Starlink began offering its newest Gen 3 router to beta testers located in the United States, with a worldwide rollout being imminent. So, it’s time for a breakdown of what to expect.
In this article, I will detail how much the new router costs, what new features it comes with, and how to set it up.
How Much Does the Gen 3 Router Cost?
The Gen 3 router costs US$199 apiece right now. Pricing is only available for the United States since that’s where it’s currently being tested.
Starlink, in its invite email (pictured above), urges beta users to provide feedback on their general “experience, including setup, performance, or any other recommendations” they got.
Furthermore, customers can order a total of three routers per account, which is likely targeted at business customers utilizing multiple antennas.
With that said, I find it somewhat disappointing that Starlink would ask users to pay close to $200 for a test product instead of directly working with a selected few.
First and foremost, the router stands out thanks to its horizontal foundation – a stark difference from its vertical predecessors.
However, don’t get distracted by its appearance. The Gen 3 router offers a variety of new features, which I’m going to break down below.
The new router comes enabled with Wi-Fi 6 connectivity. Meanwhile, the previous Gen 2 router relied on Wi-Fi 5.
Wi-Fi 6 offers a few key improvements compared to its predecessor, including:
- Faster speeds: Wi-Fi 6 is faster than Wi-Fi 5, both for a single device and for multiple devices connected to one router.
- Better safety protocols: Wi-Fi 6 has better safety protocols and backward compatibility with Wi-Fi 5 and Wi-Fi 4 devices.
- Support for more devices: Wi-Fi 6 can support more devices and spatial streams than Wi-Fi 5.
- Higher maximum data rate: Wi-Fi 6 has a higher maximum data rate and supports MU-MIMO (multi-user, multiple-input, multiple-output) technology1.
As a result, the new router can also support up to 225 devices. For reference, the previous generation ‘only’ supported 128 connections.
Two Ethernet Ports
Another huge change, in this case in the router’s design, is the two Ethernet ports that are located on the back of it.
Those ports are protected by a removable (R145) cover. However, the two ports have likely prompted Starlink to rethink its design as well.
The Gen 3 router, compared to the previous two versions, is set up horizontally. It also weighs substantially more than its predecessor (2.7 kg / 6 lbs vs. 1 kg / 2.2 lbs).
Interestingly, the Gen 1 router featured Ethernet ports, too. For the second generation, Starlink decided to remove the ports altogether in favor of its Ethernet adapter.
That said, the new router is also compatible with the first-gen Circular dish as well as the second-gen Standard and High Performance antennas.
Apart from utilizing newer Wi-Fi technology standards and re-introducing the ethernet ports, Starlink’s new router also comes with tri-band radio.
This means that the Gen 3 router, compared to its predecessor, which relied on Dual Band – 3 x 3 MIMO technology, can operate on three frequency bands.
Typically, this includes one 2.4 GHz band and two 5 GHz bands. By having an extra 5 GHz band, it can accommodate more devices at a faster frequency without getting congested.
The Gen 3 router also comes with an IP56 rating (vs. IP54 for the predecessor), providing a higher level of protection, specifically regarding water resistance, as it can withstand strong jets of water, whereas IP54 is rated for protection against only splashing water.
Lastly, both the Gen 2 and Gen 3 routers come with WPA2 security, thus utilizing some of the most advanced encryption standards.
Though WPA3 represents the latest standard in Wi-Fi security and is generally more secure than WPA2, its adoption is still growing. We may receive it in a later Gen 4 or higher version.
Lastly, the process to factory reset the router is also new. In the previous version, you needed to use the Starlink app and perform a power cycle loop.
While you can still follow the same procedure, there’s now also a small reset button located in between the two ethernet ports (pictured above).
This reset button is consequently activated by using a paper clip that you use to push it (after removing the cover).
The installation of the router is dependent on what hardware kit (Gen 1 vs. Gen 2 vs. Gen 2 HP) you are using.
Most will likely either own the circular Gen 1 antenna or the rectangular Gen 2 dish, which I’ll focus on in the sections below.
Installation Gen 1 Kit
Start by making sure your Starlink dish is set up and connected to the internet prior to setting up your Gen 3 Router.
Then go ahead and unplug your router’s power supply while simultaneously connecting your Gen 3 router to a power outlet using the provided cable.
Afterward, you connect the antenna with the ethernet adapter (included in the shipment), and the Gen 3 router, together with the provided Gen 3 ethernet cable, plugs into the adapter as well (pictured above).
You should now find a new connection in your Wi-Fi settings called STARLINK. Simply click on it to initiate a connection.
The Gen 3 router light should blink solid white (just like its predecessor) if everything functions properly. Once again, you can use the Starlink app to play with your router’s settings.
Installation Gen 2
Interestingly, with the Gen 2 kit, the new router can be either used as a mesh node or as the main router.
If you choose to use the Gen 3 router as a mesh node, then all you have to do is to plug it into a power outlet (preferably in a room that isn’t well connected) and wait for 1 to 2 minutes.
Then, you will see a message popping up in the Starlink app, asking you to PAIR the new mesh node (pictured below).
Simply wait another few minutes until the Gen 3 router is connected. The light on the Gen 3 router should be solid white, which you can check in the NETWORK tab under the homepage in the Starlink app.
Alternatively, you can also use the Gen 3 router as your base router, for which you will need the Starlink-branded ethernet adapter (picture below).
The setup and procedure is fairly similar to the circular dish, except that you have to bypass the Gen 2 router.
Once everything is plugged in, bypass the Gen 2 Starlink router by clicking on SETTINGS –> Router –> slide right to bypass.
Again, go into your phone’s Wi-Fi settings, select the STARLINK connection, and you should be good to go.
At present, everything that is known has been provided by Starlink. Unfortunately, I’ll have to wait to get my hands on the router since I’m located in Germany.
Until then, I will update this page with feedback from beta testers in the United States who’ll hopefully be satisfied with the product.