SpaceX may have revolutionized the Satellite internet market with Starlink. But up until early 2022, you couldn't use Starlink on the go. That is until the arrival of Starlink RV!
If you are RV'er or someone who keeps traveling and needs internet on the go, Starlink RV could be a great choice for you.
Here's everything you need to know about Starlink RV.
Starlink RV is the portable version of Starlink internet and is meant for RV'ers who need internet while traveling. There is no waiting list for Starlink RV, unlike Starlink residential. It is a deprioritized service, and network speeds may get affected during peak hours.
What is Starlink RV?
Here's a glimpse of what Starlink RV offers:
|$599 for the Kit + $135/month subscription
|It is not region locked and can be carried along with you
|You can pause the service any time of the month without any additional charges
|No waiting period
|You can get the service up and running within a couple of weeks of subscribing
|Service can get compromised with traffic.
The regular Starlink Residential version, though highly sought after, has some limitations, including its inability to be used outside the registered address.
Even if Starlink introduced a portability option for the regular service back in January of 2022, it was still kind of limited for all intents and purposes.
Not to mention the premium to be paid over the regular subscription fee.
And not long since users had to contend with the portability option, Starlink dropped yet another bomb on the Satellite internet market - a service designed to be taken with you on all your adventures.
Since Starlink Dishes can't be mounted on a Car, SpaceX decided to call it Starlink RV.
With that said, here are the facts you need to know about Starlink RV:
Pricing and Cost of Owning Starlink RV
The disparity between the Residential version and Starlink RV in terms of pricing becomes explicit only when you look at the long picture, a.k.a with the monthly costs.
The Starlink installation kit that you need to get the service up and running costs the same as the Residential service - $599 + taxes & $50 for shipping.
You can get the installation kit once you register for the service and pay the said premium.
Monthly costs for Starlink RV come at around $135, which is $45 more than the regular subscription fee.
Although, Starlink Residential plan + Portability also comes at $115 ($90+$25)!
What You Get With the Starlink Kit
There's nothing new with the Starlink RV kit compared to what you get with the Residential kit.
You get the Starlink Dish, which can be either the OG Round dish or the newer Rectangular Dish.
A Starlink Mount comes as standard with the kit. It is a tripod mount suitable for temporarily mounting the Starlink Dish.
Next, a pair of PoE cables/injectors come with the kit. They are 75 feet long and serve the dual purpose of powering and transferring data between the Dish and the Router.
Finally, you get a Starlink Router capable of hosting up to 128 devices.
The first-gen Starlink Router came with an external power supply, which was since substituted with the current-gen internally-powered (PoE) Router.
Starlink RV Internet Speeds and Data Cap
Starlink offers good speeds and low latency for RV customers.
Unlike its Residential counterpart, Starlink RV is a de-prioritized service. Hence, making it susceptible to decreased internet speeds and latency as network traffic increases.
This deprioritized service is called basic access. While residential users get priority access, RV users only get basic access.
What this means is that although there is no data cap, expect speeds to drop a bit due to deprioritization during peak hours (7 PM -11 PM), especially in congested cells.
How to Setup Starlink RV
Next, let's look at how to set up the service while in transit.
Note: Starlink RV cannot be deployed in a moving vehicle. The Dish can't withstand strong wind currents characteristic of vehicles in motion.
As mentioned earlier, Starlink RV comes with the same installation kit as the Residential version.
And so, setting it up should also follow a similar procedure as with the regular version.
But before you can start to receive the service, you will have to choose a suitable mount for setting up the Dish.
Selecting the Mount
Starlink does provide a rudimentary tripod mount for temporarily setting up the Dish. But if you want to mount the Dish atop your vehicle, you may have to explore other options.
If you prefer to employ the Dish on the ground while parked, the provided Starlink Mount would be more than sufficient.
With all other cases, better select a different, ergo, much sturdier mount.
Starlink's very own Volcano Mount would be ideal for mounting the Starlink Dish on top of your RV. It is compact yet rigid enough mount to sustain the Starlink Dish.
Another viable option to mount the Starlink Dish is with a Ladder mount. The Starlink Ladder Mount Kit is a good example for the said scenario.
Most Mounts that you would like to pair with Starlink will have a larger bore diameter than the Dish Mast. Hence, you must use a coupling device like a mount adapter to marry the two pipes.
You could also drill holes and use Nuts and Bolts to secure the connection or simply rely on U-Bolts.
