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No Elon, portable Starlink dishes are a bad idea

Started by Redaktion, January 16, 2024, 22:51:06

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The portable Starlink dish is actually coming and the question of "why pay over half a grand for bizarrely low connection speeds" is the first to come to mind. With average 2023 cellular connection speeds close to 200 Mbit/s, will a few megabits per second really make the customer happy? More importantly, will the technology still be able to deliver those few megabits per second once tens of thousands of people start using the kit on a daily basis?

Mark H

The 7 Mbit/s number is the TOTAL bandwidth of the whole satellite for cell phone connections. You cannot compare it with the bandwidth of a single Starlink dish. The mini dish will be very useful for hikers or anybody want to lighten up during travel.


I have used the standard dishy in a few European countries as well as in the US. A mini dishy would be a game changer. Even with the standard dishy, it was not too much trouble to put it around and it travels well as checked luggage.

The mini dishy is for the standard service. There is the separate cell connection that piggybacks on the same satellite but that transmits using a different technology with different limitations.

But standard Starlink with a mini dishy is going to be fantastic. Cell connections with 200mbps speeds are still too latent to do any serious work on them from the wild.

Rick James

This is a ridiculous op-ed pointing to how Starlink is for those in high economic positions. The reality is the product is to enable connecting in broadband deserts, particularly communities and regions where internet is scarce. Think, schools, medical facilities, and remote towns striving to build local economies.

I think the basis is that the product is for a different target when really, it was invented to support a simple mission of connecting the unconnected. There are far greater pollutants to consider, such as mediocre writing that plagues modern forums of communication and just generally poor journalism.


I'm so confused by this article.
In Australia Starlink is easily achieving speeds over 100mbits/s in areas with no alternative internet, or sometimes even phone connection.
To have a portable starlink dish on a camper van or 4x4 is a massive game changer, and we Aussies can afford it.
I'm sure a number of other vast countries would agree. Africa, the middle east and eastern Europe come to mind. Even the less populated parts of the USA I'm guessing.

John Pittman

Yeah clearly this person has never been anywhere outside of the us and or big cities. Starlink is filling a huge hole that other satelite internet cant. Older satelite connections where from 0 to 7 mbit. This product alows people to suplement or be the main way to connect in areas otherwise they couldnt. Noone should be buying this if they have a house in the city with access to gigabit fiber.


What kind of unresearched, tone-deaf nonsense is this?

1) Starlink is ALREADY portable. It has been for years. I've had the portable version for a year and a half, I believe. This is simply a more compact version. So they are already a reality, meaning that most of the argument in this article has been proven wrong over a year ago. In fact, I work in customer research for a luxury RV manufacturer that has been installing the portable version of Starlink on their vehicles for over a year, so I talk to a LOT of people that use it on the road. I've never heard a single complaint or ever heard of someone not being able to get consistently speedy internet in remote areas. There are cheaper options, but you get what you pay for there.

2) The new, more compact dishes have NOTHING WHATSOEVER to do with the cell phones. They run on the main Starlink network and work just like the other dishes. This means that their performance is NOT IN ANY WAY WHATSOEVER related to the 7Mbps/zone cell phone bandwidth.

3) NOBODY is going to be using Starlink's cell phone plan for watching a five minute 1440p video. What an odd comparison to make! It is designed strictly for texting and basic phone calls in areas with no other providers OR as an emergency option for people who want a backup or participate in disaster relief etc.

4) "Up to 21Mbit/s"?? The AVERAGE Starlink speed in the United States is 66MBs per Ookla's last report. At my house, using the PORTABLE version, I consistently average 150-200Mbps, in an area with not one single other internet provider - which is what Starlink is designed for. It's also the only option out here, so a lot of people use it.

5) Starlink is not expensive. It is cheap. Sure, it costs more than Comcast cable... but it isn't competing with Comcast cable! Starlink is explicitly and solely designed for areas with no other options, meaning the only other option people have are old-fashioned satellite services like HughesNet, which routinely cost $200+/month for internet that is virtually unusable and also charge exorbitant installation fees.

