What We Know About SpaceX Portable Starlink Mini

Starlink Mini in backpack

July 7, 2024 · 5 minutes read

Key Takeaways

The Starlink Mini is a compact and portable satellite internet antenna that fits into a backpack and can be set up in under five minutes.

Despite its small size, the Mini delivers high-speed internet with download rates around 100 Mbps, comparable to the standard Starlink dish.

Priced at USD 599 and subscription comes with a 50GB monthly data cap for additional $30 per month. Additional data usage costs $1 per GB

The new mini dish is USD 100 more expensive than the Standard dish kit and monthly subscription is USD 30 more due to the Mini Roam service fee.

SpaceX has unveiled an innovative addition to its Starlink satellite internet service: the Starlink Mini. This portable device, designed to provide internet anywhere in the world, is a compact marvel that fits easily into a backpack and can be set up in under five minutes. The Starlink equipment aims to revolutionize global internet access, particularly benefiting remote and underserved areas. Its built-in Wi-Fi offers speeds comparable to the standard Starlink service, but at a slightely higher price point, making high-speed internet more accessible than ever before.

Starlink mini

Table of Contents

Official Launch

Started as part of Starlink Beta Program, the launch of the Starlink Mini dish is imminent. Starlink recently got approval from the FCC for the Mini’s Wi-Fi router, and updated their app with more details about the unit. Based on FCC documents filed by SpaceX, we know the size of the Starlink Mini to be 11.4" x 9.8", or about the size of a laptop. This makes it highly portable, easily fitting into a backpack, making it ideal for travelers, remote workers, and adventurers. The quick setup process, requiring less than five minutes, ensures users can connect to the internet almost instantly, regardless of their location.

Availibitity in Canada

While the Starlink Mini is currently available to select users in the U.S., Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala, and Panama, it is not yet available in Canada. However, a Canadian release is expected soon alongside other international markets.

The primary frequency bands for Starlink are Ka-band and Ku-band, with some limited use of K-band as well. While the specific frequency used by the Mini is unclear, many users report their dishes still function in Canada.

For convenience, Strigo offers a portable solution for Canadian users looking for on-the-go internet.

First-Hand Reaction: Unboxing the Starlink Mini

We were thrilled to receive the Starlink Mini, as it promises to eliminate connectivity barriers for our nomadic lifestyle. Just 16 days after ordering for $200 USD, the package not bigger than a pizza box arrived, containing the antenna and built-in router. Compact and sleek, the device offers impressive performance with speeds reaching 150 Mbps and 23 ms latency.

Ordinarily, selecting remote locations and Airbnbs is challenging due to the need for reliable WiFi for work. Thanks to this, it's no longer a concern. The setup was straightforward, taking under five minutes as promised. Initial tests confirmed its remarkable efficiency, making it an excellent solution for portable, high-speed internet in remote areas. Because of the 50GB monthly limit, we will still stay subscribe to RV Roam so stay tuned for a more detailed review after extended use.

Unboxing Starlink Mini
Unboxing Starlink Mini

High-Speed Internet Anywhere

Despite its compact size, the upcoming mini dish does not compromise on performance. Users can expect speeds on par with the standard Starlink service, which means fast downloads, smooth streaming, and reliable connection. This makes it a practical solution for various applications, from remote work and education to emergency response and outdoor expeditions. For those who need internet access in remote locations, the new Starlink solution could be a game-changer. However, early adopters have noted a significant limitation: a 50GB data cap per month, with additional usage costing $1 per GB.

Pricing 

Priced at USD 599, it's USD 100 more expensive than the standard dish kit. Users will need an existing standard service plan, to which they can tack on the Mini Roam service for an additional fee of USD 30 per month. This means a Starlink residential customer will pay USD 150 per month in total. However, SpaceX is working to make Starlink more affordable, presumably why the Mini is initially available in regions with high usage. In some Latin American countries, the Mini is offered at just USD 200 with a monthly plan costing USD 35 and no data cap.

Compact and User-Friendly Design

The design emphasizes portability and ease of use. Weighing just a few pounds (2.5 pounds for the dish itself) and no larger than a standard laptop, it can be effortlessly carried in a backpack, making it ideal for camping, RVs, and vans. The dish features a shape and kickstand similar to the Standard dish, emphasizing portability and ease of use. Recent updates reveal that the Mini will have a built-in Wi-Fi router, simplifying the system by reducing the number of components. The built-in router supports Wi-Fi 5 and can connect up to 128 devices.

Built-In Wi-Fi Router and Mesh Compatibility

The portable dish features a built-in Wi-Fi router, eliminating the need for separate components. This means that devices will connect directly to the Mini dish. The built-in router will also be compatible with Starlink’s mesh network, allowing users to pair it wirelessly with other Starlink routers for extended coverage. This feature is particularly beneficial for larger events where additional ange is needed, or for home use in larger areas.

Impact on Remote Areas

The upcoming Starlink Mini is poised to be a game-changer for remote and rural areas. In many parts of the world, access to reliable internet is still a significant challenge, hindering education, economic development, and access to information. The new dish can bridge this digital divide by providing these communities with the connectivity they need to thrive in the modern world. Moreover, early reactions have been overwhelmingly positive, with many praising its potential to democratize internet access and provide a reliable solution for those who need it most.

Early Adopters Weigh In

Early adopters have generally praised its portability and ease of use. Photos and testimonials from users illustrate the device's practicality for travel and remote work. However, there are some drawbacks: the 50GB monthly data cap is seen as restrictive, and users have expressed a desire for more versatile power options, like the ability to connect to a power bank or a car’s auxiliary power outlet.

What About TV and Streaming Content?

While there is no dedicated Starlink TV service, users will be abale to stream content or watch IPTV over the internet. With download speeds of up to 100 Mbps, users can enjoy smooth streaming experiences. However, be aware of the 50GB monthly data cap, as streaming can quickly consume data and lead to additional costs of $1 per GB. This can make streaming content quite expensive, limiting its practicality for heavy usage. Use the internet data calculator to avoir surptises.

Enhancing the Starlink Ecosystem

The Starlink Mini is a natural extension of the existing Starlink ecosystem. As SpaceX continues to expand its constellation of low Earth orbit satellites, the coverage and performance of the service will only improve. The addition of a portable, affordable option enhances the overall value proposition of Starlink, making it a more attractive choice for a wider range of users.

Conclusion

SpaceX’s introduction of the Starlink Mini marks a significant milestone in the quest for global interne access. By combining portability, ease of use, high-speed performance, and affordability, ti set to transform the way we access the internet. Whether it’s enabling remote work, supporting education in rural areas, or providing critical communication in disaster zones, the

Starlink hardware is poised to make a lasting impact on the world.

As SpaceX continues to innovate and expand its satellite network, the future of global connectivity looks brighter than ever. The Starlink Mini is not just a product; it’s a testament to the potential of technology to bring people closer together, no matter where they are in the world.

  • Ted Tayler Mobo Telecom
  • about the author

    Ted Taylor, better known as Mr. Mobo, is a telecom analyst and columnist. Mr. Mobo advises consumers on everything related to telecommunications.

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