In this article, I will share my review and experience using Starlink Malaysia on Banggi Island, Sabah. If you need information about the real-world usage of Starlink, this article might be useful to you.
Starlink, a satellite internet service owned by SpaceX, has begun operations in Malaysia. It offers high-speed internet access using a network of low-Earth orbit satellites.
The primary advantage of Starlink is its ability to provide fast and stable internet connections in remote and rural areas, typically hard to reach with traditional internet services.
Table of Contents
- The Purpose of This Writing
- Background of Starlink’s Launch in Malaysia
- Starlink Installation Guide
- Tips for Finding the Best Location for the Starlink Antenna
- Starlink’s Performance
- Comparison with Other Internet Services
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Starlink
- Final Thoughts and Recommendations
The Purpose of This Writing
This article shares my review and installation guide for Starlink based on my experience in Banggi Island, Sabah. I will provide insights into Starlink’s pros, cons, unique features, and installation
Additionally, the article will provide a step-by-step guide on installing and configuring Starlink equipment, including tips to ensure optimal internet performance.
The goal is to offer useful and practical information for those interested in or planning to use Starlink.
I have also written about this in Malay language at this link.
Background of Starlink’s Launch in Malaysia
The launch of Starlink in Malaysia is a significant step in improving internet access in the country.
As is well known, the state of Sabah has a unique topography and geography. Therefore, it poses a significant challenge to access the internet, especially in rural and remote areas (including isolated Banggi Island). Thus, Starlink’s satellite technology offers a solution to this problem.
With satellites orbiting the Earth at a low altitude (Low Earth Orbit – LEO), Starlink can provide high-speed internet access with low latency, something that previously seemed impossible, especially in remote areas.
This facility is particularly relevant for Banggi Island, where access to infrastructure like fiber optics is unlikely.
Here are some ways in which Starlink overcomes these challenges:
- Access in Remote Areas: Starlink uses a constellation of low-orbit satellites, enabling it to provide internet to areas that are hard to reach with ground infrastructure. This is significant for residents in remote and isolated areas in Sabah.
- Less Reliance on Ground Infrastructure: Unlike traditional internet services, Starlink doesn’t require extensive cables or ground infrastructure. This reduces the cost and time needed to bring internet to remote areas.
- High Speed: Starlink offers high internet speed and low latency, a significant improvement compared to other slower satellite internet options (such as the ConnectMe service). This enables internet use for various purposes, including education, business, and health.
However, there are also challenges to address in using Starlink, such as the high cost of installation and equipment, and the need for precise antenna orientation.
Nevertheless, with this technology, Starlink has great potential in overcoming internet connection challenges in Sabah and advancing digital access across the state.
Starlink Installation Guide
Here, I share my experience installing and setting up Starlink Internet
Where Can You Get the Starlink Kit?
- Visit the official Starlink website, choose the service package you want, and complete the purchase process.
- You will need to provide credit/debit card information for payment and an address for the delivery of the Starlink kit.
How Much Does Starlink Cost In Malaysia?
Starlink offers various packages depending on your needs. You can refer to their service plans.
- Standard Plan: This is the plan I use. It often provides good internet speed and is sufficient for basic needs like web browsing, streaming, and communication.
- Priority Plan: This plan is for users who need higher speeds and better stability. It comes at a higher price and is suitable for business or intensive internet use.
- Mobile Plan: For those who are constantly on the go and do not stay long in one place.
Additionally, the cost of installation and equipment should be considered, which might involve an upfront payment for the Starlink kit.
I purchased the most basic subscription package (standard) which costs RM220 per month. However, you must first order the Starlink kit, which costs RM2300 + RM100 (shipping cost). Once the internet connection is activated, then you need to pay RM220.
For preparation, the budget is as follows:
- RM 2400 (Starlink Kit + shipping cost) – First payment
- RM 220 (once the internet is activated) – Recurring monthly payment
Estimated Delivery Time
The official courier for Starlink in Malaysia is DHL. Delivery time may vary depending on your location. In my case, it took about 7 days to arrive in Kudat from Kuala Lumpur.
You will be provided with a tracking number and status updates on your shipment via email.
What Items Are Included in the Starlink Kit?