Sure, Starlink may seem expensive to someone in the city who is used to cheap fiber (me two years ago). But for people in the country (me today), it is a cost savings, not an added expense. It is not only cheaper per month than the barely-functional alternatives, it is currently the only provider that allows people in rural areas to confidently work remote jobs and earn more income than they can locally, since they can work for companies in cities that average $100,000 salaries instead of $50,000 salaries.

We are supposed to be getting fiber soon where I live (eh, fiber-ish). I will cancel my Starlink and switch to it in a heartbeat. Not because I dislike my Starlink at all but because it'll be a lot cheaper and because I no longer work from home. Ironically, I expect it to be much less reliable since it is run on power lines and will be subject to storm damage etc, which Starlink isn't. None of that indicates a failure on Starlink's fault. In fact, that is how Starlink is designed to work. If you think Starlink is slow or expensive, you are not their target customer and clearly live in a city where it is not designed to be used. Just because anybody can order it and plenty of people in cities have it does not mean it's designed for them.

In rural areas where the second-best provider charges $200/month for 5Mbps/500kbs 400ms latency that stops working anytime there's a cloud, Starlink provides 100-200Mbps 30-40ms latency internet for $125. If that's not your scenario, you aren't who Starlink was designed for.


One suggestion - do not start the article with "No" followed by someone's name, it looks and sounds like you are arguing with them.


I rarely post replies to articles.  But you are so far off base and ignorant of the possibilities.  Maybe even not very well-versed in technology. Starlink is the best thing that has happened to connectivity since Broadband and has allowed countless people to have reliable internet where the cost and build-outs for any other type of connection are not financially possible. Keep it up, Elon!

Bob C.

You obviously have never worked in the bush for extended periods.  This device is a game changer.


No Sergay, Starlink already is a realiti for years here in a poor area in Brazil. We have that in poor school areas in Amazon that just couldn't afford another internet whatsoever. About the speed we usually have about 300MB/s and we pay 180 reais that around 36 USD.


This is the dumbest & most out of touch article I've seen on notebookcheck since I switched to it from Endgadget to avoid ridiculous uninformed elon-hating fud like this.  I can't wait to get one of these for backpacking trips where we're off grid for days days at a time.  Sure will beat our satellite phone that takes minutes to send or receive a single text.


What a stupid take. A criticism of a not yet existing product with unknown specs and price.

Oy Vey

Serge, serge, serge...

A.) The 7 mbps is for THE WHOLE CELL. Divide that up by however many users are covered and you're looking at GPRS to EDGE speeds at best. But it's not for watching cat videos. It's for texting, limited iMessage, and voice calls. Qite a few calls will fit in 7 Mbps at low bitrates.

B.) The portable dish is NOT to access that service. It won't be using HSPA or LTE. It'll be a smaller but full featured Starlink dish. I speculate the difference will be akin to the standard dishy to the high performance. In optimal conditions you'll have full speeds as fast as the network can offer. Weather and obstacles will impact performance more.

C.) The portable dish will be able to be carried around easily and work off battery without modification. Go out into the middle of nowhere more if you want to understand how huge this is. These are places your cellphone is a dead weight or would have that limited satellite connectivity. Instead? Full functionality thanks to Wi-Fi calling and decent latency.

So try not being lazy and do better.


QuoteStarlink is ALREADY portable. It has been for years.

The Standard one is portable? The one that consumes up to a 100 W and weighs several kgs? OK.........

QuoteIn Australia Starlink is easily achieving speeds over 100mbits/s in areas with no alternative internet, or sometimes even phone connection.

Yeah... but you are using a large dish that consumes lots of power, not an ultra-portable product that is supposedly the size of a modern consumer laptop and can run off the built-in battery for several hours.

QuoteThe 7 Mbit/s number is the TOTAL bandwidth of the whole satellite for cell phone connections

QuoteThe 7 mbps is for THE WHOLE CELL.

Some of you guys have anger management issues that prevent you from reading the article in its entirety first, then writing your comments.

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