Starlink customers in the United States now have one less dish model to choose from. The 2nd generation “Standard Actuated” dish is no longer an option for any service plan. The change from Gen 2 to Gen 3 is now complete in the US, Starlink’s largest market.
The Gen 3 rollout started in December 2023. The first Gen 3 model released, named “Standard”, is the first of at least two planned Gen 3 models. The Standard dish appeared initially as an option for Roam and Business orders in the US, alongside the Gen 2 hardware. Now, Standard is the default equipment option, and the Gen 2 Standard Actuated model is no longer available for new orders for any service plan.
The front page of Starlink.com was updated to reflect the changeover. All images of the old Gen 2 hardware have been replaced with new ones, featuring the Gen 3 Standard dish.
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Gen 3 availability and price
So far, the change to Gen 3 only applies to the United States. Gen 2 remains the only hardware option for the rest of the world. Starlink says the global rollout to Gen 3 will take time. In the FAQ section of their site, they talk about the transition from Gen 2 to Gen 3:
“At this time, the Starlink Standard Kit is available to:
- All customers within the United States.
- Available to Residential, Roam and Business customers.
- Note – Starlink Standard Actuated is no longer available as an option for purchase in the Starlink Shop for customers in the United States. Replacements for Standard Actuated Kits will continue to be supported at this time.
The Starlink Standard Kit will become available to additional service plans and markets over time. However, we do not have estimated dates to provide at this time. Stay tuned for updates on the wider release of the Starlink Standard Kit and other products!”Starlink.com FAQ’s
Several retailers are still selling Gen 2 units, even in the US. If you are looking to purchase the Standard Actuated dish, authorized retailers might be your last chance. Best Buy still has Gen 2 units in stock as I write this. Best Buy also recently started selling the Gen 3 Standard dish online and in store.
Gen 3 costs the same as Gen 2, at $599 for the equipment. Taxes, shipping, and monthly service fees are extra. The price at most authorized retailers is the same. On BestBuy.com, the Gen 3 Standard model is listed at $599.99.
Starlink is moving away from motorized designs
The transition to Starlink’s 3rd hardware iteration indicates a significant change in the design of future models. The US Gen 3 rollout marks the first time that no motorized dish is available. Every Starlink model being sold in the US must be manually aligned.
Gen 1 and Gen 2 Starlink antennas were actuated, featuring electric motors that would automatically aim the dish to the correct direction. Starlink’s Gen 2 Flat High Performance dish was the first to do away with the motors. Eventually, the Flat High Performance model would replace the actuated equivalent High Performance for all business and commercial service plans. Now, Starlink is doing the same for consumer plans with Gen 3.
Some customers welcome the design change, as it means a smaller, more portable dish, with less components that can break. Others aren’t so sure. For many, having to manually rotate the dish seems like a step backwards. If you want to see a Gen 3 dish being aimed, check out our tutorial.
Starlink will continue to support Gen 2 hardware
If you just purchased a Gen 2 Standard Actuated kit, don’t worry, Starlink plans to support it for as long as necessary. Customers in the US can still get replacement Gen 2 hardware and accessories from Starlink. Since the rest of the world is still receiving the Standard Actuated dish, I have to assume inventory is still high, with plenty of units and parts to support Gen 2 customers for years.
The Gen 3 router/mesh node is still not available
The new Gen 3 Standard kit comes with the improved Gen 3 router. Starlink initially said the Gen 3 router would be available for purchase as a standalone router or mesh node sometime in January 2024. It doesn’t appear Starlink will keep that promise, so customers will not be able to expand their network with Gen 3 mesh nodes.
Fortunately, Gen 3 is backwards compatible with Gen 2 mesh nodes, so that is always an option if you don’t want to wait. Gen 1 and Gen 2 customers hoping to upgrade their old routers to the Gen 3 router will have to wait. Starlink hasn’t updated the timeline for the Gen 3 router release on their website from the original January estimate.
I’ve been using my Gen 3 Standard dish for over a month now. I’ve featured it in several articles and videos, including an unboxing, and a review of the best Gen 3 mount. I know some customers are worried about having to manually aim the dish, but it’s really easy, and is only required during the initial setup. You won’t have to continuously adjust the dish.
Overall, the rollout of Gen 3, and the retirement of Gen 2, is a necessary evolution in Starlink hardware. For the 3rd generation, Starlink returned to standard RJ45 connectors, a standard Ethernet cable, and a separate power supply. All of these changes improve the reliability and serviceability of the equipment. I recommend Standard over Standard Actuated for new customers. For people with existing equipment, I don’t think the upgrade is worth the cost.
What do you think? Are you sad to see the Gen 2 Standard Actuated model going away, or are you excited for Gen 3? Let me know in the comments below!