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Saturday, January 22, 2022

Considering Starlink for Caravan or RV Travelling

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For many of us, travelling in a caravan or RV gives us a “best of both worlds” approach. It lets us get out and about, to experience nature and new things which we never could at home, yet it doesn’t sacrifice the creature comforts on which we rely. There are some asterisks to this experience, however, no matter how well funded your trips can be. One of the most inconvenient factors of travelling in caravans or RVs is the general lack of internet access, which can hold back our communication, entertainment, or general enjoyment. With the coming of Starlink for larger vehicles, this could change.

What is Starlink?

Starlink is a new form of satellite internet, essentially raising the capabilities of older solutions to new heights. Older systems, by relying on distant geostationary satellites, were often slow and difficult to install. Starlink, by relying on a much closer net of moving satellites, can be much faster and the installation process can be easily carried out by anyone who can follow a simple manual.

Dish and Sky” (Public Domain) by cogdogblog

Originally designed for houses and fixed locations, the developing company SpaceX is making moves to create a new antenna to interface with larger vehicles, as reported by CNBC. In theory, this could allow high-speed internet access from practically anywhere on the planet, as long as the dish has a clear line of sight to the sky. As for whether you’ll need it, that’s another question entirely.

A Question of Need

Starlink could be a lifesaver in certain situations, but for some users, it could also be pointless overkill. Consider, for example, users with only light data concerns who intend to stay in or around populated areas with strong 4G coverage. If you wanted to sit back and play some online casino games like Fishing Frenzy, then turning your phone into a mobile hotspot would be a much better solution. Online games like these use only small amounts of bandwidth, so like writing emails, spending on Starlink would be unnecessary.

On the other hand, if you intend to stay in more remote places, then Starlink might be helpful through its connectivity benefits alone. If you want to perform bandwidth or latency dependent work, or even just stream movies, then mobile coverage is going to be problematic at best. As reported by The Verge, there are still concerns with Starlink, in that you’ll need to park in a place to make the best use of its systems, but in terms of remote speed, there are no better solutions.

SpaceX” (CC BY 2.0) by ST33VO

If you have the money to spare, then Starlink could be a fantastic insurance policy, especially if you’re the type to freely journey with no solid destinations in mind. Just remember its restrictions, and that other solutions can help solve the most common connection issues travellers face. As for when this new service could launch, with static Starlink going out of beta testing this year, it’s safe to assume that the mobile system won’t be far away. Expect a 2022 beta test, and chances are you’ll have an opportunity to soon test what Starlink could do for you.

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