SpaceX Wi-Fi 6 Starlink Router in the Works

SpaceX seems to be gearing up to introduce a new high-speed Wi-Fi router for its Starlink internet service, which is expected to support faster connectivity.

This week, SpaceX received FCC equipment authorization for a router with the test model name UTR-231, reports PCMag. According to the documentation, the new router is set to feature 802.11ax networking or Wi-Fi 6, a significant improvement from the existing router that only supports Wi-Fi 5.

As part of its FCC application process, SpaceX submitted two test reports to validate the router’s compliance with FCC radio rules. The reports highlighted that the new router could achieve a speed of up to 1147.1Mbps over Wi-Fi 6 through the 2.4GHz frequency and up to 2401.9Mbps over the 5GHz bands.

One noteworthy detail emerging from the documentation is the potential inclusion of built-in Ethernet ports in the new router. This feature, absent in the latest Starlink router unless paired with a $25 Ethernet adapter, was indicated in the images demonstrating the test device connected to a laptop and network switch over LAN ports.

Unfortunately, detailed insights into the new router’s design and user manual remain undisclosed. This is due to SpaceX’s filing of a short-term confidentiality request with the FCC, ensuring this information stays under wraps for 180 days until the device is officially marketed.

While the new router boasts Wi-Fi 6 capabilities, it’s worth noting that current download speeds for Starlink users in the U.S. hover around 66Mbps, as reported by Ookla. Thus, until SpaceX boosts the broadband capacities of its satellite internet network, customers won’t fully exploit the faster Wi-Fi. Despite this, Wi-Fi 6 brings additional advantages such as improved power efficiency.

The existing Starlink Wi-Fi router, equipped with Wi-Fi 5 technology, follows the IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac standards and utilizes a dual-band 3×3 MIMO radio system. To ensure secure connectivity, it uses WPA2 security protocols.

Designed for indoor use, the router has an environmental rating of IP54 and can cover an area of up to 185 square meters or approximately 2000 square feet. Capable of operating in temperatures ranging from -30°C to 50°C (-22°F to 122°F), it’s also compatible with up to 12 Starlink Mesh nodes, which are available to customers via the shop, along with an Ethernet adapter. The router measures 180 mm (7.08 in) by 254 mm (10 in) by 65 mm (2.55 in).

Meanwhile, there is speculation that the new router could be unveiled concurrently with a new Starlink dish. Earlier this year in March, SpaceX filed another FCC application to provide next-generation Starlink dishes, one featuring a smaller design and the other promising high-performance capabilities for both individual and corporate consumers.

SpaceX launched 15 Starlink satellites into low-Earth orbit on early Thursday morning.