Starlink Internet Service supports the use of WiFi calling on your cell phone. The latency offered by Starlink is suitable for WiFi calling with all of the major cell phone carriers, including Verizon, T-Mobile, and AT&T.
However, drops in Starlink coverage can result in call drops when using WiFi calling. Therefore, Starlink is less than ideal for WiFi calling even though it is technically supported. Based on my testing and the feedback from colleagues, WiFi calling on Starlink is not as stable as on a traditional cable or fiber broadband connection.
Using your own router and enabling quality of service (QoS) is also a helpful technique to improve call quality on Starlink Internet.
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Hands On Review Of Using WiFi Calling With Starlink
Based on my experience, generally, Starlink will work acceptably for WiFi calling applications but not as well as a cable or fiber-based internet connection. The fact that your Starlink Terminal has to frequently switch its connection to a new satellite passing overhead increases the chance of having a dropped call.
Latency (ping) with Starlink is generally in the 40 ms – 60 ms range. This is technically not an issue for WiFi calling, but it is higher than what would be considered ideal. Jitter is also higher with Starlink, often in the 15 ms range. This is usually low enough for WiFi calling, but in some cases, jitter can spike higher, leading to issues with voice quality.
I generally found that Starlink worked acceptably for WiFi calling as long as I had a good WiFi signal on my phone and wasn’t too far from my router.
Main Starlink WiFi Calling Issues I Encountered
The main issue I encountered with Starlink Internet Service when using Wi-Fi calling is dropped calls. As commonly mentioned online, it is not uncommon to have drops in Starlink Internet Service that last for several seconds at a time. For Netflix streaming or web surfing, you will likely not notice them all that much.
For making WiFi calls, drops in Starlink generally result in your phone call also dropping. This is extremely frustrating and can occur with surprising frequency.
Overall, Starlink is useable for WiFi calling and other VoIP applications but far from matching the performance of a decent wired internet service such as cable, fiber, or even DSL, for that matter.
Verizon vs AT&T vs T-Mobile Wi-Fi Calling With Starlink
All 3 of the major US cell phone carriers offer WiFi calling as part of their service plans. Based on my testing with all 3 carriers using WiFi calling on Starlink, I can conclude that Verizon offers the best WiFi call performance.
Verizon was the most tolerant of brief interruptions in connection caused by the Starlink dish changing satellites. This is key if you do not want to get dropped every few minutes. Starlink is constantly tracking satellites and switching as a new satellite comes into view.
AT&T worked well most of the time but did experience a few more drops when compared to Verizon. This is also supported by data from RootMetrics, which analyzed WiFi calling performance but is not specific to Starlink.
T-Mobile was a mixed bag. On some days, performance was acceptable, and drops were minimal. On other days WiFi calling was completely impossible, with disconnects occurring every couple of minutes or less. I did not observe as many issues with Verizon or AT&T when testing WiFi calling on Starlink.
Based on my data and my anecdotal experience, WiFi calling with Starlink is possible, but drops are a real possibility. This has improved somewhat in recent months but remains an issue as of now.
How to Improve Starlink WiFi Calling Performance
There are a number of factors that impact Starlink’s Wi-Fi calling performance. Most are outside of our control. However, there are a few things that we can do that will absolutely help to make WiFi calling more reliable over Starlink.
The following is a list of things that will help to improve your Starlink WiFi Calling Experience.
- Make sure your Starlink Terminal (Dish) has a clear view of the sky.
- Use your own router and put your Starlink router into bypass (bridge) mode.
Make Sure your Starlink Terminal (Dish) has a Clear View of the Sky
Stability is the name of the game for reliable WiFi calling. Most of the WiFi calling issues that occur with Starlink are related to stability and not to download and upload bandwidth. Voice calls use surprisingly little bandwidth.
Starlink stability is largely dependent on your ability to get a clear view of the sky. Any obstructions will greatly increase the chance of connection drops. The best way to check this is to use the Starlink Mobile App to scan the sky where you are considering putting your Starlink Terminal (Dish). The app can show, for example, areas where trees are a problem.
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If you are not able to get a clear view of the sky, you will have issues with Starlink. This is especially noticeable if you use WiFi calling with Starlink. VoIP technologies are not forgiving of drops in internet or packets arriving late. The Starlink App is your best friend here.
Use Your Own Router and put Your Starlink Router Into Bypass Mode
Starlink includes a very basic router with its equipment package. For some people, the included Starlink router is more than enough. However, the Starlink router includes no quality of service (QoS) settings. This means that it has no ability to prioritize real-time VoIP traffic over other less time-sensitive traffic. This is detrimental to Wi-Fi calling performance.
There are a few things to be aware of if you want to use your own router with Starlink.
Using your own router with Starlink is relatively simple. The first step is to purchase a router that meets your needs. Make sure you are buying a straight-up router and not a modem router combo. Starlink does not use a modem. If you already have a router that you are happy with, you can skip this step.
You will also need to purchase the official Starlink ethernet adaptor. 3rd party ethernet adaptors are not compatible with Starlink.
Next, you will need to enable bypass (bridge) mode on your Starlink Router.
Finally, you will connect your Starlink router to your new router using an ethernet cable and the required Starlink ethernet adaptor.
For the best WiFi calling performance, you will want to choose a router with good QoS functionality. This will greatly improve the audio quality of your voice calls. It will also minimize some of the jitter.
Learn More About Using Your Own Router With Starlink
Conclusion- Does WiFi Calling Work With Starlink
Yes and no. Starlink Internet Service will work for Wi-Fi calling. However, you could get disconnected at any time if there is a drop in the satellite signal. This can greatly be minimized by using the Starlink App to ensure your dish has the best possible view of the sky.
You can certainly use Starlink for WiFi calling, but if you have no cellular signal and rely on WiFi calling technology regularly, you may want to look elsewhere. Cable, Fiber, and DSL are all going to offer better VoIP reliability than Starlink.
If you do opt for Starlink, you should absolutely consider using your own router rather than the included Starlink router. The included Starlink router simply underperforms and offers very limited functionality. Basic features such as QoS, port forwarding, and Guest WiFi are not even offered.
If you have a larger home, you should consider using a WiFi Mesh System such as the Netgear Orbi or AmpliFi mesh products. They offer fantastic range and fast speeds at an affordable price. They are also dead simple to set up.
Using your own router will generally offer better WiFi calling performance, especially with QoS enabled. Additionally, Starlink is working with T-Mobile on testing direct satellite-to-cell phone connectivity solutions. This could potentially mean that someday you will be able to use your cell phone literally anywhere on the earth via Starlink connectivity. This could potentially eliminate the need for WiFi calling and work anywhere in the world.