Starlink for RVers: Ultimate Guide
Last Updated February 2023
Welcome to our ultimate Starlink guide for RV and mobile users.
February 2023 Updates:
MAJOR Changes this month! Starlink has updated pricing and removed Portability for Residential accounts.
Starlink Residential account holders have received emails stating their pricing has changed. What is surprising is that some actually are seeing a decrease in their monthly rate by $20/mo! Those that received an increase will see their bill increase by $10/mo.
They are raising rates for those account holders in “low capacity” areas (likely most account holders), and lowering rates for those in “high capacity” areas.
Maybe even bigger news for us RV/mobile users is that Portability as an add-on option is GONE! This is not great news for a lot of us that were happy with using residential as priority users in cells that had available addresses and were able to turn off Portability and save $25/mo, then turn it back on as needed.
Most of us are now being forced into converting to RV accounts if we want to use it for traveling. Not what we wanted to hear, unfortunately.
Starlink RV account holders will all see their bill increase by $15/mo, while everything else for these accounts seemingly is remaining the same.
Starlink Residential Pricing: $90/mo or $120/mo
Starlink RV Pricing: $150/mo
RVers have been ravenously anticipating the full launch of Starlink and complete mobile usage, ever since the service initially announced beta in October 2020. As of 2022, things have been changing rapidly with the introduction of roaming, then portability, and now Starlink RV.
Check back for Starlink updates and news, and join our Facebook group, Starlink for RVers and Other Mobile Users.
As of May 23, 2022, SpaceX released the official Starlink for RVs service!
Starlink is Elon Musk’s satellite-based internet service for residential use that many of us mobile users have adapted to use on recreational vehicles and mobile applications that promises fast, reliable internet wherever you are. The SpaceX service uses multiple satellites to provide users around the world with access to the internet at speeds of up to 150 Mbps – with speeds seen much higher in real life tests.
Why is this so exciting for RVers? It implies the possibility of camping with connectivity in places where traditional cell service doesn’t exist!
Starlink service is currently available in the United States, Canada, and Mexico, as well as twenty-something other countries and plans are in place to expand to more in the near future. Starlink has also been deployed in Ukraine as part of Musk’s efforts to help their soldiers with communications on the ground in the war against Russia.
In this ultimate Starlink for RVers Guide, we aim to keep RV and mobile users informed about Starlink and mobility updates.
Introduction: what is Starlink internet and what are its benefits?
According to the Starlink.com website, Starlink is a new type of satellite internet that uses low-orbit satellites to provide high-speed, reliable service to homes and businesses. Starlink is fast and easy to use.
Starlink can provide users with speeds up to 50 times faster than traditional internet services, and it can be used in many places where traditional cell service isn’t available. These benefits make Starlink a great choice for those who need internet access in rural areas or, for our RVing purposes, campsites without cell service.
Starlink was first announced in 2015.
The first test satellite launched in May 2018.
The first v1 satellites launched in May 2019 and the Beta service opened for registration in October 2020.
Roaming (aka service portability) went live in March 2022.
“Portability” officially announced and supported (for a fee) May 2022.
Starlink RV account type was added publicly to the Starlink.com website as of May 23, 2022.
When will Starlink internet be available for RV use?
Most Recent Update: As of May 23, 2022, Starlink RV is now available as an official account type on starlink.com!
Now, the answer is officially…YES! Check out our post about it here.
Previous Update: As of May 3, 2022, “Portability” is officially offered as an add-on feature for $25/mo
You can use Starlink while RVing RIGHT NOW with the new portability feature or a Starlink RV account!
In fact, many of us have been using it successfully since it came out over a year ago while on the go. Up until just recently, you had to log in to your account online and update your service address in an open cell with availability to be able to use it in your area.
However, recent updates have allowed Portability, so you don’t even have to bother with changing your address as Starlink will continue to work further away from your official address in your account! With Starlink RV, you can roam wherever service is provided by Starlink, but you are always deprioritized.
That being said, Starlink only guarantees service at your listed service address, and they state a “best effort” for Portability users to use outside of their service address. But as of now, we are seeing live, daily reports in our Facebook group that it is very easy to use almost anywhere in most of North America!
How does Starlink internet work?
According to Starlink, their satellite internet service “works by sending information through the vacuum of space, where it travels much faster than in fiber-optic cable and can reach far more people and places.’
Dude, it’s SPACE INTERNET. Well, actually…it is!! Starlink has been launching satellites since 2019. The kit you buy from them comes with a Dish and a tripod, a router, and the connecting wires. The Dish communicates with a mix the satellites and ground stations using frickin’ SPACE LASERS. The dish then provides internet to the router, which transmits a WIFI signal and allows your devices to access the interwebs.
We’re keeping it simple here because ultimately, if it’s working for you, who cares. For a more advanced explanation, check out this amazing in-depth video on YouTube.
Why is the satellite dish called Dishy?
“Dishy McFlatface” was the official name of the satellite dish coined by Starlink, showcasing Elon Musk’s sense of humor. There have been two round versions of the Dish, and the current version is rectangle. The new rectangle model is smaller and lighter than the original design, and more power efficient. That said, it is speculated that the original round Dishes are more robust and may have better hardware overall, but both seem to perform similarly in real world conditions.
What are the costs of using Starlink?
