Starlink routing

Eric Kuhnke eric.kuhnke at
Mon Jan 23 23:43:03 UTC 2023

I think it's useful to clarify terminology - the starlink antenna unit
itself is the CPE.  With my v1 starlink terminal you can plug literally
anything into the PoE injector that is a 1500 MTU 1000BaseT DHCP client and
it'll get an address and a default route out to the internet. All of the
smarts happen in the antenna unit/phased array unit which also has its own
fairly capable embedded CPU/RAM and routing capability.

The starlink *indoor* CPE, the home wifi router itself ,is a very basic
thing that looks like something derived from a Taiwan ODM 802.11ac home
router OpenWRT reference design with a custom firmware load.Or similar. If
you've seen a teardown of one they're very simple.

With the v2 rectangular terminals it's similar but you need a cable adapter
to go from the proprietary starlink cable to indoor unit, and additionally
the indoor CPE unit also serves as the PoE injector.

In some other ISP type environments you might be expecting the indoor unit
to be the CPE, such as what you'd get with a Comcast DOCSIS3.0 all-in-one
modem+coax interface+router+wifi device attached to some coax coming in
through a wall.

On Mon, Jan 23, 2023 at 3:36 PM Michael Thomas <mike at> wrote:

> On 1/23/23 3:14 PM, Eric Kuhnke wrote:
> > The original and traditional high-cost way of how this is done for
> > MEO/LEO is exemplified by an o3b terminal, which has two active
> > motorized tracking antennas. The antenna presently in use for the
> > satellite that is overhead follows it until it's descending towards
> > the horizon, while at the same time the second antenna aims itself at
> > where the next 'rising' satellite is predicted to appear at the
> > opposite horizon, and forms a link to it. Make-before-break. If anyone
> > has seen photographs in their marketing material/videos of the Oneweb
> > beta test earth stations in Alaska they are operating using the same
> > general concept.
> >
> > Oneweb has clearly positioned their market focus for telecoms and ISPs
> > and large enterprise end users, because their CPE equipment is
> > considerably larger, expensive and more power hungry. The beta test
> > sites I've seen installed on top of a telecom equipment shelter occupy
> > an area approximately 8 feet long x 4 feet wide including radomes and
> > mounting.
> >
> I'm trying to understand this so sorry if this comes off dumb. So does
> the base station mediate all handoffs where the CPE is told when/what to
> handoff? Or does the CPE have some part in it (other than receiving the
> handoff)? Does the CPE accept control traffic (L2?) from any bird? Are
> there cases where the CPE needs to de-dup packets due to handoffs?
> This is pretty fascinating stuff.
> Mike
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