SpaceX has unveiled a new standard kit for residential users of its Starlink satellite service, including a simplified non-motorised dish with a more robust design and faster Wi-Fi router.
The new dish is also rectangular but is installed with an attachable kickstand rather than a cylindrical pipe stem slotted into a large four-leg base.
It uses software-assisted manual positioning rather than motorised automatic orientation to align itself to communicate with Starlink’s satellite fleet.
The current Standard Actuated dish boasts motors that can change the dish’s orientation automatically based on a scan of the sky.
However, in MyBroadband’s tests of the antenna, it only does this once — at initial setup.
By eliminating the motors from the hardware and asking users to manually change the orientation based on sky scans, SpaceX cuts down on complexity and parts costs, potentially paving the way for cheaper units.
The other improvements with the new kit include its 110-degree field of view, likely due to being about 8cm longer than the Standard Actuated dish.
However, the kickstand measures 142mm, and the thickness of the kit is 39.7mm — for a combined length of 181.7mm.
That means the new Starlink kit will occupy much less vertical space, as the old base design put its top surface 343mm above the ground.
The fixed Standard dish also gets an IP67 Type 4 protection rating as opposed to the IP54 of the previous model.
In addition to being more dust-resistant, it has a higher waterproof resistance and boasts a rated wind speed tolerance of 96km/h.
The new kit is slightly more power-hungry than the previous unit, which will be important to travellers using mobile power stations or generators to provide juice to their Starlink.
It consumes 75–100W of power during normal operation, compared to 50-75W with the previous unit.
The table below compares the specifications of the old and new Starlink kit for residential users.
|Starlink residential dish comparison|
|Standard (new)||Standard Actuated (old)|
|Antenna||Electronic Phased Array||Electronic Phased Array|
|Field of view||110°||100°|
|Orientation technique||Software-assisted manual orienting||Motorised self-orienting|
|Environmental protection rating||IP67 Type 4||IP54|
|Operating temperatures||-30°C to 50°C||-30°C to 50°C|
|Maximum wind speed||96km/h+||Unknown|
|Snow Melt Capability||Up to 40mm per hour||Up to 40mm per hour|
|Dimensions||594 x 383 x 39.7mm (+142mm with kickstand extended)||513 x 383 x 343mm (with stand)|
|Weight||2.9kg (3.2kg with kickstand)||2.9kg (3.6kg with four-legged base)|
The kit comes with a new “Gen 3” Wi-Fi router with some significant upgrades, including a bump up from the Wi-Fi 5 to Wi-Fi 6 standard, improving wireless connectivity speeds.
In addition, the radio antenna configuration has been upgraded from dual-band 3×3 MIMO to tri-band 4×4 MIMO. This helps improve connectivity capacity to 235 devices.
Those who prefer to plug into the router for the best possible speeds will no longer have to buy an additional Ethernet adapter, as the router now features two Ethernet LAN ports.
Starlink has also done away with the proprietary port used to connect the cable to the dish — using a standard RJ45 connector instead.
Tech-savvy Starlink users have previously modified the connectivity cable to work with different routers than the one Starlink ships as part of its kit.
The change also makes sense if Starlink wants to avoid possible right-to-repair issues, as those less technically inclined users would have to order replacement cables directly from the company rather than being able to get one from a PC component shop.
Starlink currently only offers the new dish to a small group of early customers in the US. These customers are being notified of availability through special invites.
It is unclear when the company plans to roll out the dish to other areas or what it will cost.
The table below summarises the differences between the new and old Starlink routers.
|Starlink residential router|
|Starlink Gen 3 router (new)||Starlink Gen 2 router (old)|
|Wi-Fi generation||Wi-Fi 6||Wi-Fi 5|
|Radio||Tri-band 4×4 MIMO||Dual-band 3×3 MIMO|
|Maximum number of devices||235||128|
|Ethernet ports||2x latching Ethernet LAN ports||None (requires adapter)|
|Environmental protection rating||IP56||IP54|
|Indicator LEDs||Bottom front corner||Underneath router|
|Dimensions||120 x 299 x 43mm||254 x 180 x 65mm|