Working remotely from anywhere in the country requires good internet access. As we shared early in our RV journey, we use a variety of technologies to ensure strong Wi-Fi signal. In May 2022, Elon Musk’s Starlink high-speed internet service became available for RVs. After considering it for a month or so, we decided to purchase it. And we’re super glad we did.
What Is Starlink for RVs?
Starlink is an array of more than 3,000 small satellites in low orbit around Earth. By orbiting only 340 miles from the planet, the satellites can deliver low-latency broadband internet with speeds high enough to support video calls, streaming, and even online gaming.
Traditional Starlink required a stationary satellite receiving dish that limited Starlink use to immobile locations. Starlink for RVs extended the high-speed, low-latency functionality to changing locations. Although the service is not designed to be accessible while in motion, it is available if you move from point to point.
Setting up Starlink for RVs
After getting dropped from video calls in Maine and Vermont due to poor Verizon cell service and no T-Mobile service, I was eager to try Starlink. Although tempted to ask our camping neighbors in Maine if I could use their Starlink service, I refrained. I hobbled through the work week, knowing our Starlink equipment was waiting for us at my brother’s house near Lansing, Michigan.
We arrived at my brother’s in great anticipation of the internet speeds we could get. Our $599 equipment fee provided everything we needed to set up the service: the satellite receiving dish, a router, and a 75-foot cable.
For an additional $150, we purchased a FlagPole Buddy* from Amazon to mount to our RV ladder for easy setup and teardown of Dishy, as the satellite dish is called, when we need it to be high. Other times, we can put the dish on the ground. It requires a clear view of the northern sky.
Bob had to download the Starlink app on his smartphone to complete the setup. The app has features that show how the service is working, where Dishy’s view to the satellites is obstructed, and things like that.
Starlink comes with a 30-day guarantee. If you’re not happy with the service in that time period, you can return it and get a full refund on the cost of the hardware, the initial $599. On top of that, the service costs $135 per month. You might still be out the $135 for the first month even if you’re unhappy with it.
Assessing Starlink Internet Service
The Starlink service didn’t deliver exceptional internet quality at my brother’s house. But it did provide enough for us to stream movies and TV shows. Our Verizon signal came in strong, so I used it for work there. And we canceled our T-Mobile service.
At our next location in southwestern Michigan, I hoped Starlink would enable me to work from my office without having to cross the street to my cousin’s house every time I needed to join a video call. Verizon service at Debbie’s farm is not very good.
I’m happy to report Starlink has exceeded my expectations for internet quality. Although encountering a few hiccups when our Dishy lost sight of a satellite, I haven’t been dropped from any video calls while using it. I’ve been able to do my work successfully from my office inside our RV.
Is Starlink for RVs Worth It?
As I mentioned, we can’t use Starlink while traveling from point to point. On those rare occasions when we need reliable internet while in motion, we use our Verizon MiFi.
Depending on the location, and the number of other Starlink users there, internet speeds may slow, especially during peak times. For example, if numerous people in the area rely on Starlink for their full-time work, that can affect our internet speed. Similarly, if lots of people use Starlink to stream TV shows and movies in the evening, we might run into some issues while watching our own.
Another drawback of Starlink for RVs is that it’s not yet available everywhere. That’s why we’ve kept our Verizon service. We pay $135 a month for Starlink and $70 a month for Verizon to ensure we have dependable internet so that I can work and support our RV living habit.
We’ve achieved download speeds as high as 92 Mbps when Dishy had a completely unobstructed view of the entire northern sky. The highest we got with Verizon were in the 40s range when in close proximity to a Verizon cell tower. For us, Starlink for RVs is well worth the cost. We’re glad we made the investment.
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This is the travel blog of full-time RVers Bob and Lana Gates and our truck, Gulliver, and fifth wheel, Tagalong.