Starlink terminal data acquisition for network engineers

Eric Kuhnke eric.kuhnke at
Sat Feb 6 10:06:00 UTC 2021

I thought about posting this to only NANOG, but since a great concentration
of beta testers of a technical/network engineering inclination are located
in the Pacific NW, decided to also include the SIX chat list.

You may have seen the Starlink android or ios consumer-friendly app, which
displays network traffic, uptime/downtime, and other link stats. I believe
this to be polled directly from the antenna unit itself over grpc.

The beta antennas are always If you are using your own
router with the starlink beta system, in addition to its WAN interface
being an ordinary DHCP client in cgnat IP space, you'll need to manually
give it an address in that /24 and set up routing to reach the .1 IP as



you'll need a fairly normal Linux or BSD box with:


use pip to install grpcio and grpcio-tools

install grpcurl:

do a git clone of the starlink-grpc-tools url above, also take a look at
its readme info

get the dish's protoset file and write it to new file dish.protoset , this
is an index of all data that can be polled
cd /home/eric/starlink-grpc-tools
/home/eric/go/bin/grpcurl -plaintext \
-protoset-out dish.protoset \ \
describe SpaceX.API.Device.Device

/home/eric/go/bin/grpcurl \
-plaintext \
-d {\"get_history\":{}} \ \
SpaceX.API.Device.Device/Handle | python

output of the above looks like this:

full CSV header for the above:

since we are able to acquire the above in a comma-delimited csv format,
it's fairly easy to write a script storing the integers from any one of
those particular columns into a mariadb db, sqlite, influxdb, or whatever.

the following will output about 3.8MB of text for the full history (I
believe this to be the full copy of the ring buffer stored in RAM for the
terminal's statistics) , pipe it into a text file if you want to manually
look at it.

/home/eric/go/bin/grpcurl -plaintext -d {\"get_history\":{}} SpaceX.API.Device.Device/Handle

same as the above but human readable output

/home/eric/go/bin/grpcurl \
-plaintext \
-d {\"get_history\":{}} \ \
SpaceX.API.Device.Device/Handle | python -v

current counter:       299673
All samples:           43200
Valid samples:         43200
Parsed samples:        3600
Total ping drop:       20.03700998
Count of drop == 1:    14
Obstructed:            2
Obstructed ping drop:  0.3125
Obstructed drop == 1:  0
Unscheduled:           0
Unscheduled ping drop: 0.0
Unscheduled drop == 1: 0

see the get_history_notes.txt file for more info

these should match with what the json query is in the grpc GUI
# get status
/home/eric/go/bin/grpcurl \
-plaintext \
-d {\"getStatus\":{}} \ \

# get device info
/home/eric/go/bin/grpcurl \
-plaintext \
-d {\"getDeviceInfo\":{}} \ \

# get history, this outputs a huge amount of data
/home/eric/go/bin/grpcurl \
-plaintext \
-d {\"getHistory\":{}} \ \

The following is copied/pasted from my notes file on things we can acquire,
and then use a tiny shell script with awk, sed, regex, whatever as needed
to trim out just the numbers, and put them somewhere else for polling by
snmp extend

/home/eric/go/bin/grpcurl \
-plaintext \
-d {\"getStatus\":{}} \ \

notes on what's what:
figures we care about to parse out and turn into just the integers
snr can never be higher than 9
fractionobstructed appears to be the percentage of the time that the view
is obstructed, as long as the view
remains unobstructed, this number appears to slowly decrement over time
validS is valid seconds? i think
the S is almost likely always Seconds of time

"uptimeS": "304439"
"snr": 9,
"fractionObstructed": 0.0013524292,
"validS": 61815.74,
"last24hObstructedS": 53
"downlinkThroughputBps": 47915.73,
"uplinkThroughputBps": 34980.496,
"popPingLatencyMs": 29.266666

example of running the command above twice, the second time a few minutes
after the first,
to see that fractionObstructed does decrement itself over time
first run: 0.0013524292
second run: 0.0013467998
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