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Starlink has quietly (as they do) put the option to buy a “High Performance” (I’ll call it “HP” for this article) flat-mount Dishy option on their RV section of their site. It is officially FCC-approved for in-motion use, making this a big step forward for the company. This is potentially big news for mobile users, but it comes with a huge price tag, both on the cost side and power consumption side of things.
Only for RV Accounts
It looks like as of now, it is available for RV account types. If you were hoping to use it on a Residential w/ Portability account, it doesn’t appear they are making it available for that. That’s a bummer for a lot of us, but it makes good business sense for Starlink, as RV accounts are presumably more profitable. Many of us prefer the Residential w/ Portability account type for various reasons, which you can see compared in my article on the two account types here.
As of now, there are no price increases or “add-ons” for in-motion use. Hopefully it stays this way!!
Partnered With Winegard
They also have a partnership with Winegard where you can buy it through them, but I don’t really see recommending that. Winegard is a well-known name (good or bad can be argued), so it makes sense to partner with a popular RV Wi-Fi/internet solutions company for Starlink. With the option to buy direct from Starlink, I would just do that for now.
Starlink Maritime Tech Trickles Down
Starlink is now selling the HP Dishy that they have available for Maritime service, but at a much more reasonable price point than the dual HP hardware they sell to Maritime customers. The Maritime hardware will set you back $10,000 while the RV account type HP equipment option is $2500. 25% of the price for 50% of the hardware. Sweet, right?!
The High Performance Dishy is quite a bit larger, but has no moving parts and comes with a mount with a slight tilt that has a low overall profile. The performance benefit of the HP dish over the standard dish is that it has a larger phased array, meaning it can see more satellites and can offer better potential speeds and performance. It can also melt more snow if that’s a concern.
Starlink FCC In-Motion Approval
Maybe the biggest news for this is that they have FCC approval for this to officially be used “in-motion”, so you don’t have to worry about your account ever getting terminated because of a violation of their TOS.
The current hardware does work in-motion, but my guess would be that Starlink will cut that off at some point to push users into their FCC-approved, much more expensive hardware. This is strictly an assumption, but to me it makes sense.
The biggest drawback besides the cost of the hardware is the power consumption.
The standard hardware for Residential and RV accounts (same hardware for those accounts) consumes around 40-50w of power on average. The HP equipment setup will use about TRIPLE that! So, if we use 50w vs 150w as an example, that would equate to an EXTRA 2400wh of capacity needed every 24 hours if you leave it on all the time. That is 200ah of battery MORE per day that you will need to account for. Yikes!
If you have a mega solar/battery Boondocking ready system, you can probably handle this bump in consumption, but I suspect for most users, this will be a no-go.
One other thing to consider is that you are permanently mounting this to your roof, so if you park in a less than ideal spot with a lot of trees or other obstructions, then you’re kinda stuck with poor performance because you can’t simply walk it out to a spot with a better view of the sky to get a better connection.
For boats, this is less of a concern (except maybe at a marina in a covered spot), so it totally makes sense for that, but for RVs, it’s a little harder to justify doing. Some users have great success with permanent flat mounting the standard Dishy (with modification), but I would say they are generally in smaller rigs with an easier time picking spots. Just something to keep in mind as you weigh your options.
Need mounting and storage solutions for your regular ‘ole Dishy? Check out tons of options in my post here!
This announcement was inevitable. It’s nice to see that progress is being made, but it comes with such drawbacks for a lot of us that it really isn’t all that viable for now, especially if you want to use it off grid. The price is the price, but the power consumption is going to be the thing that keeps me waiting for the next option that comes up. I will be happy sticking with the measly old standard dish and my Residential account w/ Portability for now.
Check out Starlink’s very limited information on it here
I would love to hear what your thoughts on this announcement? Comment below!