It looks like Starlink is kicking off the beta testing phase of its new Gen 3 hardware this week. I’m seeing several reports of early Starlink customers receiving an email invitation like this:
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So, who gets invited to try the Gen 3 kit?
Like with previous invitation-only tests, Starlink tends to pick longtime customers, who have had a subscription for many years. Starlink started offering service at the beginning of 2021, so if you were around back then, you might see an email invitation from Starlink in your inbox.
Gen 3 pricing confirmed
The email invitations confirm at least one thing that was previously unknown – the price of the next generation hardware. The price will be unchanged from the previous generation, at $599 + tax and shipping. It also sheds some light on a public release timeline. If the beta testing phase of the Gen 3 router is anything to go by, Starlink could fully release the new Gen 3 dish by Q3 2024.
When will Gen 3 be released?
The invite-only testing of the Gen 3 router lasted about 6 months, from when people started receiving the invites, to when Starlink announced a public release date for January 2024. If the pattern repeats, we might see Gen 3 replace Gen 2 completely by the summer or fall of next year.
How Starlink fans are reacting
A new dish generation is exciting news, and Starlink fans are taking to social media to voice their opinions. Most customers seem unimpressed by the upcoming hardware release:
“No reason to upgrade. Only new users should adopt this.”Comment by erickufrin on Reddit
“Really don’t see the need to upgrade for the vast majority of people.”Comment by SBR_AK_is_best_AK on Reddit
It is true that the Gen 3 dish doesn’t offer much of an upgrade in terms of internet speed or reliability. But one of the big improvements with the upcoming generation is the Wifi router. The Gen 3 router, which will be included with every Gen 3 kit, has much better range and Wifi speed compared to Gen 1 and Gen 2. See our review for more on the Gen 3 router upgrades.
Also worth noting, Gen 3 is returning to standard RJ45 connections and a separate power supply. The main failure points of the Gen 2 system were the Starlink cable and the router, which contained the power supply for the dish. The Starlink cable had proprietary connectors that failed often, leaving people with no internet as they waited for a replacement from Starlink. The Wifi router on the Gen 2 system was integrated with the dish power supply. Cooling seemed to be an issue, and if the power supply failed, your internet would go down with it.
Another big change for Gen 3 over Gen 2 is the return of Ethernet LAN ports on the Starlink router. With Gen 2, customers had to purchase the Starlink Ethernet Adapter accessory just to have access to an Ethernet port. The Gen 3 router includes 2 Ethernet ports, so customers will be able to expand their network or plug in devices directly to the router.
Of course, not all the comments were negative. Many people seemed to appreciate the changes that Starlink made for Gen 3, especially from the perspective of a potential Starlink customer:
“As a prospective customer, this is undoubtedly something attractive.”Comment by jaldeborgh on Reddit
Technology is fast moving, and there is always something new coming out. As someone who covers Starlink, I’m excited to get my hands on a Gen 3 system to test and review. For the average customer, though, Gen 3 is just another incremental hardware upgrade that may not seem very impressive. After all, Gen 3 doesn’t promise faster download or upload speeds, which is really what matters for an internet connection. But, as I covered, there are some great upgrades and changes from Gen 2 that prospective Starlink customers should look forward to.
Did you get an email invitation for the new Gen 3 system? Do you plan on taking Starlink up on their offer? Let me know in the comments!