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Starlink for RVs: Starlink for RV Reviews and Setup

Updated: May 2, 2023

Would Starlink work on an RV? How fast is Starlink for RVs and how much will it cost you? Read on to learn all about Starlink for RVs.

Starlink for RV

Staying connected on a road trip is easier now than ever before! Cell reception and Wi-Fi are available at almost every RV campground in the country, so campers can check in with loved ones and update their social media feeds without delay. However, while campgrounds do offer these facilities, it may still be hard to get a Wi-Fi connection in some areas.


With the rise of COVID, work from home, and more services turning online, it is understandable that RV campers are in need of a trustworthy and reliable internet network, especially full-time RV families. Fortunately, recent news in the tech world of SpaceX’s Starlink internet service has caused ripples among the RV community. Your chance to get Wi-Fi on the road is within your grasp, so read on to find out all you need to know about Starlink!



What is Starlink?

SpaceX recently launched its new tech baby, Starlink Internet. Its goal is to provide unlimited, high-speed, satellite-based internet service anywhere in the world. To accomplish this, SpaceX has placed thousands of small satellites in low Earth orbit. The closer distance works to improve the response time of the network. Instead of geostationary satellites that cover large expanses of area, Starlink satellites cover narrower coverage areas and focus on increased internet speeds and higher bandwidth.

How to get internet in your RV

How does Starlink For RVs work?

Starlink works great in a portable fashion for RVs. The Starlink RV line of service has the same hardware as the main service. Users receive a transmitter/receiver that is called “Dishy McFlatface” (or Dishy for short). The receiver should be placed at a standstill and aligned vertically with the sky. This alignment allows it to catch the strongest signal to the nearest satellite.


The Starlink satellites communicate with receiving stations on ground that allow for multiple user connections from the Dishy transmitters. The basic Starlink Roam setup will only work when your RV is parked and not in motion. To use Starlink for RVs while on the move you will need the mobile dish that comes in the Starlink RV plan (and pay for it separately). Campers can use the internet anywhere when the RV is parked, and it is unique because you can ‘pause’ the service when it is not in use.

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How Much Does Starlink for RV Cost?

Some RV campers may run on a planned budget, so it is important to know the figures you will be dealing with if you decide to install Starlink. The costs of the Starlink hardware are the same for both residential and portable services. However, RV users must pay additional shipping costs for on-the-road delivery, portability service, and an extra Ethernet adapter. So, while the monthly service charge for Starlink is $110.00, the monthly charge for Starlink RV is $135.00.


Here is a breakdown of the Starlink RV cost:

  • Hardware = $599.00

  • Shipping & Handling = $50.00

  • Tax = $42.19

  • Service = $135.00/month

Total = $691.19

Save money on RV trip

How To Setup Starlink RV

Here is a detailed breakdown of how you can do a simple Starlink RV setup!


The Basic Set-Up

Before we get to the action, it is important to run inventory. Your Starlink hardware should consist of three components: your Dishy McFlatface, a tripod stand for Dishy, and a power supply, router, and connecting wires. The Starlink RV setup process is fairly easy because Dishy comes out of its delivery box already plugged into its power supply and router.


Find the Perfect Spot For Dishy

Once you pull out a wired-up Dishy, it is time to put it on its tripod stand and locate the tripod stand outside in direct view of the sky. The tripod stand has a 30m cable so that it can easily be mounted and placed. There are many Starlink RV mounting options; you can opt for a Starlink RV pole mount, or use one of these Starlink RV mounts. To find the best location for Dishy, you can download the Starlink app on your phone. The app uses your phone’s camera to look at the sky and possible areas of location, in order to choose a spot with the least obstruction.


Router Details

Once you plug it into the main supply, Dishy will connect to the satellite network in the sky, and the router will power on. You can download the Starlink app on your phone to set up the router’s Wi-Fi name and password.


Here is a video of how to set up your brand new Starlink for RV.


Starlink RV Limitations

While Starlink opens the door to many possibilities for RV campers, it is still in its early stage and has some challenges. Here are a few limitations you may want to consider before investing in it.