When you go to purchase Starlink services, you will currently (as of October 2022) pay $599 for the hardware kit (plus shipping and applicable taxes), and $110 per month (plus applicable taxes and fees) ongoing for standard Residential service. You will pay an additional $25/mo for Portability on a Residential account when needed. The Starlink RV service is always $135/mo. There is no contract and you can cancel service at any time. You can return the Starlink hardware kit for a full refund within 30 days (minus shipping fees). After 30 days, you can cancel service, but you own the hardware at that point.
What are the speeds and coverage areas for Starlink?
You can view our full Starlink speedtest guide here. The speeds that Starlink says you can expect have increased very recently, probably due to data gathered from real-world use now that it has been out for a while. Starlink estimates speeds for their Standard Service (which is probably what just about every RVer will want to sign up for) to be 50-250 mbps expected and 10-20 mbps upload, according to their TOS.
For Starlink Business (previously listed as “Premium”), they have expected speeds of 150-500 mbps download and 20-40 mbps upload. Latency is expected to be between 20-40 ms for both services. There are currently no data caps.
In other words…IT’S FREAKING FAST!! (at least compared to what us RVers have been used to with many cell towers/cellular data plans).
How do I sign up for Starlink?
This is a simple one, especially since they just recently came out with an official coverage map (FINALLY!). Head over to starlink.com and really about the only thing you can do without having an account is to check if coverage is available at the address (or google plus code) you enter in there or find on the map. If they only allow you to put a $99 deposit down, you are entering the black hole they like to call the waitlist. If you are prompted to pay in full for the hardware and a month of service (somewhere in the $700 plus tax ballpark), then you are able to order right away.
For Starlink RV, you only need to enter a shipping address, and don’t have to worry about referencing the availability map. This is one advantage of this account type when signing up.
Check out their availability map here.
Is Starlink a good fit for your RV or mobile internet needs right now?
The answer is a resounding…maybe! I wish we could tell every single RVer that this is the be-all, end-all to mobile internet, buuuut…it’s not quite there, although steadily heading in that direction.
First of all, it is a big chunk of change to buy $600 in hardware and pay $110/mo for service ($135 including the $25 for Portability or a straight up $135 for Starlink RV). Not everyone is willing to dish that out (pun intended). That being said, it IS able to replace some or all of your cellular hotspots depending on your connectivity needs. If you need constant, reliable internet to work on, we definitely recommend having at least one backup to Starlink. If you’re parked somewhere where you can’t place Dishy in a spot with a clear view of the sky, you will likely have dropouts. So if you do a lot of Zoom calls, you will likely want to have some sort of backup(s).
Starlink also will have little random dropouts for a few seconds here and there which may drop your video call, even with a clear view. You may also be parked for a night or two somewhere (hello, Walmart parking lots) where you may not want to deploy it.
If you don’t rely on constant connection (or don’t have to be online for work daily), you may be able to use Starlink as your only connection (or at least your primary connection), but we would still recommend having at least some hotspot data on your phone as a backup if not a dedicated cellular data hotspot.
Ordering & Owning Starlink for RV Use
How to get Starlink for your RV (right now)
Update: As of May 23, 2022, you can order Starlink RV to any address, anytime! Check out our post about it here.
Here is how you can order Starlink RIGHT NOW, pay in full, and have it leave their warehouse in days!
Starlink has been very lenient about putting whatever service address you want and allowing you to put a different shipping address in. The great thing about it is that it doesn’t matter where you are, you can find ANY available service address by looking at the coverage map and trying a few locations until you find one that lets you pay in full on the order screen.
If you are an RVer and are moving around, since your address will be changing constantly anyway, this is the workaround to get it ordered ASAP. Now, the caveat is that Starlink only guarantees service at the service address provided on your account (which they will state on the order screen), but with Portability as an official add-on now, this isn’t really a concern anymore.
Many users in the Facebook group have been reporting receiving their Starlink kit hundreds, if not thousands, of miles from their service address they ordered it for and are able to plug it in and have internet within a few minutes to maybe an hour or so on the long end as Dishy figures out it’s roaming and settles in.
How long will it take to get my Starlink kit
If and when you pay in full, your Starlink kit will typically arrive at your shipping address within 2 weeks. Most users are reporting 7-10 days from order date to arrival, so plan your order accordingly with your travels.
How many times can I change my address?
Update: As of May 23, 2022, you don’t have to worry about this if you sign up for Starlink RV. Check out the details here.
Currently, Starlink has no known restriction on the number of times you can change your address. Many users have changed their address dozens of times or more before roaming was a thing. Now with Portability, you really don’t HAVE to change your address at all!
Why would I change my service address?
If you have a Residential plan, whenever you set up Dishy at a new location, you can always try to update your service address in your account. If it takes, you will now have priority service at that location. This is not necessary, but will provide you with the best possible service you can get there.
If you are going to be somewhere for a while, doing this will allow you to turn off Portability and save $25/mo for Residential accounts.
How do I change my address?
To change your address, simply log into your account on starlink.com and change it in your account settings.
What comes in the Starlink kit?
The Starlink kit has everything you need to get blazing fast internet in the middle of nowhere! The kit currently comes with the rectangle Dish, a tripod to mount it on (great for ground deploy), the Router/Power Supply, a 75’ cable that connects the Dish to the Router, and a 110vac 3-prong power cable that goes from the Router to a standard wall outlet.
How to store and mount Starlink while camping
This is a complicated enough question that we created an entire post for it. Go take a look!
We are actively updating this resource daily. Please check back for more updates soon.