The list of items delivered in the Starlink Kit includes:
- Satellite Antenna
- “X”-shaped base
- Power Cable and Ethernet Cable
- WiFi Router
Below is a brief video unboxing of the Starlink kit that I made:
Brief Description of Each Item:
- The antenna is used to receive signals from the satellite.
- The base provides support for the antenna.
- Cables connect the antenna to the router and power source.
- The WiFi router is used to distribute the internet signal in your home.
Starlink Installation Process
The process of installing Starlink is very straightforward. Watch the video below, which explains how to install Starlink.
In summary, the steps for installing the Starlink antenna are as follows:
- Attach the antenna to the provided base.
- Choose an open location without obstacles for the antenna, usually outdoors or on a rooftop.
- Connect the antenna to the router using the Ethernet cable.
- Connect the router to the power source.
Tips for Finding the Best Location for the Starlink Antenna
The primary objective is to find an area free from obstructions.
Ensure the Starlink antenna is installed in an area unobstructed by trees or tall buildings. A higher location usually yields better results.
This was proven by what I did.
I tied my Starlink antenna to a wooden pole to make it higher than the roof of the house. This method allowed me to achieve internet speeds exceeding 200 Mbps!
How to Activate Starlink Service?
- Download the Starlink app on your smartphone. Follow the instructions in the app to activate the service using the account information you created during purchase. iPhone users can directly go to the app store through this link.
- In the Starlink app, you can configure basic settings like the WiFi network name and password. You can also monitor signal strength and make adjustments to the antenna’s orientation if necessary.
- After successfully activating the internet connection, you will receive an email from Starlink informing you that the internet connection is active and your card will be charged RM220.
Additional Tips to Optimize Starlink Usage
- Choose the Right Antenna Location: Ensure the antenna is installed in an open and high location, free from obstacles like large trees or buildings, to maximize signal reception.
- Antenna Alignment: Use the Starlink app to assist you in aligning the antenna. The app can provide directions on how to get the strongest signal. From my observation, the antenna often points toward the northern sky, where the Starlink satellite constellation might be located.
- Ethernet Connection: Connect your important devices directly using an Ethernet cable to the Starlink router for better speed and stability, especially for activities that require low latency.
- Performance Monitoring: Use the Starlink app to monitor the performance and strength of your connection. This helps in identifying problems and making necessary adjustments.
- Software Updates: Ensure your router and Starlink equipment are always updated with the latest software to ensure optimal performance and security.
- Usage in Bad Weather: Internet connection may be affected in bad weather conditions like heavy rain or storms.
- Technical Support: Make sure you understand how to contact Starlink technical support and file complaints in case of technical issues.
By following these tips, you can optimize your experience with Starlink, ensuring you fully benefit from this advanced satellite technology.
Here is my review of Starlink’s performance after using it for about a month.
Does Starlink Have an Internet Quota?
Currently, there is no quota imposed for this standard package (unlimited). However, as I understand from the official Starlink website, data speeds might be slightly reduced during peak times.
You can see the Starlink Fair Use Policy for more details.
Speed and Consistency
Starlink offers impressively high internet speeds, faster than other internet providers even in urban areas.
For example, the average speed in Kudat town is around 3 – 10 Mbps (4G cellular network) or only 30 Mbps (Celcom fiber or Unifi). However, Starlink’s performance exceeds 200 Mbps in Banggi Island (a rural area of Kudat district), which is far faster than in urban or town areas.
This speed enables smooth internet usage for browsing, downloading, and other online activities.
In terms of consistency and stability, it varies depending on the weather. So far, I have experienced minimal disruptions. Only occasionally there are outages lasting 2-5 seconds.
When compared with other internet service providers in Sabah, especially in remote areas like mine, Starlink offers speeds hundreds of times higher and better stability. This is a major advantage for users in areas not reached by high-speed internet coverage.
As mentioned earlier, Starlink’s performance is influenced by weather conditions.
However, throughout my usage, Starlink has shown moderate latency (20 – 70ms) most of the time, which is acceptable for video calls. For online gaming, however, I feel this level of latency is less suitable, especially for intensive games.
In remote areas, where alternative providers have higher latency, Starlink successfully provides a better experience with much lower latency.
As of writing this review, I have had a positive experience with Starlink. Web browsing is smooth without interruptions, and video streaming runs in high quality without frequent buffering.
