Starlink for RVs Review: One Year Later...
It has been almost a year since we installed Starlink for our RV, and it's time to reflect on the experience. In this "One Year Later" review, I will discuss what has remained the same and what has changed since our initial review. Despite a few new challenges, I still firmly believe that Starlink is the best internet option for RVers in the majority of cases.
What's the Same?
Two significant advantages have remained constant over the past year. First and foremost, Starlink for RVs still does not have data caps, unlike its residential counterpart. This is a huge benefit for us, as our data consumption is high with streaming, web browsing, gaming, and work tasks. Relying solely on a cellular plan wouldn't be feasible given our usage. Additionally, managing Starlink remains a breeze, with its easy setup, teardown, and the ability to pause the service when not in use at home. The convenience and flexibility have remained unchanged.
Performance & Reliability
One notable difference we've experienced is the increased number of users on Starlink for RVs. As more people adopt the service, the shared capacity and bandwidth per satellite become more strained. Consequently, we have noticed occasional slowdowns during peak usage times, resulting in slower data speeds and increased latency. This can be frustrating, especially during important work meetings or online gaming sessions. Reddit discussions confirm that others have encountered similar issues, leading to speculation about potential throttling, although this has yet to be officially confirmed.
Another change we've noticed is the pricing. Since we started using Starlink for RVs, the monthly cost has increased from $135 to $150. While the service still offers good value compared to other alternatives with less reliable internet, the price hike stings a bit, particularly when combined with the occasional service degradation.
The Starlink app has received updates, albeit minor ones. One noticeable change is the transition from button taps to a slider for actions like stowing or unstowing the Starlink, rebooting the router, or rebooting the dish. It's a small adjustment, but worth mentioning.
In terms of setup, we initially ran the Starlink cable through a rear door, which raised concerns about potential damage. However, we have now opted to route the cable through one of the slide seals, offering better protection. Additionally, instead of using the provided stand, we purchased a flag pole mount adapter to elevate the dish above obstructions. However, we still need to be cautious about choosing campsite locations with minimal tree interference.
One surprising revelation was the revised dish orientation. While the general rule is to point the dish north in the Northern Hemisphere, there are exceptions near coastlines. According to Reddit discussions, Starlink dishes in such areas will attempt to connect to underutilized satellites over the sea, deviating from the typical northward alignment.
Lastly, Starlink has introduced a new dish for mobile users and those requiring connectivity at sea. Although it doesn't apply to our situation, it's a valuable option for those needing internet access while driving or sailing.
Despite the changes and challenges encountered over the past year, Starlink for RVs remains the best internet option for full-time RVing. While it may not be perfect in every scenario, it consistently performs well in most situations. As an RVer, I will continue to rely on Starlink until a better alternative emerges.