The Starlink dish has gone through a variety of design overhauls throughout its lifespan, from circular to square/rectangle design.
Note: Starlink square dish is also called Starlink v2 dish or Starlink rectangular dish, owing to its rectangular shape.
The Starlink round dish is larger and heavier than the Starlink square dish. The round dish consumes more power as well. There's no ethernet port on the router that's shipped with the square dish while the power adapter that comes with the round dish has an ethernet cable.
Check out the table below for a quick summary of the differences between a Starlink round dish and a square dish:
|Factors||Starlink Round Dish||Starlink Square Dish|
|Detachable power cable||Yes||No|
|Dimensions||Bigger and bulkier||Smaller and slimmer|
Starlink Round vs Square: Technical Specs Difference
At first glance, the square dish offered no significant improvements in any manner in comparison to the round dish.
But there are very few minor changes that might affect the user experience.
Here is a brief rundown of the on-paper specifications of each of the Starlink designs:
|Weight||16 lbs||9.2 lbs|
|Ingress Protection||IP 54 rated||IP 54 rated|
Mast diameter 1.4"
|Height 24" height|
Mast diameter 1.3"
|Operating temperatures||-22°F to +122°F||-22°F to +122°F|
|Compatible official Mounts||Volcano mount|
Ground Pole mount
Pipe adapter mount
Ground Pole mount
Pipe adapter mount
Short wall mount
Long wall mount
From the chart above, it is obvious that the changes are very minimal when it comes to the capabilities of both dish designs.
The highlights regarding the hardware are that the newer generation square dish models are lighter, smaller, and lack an ethernet port on the router.
For the exact visual dimensions of each component of the dishes refer: Starlink Dimensions-Dish, Mast, Cable
The smaller and lighter design ensures that you have options to mount the dish in even more places, but still doesn't make a huge impact as you would initially think.
The total height including the mast still stands at 24 inches, compared to the 25.4-inch height of the round dish.
Lack of Ethernet port on Square Dish
Starlink also combined the router and power supply into a single unit, giving no space for an ethernet port on board.
As you can see there's no ethernet port in the Gen 2 router that you get with the square dish.
The lack of an ethernet port can be a huge bummer for many, as it is important for many applications.
This means you cannot connect devices like third-party routers and mesh nodes to the square dish by default.
For activities like gaming, you'll need an ethernet port to make a wired connection as it's more stable than WiFi.
But Starlink also offers an ethernet adapter that you can buy extra that can add the functionality of ethernet.
With this Ethernet adapter add-on, you should be able to do everything you can with the Gen 1 round dish.
Detachable Cable on Square Dish
The cable connecting the new square dish is detachable, unlike the round dish where the cable is non-detachable.
What this means is that if you damage the cable from your round dish, you'll need to replace the dish and the cable together.
Support for Official Mounts on Square Dish
There is also added support for newer official mounts such as the short wall, long wall, and pivot mounts.
The specification that doesn't translate well on paper is the making cost, as the square design of the dish is ought to make the units easier to mass produce.
This cuts down on manufacturing costs and therefore can result in cheaper equipment costs for the end user.
The square dish is also said to consume less power than the round dish, thanks to this change in manufacturing processes.
Starlink Round For Beta Users
For the longest time, Starlink was technically in beta, and only in the last quarter of 2021 did they officially come out of beta.
This beta tag was just a namesake though, as the whole service ran smoothly for users who got their Starlink services during the beta phase, just like the stable phase.
The differences from beta to the stable were so irrelevant that users barely noticed such a flag.
Even the waiting list system that existed since the beta days still stands strong today.
But the way Starlink claimed they were out of beta was noticed by quite a lot of people, which was by transitioning to a newer square/rectangular design of the dish.
Starlink Business With Round Dishes Offers Slightly Slower Speeds
Starlink never came out to explicitly state that their newer square dish is designed to provide faster speeds than the round dish.
But Starlink does state in one of their Starlink specification charts that there is a slight difference in speeds, at least for download speeds.
Interestingly, there is a separate row for Starlink Business plans with circular hardware, that is rated for expected download speeds between 100-300 Mbps.
But the Starlink Business plan row above it, which I assume is with the latest rectangular dish is rated for expected download speeds between 100-350 Mbps.
This might seem insignificant, as these are statistics provided by Starlink and real-life tests will definitely vary with region and environmental conditions.
But the fact remains that the circular dish model fared about 50 Mbps less than the rectangular models under Starlink's test conditions.
For end consumers like us, we will not notice the difference, unless both are compared side by side, and that too the results might be irregular.
But this hints at a slight technical improvement for the square dish compared to the circular dish.
It is also to be noted that these compare the Starlink business dish, which are high-performance dishes with arguably better specs than the residential counterpart.
After comparing both the Square and Round dishes, I can safely say that for the end user, it doesn't make a whole lot of difference.
The newer design has a less bulky design and consumes less power, but the gains in real-world usage are negligible.
If you got your Starlink connection during its beta phase and still own the round dish, then there is little reason for you to upgrade to the square dish.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
What is a Starlink Dishy?
Dishy McFlatface, or Dishy, is the term users of Starlink use to describe the receiver dish of Starlink.
Is Starlink better than a fiber internet connection?
Fiber internet will always be superior to any satellite internet connection in terms of speeds and latency, but Starlink can potentially offer coverage in areas fiber can't reach.
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