For other activities like online gaming, there is a slight delay in response. However, it’s understandable since it uses satellites, so it’s highly dependent on various factors like cloud thickness and rain.
Overall, Starlink brings a significant change in terms of speed, stability, and latency of the internet in Sabah, especially in areas previously facing challenges in accessing good internet.
This improved user experience demonstrates Starlink’s potential as a future internet solution in remote and rural areas.
Comparison with Other Internet Services
Here are some points to consider:
Compared to regular internet services, Starlink’s price may be higher. However, considering various factors including the speed and stability offered, Starlink is very worthwhile for people living in remote areas.
In rural and remote areas, where other options may be limited or nonexistent, Starlink offers high value despite being more expensive than other alternatives that might be cheaper but less satisfactory.
For users living in urban areas with stable internet access such as fiber or 5G, Starlink becomes a rather expensive and less beneficial choice.
In conclusion, Starlink’s advantage in providing stable and fast internet access in remote areas offers high value for users in those locations. If you live in a city, it might be better to stick with your existing internet provider.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Starlink
Here I list some advantages and disadvantages of Starlink:
- Access in Remote Areas: Starlink provides high-speed internet in areas lacking regular internet services.
- High Speed and Stability: Starlink offers fast internet speeds with stable connections.
- Easy Installation: Starlink installation is relatively easy and does not require complex requirements.
- Low Latency: Important for activities requiring real-time response such as online gaming and video calls.
- No Contract: One advantage of Starlink is that it doesn’t bind you to a specific contract like other internet providers.
- High Cost: The subscription price and installation cost of Starlink may be higher compared to regular internet services. The price for the kit is RM2400, while the monthly payment is RM220.
- Weather Dependent: Connection performance may be affected by bad weather conditions, like heavy rain or storms.
- Need for Open Location: To get the best connection, the Starlink antenna needs to be installed in an open location free from obstructions.
- Limited Customer Support: As a relatively new service, technical support might still be limited. You may need to troubleshoot problems yourself.
Overall, despite some drawbacks, Starlink still offers a unique opportunity for internet access, especially in remote and rural areas. Its advantages in providing high speed and stability can certainly have a significant impact in those areas.
Final Thoughts and Recommendations
Having lived in this remote area for 10 years, this is the first time I feel connected to the outside world.
Starlink is an innovative choice for internet access in Sabah, especially for those in remote areas or experiencing issues with existing internet services. It represents a step forward in bridging the digital divide and empowering communities with communication channels.
Before subscribing to Starlink, I suggest assessing your needs and geographical conditions first. If you live in an area difficult to reach by existing internet service providers, then Starlink could be an ideal solution.
However, you should also consider the cost factor and the need for installing the Starlink antenna in an open location.
Yes, Starlink, the satellite internet service by SpaceX, is operational in Malaysia. It offers broadband internet connectivity through a constellation of satellites in low Earth orbit, designed to provide high-speed internet access in remote and underserved areas. However, the availability and performance of the service can vary based on location and satellite coverage.
Starlink is now available in Malaysia, and the monthly cost for the service is RM220. This subscription provides satellite broadband with speeds of around 100Mbps. It’s important to note that this cost does not include the hardware, which must be purchased separately. The standard hardware kit costs RM2,300, while the High-Performance option is priced at RM11,613. Additionally, there is a RM100 shipping fee for the kit.
In Malaysia, the speed of Starlink can vary based on several factors, such as location, the number of users, and satellite availability. Generally, Starlink offers download speeds ranging from 50 Mbps to 150 Mbps, and upload speeds from 10 Mbps to 20 Mbps. However, these speeds can fluctuate and might be updated as the network of satellites expands and technology improves.
Yes, Starlink is generally fast enough for gaming. Its satellite internet technology provides sufficient speeds and has been working on reducing latency, which is crucial for gaming experiences. However, the performance can vary based on location, satellite coverage, and environmental factors. Gamers in remote or rural areas, where traditional high-speed internet options are limited, may find Starlink particularly beneficial. It’s important for users to check the latest service performance in their specific area to ensure it meets their gaming needs.
