Hi to all our followers, and those interested in Internet on the road. You may be aware that I am a Telecommunications technician and have been all over the Internet while travelling full time for 2 years now, if not, now you do know! I wanted to bring you an update on all of the current internet options and a BIG part of that is Starlink which has just come on SALE today for half-price on the hardware – so that is $450 set-up instead of $924. (We don’t make any money from Starlink, this is just done for your info and us wanting to help you).
You may be aware that I (Daniel) created the Overland Exposure caravan internet kit, about 1.5 years ago now. I did this because I wasn’t happy with the Cel-fi Go as a solution to internet while travelling, and I wanted MORE! There are over 1200 travellers around the country now using our kit, and it’s amazing to see. We have answered heaps and heaps and HEAPS! of questions about internet on the road in general, and our kit specifically, and we are super happy that we have been able to help so many of you have internet while travelling, and even to start to travel (a lot of people weren’t able to take off unless they had something fast and reliable). Having said all that, we always want to remain upfront and honest and we feel it’s time now to say that our Caravan internet kit is no longer the best remote internet solution for Australia. (It is still a really good solution, and the best 3g/4g/5g solution.)
Starlink Satelite Internet
With recent coverage expansion, and a continuous (50 satellites a week) launch schedule, Starlink is getting better and better all the time. We have been personally testing it for over a year now in Australia while travelling, from being in a Portability Beta Program in the early days, to now using the V2 rectangular dish. Starlink is now our primary internet while we travel, with our mast, antenna and modems relegated to backup duties where tree’s are an issue (and there are plenty of spots that they are). We want to be fully transparent with you all, which is the reason for this article.
Starlink does have a few negatives to consider,
– Price ($175/month)
– Coverage in the really Northerly parts of the country has consistent dropouts
– Trees really mess it up and it’s quite annoying when you get a tree obstruction and your stuff doesn’t load. (For Netflix and emails it’s fine though) And there are a LOT of campsites with trees.
– Power. – At the moment Starlink requires 240V power to run. So you will need to already have an inverter setup, or purchase a small inverter specifically for it. It also constantly uses about 50-70W of power, so if you are already tight on power, running Starlink 24 hours a day will hurt.
Update – we’ve had a lot of questions about the power usage, we estimate about 4ah of use per hour, plus your inverter will likely use about 2ah per hour while it’s running. So you are up for about 6ah/h or about 144 Ah (12v) of battery per 24h.
On the other hand, some amazing things about Starlink –
– It works anywhere in Australia, with near perfect coverage from Carnarvon to Cairns (and south of that line), and dropouts further North from that line (but still works somewhat)
– It’s Fast and Unlimited downloads/uploads (At the moment, rumours are this will change)
Update on the 3G/4G/5G Overland Exposure Internet Kit
Since we created the kit, the M5 Nighthawk Modem has been discontinued and has had 2 replacement options. I have tested the M6Pro and another option – the Telco X1Pro.
M6 Findings: It’s adequate and generally does the job, it is a battery modem like the M5, except the updates from the M5 have no relevance to people using the modem in this way (They upgraded the high speed networking side of the modem). In addition, they have locked the modem down and made it impossible to change the config at all, so you can no longer enable ALL the Optus bands or lock out certain frequencies. For most people this won’t be an issue. and the main Optus bands do work out of the box on the M6. The M6 we have found can also sometimes have issues with the external antenna ports, it can take a few minutes sometimes for it to recognize that there is an Antenna attached, and it can also sometimes require a restart. This isn’t perfect obviously, but it will generally work for you.
Telco X1 Pro Findings: This is an excellent, excellent modem, which is highly configurable. It has a significantly larger form factor than the Nighthawk M6 though, and does not have a battery, or a display. This modem is better suited to being permanently mounted in a cupboard in my opinion. It has some significant benefits, it uses SMA connectors straight from the external antenna, so no TS9 Adapters are required, and it has a lot more info if you want to dig into the technical side of the modem and how it is working.
Unless you want to permanently mount the modem in a cupboard, we would recommend the M6 (Not pro) still, for its portability, and ability to move the modem from caravan to car and vice versa.
If you have any questions about our Caravan internet kit, feel free to hit us up or Telco Antenna’s, it will remain on sale and we are still using it ourselves and supporting it, however we always try to be completely honest with you all and so felt it was time that we had finished testing Starlink and started using it as our primary internet source.
Remember: Read all of the details before signing up to Starlink, there are still the monthly fees etc.
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