Starlink Gen 1 Vs Gen 2: Should I Make a Switch to Gen 2?

An intense debate over Starlink Gen 1 vs Gen 2 usually arises among Starlink users, as some people feel the original dish could have been more efficient. The pioneering generation is still a force to reckon with and has some benefits over the current generation. 

This article offers a side-by-side comparison to help those with Gen 1 make an informed decision before switching. 

About Starlink Gen1 and Gen 2

Starlink Gen 1 was the first released when SpaceX launched Starlink in 2019. Round dishes characterize this service and were common during Starlink beta testing. 

Though Starlink no longer supplies the round dishes, thousands of people worldwide still use them. Its efficacy is outstanding and competes well with the latest generation dishes. 

The rectangular Starlink Gen 2 dish was released in 2021 to improve the Gen 1. This is not to suggest that the preceding Gen 1 wasn’t efficient. To some people, it was great and still a preferred option over the Gen 2. Ideally, SpaceX replaced it with the Gen 2 due to score reasons. 

A man installing Starlink rectangular dish

A man installing Starlink rectangular dish

Starlink Gen 1 vs Gen 2 Comparison

While these two Starlink generations have several features in common, there are also several differences. 

Form Factor

The obvious difference between these two Starlink generations is the shape of the dish. The Gen 1 dish is circular, like most TV dishes you have. 

The Gen 2 dishes adopt a sleek rectangular shape design. The rectangular shape choice gives the dish a more aesthetic look and offers benefits regarding space efficiency. 

The dishes are not only different in shape. You will notice that even the width, height and weight are different. The Gen 1 is 23.2” wide and 1.4” mast width, weighing 16 pounds. The Gen 2, on the other hand, has a 1.3” mast width and 19” x 12”. It only weighs 9.2 pounds, making it smaller and lighter than the Gen 1 dish. 

Router Specifications

Both generations offer powerful routers. The routers slightly differ in specification and capabilities. 

Gen 1 Specifications

  • Wi-Fi5 (802.11ac) supported
  • 2.4GHz and 5 GHz dual-band enabled
  • Up to 2,000 sq feet Wi-Fi range
  • Can potentially handle up to 128 devices at the same time
  • Capable of supporting an internet speed of 500 Mbps
  • 2×2 MU-MIMO configuration 
  • A standard network security encryption (WPA2/WPA3)

Gen 2 Specifications

  • Uses MediaTek MT7629 SoC processor
  • Wi-Fi5 (802.11ac) supported
  • 2.4GHz and 5GHz dual band enabled
  • Up to 2,000 sq ft Wi-Fi coverage
  • Up to 128 devices supported simultaneously
  • Support a plan with a speed of up to 500 Mbps
  • 3×3 MIMO technology configuration
  • Standard network security with WPA2/WPA3 encryption

Wired Connectivity

The Gen 1 Starlink router has an ethernet port on its rare side. This port enables you to establish a more reliable and faster-wired connection. A wired connection offers a Gigabit speed capacity, guaranteeing a lightning data transfer rate. 

As disappointing as it may be, the Gen 2 router doesn’t have a built-in Ethernet port. 

You must purchase an Ethernet adapter to establish a wired connection. 

The company offers a proprietary ethernet adapter. You can’t get an aftermarket version. 

The adapter enables you to enjoy a similar data transfer speed to the Gen 1 Ethernet port. 

Modern USB cable to the Ethernet adapter

Device Capacity

Though we mentioned the same number of device capacities in our specification list, Gen 2 can potentially handle more devices than Gen 1 Starlink. 

The Gen 2 router uses a 3×3 Multiple-Input Multiple-Output (MIMO) configuration. Gen 1 router setup, on the other hand, is 2×2 MIMO.  

A higher MIMO translates to more available data transfer and less network congestion.

 Gen 2 3×3 MIMO is higher, which means it can support more devices simultaneously without experiencing a signal dropout. 

Wi-Fi Range

There is no difference in the coverage capabilities as the company promises a maximum coverage of 2,000 square feet to both generations. 

Your Wi-Fi router can remain strong up to around 1,600 square feet. 

If this range is not enough for you, you can use tricks to extend it. One of the surest ways is using mesh nodes.

 The nodes can enhance the coverage throughout a large area. The more the number of nodes, the more the extended coverage. 

This is where the Gen 2 Starkink outshines the Gen 1 since it is compatible with more mesh nodes – 12. 

Starlink Cable Length

Starlink Gen 1 dishes used to come with a longer cable compared to what Gen 2 offers today. 

The original round dish had up to 100 ft cable. The Gen 2, on the other hand, offers a slightly shorter Starlink cable at 75 ft. 

However, the original round dish has a fixed-length cable permanently attached to the dish. The Gen 2 dish cable, on the other hand, is detachable and replaceable. 

The company offers a 150 ft cable as a replacement in case the standard 75 ft is too short. 

However, this cable isn’t included in the kit. You have to purchase it separately from the company. 

The Ingress Protection Ratings

Gen 1 and Gen 2 are water resistant with the same rating of IP54. However, there is a small difference between the two that has to do with the temperature. 

While Gen 1 can only handle a temperature of 32-86 degrees Fahrenheit, Gen 2 has been revamped to operate in even worse conditions.

 It can handle a temperature ranging from -22 to122 degrees Fahrenheit. 

With a progressive over a wide range of climatic conditions, Gen 2 is more likely to function in your area than Gen 1.