Starlink’s new portability feature brings internet to vanlifers

Starlink’s Internet-from-SpaceX service has gone mobile with a new portability feature. For an additional monthly fee, Starlink subscribers can now take their “dishy” anywhere on their home continent with active internet coverage. That opens up connectivity to remote places likely never to be covered by 5G — a potential boon to the increasing number of types of work coming from all over due to the COVID 19 pandemic.

Elon Musk, CEO of SpaceX, commented on a happy Starlink camper, saying, “Starlink is great for RVs, camping, or other out-of-town activities.”

Starlink does not yet support use while driving, but the company says it is actively working on a solution for moving vehicles. Musk has previously tweeted about working on a energy efficient solution which plugs into a car’s 12V cigarette lighter and still stays connected. That hasn’t stopped some owners from using a bit of hacking to test Starlink on speeding cars — with varying degrees of success.

Power consumption is an important consideration when boondocking and life of your vehicle’s battery. Starlink reportedly draws between 60-70W, according to Jeff Geerling’s blog, an improvement from the 80-100W draw from just a year ago.

Starlink offers portability on a “best effort” basis, the company says, with users on their registered service addresses prioritized for network resources. “When you move your Starlink to a new location, this prioritization can lead to reduced service, especially during times of peak usage or network congestion,” notes the Starlink support page.

Existing Starlink customers can add Portability from their account page, which then becomes active immediately. It costs an additional $25 each month, on top of monthly subscriptions that already start at $110 after a $599 one-time hit to buy the Starlink kit.

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