As compared to these numbers, Starlink’s power consumption is quite low. It would not be wrong to say that Starlink is an efficient and environment-friendly network.
The use of the latest technologies and modern design improves the efficiency of the set-up. However, the power consumption by the Starlink dish depends on various factors. Ideally, one should always set up the dish in an area where the impact of these factors and any other obstruction is low. It is essential to set up the equipment in the right area to derive maximum efficiency and cut down on power consumption.
As technology is evolving with each passing second, we can wait for a more efficient Starlink network.