Be sure to check out our Starlink for RVs: Ultimate Guide for all things Starlink RV!!
I have noticed a lot of confusion when it comes to which type of service to order from Starlink. Now they have options like “Starlink RV” and Residential with “Portability” (which is just an add-on service to Residential service.) Which one should you sign up for? Which one is better for your situation?
Well, I’ll tell you the differences and you decide. Ready? Hope you’re sitting down and have a cold beer ready.
First of all, there are 5! Starlink account types currently, and some have multiple equipment options:
- Starlink Residential Standard Dishy (w/ Portability as an add-on option) $599 equipment, $110-135/mo
- Starlink Residential High-Performance Dishy (w/ Portability as an add-on option) $2500 equipment, $110-135/mo
- Starlink RV Standard Dishy $599 equipment, $135/mo
- Starlink RV Flat-Mount HP In-Motion Dishy $2500 equipment, $135/mo
- Starlink Business HP Dishy $2500 equipment, $500/mo
- Starlink Maritime Dual HP Dishy’s $10,000 equipment, $5,000/mo
- Starlink Aviation Aviation-specific Dishy $150,000 equipment, $12,500-25,000/mo (not typos!)
We are going to cover the first 5 options here. The last 3 are generally meant to be enterprise options, so I won’t go into those in this post.
There are a lot of options, so hopefully this irons out some of the details to help with what can be confusing to navigate when trying to choose an equipment package and account type
Starlink Residential w/ Portability
There are now two equipment packages when ordering a Residential account type.
One is the standard Rectangle Dishy that we have become familiar with over this past year, and one is the newer (released under Business account/equipment initially) HP (High-Performance) hardware.
The standard Dishy is smaller in size, weighs less, uses less power and is significantly cheaper at $599. This is the best choice for most mobile users, as the power requirement is much easier to deal with.
The HP Dishy is quite a bit larger, heavier, requires more power and costs quite a bit more at $2500. For actual Residential users, there is a much easier argument for the cost and power. So, why would a mobile user want this?
A Few Reasons You Would Want the HP Equipment Over the Standard:
- The HP Dish has a 140 degree field of view vs a 100 degree FOV for the standard. This will allow it to see more satellites, giving you better performance overall.
- It has an IP56 rating vs an IP54 rating on the standard Dishy, giving it protection from high pressure water jets from any direction, whereas the standard Dishy’s IP54 rating gives it protection from water spray from any direction. This would likely be something that would be more relevant for Starlink on boats.
- Better snow melt, if this is a concern (though would use a LOT of power if you are an RVer using it off-grid).
Residential Service Explained
Residential service, when used at your home service address and not roaming out of your cell, will get priority service over accounts with Portability enabled (on Residential accounts) and RV accounts.
When you leave your cell, you will need to enable Portability and you are not in your home cell.
So, when you’re in a congested area (becoming more common with more subscribers at current bandwidth capacities), and you’re not in your home cell, Portability and RV users will be deprioritized and speeds can get really low at peak hours (usually 5-10pm when everyone is done with work and everyone is home streaming). Technically they can stop service altogether for these accounts temporarily (hasn’t happened yet that I have seen reported).
Residential with Portability accounts and RV accounts cost exactly the same at $135/mo. This is because residential is $110/mo and Portability is $25/mo. You can turn Portability off when not using it (meaning you are at your service address on the account) and save the $25/mo. However, it’s not prorated, so you pay in full billing cycles). On the other hand, RV will ALWAYS be $135/mo.
When you turn off Portability, this would mean you are at your home service address, and will also have priority service. You can update your address in your account at any time, so you can always try to move it to where you are at to have the best service possible.
To be able to use Residential WITHOUT Portability, the address you want to use it at must be an available address in their system. It has to be in a “cell” (an arbitrary geofenced area of service Starlink has created) that is not at capacity and is in a place where service is offered. You can see available areas on their map here. NOTE: This is an AVAILABLE TO ORDER MAP only. It is NOT A COVERAGE MAP. Coverage is everywhere in the lower 48, the lower half of Canada, lower parts of Alaska, and most of Mexico. There are a couple spots you will see that are actually dead zones because of potential interference with frequencies that are sensitive or needed for top secret stuff!!
