Starlink adapts dish and modem
November 21, 2023
By Chris Forrester
SpaceX’s Starlink dish has been completely redesigned with a much simpler concept.
Starlink has redesigned its high-tech antenna. The latest versions have eliminated the automatic self-seeking positioning motors. The supplied instructions now talk about positioning the dish terminal as being with “manual orienting”. In other words, the customer positions the dish. The new dish (officially Rev4) is slightly larger at 594mm x 303mm.
The reason for the re-think is that with more than 4,500 working satellites in orbit there is now plenty of orbital coverage for consumers and less need for precise dish positioning.
The dish internals are still the extremely efficient phased array with a 110 degree field of view, and still comes with snow melt capabilities (40 mm per hour) and supplied with what Starlink describe as a ‘kick stand’ to support the dish.
Starlink has also modified its modem connections. Out goes its earlier proprietary connection, and the new router uses a much simpler and custom waterproof RJ45. It also comes with two Ethernet LAN ports and one Ethernet WAN port that connects to the dish. It’s also now a tri-band Wi-Fi 6 router and a claimed 3,200 sq ft radius of coverage (the older models covered 2,000 sq ft).
The new designs save money which is helping Starlink reduce consumer subscriber fees in some highly-competitive regions. For example, in Spain where Hispasat is offering customers “ultrafast broadband” for €35 per month and helped by the Spanish government’s ‘UNIQUE Rural Demand scheme’ (itself financed by European funding).
Starlink has trimmed an extra €15 from its previous monthly fee which now drops to €49 per month. Customers still have to pay a €199 deposit for the dish and modem, but while
Hispasat promises download speeds of 100 Mb/s, Starlink can improve on that as well as guarantee improved latency compared to Hispasat’s geostationary supply.