Starlink for RV: 9 Things To Know Before You Go Camping

Starlink is the best portable satellite internet currently RVers and Campers can buy.

However, SpaceX considers Starlink RV users as second-tier customers. You will pay more but get slower internet than residential users. 

Starlink for RVs has both advantages and drawbacks. In this article, we will talk about both so that you don’t get disappointed with the Starlink RV service while camping.

Starlink has three packages

  1. Residential Starlink. 
  2. Starlink for RV.
  3. Starlink for Business.

Pros of Starlink for RVs:

These are the benefits of Starlink for RVers and Campers. 

No Wait Time:

If you order the Starlink service for your home, in most areas, SpaceX will put you on a waitlist because the capacity in that region is probably at capacity. However, Starlink for RV has no wait time.

SpaceX will ship your package immediately if you order the Starlink for your RV (the RV package). Therefore, it doesn’t matter wherever you live; you will get immediate access to the Starlink internet.

Pause and Unpause Anytime:

On the Residential Starlink package, there’s no pause-unpause feature for the service. Users can cancel the internet only.

However, if a user cancels the Starlink service, there’s no guarantee that the user will be able to restart it. SpaceX will put the user on the waitlist with other order holders.

As a result, the standard Starlink isn’t typical for vacation homes, part-time RVers, or Campers who have high-speed internet at home but want the Starlink temporarily during travel.

In contrast, Starlink for RV can be paused and unpaused at any time. Therefore, even if you have cable internet at your home, you can buy Starlink for your campers and RV. 

There’s no contract, hidden fees, or extra cost. You can pause and unpause the Starlink service at any time you want. 

After you complete your travel, store all the Starlink equipment at a safe location for your next RV camping trip.

Before you start your travel, you unpause the service through the Starlink app. After you finish your camping, pause the service again.

Related: 10 Things You Should Know About Starlink Dish and Router.

Cons of Starlink for RVs:

These are the drawbacks of Starlink for RVs and campers. 

Higher Monthly Subscription Cost:

Residential Starlink customers pay $110 per month for their service. However, the RV package costs $135 per month. Therefore, even though there’s no wait time, you have to pay more.

Degraded Service:

SpaceX prioritizes residential users for their service. The RV users will get deprioritized internet speed on the Starlink network.

During peak hours (5 PM to 10 PM) and in congested areas (near cities and urban areas), RV Starlink users will get significantly slower internet. RV users and campers have reported that internet speeds drop as low as 5 Mbps in peak hours. 

Therefore, you will pay more for the service but get slower download and upload speeds.

You can check the Starlink coverage map to get an idea in which area you will get slower internet. On the map, only in those areas where it’s shown “Available Now,” you will get good speed. 

Still, your RV Starlink speed will get significantly worse if there are a considerable number of users in your area during peak hours.

Therefore, be prepared for this and don’t get frustrated.

Related: Starlink Installation and Maintenance (6 Important Things You Should Know)

Clear View of the Sky Required:

To get Starlink internet, you have to place the Starlink dish in such an area where it can get a clear view of the sky. During camping, however, it could be problematic.

When we camp, we go to various places. We stay at National Park, State Campground, KOA, National Forests, BLM land, cities, and many other areas.

It’s impossible to guarantee that there will be a clear sky view everywhere.

Moreover, trees, houses, walls, etc., severely degrade Starlink’s service. In some cases, it will be impossible to get internet access.

Therefore, if you are staying in a campground with trees, you may not be able to use the Starlink.

In some RV campgrounds, each campsite is closely located. In those campgrounds, finding a place to put the Starlink will be impossible because other RVs will create obstruction.

Sometimes, you have to put the Starlink Dish on top of your RV. But, it’s also a hassle which we will discuss later in the article.

Power Consumption Is Problematic:

For RVers and Campers, electric power consumption is a critical factor. Not every campground has electric sites.

In many areas, you have to boondock or dry camp. At that time, battery and solar energy is your only option.

The Starlink Dish and Router is a power hog machine. 

If you get the round Starlink Dish, you are in big trouble.

On average, the first generation round Dish consumes 130W to 140W power. Moreover, the Dish will activate its heating feature during rain and snow. It will spike the power usage to up to 180W.

The second-generation (rectangular) Dish is efficient, however. It consumes less power and will not drain your RV battery like the first generation.

The rectangular Dish typically consumes 45W to 50W power. During rain and snow, the power consumption may rise to 90W due to the heating feature activated by the Starlink Dish.

Therefore, you can’t keep the Starlink for 24 hours on your camping trip. You must turn it off to save your RV and campers battery power.

Related: Can You Sell Starlink Dish? 5 Things About Starlink Moving, Transferring, and Service Cancellation.

No Use While Motion

SpaceX clearly states that using Starlink in a moving vehicle will void your warranty, and they may cancel your service.

Therefore, you can’t permanently place your Starlink dish on top of your RV. 

As previously stated, In some campgrounds, you may need to place the Dish on top of your RV to get internet access because Starlink doesn’t work without a clear sky view.

Now, at every campground, you must go to the RV roof to set up the Starlink Dish and bring down the Dish again before leaving your campground. It will soon become a hectic job.

Cable Protection:

The ethernet cable (PoE) carries power and data from the Starlink Dish to the Router. The cable is permanently attached to the Starlink Dish.

On a camping trip, you must be especially careful so that your cable doesn’t get damaged due to animal bite or other reasons.

Can Starlink for RV be Used at Home?

In most areas, residential Starlink has a waitlist. However, Starlink for RV doesn’t.

The Starlink for RV can be used anywhere in the same country, same continent. However, we don’t recommend it because RV Starlink has degraded service speed and costs more.

If you want to use Starlink for your residential address, you should buy the “Residential Starlink.” It has several benefits.

First, the residential Starlink has a lower monthly subscription fee, $110, compared to $135 for RV Starlink.

Second, In the residential Starlink, you can add the portability package for $25 per month. It will allow you to use your home Starlink anywhere in the same continent.

Therefore, if you already have cable or fiber internet in your home, purchase the RV Starlink for your RV and campers. When you are done using the internet, pause the service.

However, if your home doesn’t have high-speed internet, purchasing the regular Starlink and adding the portability feature while you travel is better. After each trip, cancel the portability package.

But don’t use the “RV Starlink” for homes. You will pay more but get slow internet speed.