Starlink Mini brings spatial internet to backpackers

The white Starlink Mini dish sitting on a table looks small even next to a small brown dog.

SpaceX’s Starlink Internet-from-space service is already available for boats, planes, vans, Amazon villages and rural homes in more than 75 countries – now it’s aimed at backpackers.

The new compact DC-powered Starlink Mini is about the size of a thick laptop and integrates the Wi-Fi router directly inside the satellite dish. And although it consumes less power than other Starlink terminals, it can still deliver speeds over 100 Mbps.

“This product will change the world,” says SpaceX CEO Elon Musk on Xclaiming that the setup took less than five minutes.

Notably, the Mini kit consumes on average just 20-40W, compared to the 33-62W we measured just two years ago with a standard satellite dish and AC-powered Wi-Fi router. This means you can power the mini antenna for two to three hours from a 27,650 mAh (99.54 Wh) Anker Prime power bank, or just over an hour with more portable batteries. small 10,000 mAh (40 Wh) ones that you probably already have on hand. It requires a USB-C PD power source with a minimum power of 100W (20V/5A).

The mini dish measures 11.75 x 10.2 x 1.45 inches (298.5 x 259 x 38.5 mm) and weighs only 2.43 pounds (1.1 kg) or 3.37 pounds (1. 53 kg) with the 49.2 ft (15 m) DC power cable and kickstand. It has an IP67 rating, meaning it is protected from dust and rain, including short periods of submersion in water.

In the US, Starlink Mini is a complement to residential plans – at least for now. The Mini kit costs $599, which is $100 more than the standard dish, and will cost $30 more per month to add Mini Roam service to existing $120 residential plans. This gives Starlink Mini users up to 50GB of mobile data each month, with the option to purchase more for $1 per GB, according to early access invitations sent to some existing US Starlink customers.

Although Starlink Mini is new in the United States, a Starlink support page indicates that it is already available in Colombia, El Salvador, Guatemala and Panama, where it can be purchased with Mini Service or Mobile – Regional plans Service. In these countries, there are no data or speed limits for using Mini, and use on the move and at sea is not permitted. SpaceX says it will expand to more markets over time.

“Our goal is to reduce the price of Starlink, especially for those around the world where connectivity is unaffordable or completely unavailable,” reads the Starlink support page. “In high-usage regions, such as the United States, where Starlink Mini places additional demand on the satellite network, we offer a limited number of Starlink Mini kits to start at a higher price.”

As a standalone service, Starlink Mini could be transformative for anyone needing an inexpensive, shareable Internet service that efficiently consumes DC battery power. This includes families relying on a DIY solar generator for electricity, a squad of soldiers trying to repel an invasion, or simply bikepackers and travelers taking the road less traveled.

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