Starlink’s suitability in Malaysia hinges on individual needs and circumstances. It’s an advantageous option in remote or rural areas lacking high-speed terrestrial broadband, offering superior speeds and reliability compared to traditional satellite internet. However, its higher setup and subscription costs, alongside potentially higher latency than ground-based broadband, need consideration. The decision should factor in your specific location, internet usage demands, budget, and Starlink’s current service availability and coverage in your area.
Starlink’s internet speeds can be comparable to 5G in some instances, but they are generally different technologies with distinct characteristics. 5G, a terrestrial wireless technology, often provides higher speeds and lower latency in urban and developed areas where it’s available. Starlink, a satellite-based service, offers consistent coverage and reliable speeds, especially beneficial in remote or rural areas where 5G or other high-speed internet options are not accessible. However, in areas with advanced 5G infrastructure, 5G may offer faster speeds and lower latency compared to Starlink. The choice between Starlink and 5G depends on your location, the quality of local 5G infrastructure, and your specific internet needs.
Fiber internet generally offers faster speeds and more reliable connections compared to Starlink. While Starlink provides global coverage beneficial for remote areas, fiber’s direct cable infrastructure leads to higher speeds and lower latency. Starlink’s average speed is up to 100 Mbps for residential users, whereas fiber can exceed 1000 Mbps. In terms of cost, fiber is usually more affordable than Starlink, which has a higher monthly fee and equipment costs
Yes, you can use a TP-Link router with Starlink. The process of connecting a TP-Link router to Starlink depends on the version of the Starlink terminal you have.
Yes, Starlink has implemented a soft data cap as part of its Fair Use Policy, effective from April 2023. This policy applies different data caps depending on the user’s subscription plan. For instance, Business/Priority and Maritime/Mobile Priority plans have specific soft data caps. Once users exceed their Priority access limit, they can purchase additional data, but their speeds will decrease. This means Starlink still offers unlimited data but with reduced speeds after surpassing the soft cap limit. Standard data users experience around 100 Mbps download speed, and Roam subscribers always receive the lowest priority.
Starlink’s disadvantages include a high initial cost for equipment and setup, variable speeds influenced by satellite availability and weather, soft data caps that may reduce speeds after certain usage thresholds, and limited global coverage. The service is also impacted by weather conditions and requires a clear view of the sky for optimal signal, potentially limiting installation options. Additionally, latency issues, while improving, can still affect real-time applications.
Starlink offers a “Portability” add-on for residential users, allowing them to use their internet service in different locations. However, this service might not match the same performance as at the registered home address due to varying satellite coverage and network demand. It’s designed for temporary use and not as a permanent solution for different locations. This flexibility makes it a good option for those needing internet access while traveling within the same continent. For the latest details and restrictions on the portability feature, it’s best to refer directly to Starlink’s official website.
Yes, you can connect Starlink to your router. Starlink comes with its own Wi-Fi router, but if you prefer to use your existing router, you can do so. The Starlink terminal (dish) connects to the Starlink router through an Ethernet cable, and you can replace the Starlink router with your own. Just ensure your router’s WAN port connects to the Ethernet cable from the Starlink terminal. Remember to configure your router settings appropriately for compatibility with the Starlink system.
To extend your Starlink Wi-Fi range, consider using Wi-Fi extenders, mesh networks, or additional routers. Wi-Fi extenders can broaden the existing signal coverage, mesh network systems offer seamless coverage over a larger area, and connecting additional routers can expand the network. It’s important to position extenders or additional routers strategically for optimal signal strength and minimal interference. For specific models and setup instructions, refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines and ensure compatibility with Starlink’s system. You also can check my setup here
Thank you for reading this review about using Starlink in rural Sabah.
I also hope you will share your experiences using Starlink, whether they are positive, negative, or additional tips you’ve discovered. Your sharing can help our community better understand and utilize this technology.
If you have any questions about Starlink, don’t hesitate to ask. I am ready to help answer your queries.
- For more information about Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites, visit this link: Low Earth Orbit by the European Space Agency (ESA)
- To virtually track satellites currently in Earth’s orbit, check out: Low Earth Orbit Visualization
- For insights into the race among SpaceX, Amazon, OneWeb, and Telesat to provide internet facilities using LEO satellites, explore: Perspectives on LEO Satellite – Using Low Earth Orbit Satellites for Internet Access