Standard vs High Performance – Which Starlink Is Right For You?

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Starlink currently offers customers two hardware options to choose from: Standard or High Performance. The Standard equipment is suitable for most applications, including home internet. The High Performance hardware option is mainly aimed at professionals and customers living in harsh climates.

If you are trying to pick between the two options, it can be overwhelming. This guide is meant to help you break down the differences between the Standard and High Performance kits. I will provide an overview of each option, followed by a detailed comparison. Finally, I will recommend which kit you should buy, based on example use cases and other factors.

By the end of this guide, you should have a better understanding of what each hardware kit offers, and whether the upgrade to High Performance is worth it for your situation.

Standard kit

The Standard hardware kit is the default option for Starlink Residential. It is designed for home internet usage, like streaming, gaming, video calls, and web browsing. The Standard dish is also suitable for portable and travel usage, and is the hardware supplied for Starlink Roam plans.

The Standard kit costs $599, and includes a dish, mounting base, Wifi router, and cables. It comes with everything you need to get up and running in minutes. When you power on the dish, the electronic phased array antenna automatically aims itself for the best signal. You need a clear view of the sky, so a roof mount is usually required. Additional mounts and accessories are sold separately.

Standard kit highlights:

  • IP54 rated – The Standard dish is installed outdoors, and is resistant to rain and water spray
  • Self orienting with built in motors
  • Operates in temperatures from -22°F to 122°F
  • 100 degree field of view for the electronic phased array antenna
  • Power consumption: 50-75 watts
  • Router: Wifi 5, dual band, mesh enabled
  • LAN Ethernet port available with the purchase of the Starlink Ethernet Adapter
  • 12 month warranty

High Performance kit

The Starlink High Performance kit is included with the Business, Mobility, and Maritime plans. It is an optional upgrade for Residential and Roam plans. The High Performance dish is aimed more for professionals and power users, but Starlink also recommends it for consumers living in harsh weather environments.

The High Performance dish is designed for more demanding applications. It has higher throughput capabilities, can see more of the sky, and handles harsh weather better. A Flat High Performance version is available for mounting to boats and vehicles, and can be used while in-motion.

With a price of $2,500, the High Performance kit costs much more than Standard. Included in the kit is the High Performance dish, mounting base, power supply, Wifi router, and cables. Like with the Standard hardware, setup is simple with automatic motorized aiming. Mounts and other Starlink accessories are available if necessary.

High Performance kit highlights:

  • IP56 rated for increased weather resistance for harsh environments
  • Self orienting with built in motors
  • Operates in temperatures from -22°F to 122°F
  • 135 degree field of view for the electronic phased array antenna
  • Power consumption: 110-150 watts
  • Router: Wifi 5, dual band, mesh enabled
  • Use your own router or network equipment with included Ethernet cable
  • 24 month warranty

Standard vs High Performance

I’m going to break down the differences between the Standard dish and High Performance dish into a few main sections. These are the important things that you need to know when deciding which hardware option is right for you.

Performance and internet speeds

One thing that confuses people is that the High Performance kit doesn’t necessarily mean better internet speeds. The biggest limiting factor for your Starlink internet connection is the Starlink network itself. You see, any hardware that Starlink sells is capable of 300+ mbps download speeds. The performance of your connection will depend mainly on your service plan, and the amount of Starlink users in your area, not your hardware choice.

The High Performance kit is capable of higher data throughput, so it is better for businesses or use cases with a lot of devices connecting at once. It is also capable of higher upload speeds, thanks to a beefier phased array antenna and power supply.

Overall, don’t pick the High Performance hardware to get better internet speeds if you are a home internet user. Both the Standard and High Performance kits are limited by the service plan and Starlink network conditions. Businesses and those needing the highest upload speeds might benefit from the bigger antenna in the High Performance kit, but performance and speed over the Standard dish is not significant.

Reliability, obstructions, and weather

The High Performance equipment really stands out when it comes to reliability and performance in harsh weather. The electronic phased array antenna on the High Performance dish is much larger. The power supply is also more powerful. The result is a dish that can power through rain, snow, and ice much better than the Standard version.

If you live in an area with a lot of rain, snow, or ice, the High Performance option might be worth considering. It will be able to maintain a connection in harsh weather more often than the Standard dish, leading to better reliability and uptime.

Since the High Performance dish has a field of view of 135 degrees, vs 100 degrees for the Standard dish, it is better at dealing with obstructions. The higher field of view means the High Performance dish can see and talk to more satellites in the sky. If you live in an area with a lot of trees and are having trouble with obstructions on the Standard dish, the High Performance version might work better for you.

Mounting, accessories, and advanced networking

If you have an advanced networking setup, the High Performance kit might be worth considering. With the Standard kit, you don’t get an Ethernet LAN port out of the box. You have to purchase an adapter to be able to use your own router or connect a network switch. And even then, you can’t remove the Starlink router completely, as it also powers the dish. The High Performance kit includes an Ethernet cable, enabling you to plug right into your own router or networking equipment. You don’t need the Starlink router at all.

Mounting options and accessories are very similar between Standard and High Performance kits. Both have options for roof mounts, longer cables, and mesh systems. The cables for the High Performance dish are different than the cable for Standard. If you are planning to upgrade your existing Standard dish, you’ll need to run a new cable, as the Standard cable isn’t compatible with the High Performance dish.

Portable use cases are another factor to consider. The Standard dish is much lighter and smaller than the High Performance dish. Plus, the High Performance has a separate power supply brick that makes plugging everything in more complicated. Camping and other recreational use cases would benefit from the Standard hardware. Since the High Performance dish is available in a flat mount design, it is more suitable for in-motion use on RV’s and emergency vehicles.

Hardware cost and service plans

The High Performance Starlink kit costs $2,500 vs $599 for Standard. Beyond the initial hardware price, your service plan is another cost to consider. To take advantage of the High Performance dish, you will want the best service plan. Business/Priority offers higher traffic priority compared to the cheaper Standard/Residential plan.

For travel or portable use, the Mobility/Mobile Priority plan offers higher speeds and performance compared to the Roam/Mobile plan. For a full breakdown and comparison of the various Starlink service plans, check out this article.

Which Starlink kit should you buy?

Now that you have a better understanding of High Performance vs Standard, let me make some recommendations based on how you will use Starlink.

I recommend the Standard hardware if…

  • You are a home internet user
  • You don’t get extreme snow, ice, rain, or heat
  • You will be on the Residential or Roam service plans
  • You don’t have advanced networking needs

I recommend upgrading to the High Performance hardware if…

  • You are a business or power user
  • You live in an extreme weather environment (snow, ice, rain, heat)
  • You have a lot of tall trees or other obstructions
  • You will be using the Business, Mobility, or Maritime service plans
  • You want advanced networking capabilities

Final thoughts

The High Performance Starlink costs much more than the regular Standard kit, but has a few advantages to justify the cost. If you deal with extreme weather or need the highest performance, upgrading to the High Performance equipment is a good option. If you are the typical home internet user, the Standard equipment is a good fit.

Like I mentioned before, a lot of people assume that High Performance means better speeds. That isn’t necessarily the case. Since your Starlink internet speeds are limited by the Starlink network, not your hardware, it isn’t as simple as purchasing the High Performance dish for better speeds.

Standard will be the best choice for the vast majority of Starlink customers. If you have special requirements that justify the extra cost of the High Performance hardware, it is worth taking a look at the upgrade. Hopefully this guide has cleared some things up, but let me know if you have any questions or feedback in the comments below.

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