What’s Starlink Portability vs. Roaming? Starlink RV, designed for RV use, allows internet access while traveling. So they carry the dish with them and set it up when they reach a campsite. And unlike with Starlink RV, Starlink Residential users could never use their dish outside of their registered address, that is, until May 4th, 2022, when users received emails informing them of the new portability (roaming) feature.
Table of Contents
- What Is Portability With Starlink?
- What Is Starlink Roaming?
- Starlink Portability Vs. Roaming
What Is Portability With Starlink?
The Starlink dish can access the internet anywhere outside the specified geographical area. This feature allows users to move with their dish and install it to access the internet.
Initially, this was only possible with Starlink RV. But now Starlink Residential users can also set their dishes to portability mode, a feature that greatly benefits the customers because it cuts down on the extra costs of buying a dish and paying subscription fees for each new location the user moves to.
(Caption: Image of RV internet)
What Is Starlink Roaming?
Starlink Residential can connect outside of the service cell. So while initially the dish was geoblocked to the area indicated on a user’s account and would not work in such an area, it now could as the dish status automatically changed to roaming.
Roaming Before the Portability Feature
Before Portability, roaming only applied when a user was within the specified coverage area. See Starlink service areas are split into cells. And each Starlink kit was geoblocked to a specified cell range covering the location the user gave as their registration address. Outside of this area, the dish would not work.
Starlink Updates Firmware to Allow Roaming
Starlink updated its firmware to include an add-on feature enabling the dish to sense when it was outside of the specified service area. When that happens, it shows Roaming on the status and can access the internet.
From February 9th, 2022, many Starlink users tested the Roaming feature. And because it was still in its beta testing phase, Starlink charged no additional fee for the service.
Starlink Portability Vs. Roaming
Starlink officially launched the Roaming feature, and a standard additional $25 per month applies. Additionally, when you use it, you have to pay for the whole month, regardless of how long you use it. Therefore, Starlink RV is cost-effective for frequent travelers who connect to the internet during journeys.
Roaming is not as fast and reliable. See Starlink prioritizes the users at their registered address, providing them with optimal services based on the available bandwidth. Also, Starlink may outstretch the bandwidth in areas with many users, causing delays.
Starlink Roaming availability is on a first-come-first-serve basis because it is in high demand. In contrast, anyone who can afford the dish can access Starlink RV. Also, Starlink portability allows customers to access the internet from multiple locations within the satellite coverage area. On the other hand, Starlink’s roaming internet comes on when one is out of the registered coverage area.
One may pause the portability feature over a short period outside the registered cell location. When that happens, it activates the roaming feature.
The power consumption of Starlink roaming is between 60W – 70W per hour, while Starlink RV uses a power consumption of about 100W per hour.
Installing Starlink roaming is easier because one can easily follow instructions online. Therefore the process is not as technical as with Starlink RV.
Can I Take Starlink to Another Country?
You can take Starlink to another country if the Starlink satellite coverage is active. You need to have the Starlink RV plan or subscribe to the Portability feature on your account. Either of the plans can guarantee you access to Starlink. In case of any problem, you can find help on the Starlink website on the areas they cover.
What’s the Difference Between Starlink RV and Roaming?
First, Starlink RV has smaller bandwidth compared to Starlink roaming. Thus, downloading content is slower, while Roaming offers high-speed downloading. Second, Starlink RV is more cost-effective. Also, unlike Roaming, which anyone with the dish can access, Starlink RV is not easily available due to high demand Further, installing Roaming is easier than Starlink RV, plus the power consumption is less.
Does Portability Work
Currently, you can’t use Starlink Portability on a moving vehicle. But thankfully, it’s something Starlink plans to introduce in the future.
Now you understand more about Starlink Portability vs. Roaming, including how it works, its limitations, cost, performance, and availability. While it costs more to use the roaming feature, it costs way less than buying equipment and paying the full subscription fee.