Starlink: Power consumption at a glance

For a few days now I have been able to try out the Starlink satellite internet and also make some measurements regarding the power consumption. In contrast to a classic DSL or fiber optic connection, the special phased array satellite dish consumes significantly more energy and is definitely noticeable on the electricity bill. In the following article, we would therefore like to give you a closer look at how high the consumption is at maximum load and in normal operation.

What is measured?

We only measured the total power consumption of the Starlink kit, so this includes both the antenna and the Power-over-Ethernet power supply unit as well as the Starlink WiFi router. We took the measurements in the summer when the outside temperature was around 20 degrees, under certain circumstances the power consumption could increase at colder temperatures – it is not entirely clear whether an additional heater is actually integrated or it is just the waste heat from the installed components. In winter we will repeat the measurements accordingly and update the article here if necessary.

Power consumption lower than assumed

There are reports on the internet that Starlink would consume up to 150 watts, this would be possible after all, the power supply unit could deliver up to 180 watts – in our current (summer) measurement, however, we can no longer confirm this immense power requirement. It is quite possible that SpaceX has now got the power consumption under control or has subjected the antenna to a technical revision – we only received our Starlink kit in August 2021.

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Update: In winter, the costs are significantly higher due to the built-in antenna heating, we have published a separate article for this.

Energy consumption during normal surfing

The Starlink system consumes relatively little energy when calling up websites, streaming music or updating stock prices live. We measured peak values ​​of 50 watts there, the average is around 40 to 45 watts during this usage scenario. In complete idle mode, only 35 – 40 watts were sometimes drawn from the socket. This value could perhaps improve with future software updates.

consumption at maximum speed

The Starlink Kit consumes significantly more power as soon as data is downloaded from the network at maximum speed, this is the case with Steam downloads or speed tests, for example. At peak data rates of around 250 Mbit/s, the system drew up to 90 watts from the socket at peak times – the average value for larger downloads was around 80 watts.

As mentioned above, we cannot be sure at this point in time whether the demand for electricity will increase in cold temperatures in winter. However, we will keep you informed about this.

electricity costs per month

As you can see from the measurements, with 24/7 operation, Starlink makes itself felt on the bill of your energy supplier due to the energy-intensive phased array satellite dish. Depending on how much you have to pay per kilowatt hour, your monthly costs for operating the Starlink Internet will also increase.

With average use, we can assume consumption of around 60 watts in summer, so the system requires 1440 watts of energy during the day. This means that around 43 kilowatt hours are consumed every month, and with an electricity price of 30 cents per kilowatt, the additional electricity costs are 13 euros per month.

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Update: In winter, the energy consumption in this country can be 66 kilowatt hours and more and thus drive up the electricity costs to around 20 to 25 euros – we have published an extra article for this.

If you have an off-peak electricity tariff or are a power user, the costs can of course be slightly lower or higher. Our calculation above should only serve as a guide.

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