Is Starlink The Best Mobile Internet Option For RVers?

Last Updated on February 25, 2023 by Jess

Are you tired of slow internet speeds ruining your RV experience? Are you frustrated with the limited service area of major 4G mobile internet networks? Then you’ll be happy to hear that Space X’s Starlink Internet has been upgraded and is ready to provide RVers with the ultra-fast Internet speeds they need to enjoy life on the road.

Starlink is the brainchild of Elon Musk and Space X. It is a satellite constellation that provides fast and reliable Internet access via satellite in over 33 countries. This includes most of the United States, Mexico, most of Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.

Thanks to Starlink’s high speed, you can stream all your favorite shows, share videos and connect with your loved ones via clear video calls. All from the comfort of your mobile home. While not everything about Starlink is perfect, and as with any new product that hits the market, there are some important details to consider when deciding if it’s right for you.

Everything RV owners need to know about Starlink satellite internet.

There are a few factors to consider about Starlink before you sign on the dotted line to add it to your RV. Considering the competitive rise of 5G and what the future holds, we decided to download some important details about Starlink to help you decide if it’s the ideal service for your RV.

1. Starlink’s camper compatibility

One could argue that Starlink isn’t quite ready to take on the role of primary Internet provider for RVers. As you move around in your RV, service quality can vary, especially in the mid-Atlantic states, which can leave you on a “waiting list” at peak times.

2. Starlink’s power requirements

To function properly, the Starlink hardware requires a constant power source to power the 100-watt dish. It is not always guaranteed to work without sufficient power, which may not make it an ideal choice for campers who want to get by on minimal power.

Ultimately, Starlink works best when you have a fixed location and access to a constant power supply. This makes it a better choice for motorhome owners or seasonal campers who spend the entire summer in an RV park.

3. Starlink’s coverage in the United States

It is important to note that Starlink is currently available in parts of the United States and Canada between the 44th and 53rd parallels, which does not mean full coverage of the lower 48 parallels.

Currently, Starlink’s coverage area is arguably on par with the 5G network coverage offered by top cell services. However, both networks are currently being rolled out rapidly.

There are also regional areas that do not have clear access due to topography or lack of network coverage. Many of these areas are referred to as “waiting list” areas, where Internet performance may be slowed at peak times or in densely populated areas.

These waitlist areas may experience performance degradation at peak times. This can reduce your network’s download performance by 90% and upload performance by half. Typical waitlist speeds can drop to 5Mbps to 100Mbps during periods of high usage in waitlist zones.

4. Starlink’s concerns about the release

Just like satellite TV in your RV, you need to pay attention to the location of trees and other obstacles. Starlink clarity depends on a clear line of sight.

If you are in the desert or frequently camp in the mountains where the sky is wide open, this can be a problem. Starlink could be as frustrating as 4G cellular internet if you like to camp in heavily forested areas.

However, Starlink is still in the development phase. Over time, the number of satellites in orbit will continue to increase. This will lead to better signal strength, reliability and coverage.

5. Starlink cost

Starlink costs $110 per month. There is also a one-time equipment fee of $599. You can have it installed in your home and in your RV. However, you must have the equipment installed in both locations.

6. Does Starlink have a data cap?

The good news is that Starlink doesn’t have any data caps, which gives it a big advantage over the latest 5G mobile internet services. Many mobile services have data caps built in even for the so-called “unlimited” data services, ranging from 50GB to 300GB per month.

How fast is Starlink Internet

How fast is Starlink Internet

Starlink Internet speeds can vary from 50 to 250 Mbps for downloads and 10 to 20 Mbps for uploads. However, these values may be lower in areas of heavy congestion. Typical waitlist speeds can drop to 5 to 100 Mbit/s during peak periods of high congestion in waitlist zones.

How does Starlink compare to 5G mobile Internet?

In practice, Starlink speeds are slightly faster and more reliable than the best 5G cellular services. Especially if you’re traveling in a western state. However, 5G is cheaper and has better service coverage in the mid-Atlantic states.

You can also take the same 5G hotspot with you from home, as long as you can keep it powered in your RV at all times. The cost of 5G mobile internet service is also typically lower than Starklink’s monthly service, and you can finance the hotspot to pay it off in installments.

Good in the West, modest in the Mid-Atlantic.

Good in mid-Atlantic, poor to nonexistent in much of the West.

Good, but may be slowed in congested areas

Uses a portable hotspot

50 to 300 GB per month, depending on the provider.

Starlink vs. 5G: The future of mobile Internet for campers

There’s no doubt that Starlink is a big step up from the old days of 4G mobile service. However, it’s not as perfect in the real world as the hype surrounding it. Especially considering how quickly 5G has risen to compete with it.

Let’s say you live or travel in the West, far from major cities. In that case, Starlink is an obvious choice, as 5G networks simply haven’t yet expanded far enough to provide reliable coverage in those areas. If you live in, or will be traveling frequently to, the mid-Atlantic states and the “Dirty South,” then the coverage area and lower cost of 5G mobile Internet might make more sense for your budget.

Keep in mind that with 5G wireless service, even the so-called “Unlimited Plans” will likely still include some sort of data cap. If you’re a heavy user who consumes more than 50GB of data in a month, Starlink will trump 5G, even in the Mid-Atlantic states.

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