Starlink is currently out of public beta and available in most areas of the United States. Speeds are averaging about 100 Mbps at this time.
This is fantastic news for anyone who currently does not have access to fast and reliable internet at their location. With many people still working from home the stakes are even higher for Starlink. One piece of technology that many people working from home depend on is VPN.
VPN allows for a highly secure connection and is required by many corporations. Additionally some people choose to use VPN for their own security and privacy. That raises the question, does VPN work with Starlink.
The answer is a resounding yes. Starlink works with VPN without issue. The lower latency offered by Starlink makes it suitable for latency sensitive applications including VPN connections. This is a huge deal for people who depend on VPN technology to do their jobs. Other satellite internet provides including HughesNet and Viasat do not work well with VPN due to higher latency.
Connection speeds with Starlink currently average about 100 Mbps with occasional slowdowns. They are currently planning to launch over 100 new satellites per month. The additional satellites will increase speeds and reduce latency over time. Starlink hopes to be able to offer speeds of up to 300 Mbps by the end of 2021.
How Well Does VPN Perform on Starlink
VPN actually performs quite well on Starlink. Starlink supports all of the major VPN protocols including IPsec, IKEv2, WireGuard, and OpenVPN. This means that most people will have no issue with compatibility. Depending on your employer and their network configuration you may be forced to use a certain VPN protocol. Having compatibility with all of the major protocols is vital, and Starlink delivers.
VPN stability with Starlink is nearly comparable to a wired internet connection. In most cases VPN connections will be glitch free using Starlink. The only exception is when there are occasional drops in Starlink service. Unfortunately for VPN users, even momentary drops can break the VPN tunnel causing a longer drop. Although this issue can happen with a cable, DSL, or fiber connection it tends to be less common. Starlink says that as more satellites are launched and coverage is increased these drops will be greatly reduced.
VPN performance is completely on par with wired internet options. Using a VPN will always add some latency to your connection. Fortunately the latency on Starlink is already low and adding a VPN connection does not result in much additional latency, assuming you are not connecting to the other side of the earth.
When is a VPN Required
A VPN is not required to use Starlink or any internet service for that matter. VPN is often a requirement that employers impose on remote employees. VPN allows for secure remote access to internal resources. VPN also ensures that all data is securely encrypted using modern encryption algorithms. This requirement does not change based on the type of internet connection you use. Fortunately Starlink handles VPN connections effectively.
Another situation where you may want to use a VPN is if you want an additional layer of privacy and security when browsing the internet. VPN allows you to hide your real IP address from websites and advertisers. VPN also allows you to change your location to virtually browse the web from other countries. This can be beneficial if you want to access geo-restricted content such as certain streaming apps.
VPN has many use cases. Starlink is a great option for many without access to cable or fiber based internet. Starlink is faster than most DSL services and also a lot faster than either Viasat or HughesNet. If you are currently using one of these services or DSL, you may want to consider switching to Starlink. You can also be confident that VPN connections work effectively with Starlink internet service. If you want to use VPN and experience minimal performance loss you need to use a fast VPN service provider.
Recommended VPN Service Provider
There are a number of quality VPN service providers out there. The VPN service I use and recommend is ExpressVPN. They offer servers that are geographically diverse, They offer servers in North America for optimal performance and also offer servers globally which can be used to access geo-restricted content. ExpressVPN also offers a 30 risk free money back guarantee. If you are not satisfied you do not pay.
Less Expensive VPN Option
A less expensive VPN option that also works well on Starlink is NordVPN. Speeds tend to be slightly slower than with ExpressVPN but not slow by any means. They also off the option of a dedicated IP address. NordVPN has a zero logs policy that keeps you protected.
IPsec VPN works just fine over Starlink. The latency of Starlink is low enough for IPsec tunnels to perform without issue. The only IPsec VPN issue you will run into is if you are hosting an IPsec VPN server on your Starlink Internet connection. This is because Starlink uses carrier grade NAT (CGNAT) rather than assigning you a publicly routable IP address.
NordVPN work well on Starlink. The default VPN protocol used by NordVPN is extremely stable running over Starlink making it a great choice. If you use NordVPN you also have the option of adding on a static IP address to your package. This could be especially useful to you given that Starlink uses CGNAT to provide you with an IP address.
There are a few VPN issues that you can come across when using a VPN with Starlink. The most common include drops in the tunnel, increased latency, and slower download speeds. This is to be expected when using a VPN. However, using a VPN with Starlink tends to have a few more issues than using a VPN with a traditional broadband service. Using a VPN that supports the WireGuard protocol will generally offer the best performance.
Using a site to site VPN is usually not possible due the fact that Starlink does not provide you with a Static IP address. If you want to use a site to site VPN with Starlink your best option is to go with the Starlink for Business plan. This provides you with a static IP address that is publicly routable. With Starlink for Business you can set up a site to site VPN the same was as with a traditional broadband connection.
The Starlink router does not directly support VPN. To use a VPN with Starlink you will either need to bridge your Starlink router to a 3rd party router with VPN support or you will need to install the VPN client on your device itself. There is no way to install VPN on your Starlink router at this time. The Starlink router is simply too basic to handle this functionality.
Starlink work just fine with OpenVPN. Performance is more than acceptable in most cases. If you want to get even better performance out of your VPN using Starlink consider trying the WireGuard VPN protocol. This is a faster, lighter weight VPN protocol that is more forgiving of occasional blips in signal. Starlink works with OpenVPN, but using WireGuard is a better option with Starlink.
Hosting a VPN server with Starlink is usually not possible due the fact that Starlink does not provide you with a Static IP address. If you want to host a VPN server with Starlink your best option is to go with the Starlink for Business plan. This provides you with a static IP address that is publicly routable. With Starlink for Business you can set up a VPN server the same was as with a traditional broadband connection.
Starlink supports PPTP based VPN connections. Using PPTP in general is a bad idea. The security offered by PPTP is next to nothing. It can be compromised in a matter of minutes. That said, if you want to / need to use PPTP connections over Starlink you certainly can. You may run into some CGNAT related issues if you are trying to host your own VPN server on Starlink.
You can use a VPN with Starlink by downloading the VPN app used by your VPN service provider onto your device. This will encrypt all of your traffic going to and from your device. Starlink does not support the ability to install VPN on the provided router. If you want to set up a VPN on your router you will need to bridge your Starlink route to a 3rd party router which has VPN support.
Starlink supports the WireGuard protocol and handles it well. WireGuard is one of the most stable VPN protocols and therefor is very tolerant of blips in your Starlink signal. If you need to use a VPN with Starlink WireGuard is the way to go. Just keep in mind that CGNAT means that you will not be able to host a VPN server on your Starlink network. WireGuard VPN Connections originating from your Starlink network will work just fine.
L2TP VPN works just fine over Starlink. The latency of Starlink is low enough for L2TP tunnels to perform without issue. The only L2TP VPN issue you will run into is if you are hosting an IPsec VPN server on your Starlink Internet connection. This is because Starlink uses carrier grade NAT (CGNAT) rather than assigning you a publicly routable IP address. This issue is not unique to Starlink.