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Starlink Launch New Dish for LEO Satellite Broadband Service

Friday, November 12th, 2021 (8:52 am) - Score 2,160
Starlink-Satellite-Dish-2

SpaceX’s Starlink ISP, which delivers ultrafast low latency broadband across the world and the UK via a mega constellation of compact satellites in Low Earth Orbit (LEO), has introduced a new rectangular dish and router that aims to put right some of the problems with their older equipment. But it’s not all good news.

At present SpaceX has already launched around 1,800 LEOs into space (1,666 are active) and their initial plan is to deploy a total of 4,425 by 2024. Customers in the UK typically pay a hefty £89 a month for the service, plus £54 for shipping and £439 for the kit (dish, router etc.). But for that you can expect unlimited usage, fast latency times of 20-40ms, downloads of c. 50-150Mbps and uploads of c.20Mbps (such figures should improve as the network grows).

NOTE: Starlink’s compact satellites weigh about 260Kg each and orbit the Earth at an altitude of around 550 kilometres.

However, it is widely known that there were some issues with Starlink’s first generation equipment, such as difficulties with tolerances for high wind and thermal shutdown on the router during heatwaves (here). On top of that, SpaceX have been constantly working to bring equipment costs down (at present they still make a loss but the new model will help).

The good news is that the provider has now quietly started to mention a new dish (Dishy 2.0?) and router on their Support Page, which look to have higher tolerances for heat (router) and is much more compact (dish). Essentially, the older circular dish (user terminal), which was 23″ wide, has been replaced with a rectangular one that is lighter (roughly half the weight) and smaller – measuring just 12″ wide (19″ long).

The new dish is also accompanied by a new router, which features faster WiFi (i.e. 3×3 MU-MIMO instead of 2×2), better heat tolerance (i.e. up to +50c instead of +30c) and the addition of IP54 rated water resistance. But the catch is that Starlink have removed the Gigabit Ethernet (LAN) port and if you want that then you’ll need to pay extra for an additional adapter.

This seems like an odd move and is possibly related to the new IP54 rating (difficult to do IP54 and a regular LAN port), but we’d much prefer a have LAN port than limited water resistance for most typical home uses. Finally, Starlink appears to be shipping a much wider array of mounting options for their dish.

Starlink-Dish-1.0-vs-2.0-Comparison

At present, the Starlink site mentions that the new dish is only available for “all new orders fulfilled in the United States,” but that will no doubt change at some point. Anybody with a pre-order will probably get their circular dish until the existing stock has been depleted. However, if you were to make a new UK order for the service today, then you’ll still be waiting until mid-2022 for delivery.

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By Mark Jackson
Mark is a professional technology writer, IT consultant and computer engineer from Dorset (England), he also founded ISPreview in 1999 and enjoys analysing the latest telecoms and broadband developments. Find me on Twitter, , Facebook and Linkedin.
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13 Responses
  1. Joe says:

    Seems amazing that +30 ccould ever have been the case

  2. Peter says:

    Wonder if the power use is any less, the old one used to be quite high didn’t it?

    1. Damien says:

      it was around 120W but that’s because the dish is heated to stop snow and ice from blocking the signal.

  3. Square Eyes says:

    Its a squarial! Can you get BSB on it?

  4. Damien says:

    Not sure this is worth it now – it’s gone live at my address last month but if you can get decent 5G for £26 you can get that – which is probably going to perform better..

    1. NE555 says:

      Ground-based 4G/5G or FTTP services will always be superior to satellite – even FTTC if you are reasonably close to the cabinet.

      Starlink is and was aimed at the rural locations where these services are not available. When there is no other alternative, people will be prepared to pay.

    2. Chris says:

      Clearly not for you Damian.

      Those without a good speed on fixed or mobile will see a significant improvement with starlink.

      The up front and monthly cost is relative to the need for the service, for some the overall cost and speed is of significant value.

      A small cluster say of 4 houses sharing a single starlink router would see monthly savings over dsl offerings.

  5. Earthling says:

    “across the world and the UK” confirms my opinion that the UK’s on another planet, or at-least a worrying number of its population are.

    1. Mark Jackson says:

      Reading too much into nothing. I made a specific mention of the UK to help geographically rank the story (SEO) in Google etc.

    2. Karl Betts says:

      Sorry but to most companies UK is an afterthought.

  6. Mark says:

    Looks like their timetable has slipped a bit. Our area (Cheshire) was due to be covered in late 2021, but the website is now saying mid 2022. Looks like the 4G is staying a bit longer…

  7. Earthling says:

    @Mark: You’re reading too much into a facetious comment.

    @Karl Betts: Victim mentality is common amongst the British, which is ironic given their silly British notions of exceptionalism.

    1. Gary says:

      Shut up you cretinous racist weirdo.

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