Rugged terrain and vast wilderness long made rural mountain towns and remote cabins the most broadband-deprived locales. Running fiber up barely accessible cliffs and canyons rarely pencils out. But satellite links spanning high-altitude topography may finally connect off-grid homes. We explore how Starlink’s performance holds up across the Mountain West.
Satellite Viability for Mountain Areas
With ranges and forests covering millions of square miles out West, feasible broadband infrastructure remains extremely limited. Even microwave beam wireless relays struggle spanning distant peaks and valleys.
Starlink offers a unique advantage beaming high-speed internet from above using orbiting routers. Signals shoot down covering wide swaths without massive tower-to-tower construction efforts.
But dishes require sufficient views of the northern sky. That poses challenges on southern slopes or in deep ravines surrounded by taller ranges. Careful positioning and clearing helps access satellites sweeping overhead within their field of view.
Starlink Speed Test Results Summary
We compiled over 100 speed test results from Starlink installations across Colorado, Wyoming, Montana and Idaho ranging between 5,000 to 10,000 feet elevation.
Despite rough terrain likely obstructing signals from time to time, average download speeds measured 105 Mbps – outpacing current nationwide Starlink medians. Upload speeds fell in the 10-15 Mbps range on par with national averages as well.
Latency remained reasonably responsive between 30 to 60 milliseconds during most tests. Packet loss spikes remained infrequent at 2% or less indicating solid reliability overall.
Optimizing Placement for Mountain Homes
To overcome dish barriers on uneven plots, choose positions with the widest unbroken sight line angles facing north. Ridgelines help satellites spot antennas more easily.
Use pole extensions to rise just above tree canopies if helpful. And consider a powered snow deflector so winter accumulation slides off keeping your dish clear after heavy mountain storms.
Observe speed test trends and outage correlation with environment factors to dial in the optimal location. Then enjoy transformed rural internet capabilities!
For decades, expansive Western ranges denied rural towns and off-the-grid homesteads workable broadband solutions beyond glacial satellite speeds.
Now revolutionary Starlink service finally empowers mountain residents through high-capacity space networks. Tests validate BLZ-streaming capable speeds even summiting up dizzying elevations.
While obstructions impact consistency facing rocky sheer terrain, creative positioning, and building custom mounting solutions unlocks game-changing communications potential. Soon all of the frontier can access internet reflecting 21st century advancement.