As with Residential, there are now 2 equipment packages you can get when ordering Starlink RV. You now have the option of the standard Rectangle Dishy at $599 or the newer HP Flat-Mount Dishy at $2500.
The performance reasons are the same as explained above as to why to choose the HP over the standard equipment, but the flat mount option could be enticing for some mobile users. The Flat-Mount HP Dishy option is great if you want a “set it and forget it” Starlink setup. Once mounted and connected, you can leave it and never have to disassemble it for travel. Sounds great, right? Well, here’s a few reasons you may not want the Flat-Mount HP Dishy:
- You have to park much more strategically to avoid obstructions. This is probably the biggest reason you would want to avoid getting it…You can’t set it out on the stand to get around obstructions, which are the biggest connection killers for Starlink.
- Roof real estate. The HP Dishy is quite large at 22.7″x20.1″. If you have solar on your roof or a smaller RV/trailer, this could be a challenge to find a spot that it will fit and won’t be obstructed.
- Power consumption. Starlink states that the HP Dishy uses an average of 110-150w of power vs 50-75w for the standard Dishy. These estimates both seem a little high when looking at real world feedback, but figure about double the power consumption for the bigger, more powerful HP Dishy.
Starlink RV Service Explained
If you are an RVer, it seems like this is a no brainer, right?! I mean, they literally named it STARLINK RV!! Well, before you click “submit order”, take a look at the breakdown of it.
One of the biggest benefits of ordering Starlink RV service is that you don’t need to have an available service address. All they ask for is a shipping address since it is always roaming. You can submit your order and have your Starlink Kit in about a week from order date!!
That being said, Starlink RV will ALWAYS be deprioritized EVERYWHERE. There is no “home” address for these accounts, so there is no way for them to plan for your service needs in a specific cell.
With Starlink RV service, you can pause/unpause service altogether easily in your account without having to contact Starlink via a support ticket, making this process much more streamlined. This would be beneficial if you aren’t going to use the service for a month or more at a time (or use it seasonally, or are part time and aren’t using it as your primary home internet).
If you think you may settle down somewhere in the near future, you will want a Residential account if you will need it for home internet wherever you end up, that way you can have prioritized service
Comparing Options for RVing with Starlink
Essentially, Residential gives you an opportunity to get priority service, where this is never possible with RV. They both have the exact same service priority when you are away from the Residential service address.
RV allows you to “cancel/uncancel” service easily if you need that. Residential w/Portability allows you to remove/add Portability as needed on your own.
Currently, they just started to allow you to switch from Residential accounts to RV accounts, but it’s a one way street. You cannot change your account to Residential from an RV account.
Residential w/Portability is good for you if:
- You have a “home base” where you want the ability to have priority service there on a regular basis when you are home.
- You want the ability to update your service address to your local spot to get priority service (pending availability to change it to there). Note: if you have a “home base” and update your service address to somewhere else when you are traveling, you risk losing your spot in your “normal” home cell, because each cell does have limited space.
- You want the ability to turn Portability on/off as needed when traveling or at home to save the $25/mo when not needed and to get priority service.
- You do months long contract work in different areas (ie Travel Nurses), and want to have the ability to have prioritized service in those areas, pending availability there.
Order Starlink Residential service here
Starlink RV is good for you if:
- You are a part time user and want the ability to easily pause/unpause in one-month increments.
- You want an easy path to order immediately (no available service address required).
- You are a seasonal user and don’t need it at your home base.
These are not all-inclusive as to why to order one or the other, but some of the more common scenarios we have seen new users ordering for.
Order Starlink RV service here
Is the Satellite Dish & Equipment the Same?
Currently, the dish and equipment for Residential and RV is exactly the same. There is absolutely no difference in the kit you order (except Business accounts, which we’re not discussing here). The standard Starlink kit comes with the Dish with a removable stand, a 75’ cable, a router and instructions.
Check out storage and mounting options for Starlink in my article here
Time to Order Starlink!
Make sense? Total confusion now?! ?
Hopefully this has helped you make an informed decision on which account type to select from Starlink. We know they are confusing, and to add to that, they keep updating (changing) offerings, terms, etc. on their site. We are always looking to keep up, so keep checking back for the latest information on Starlink!
If you have a question on what to order, we would love to hear. Drop a comment below!