Consider a Starlink round vs. square dish exchange if you struggle with Starlink signal clarity.
The main physical difference in Starlink square dish vs. round dish is the size and weight.
Switching to the new generation rectangular Starlink dish gives you automatic signal tracking (Phased Array Technology), better signal reception, and better resistance against harsh weather.
With Starlink dominating the satellite internet service provider space, this guide will give you key insights into why you should consider switching your Starlink Generation 1 circular dish.
Table of Contents
- Why You Should Upgrade to Starlink Square Dish
- What’s The Difference In Starlink Square Dish Vs. Round Dish
- Starlink Circular Vs. Rectangular Dish Disadvantage
- Is It Worth It To Replace The Circular Dish With A Rectangular Dish?
- Final Thoughts
Why You Should Upgrade to Starlink Square Dish
Starlink dish on the roof with a clear background
While Starlink continues to catch on, users that got the early kits had to be content with unpredictable performance.
However, Space X has continually tweaked its satellite equipment to be more convenient, save power and perform better.
The drop could influence production costs to move to the lighter rectangular dish.
It costs less now for Space X to mass produce the rectangular dish.
Still, a drop in production cost doesn’t mean a drop in quality.
Most new orders from the US will come with the new generation square dish.
Here’s a brief side-by-side of what to expect with the new Starlink square dish vs. round dish.
|Features||Gen 1 Round Dish||Gen 2 Rectangular Dish|
|Size||23.2” diameter with a 1.4” mast||19×12” with a 1.3” mast|
|IP (Ingress Protection) Rating||IP54||IP54/IP56*|
|Coverage Angle||25 degrees||30 degrees|
|Polarity||Single polarity||Dual Polarity|
|Frequency range||KU bands||KU & KA bands|
|MIMO||2×2 MIMO||3×3 MIMO|
|Ethernet Port||Built-in Ethernet cable included||No Ethernet cable|
|Compatible mounts||Ground Pole mountVolcano mountPipe adapter mount Flashing mount||Ground pole mountVolcano mountPipe adapter mountFlashing mountPivot mountLong wall mountShort wall mount|
|Optimum operating temperature range||-22°F to +122°F||-22°F to +122°F|
|Power consumption||65-100W||50-75W with a 50 ft. detachable power cable|
*Note: The IP56 rating might only be available with the high-performance Starlink Business rectangular dish.
What’s The Difference In Starlink Square Dish Vs. Round Dish
Smaller and Lighter
Starlink opted to make the new generation satellite smaller and lighter.
By shedding off almost half the weight, it’s now easier for customers to mount the dish.
Furthermore, it is easier to move the dish around.
A smaller, lighter dish might seem to be a trade-off in durability. However, it’s the opposite.
The dish is made from solid metal and a protective casing.
The smaller, lighter square satellite dish with a more streamlined design can withstand rough weather better than the circular one.
Clearer Signal and Reception
A dish receiving signals from a satellite
Three factors might improve your signal reception.
Starlink recommends setting the dish’s angle to 35 degrees in the rectangular dish installation guide.
With a 30-degree preset angle, the dish must only move slightly to receive a clear signal in an unobstructed area.
Also, it covers a wider angle to track satellite movement.
Since satellites sometimes move and affect reception, a faster switch keeps you connected and avoids downtime.
Dual polarity means the rectangular dish can receive and send transmission simultaneously from a vertical or horizontal orientation.
Unlike the older model’s single polarity, the rectangular dish’s ability to receive pulses as it receives makes it a better and more efficient satellite signal recipient.
Additionally, dual polarity assists in areas where you’re likely to get interruptions from mounting or satellite switching.
The band range is one of the more technical differences in the circular vs. rectangular starlink dish. The first-generation circular dish used KU bands.
These bands oscillate between 12-18 GHz. Ideally, most places globally utilize the 10-12 GHz range for modern communications.
However, the new generation rectangular dish uses KU and KA frequencies.
These bands are in the 26.5–40 GHz range.
While Ka-band frequencies are more prone to interruption by rain, they provide more bandwidth and higher data transfer.
Ka-band frequencies would be great for low-latency activities such as video conferencing and online gaming in an area with little rainfall.
Possible Faster Speed
The two most notable upgrades that might give you better speed with the newer rectangular dish are better throughput and 3×3 MIMO.
Unlike the circular dish, the rectangular dish can communicate in three simultaneous data streams, meaning transmission gets exchanged faster.
Additionally, the rectangular dish has better throughput and higher antenna gain.
You are getting faster, and the dish gets more signals from the satellites and ground stations.
More Protection Against Bad Weather
In addition to the protective layering on the rectangular dish, it also has an IP56 rating.
For context, the ingress protection (IP) rating is the level of protection provided for electrical equipment.
IP56 rating means the equipment is protected from dust and strong water jets from any direction.
The circular dish has an IP54 rating, meaning it is protected from dust, and light water sprays from any direction.
You’ll need that protection from strong water if you are in an unobstructed area and you get windy, wet weather.
Compatibility With More Mounts
Satellite dish mounted outside in a remote area
Your reception and signal quality is only as good as your mounting location.
The lighter rectangular dish offers more mounting options for the best mounting angle and location.
Better Power Consumption and Convenience
The new rectangular dish has a detachable power cable and only uses 50-75W.
Unlike the older circular dish, the square dish used power-over-ethernet (POE) cables to pass an electrical current.
Unlike the circular dish, you only have to replace the cable if it is damaged.
On the other hand, you’d need to replace the antenna and cable if you damaged the circular dish’s cable.
Furthermore, the rectangular dish has better heat tolerance and snow clearance capabilities.
High heat is a major point of concern in signal reception in satellites.
Better tolerance is a great upgrade if you stay in hot weather locations like the Midwest.
Starlink Circular Vs. Rectangular Dish Disadvantage
The decision from Starlink to do away with the Ethernet port might be a big undoing.
The Ethernet port allowed users to connect to third-party routers to bypass CGNAT and connect mesh nodes to cover obstructed areas in indoor spaces.
Additionally, it provided a faster connection to users heavy into online gaming and 4K-quality video streaming.
Is It Worth It To Replace The Circular Dish With A Rectangular Dish?
The circular dish is not shoddy equipment.
While it would be nice to upgrade, a $2500 fee for the Business rectangular dish might be too steep, especially if you are a residential user.
However, you can replace it with a regular rectangular dish at the same $499 and a $99/month coverage fee.
Embracing new tech sometimes pays off. With Starlink, the round vs. square dish debate gathers different opinions in thriving user communities.
We recommend considering personal and practical reasons to switch to the square dish. Use this guide as a starting point.