Starlink and Trees Don’t Get Along

Starlink’s signature low-earth-orbit satellite network is constantly on the move. This means that your device needs an uninterrupted horizon to track it constantly to stay connected. If you are trying to use Starlink RV internet anywhere where the sky is interrupted, the service will struggle. This is a particular disadvantage for RV campers since most campgrounds are shaded or surrounded by trees.


Starlink Requires Power

Currently, Starlink internet for RV needs 120V AC power to run. So if you want to use Starlink off-the-grid, you will have to run an inverter or generator as long as you want the Wi-Fi on. You can power it off at night, but you will be unreachable during that time if you are not connected to a campground network. Make sure to check Starlink RV power requirements before plugging it in.


Starlink and the Weather Effect

Like most other satellite services, Starlink too can take a hit if the weather is intense. Bad storms and heavy rains can cause outages, but Starlink Internet RV does feature a snow-melt setting. Worse off than a storm or rain is wind. As emphasized before, your Dishy needs to be vertically upright to the sky to catch a signal. Strong winds can knock it off, so secure it properly.

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Starlink Tips & Tricks For RV Campers

Despite its limitations, Starlink is not a bad option. Check out these tips below to make the most out of your device!


Use the Obstruction Finder in the App

Before you even purchase the device, you can download the Starlink app to see how well it can work in a given area. You can do this by going to the app > Visibility > Check for obstructions. Your camera will turn on and you can follow the on-screen instructions to see what you have to do. Once this inspection ends, the app will present you with a field report to conclude whether the area will suffice for Starlink or not.


Storing the Starlink in Your RV

The Starlink system can come in an elaborate package that may be bulky and inconvenient to store in RVs, especially smaller ones. However, the second-generation Dishy is more compact and can fit in smaller places as well. You can also find Starlink RV accessories and Starlink RV cases that can help you store the setup when it is not being used.


Starlink RV Mounting Options

Currently, the Starlink system and Dishy are not designed to be permanently placed on a high-speed moving vehicle. However, there are other options for Starlink RV mounts. You can temporarily mount the Dishy on a pole or to the ladder at the back of your RV.

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Starlink RV vs Residential

Starlink currently has two different kinds of internet plans available for users; Starlink Residential and Starlink RV. The main difference between the two is portability and speed. Here is a table comparing Starlink residential vs RV.

Starlink RV

Starlink Residential

Membership Cost

$135/month

$90/month (high-density area) or $120/month plus $25/month extra for portability

​Portability

Use anywhere in the continent by default

​​Pay extra for portability and use anywhere in the continent for a limited time

Speed

Slower (5-50 Mbps download)

Faster, Priority Access (20-100 Mbps download)

​Data Cap

No cap, always deprioritized

​1 TB priority access data cap

Pausing

Pause anytime

No pausing only cancelation

Waitlist

No waitlist

Up to 1 year waitlist in some states


Starlink for RV Review

With more than 3,000 satellites in low earth orbit, Starlink has been in full service for roughly a year. Here is an overview of the service to judge if Starlink RV is worth it.


Pros

  • Everything you need to set up Starlink RV comes in a single package

  • Installation and instructions are assisted via an easy-to-navigate smartphone app

  • The dish is motorized to automatically adjust its aim and is heated to keep it clear of snow and ice

  • Broadband access for remote locations

  • Ability to pause the service anytime

  • Cap-free service with the ability to connect up to 128 devices to a single router

  • You can try Starlink RV for 30 days and if you aren’t satisfied, you can return the hardware for a full refund

Cons

  • High monthly fees

  • Finding an obstruction-free view is not easy

  • Starlink RV users only get basic access data at all times. No priority access means low Starlink RV speeds during peak hours (7 PM-11 PM)

  • Low internet speed and performance in high-capacity areas (for example, many mid-west and southern states)

  • Reduced bandwidth during heavy downpours

  • No market for used RV setups


Starlink RV speeds leave much to be desired but they are still better than the DSL internet speeds in the same areas. But what it lacks in internet speed, it more than makes up in providing basic access in remote areas of the country. This plus a cap-free service makes Starlink RV one of the best options for staying connected on the road.


Conclusion:

Despite the excitement of Starlink among the RV community, it is important to remember that the service comes with challenges and advantages. Using this guide, you can make sure to weigh what matters more to you as you invest in Starlink.







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