Elon Musk-backed SpaceX has updated its Starlink website with a new rectangular satellite dish. The new satellite dish or user terminal, as the company puts it, is thinner, lighter and rectangular as against the original circular model. The new kit also contains a WiFi-only router and is reportedly simpler than the original model. An Ethernet router will be available separately for wired connections. The new rectangular dish is 12-inches wide and 19-inches long and weighs 9.2 pounds, which is a little over 4 Kg. It is nearly half the weight of the original 16-pound dish. However, the price to buy the rectangular option appears unchanged. The buy-in cost was available for $499 for the kit and then $99 a month for coverage.
The user terminals connect to a network of more than 1400 satellites to deliver broadband internet. Starlink has noted that it aims to deliver download speeds of 200 Mbps and latency as low as 20 ms. The company has also launched a new range of brackets to mount the terminals permanently on buildings and roofs. Customers who have already purchased the original dish are not allowed to exchange it with the new model and each account is only limited to one terminal per subscription, Business Insider reported.
SpaceX launched the beta version of Starlink in October 2020, making the company’s starter kit, which included a 23-inch-wide circular user terminal, or dish mounting equipment, a Wi-Fi router, and all the cables available for eligible users. Starlink also allows users all over the world to pre-book a connection for a refundable deposit of $99.
Starlink is SpaceX’s satellite internet project, which aims to launch nearly 12,000 satellites into low Earth orbit where they can provide broadband internet coverage to people on the ground — notably those in remote and rural areas where traditional internet infrastructure is lacking. With so many satellites in low orbit at once, the idea is to have at least one satellite in the view over every patch of the Earth, providing near-continuous internet coverage to users, the report said. To tap into the system, users need to mount a dish somewhere near their home, like the roof, where they can get a clear view of the sky (free of trees) at all times. India Today