You'll definitely need to unmount the Starlink dish before moving with your vehicle as its unsafe to leave it mounted above.
A good carrying case is essential for safely storing your Starlink RV dish and components as you need to unmount it every time you move.
Mounting the Starlink Dish
With the suitable Mount acquired, let's now mount the Starlink Dish to a more rigid position than the asphalt adjacent to which your RV is parked.
Ideal mounting locations would be on the RV roof or a sturdy rail like a ladder.
Ensure that the surface has sufficient mounting/pivot holes and holders.
The most crucial aspect of mounting the Starlink Dish is to steer clear of any visible obstruction in the FOV of the Dish.
Some of the objects to look out for while mounting the Starlink Dish on the RV are:
- solar panels
Now, follow these steps and install the mount on your RV:
1. Fix the base plate of the Mount on the roof/surface of your RV. Fasten the holders and check the level.
2. Attach the pole to the base plate via the pivot joint (J-mount).
3. Install the Starlink Dish Mast with the pipe, and secure the joint. Make sure to leave ample space immediately below the Dish to align itself.
4. Route the cables to the power source either inside or to the exterior of the RV.
You can also check for obstructions in the vicinity of the Dish through the Starlink app.
To do so, open the app and select Check for Obstructions> I'm Ready> Maneuvre the Cam to scan the entire area> View Results.
Powering and Setting up Starlink Dish
Starlink Dishes are designed to be powered through regular 110V AC power sources, as well as through batteries and inverters.
With an average power consumption of 60W, it wouldn't be a bad idea to look into some external portable power solutions as well for powering the Dish.
With the exception of limited use times (5 hours), the EnginStar 300 W Portable Power Station would be an ideal candidate for the job.
If you prefer to power the Dish a bit more, try the Jackery 500W portable power station instead (up to 16 hours).
So power shouldn't be a problem for you nomads.
Connect the Dish output PoE injector to the Starlink Router and plug the devices into power.
Once you have powered ON the Dish, give it a few minutes to align and calibrate all on its own.
Open the Starlink app and follow the onscreen prompts to set up the Dish.
Proceed to name the Network and assign a password to the same. Distinguish the two bands (2.4 and 5 GHz) with distinct names.
Complete the setup and start availing of the services.
You can connect up to 128 devices simultaneously to the Starlink Router. Although, it is advised not to do so since it can affect the network parameters.
Starlink RV vs Starlink Portability
The first question that came to mind when Starlink RV was launched (May 25th, 2022) was how was it different from Starlink Portability.
|Priority at Home (Service Address)
|Second priority everywhere
|Can pause only portability fee
|Can be fully paused
|$115 or $145 (regions with limited capacity)
As you can see from the table, the total monthly fee of Starlink residential with portability and Starlink RV are the same.
There are only two important differences between the two options.
The first is that you get priority service with Starlink residential + portability when you're at your service address (home).
Starlink RV does not have a service address (home), you're always lower in priority compared to the users with their service address as your current location.
The second is that Starlink RV can be paused. If you're someone who takes your RV out only in the summer, you can buy the dish and activate it only in the summer months.
You cannot pause Starlink residential. But you can pause the portability feature though saving you some money.
With Starlink residential, you can only cancel your service and if you try to reactivate later, you will simply be put at the end of the waitlist for your area.
If you're someone who only needs Starlink occasionally and only when you travel away from home, Starlink RV might be a better option.
The last advantage to Starlink RV is that currently there are no long waitlists for it.
You can get it immediately if you order it and this is a common strategy used for skipping the Starlink waitlist.
Starlink RV is one of the best things to happen for modern-day nomads.
And the fact that you could get the service within a couple of weeks also makes a case for itself.
But the service does come with a few limitations, especially the de-prioritization clause that makes it inferior to the residential plan.
Nonetheless, Starlink RV pretty much blows the competition out of this world solely with the value on offer.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Is Starlink RV slower?
Starlink RV can get slower in crowded areas since it is a deprioritized service. Nonetheless, you can expect a speed of about 50-150 Mbps for the most part.
Can I switch Starlink RV to residential?
You cannot switch from Starlink RV to Residential for the time being. However, you can apply to change the Residential to Starlink RV/Portable with a slight price increase in the monthly subscription.
How is Starlink RV powered?
Starlink RV can be powered through a conventional 110V AC power supply as well as through inverters. Furthermore, Starlink RV cannot be operated through a 12 V DC battery supply.
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