Mesh networking is nothing new to home networking, but a new starlink accessory allows customers to easily deploy a mesh network without third-party hardware or knowledge from you. the new accessory, called starlink mesh nodes, is now available to starlink customers with the rectangular dish. In this article, we’ll explain what mesh networks are, go over the details of the new Starlink mesh nodes, and also offer third-party alternatives to consider.
what is a mesh network?
A mesh network is a system of wireless access points (mesh nodes) that can communicate with each other and with the main internet router. it is called a mesh network because of the interconnectivity between all the nodes and the general coverage it can provide. Basically, installing a mesh network in your home extends your Wi-Fi signal more evenly and reliably. Most mesh networks can be installed wirelessly, meaning a physical ethernet cable back to a switch is not necessary. just connect the power to the mesh node. There are also wired mesh networks, but in this article we will talk about wireless ones.
Reading: How to connect eero to starlink
Mesh networks allow you to have a single wireless network that covers your entire home. if you have a smaller area, it’s not a big concern. But if you have a 3,000-square-foot home with three stories, getting even Wi-Fi coverage can be a challenge. Wi-Fi signals don’t navigate walls, floors, or even large pieces of furniture very well. Mesh networking changes that, allowing you to solve your Wi-Fi problems by installing mesh nodes for complete coverage across multiple rooms and floors. When using the mesh network and moving around your home, the signal automatically transfers from one mesh node to another and then back to the main router without interruption. It’s like having a super wifi router for your whole house.
starlink mesh node
You might be thinking, if mesh networking is nothing new, why is starlink coming out with its own hardware? the main reason for starlink mesh nodes is ease of installation and deployment. with third-party hardware, a certain level of networking and knowledge is required. most people don’t want to read a lengthy manual or spend 4 hours configuring their network. official starlink mesh nodes are practically plug and play.
Starlink originally launched a limited beta testing program of its mesh nodes in April 2022. They officially launched in June 2022. Mesh networking is still a hot topic on the starlink reddit subreddit, and this new accessory could reduce the confusion and complexity of installing one for the average person.
how much does starlink mesh node cost?
starlink mesh nodes are $130 each.
Customers can purchase them at the starlink.com store.
round chainring compatibility
Unfortunately, the starlink mesh nodes are not compatible with the original round plate. if you have a round chainring, you will need to purchase a third party mesh system. we put together a list of recommended products towards the end of the article.
how to configure a starlink mesh node
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If you are wondering how complex it will be to set up a starlink mesh node, here is the step by step guide:
- find a place where you want to install a mesh node, then connect it to ac power
- the starlink app on your phone will prompt you to pair the newly detected node, tap pair
- after about 30 seconds the pairing is complete and the mesh node is now ready to use
that’s it! it will automatically connect to the mesh node with the best signal from whatever wireless device you are using. If you want to check the status of your mesh nodes, open the Starlink app and tap Network. you will see your main router and then any mesh nodes paired below.
can you use an ethernet adapter with them?
yes! starlink mesh nodes come with a place to plug in the starlink ethernet adapter. Now you will be able to install a mesh node near your desktop pc and have a wired ethernet connection, as if you were connected to the main router. this feature is useful if you are forced to install your main router in an inconvenient location. It’s also useful for allowing more ethernet connectivity for stationary devices, freeing up Wi-Fi traffic.
how many devices can be connected to the starlink router?
starlink router and mesh nodes can connect up to 128 devices at a time.
disadvantages with starlink mesh nodes
starlink mesh nodes are easy to install, but this comes with some significant drawbacks compared to third party mesh networking hardware. many software features that are common with mesh networks are not available. for example, you cannot rename devices on the network. you can’t see usage statistics for devices. and you also cannot configure bandwidth limitations or traffic priority for devices. these are features commonly found in other third-party mesh networking hardware. Starlink may implement some of these features in future firmware updates.
another drawback of the official starlink mesh product is the lack of wi-fi 6 support. They run Wi-Fi 5 (802.11ac), which is not the newest standard supported by many third-party mesh systems.
the final drawback of using starlink mesh nodes versus a third party mesh system is the fact that they only support dual radio bands. mesh nodes have one 2.4ghz channel and one 5ghz channel, and not a dedicated third 5ghz band for node-to-node communication. tri-band is superior to dual-band in many ways, and many of the cheaper third-party alternatives have it.
alternative mesh networking products
At $130 each, starlink mesh nodes are quite expensive compared to equivalent third-party offerings. For a fraction of the price per node, customers can purchase popular dual-band mesh networking products from retailers like Amazon. If you own the first generation round dish, you will be forced to use 3rd party mesh options as the original starlink dish is not compatible with starlink mesh nodes. For those two reasons, we’ve decided to put together some product recommendations from Amazon, as alternatives to buying the official Starlink mesh system.
if you have the rectangular dish, you will need the starlink ethernet adapter to connect these mesh nodes.
amazon eero 6 mesh wifi system
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The Amazon Eero 6 Mesh Wi-Fi System is the best value for money mesh system on our list. It is much cheaper than starlink mesh nodes, with improved features and configuration settings. Just like the tp-link product, you get 3 nodes to provide wifi coverage throughout your home. this mesh system is also dual band but the eero 6 supports wifi 6 which is an advantage over the starlink product.
Setup is similar to tp-link and starlink mesh networks, where everything is done through the eero app. Like the TP-Link system, Amazon Eero has many more software features than StarLink mesh nodes, such as traffic prioritization and statistics.
tp-link deco tri band mesh wifi 6 system
The tp-link deco tri band mesh wifi 6 system is our highest performance recommendation. It features tri-band radios and Wi-Fi 6, two big performance advantages over StarLink mesh nodes. you will get two nodes, which is enough to cover up to 5500 square feet. additional nodes are available if you need to further expand the system.
setup is easy thanks to the deco app, available on android and ios. As another advantage compared to the Starlink product, you will get additional security settings, traffic prioritization, and device management, all from within the app.
All of that said, this is the most expensive mesh system on our list. if you don’t need tri-band, consider either of the other two options on our list.
tp-link deco mesh wifi system
the tp-link deco mesh wi-fi system comes with a set of 3 mesh nodes to provide wi-fi coverage of up to 5500 square feet. the three nodes create a seamless wireless network throughout the house. The nodes are dual-band just like Starlink nodes, but at a fraction of the cost.
Configuration is done through the deco app, available on android and ios. This tp-link mesh wifi system has much more software features compared to starlink mesh nodes, such as parental controls, device prioritization, analytics, and more.
starlink mesh nodes are a game changer for starlink customers hoping to implement a mesh network without the complexity of many third party options. For $130, you’ll get improved Wi-Fi coverage and the possibility of an additional Ethernet port. Many customers will appreciate the consistent styling and aesthetics of the mesh nodes, which look almost identical to the StarLink router.
let us know what you think. Are you interested in buying one or more for your home? do you plan to buy the starlink product or a third party?