Starlink Launches In-Motion Internet
Starlink has always been a very talked about bit of tech that world-travelling sailors were crossing their fingers hoping would work for them someday. Well, that someday might be here at last.
The launch of Starlink’s new Flat High-Performance Panel that winningly provides high-speed, low-latency internet while in motion is there! And it’s easy to see why sailors especially would be keen to learn more about this innovation.
Because this new tech is already giving first users in the Balance community strong connectivity in key destination areas, we’ve moved fast to ensure our design and build process now accommodates a seamless installation on all future boats.
Starlink’s original portable use unit was designed for RVs but sailors adapted makeshift uses for it while at anchor or at a marina that lacked strong wifi. They developed creative mounting solutions on Balance Catamarans that maintained connectivity while also being aware of potential interference from mast, boom, and standing rigging. Well done, but…
But, the nagging downside to this first iteration of Starlink’s product was that it required the vessel to be stationary while the unit’s internal servo adjusted the panel to keep the connected satellite(s) within target. And then there was the high power draw – using 50-75 watts on average.
New Design Improves Starlink Connectivity and Power
Starlink’s newest release – the Flat High-Performance In-Motion, solves the motion issue by increasing its field of view to the sky above and improving the GPS capabilities allowing for increased satellite connections. Taken together, these changes improved connectivity while on the move dramatically. But, the power draw increased with these changes, now averaging 110-150 watts while in use. But, careful management of the system so that it is only powered up on demand helps manage consumption.
This new unit is designed for permanent installation and is best positioned on a Balance Cat directly behind the helm seat in the open area on the coach roof forward of the Bimini if equipped. Wiring will be run internally through the coach roof to the included Wi-Fi Router which can be located anywhere inside.
Starlink Pricing: Portable vs. In-Motion and Monthly Access Fee
STARLINK PORTABLE: $599
STARLINK FLAT PANEL (In-Motion) $2,500
STARLINK MONTHLY ACCESS FEE: $150
Note that an advantage to subscribing to the monthly access fee is the pay-as-you-go option that can be paused and re-activated as desired.
Worldwide Availability: Keeping Up with Starlink Coverage
Make sure you keep up with the availability charts Starlink provides. As of now, there is good coverage in traditional cruising grounds.
As you will see Starlink coverage does not currently cover any open ocean areas. For long passages we always recommend having an additional connection point onboard such as an Iridium GO!