Starlink router vs Nighthawk: Which is the best Router?

Our Starlink router vs. Nighthawk guide will help you understand what to consider when selecting the ideal device for a reliable internet solution.

The choice of router matters a lot, as many router companies worldwide do. 

Therefore you may need help to settle on one. Today, we compare the most popular routers in the US in a side-by-side comparison.

So which is the best router between the two?

Find out below and learn more about factors to consider when choosing routers. 

Table of Contents

A conventional router.

A conventional router.

How is the Starlink router different from Nighthawk? 

When you subscribe to Starlink, the company will issue you an accessories package whereby the router is one of the parts.

Starlink prides itself in having components with a minimalist design, and its router and dish are no exceptions. 

Unlike most conventional routers, the Starlink router has no antennas. It also sports a base stand for stability, and its general crossectional area is trapezoidal.

We can trace Starlink’s router design from Tesla Cybertruck primarily due to its characteristic triangular face on the side and the top area. 

On the other hand, Nighthawk routers have various designs that include the following: 

  • RAX200
  • RAX10
  • R8000P
  • RAXE500
  • RAX120
  • RAX80
  • R7000P
  • LAX20

RAX200, RAX80, RAXE500, and RAX120 remain true to their name; they have a typical hawk design that resembles a flying bird.

This innovative design is imperative in hiding antennas on its wings. 

Conversely, the other four routers have the conventional antenna design; the antennas are at the top.

Therefore, the upside of Starlink’s router is that it can fit in small spaces.

Nonetheless, if you’re keen on a unique router design, Nighthawk models stand out. 

The rear of a black modem router to an internet connection. 

The rear of a black modem router to an internet connection. 

Starlink’s router is not the best compared to other types in the market, as it doesn’t have the latest technological advancements.

However, it’s compliant with IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac standards and can thus support internet speeds of up to 1.3Gbps. 

Other remarkable wireless standards of the router include: 

  • It has dual frequency bands – 2.4 and 5GHz. 
  • Also, it has Multi-user MIMO support. This feature is critical in facilitating transmission via three spatial streams, which is imperative in allowing many users to use it simultaneously. 

So how good is this router despite its apparent limitations?

The above features ensure it has fast speeds and it’s also dependable. 

Conversely, Nighthawk RAXE500 is an advancement of Starlink’s router.

The Wi-Fi 6 router has the IEEE 802.11ax standard, better than Starlink’s Wi-Fi 5.

Therefore unlike Starlink, whose top speeds are 1.3Gbps, this model has an output of up to 10.8Gbps. 

Its other advantage is supporting up to twelve simultaneous WiFi streams of internet-intensive applications.

So good is this router that up to 60 users can use its internet simultaneously without a significant dip in internet speeds thanks to its triband feature. 

A WiFi Icon. 

A WiFi Icon. 

Does the lack of antennas on Starlink’s router affect its effective range?

Not really, as it has quite an extensive range of approximately 2,000 square feet.

If you want a longer range, you can attach Starlink mesh nodes. 

Starlink has a capacity of up to 12 mesh nodes, meaning you can extensively extend its range. 

Conversely, Nighthawk routers have beamforming antennas which are key in improving their range up to 3,500 square feet.

Moreover, it also supports mesh nodes such as EAX20, MK64, MK62, EX7000, and EX7500. 

Therefore, making them arguably the best for those looking for extensive coverage. 

Ethernet ports on the back of a router. 

Ethernet ports on the back of a router. 

You cannot outright use an ethernet cable with a Starlink router primarily because it lacks an ethernet terminal.

Nonetheless, if you still need to use ethernet on Starlink, you can connect the ethernet adapter that is cheaply available from their store. 

Most aftermarket routers, such as Nighthawk, have more than one ethernet port.

For instance, a typical Nighthawk router has a 2.5GB ethernet port, plus four others capable of transmitting at lower speeds. 

It means you can seamlessly wire devices like game consoles without spending on accessories like an adapter. 

Moreover, Nighthawk routers come with two USB ports (3.0) which you can use to connect devices.

Mother and daughter are setting parental controls. 

WiFi security technologies. 

You cannot limit children’s internet access from Starlink routers as they lack the parental control feature.

Nonetheless, this is different with Nighthawk routers as they come equipped with the property. 

Among the things you miss out on for using Starlink router in regards to parental controls include the following: 

  • It allows you to keep track of what children are accessing online. 
  • You can also limit the internet access time and block sites you don’t want the kids to visit.
  • Again, it is possible to set features such as sleeping time, and it also grants you incentives to reward children for good behavior when using the Internet. 

Some advanced parental control features require you to subscribe to the services. 

WiFi security technologies. 

WiFi security technologies. 

Starlink has an AES-based encryption mode primarily because its system supports WPA2 security.

While this is secure, it still falls short of the WPA3 protocol that Nighthawk routers apply. 

Nighthawk also has an advanced security feature in Bitdefender-powered Netgear Armor which is key in limiting intrusion to your home network.

However, this is a subscription service, so you need to pay a monthly fee. 

It’s worth the price as it also comes with VPN access that helps you hide your IP when accessing blocked sites and content from restricted countries. 

A Starlink Dish

A Starlink Dish

You can only use your Starlink router with the Starlink dish, meaning it’s incompatible with other network satellite dishes.

But you don’t expect compatibility issues with Nighthawk routers. 

It is primarily because their manufacturer has enabled connecting them to different types of receiver dishes,

Hence, aftermarket routers are viable if you don’t intend to settle on one ISP.

Also, buy Nighthawk routers if you’re looking for a router you can reuse after terminating your contract with the current ISP. 

But it is not all doom for you if you already have a Starlink router and want to change to another ISP.

You can still return the Starlink equipment for a refund and then buy the other router with those proceeds. 

Nighthawk is arguably the better option compared to the Starlink router.

However, one area where Starlink beats Nighthawk is the cost. Nighthawk routers are quite pricey, especially those with advanced features such as parental controls. 

Also, accessing some of the premium features on aftermarket routers, such as Nighthawk, requires you to pay a monthly subscription. 

Still, Starlink routers are not outright cheap, as you may have to spend on additional accessories such as mesh nodes and an ethernet adapter to access advanced features.

Though, in general terms, Starlink is cheap. 


After subscribing to the ISP’s services, Starlink provides users with a router, dish, and stand.

These parts can help you access the internet even if you’re stuck in a remote setting where no ISP guarantees strong coverage. 

However, an aftermarket router like Nighthawk can be a better option if you want improved speeds and advanced security features.

Above, we have equipped you with all you may need to know concerning the two routers to help you identify the ideal one for your needs.