Starlink Review – New Zealand Test Results 2022

January 28th, 2022   |   Rural Broadband by Gravity

starlink new zealand review

We purchased and reviewed the Starlink connection and thoroughly examined the dish, connection speeds, and reliability among other aspects. During our tests, we came across some pros and cons of the connection. Starlink looks like it will be a great connection for some New Zealander’s, but it is not for everyone.

As New Zealand’s premier Satellite Internet Provider we pride ourselves on keeping up to date with changes to the industry as well as new products and new players in the market.

Earlier this year we shared our thoughts on one of the most hotly anticipated new players. We examined the important factors for those considering Starlink as their Internet Service Provider, highlighting aspects that often get buried in the T&Cs and tech-speak.


Starlink NZ Review

Since receiving and testing our very own Starlink connection and would like to share with you our experiences, both positive and negative to continue to educate rural NZ on the internet options available to them. As with our previous post, we will be keeping things as objective and neutral as possible. Gravity is passionate about rural and remote Kiwi’s being connected and getting the best service they can afford.

starlink satellite dishy box closed

Firstly, we must say that as with any Satellite Internet connection it is all about your “line of sight”. This is either a direct line from your satellite dish to a stationary satellite (a service like Gravity connects to a geo-stationary satellite in orbit) or in Starlink’s case a broader “field of vision” to be able to connect with the hundreds of satellites they have in low-earth orbit (LEO) around the planet. Starlink recommends 100 degrees of clear sky above the location of the Satellite dish to ensure an optimum connection for speeds and uptime. 

The observations below are based on our Starlink installation having no obstructions at any time of the day or night, so the results we see are as good as we believe are achievable.


Starlink Review – The Pros

  • The speeds can get fast. Very fast. We test speeds up to 50 times a day and have been for over three months, the fastest download we have observed is 391 Mbps. That’s quick. The fastest upload is 42 Mbps, so probably falls a little short of expectations there. The average download is 133 Mbps and the average upload is 15 Mbps. 
  • As space technology goes - the installation was relatively straight forward and a simple ground mount is provided. It does self-align, so no need for pointing. For us, the setup process took about 3 hours – of which 2.5 hours was waiting for the unit to align, optimise and register on the network. So don’t expect a quick plug and play process! But given the level of technology involved, this is quite painless.

starlink satellite dish on roof with open view of sky

  • Latency (or ping) has been quite consistently sitting between 50ms to 70ms. That’s going to be good enough even for some online gaming. In fact, we have tested the online gaming experience with a variety of games, including the likes of Call of Duty. There can be some very frustrating moments when the ping spikes (which it does), but overall, it is playable. You might expect to see a couple of ping spikes every hour. 
  • Presentation and packaging - although it is not a “pro” of the connection itself, we feel we can’t leave this one out. The Starlink box and the way the contents are presented is impressive, they’ve done a great job with the presentation.

starlink dish box open with stand and cables


Starlink Review – The Cons

  • The speeds are extremely variable regardless of time of day. The slowest download we have tested is 7 Mbps and the slowest upload is 1.5 Mbps. This variability can be problematic to operating certain applications across the internet. The average speed on the download has also been declining every day since we started our testing, which may be of some concern. 
  • Internet connection outages - these have been talked about a lot. Our experience is that they’re not as bad as some people have reported but remember – during our test we had a perfect view of the sky with no obstructions. The slightest obstruction would yield significantly different results in terms of outages. We see outages approximately every 2-3 hours and generally lasts between 5 – 20 seconds. Speaking from experience, even this can be quite disruptive for video call, VOIP and of course online gaming. 
  • Starlink WiFi range of the router provided is not that great, we’ve seen a drop in coverage by about 20% compared to some standard “off the shelf” consumer routers. The router is also unmanageable, so don’t expect to be able to make the normal config tweaks and changes that you can in other routers.

starlink wireless modem front and back

  • Starlink dish installation is not as simple as 'plug and play' - to get the best experience the unit really needs to be roof mounted and obstructions minimised. Not everyone is comfortable installing something on the roof and running cables. Some have opted for professional installation but the problem with this is if/when issues occur with your connection, whom do you go to? Starlink or your Installer? Is it an install problem or a network issue? The lines become very blurry and you may become sandwiched between your installer pointing blame at Starlink and vice versa.

starlink dish installed on corrugated iron roof with custom stand in auckland

  • Currently, Starlink has no local presence by way of technicians or customer service which will make the experience a little frustrating for those who are not tech-savvy enough to be able to troubleshoot their own issues. We are obviously an existing ISP and more well versed in how to optimise a connection than most rural New Zealanders.
  • There are some other cons that don’t really deserve their own bullet points but are worth noting:
    1. Your IP address changes regularly, sometimes a few times a day.
    2. VPNs performance has been variable, which may be problematic for working from home.
    3. Starlink are monitoring your activities and will block certain online activities – you won’t have any recourse, bearing in mind that their policies are US-centric.


Starlink New Zealand Summary

In conclusion, having reviewed the Starlink connection for several weeks now, we’ve been impressed with how the unit has performed to date. There are some red flags that may be of concern around the performance, but what we see today is sharp. The cons that we raised when we reviewed Starlink and what it meant for rural New Zealanders are still very relevant and should be strongly considered. Assuming that Starlink can stay in business, we think it will be a very good solution for a portion of the rural & remote population of New Zealand – and that can only be a good thing.

For those of you who are looking for a reliable alternative that is locally owned and operated with local Customer Support and plans which are much more affordable, starting at half of the $160 per month Starlink connections are (Gravity has plans from as little as $20 per week) then please get in touch with one of our friendly Gravity staff who would be happy to speak with you further about Starlink or Gravity and are well versed in the rural internet connectivity options offered around the country.


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