Ever since Elon Musk introduced the world to the concept of a satellite-based Internet system, there’s been much buzz. But with so many options now available for Starlink, which one suits you best? We had this same question here on the Maker Farm, as there is no Internet here yet. We considered Starlink Roam (was Starlink RV), Starlink Residential, and even Starlink Business. So here’s what we discovered in our research and experience about Starlink satellite Internet service.
The Rise of Starlink Internet
Before we delve into specifics, let’s remind ourselves of the dream behind Starlink. Imagine being on a remote mountain, far from the hustle and bustle of city life. Or picture yourself as a business magnate running an empire from an idyllic countryside. In both scenarios, you’d want speedy, reliable Internet, right? That’s where Starlink swoops in!
Starlink is perfect for Maker Farm, as it’s simple, easy Internet access for our rural setting. We do still have a plan to get fiber Internet drawn to our farm (via Comcast), but that’s a big project that it expected to take a year or so. Even when we have the better Internet, we plan to keep Starlink as a backup, since satellite Internet should keep working with our natural gas generator even if the power goes out during a storm.
Dive into the Starlink Plans
Starlink Roam (RV)
For the wanderlust-inflicted souls and those constantly on the move, the Starlink Roam (RV) plan ensures they’re always connected.
Key Features of the RV Plan
- Portability: Switch locations without a hitch. The service address can change to your current location.
- In-Motion Use: Keep browsing even while on a road trip.
For those settled in one place, the Starlink residential service promises steady and high-speed internet. Think of it as your home address for the web – fixed, reliable, and always there.
Key Features of Residential Service
- Coverage Area: Predominantly focused on North and Western Europe, as well as major parts of North America.
- Speed: Expect faster speeds of up to 100 Mbps downloads and 15 Mbps uploads.
Starlink Business is the robust, beefed-up version designed for commercial endeavors. The advantages to the Business plan are that it provides a steadier connection with fewer downtimes.
Key features of Business Service
- Higher Data Needs: Running a business often means dealing with larger data requirements. This plan is geared to handle the bigger data chunks that businesses often require.
- Extra Features: Dedicated customer support, potential for static IP addresses, and more, tailored for business operations.
Comparing Speeds and Reliability
The Reality of Speeds
While business and residential plans boast faster speeds, RV users might experience slightly slower speeds. But even then, it’s pretty impressive, ranging from 20-100 Mbps for downloads. (Mbps means megabits per second.) Here’s all the speeds at the time we’re writing this article:
- Roam (RV): Download speeds between 5 and 50 Mbps, and 2-10 Mbps upload speeds.
- Residential (Standard): Download speeds between 25 and 100 Mbps, and 5-10 upload
- Residential (Priority): Download speeds between 40-220 Mbps, and 8-25 Mbps upload speeds.
- Business plans get the best speeds, with up to 230 Mbps downloads speeds and up to 25 Mbps upload speeds. Latency of 25-50 ms.
Peak Hours: What to Expect
Just like cell coverage can get spotty during congested times, Starlink users might notice a dip during peak hours. But hey, isn’t it the same with most Internet services?
Portability and Its Significance
The Portability Feature
The main difference between the plans? Portability. For those who’ve always dreamt of a life on the road without losing touch with the world, Starlink Roam is a good choice. For those who want to work in a place that doesn’t normally have Internet, Starlink Business is the answer.
Benefits for Digital Nomads and RV Owners
New location every week? No problem. Starlink Roam has become a favorite mobile internet resource center for many. Plus, the Starlink app makes the transition even smoother.
Costs and Equipment
Investment in Starlink Hardware
All Starlink plans come with a unique Starlink dish, called “Dishy.” While the residential satellite dish is more standard, the RV variant is built for the roamers. The Business plan dish is larger and square (rectangular) to optimize signal reception and is more equipped to handle inclement weather, which is a big deal in rural areas like ours.
Here’s the rectangular Dishy on the stand that comes with it in the box.
Monthly Service Charges
There’s a difference in the monthly charges. While all plans offer unlimited data, the RV plan comes with an added premium for its portability option and the Business plan has an added premium for priority service up to certain amounts. But all three plans do have unlimited standard data and there is NO data cap.
Note: There may be a waiting list for Starlink. When we first checked months ago, there was a waiting list. But once we got our farm and we’re ready to get hooked up, the waiting list was gone and we got our Starlink Service in just 10 days.
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Who is it Best For?
Residential Users vs RV Owners
Are you a residential user who desires a constant high-speed connection? Residential is your bet. For those who want flexibility and the freedom to roam, the RV plan will be your best friend on the road. If, on the other hand, you need more reliable Internet and priority speeds to do your work anywhere, the Starlink Business plan will suit you best.
Tip: If you do decide to go with Starlink Roam, you can purchase a flag pole and a special pole tip that will fit your Starlink satelite dish, which is exactly what we did as we’re keeping our dish on our RV temporarily. Here’s the FlagPole Buddy Dishy mounting kit we got from Amazon for our Starlink dish:
- Is the Starlink RV plan suitable for city use?
- Yes, though it’s designed for remote locations, it works in cities too.
- How easy is it to shift from one plan to another?
- Starlink has made transitioning between plans relatively straightforward through their website.
- Can the residential dish be used on the go?
- It’s designed for stationary use. For on-the-go internet, the RV package is a better option.
- What if I face issues with my connection?
- The Starlink app and the mobile internet resource center are there to assist. We found setup VERY easy — it was up and running in less than an hour after opening the box.
- Are there any data caps for the RV plan?
- While it offers unlimited data, there might be priority access data limits.
- How do you mount a Starlink dish on your RV?
The Starlink universe offers impressive options for all types of users. The key is to identify your needs and select accordingly. Whether you’re settled or always on the go, Starlink ensures you’re always connected. After researching all three plans, we decided to go with Starlink Business, because Internet is the backbone of everything we do — we need priority service, priority support, and the high performance dish that can connect to more satellites and withstands more temperature and weather fluctuations.
Here’s our Dishy on top of our RV until we give it a more permanent home.
We hope this helps you choose the right Starlink service for your needs!