While most users should be fine with the regular hardware kit they receive from Starlink, some may have special needs, which could be met by utilizing a third-party router.
Those needs could include anything from wanting faster speeds and greater ranges all the way to setting up a static IP.
In any case, putting your Starlink router into Bypass mode is required. In this article, I highlight what Bypass mode is, how to set it up, and aspects to be aware of.
What Is Starlink’s Bypass Mode?
Starlink’s Bypass (or Bridge) mode allows users to completely disable the built-in Starlink WiFi router functionality.
Bypass mode is primarily aimed at those who want to use their own router and not the one that comes in the hardware kit. If you use two routers (one external and the Starlink router), then you will have two WiFi frequencies in use.
The Starlink router does come with some limitations, such as a lack of Ethernet ports (to connect other devices), enabling port forwarding, or setting up a mesh system for extended internet coverage.
Third-party routers may also be able to provide you with greater bandwidth, meaning both download and upload speeds could potentially be higher.
Plus, models like the ASUS RT-AX86S offer greater signal ranges as well, thus removing the need to purchase an extender.
Additionally, Starlink regularly pushes out new firmware updates, which may lead to a router reboot, and thus introduce potential networking failures that necessitate a manual reboot to resolve.
By using your own router, you can determine when those updates take place.
In order to access Bridge mode, you need an ethernet adapter. Users can purchase one within Starlink’s shop.
Enabling Bypass mode is only supported for those customers who own a regular or high-performance rectangular dish. The original circular dishy does not offer Bridge mode.
How To Activate Bypass Mode
Enabling Bypass mode is fairly easy and can almost exclusively be done within the Starlink mobile app.
First, make sure that you have a functioning internet connection, allowing you to log into the Starlink app.
You can either use your phone’s mobile connection or stay connected to the Starlink network while enabling Bridge mode.
Next, open the Starlink app and click on SETTINGS in the home screen. By default, you land on your Starlink router settings.
From there, click on BYPASS MODE (pictured above), which redirects you to a page with a slider. Simply move it to the right.
Starlink will ask you to confirm your choice by clicking on OK. And just like that, you’ve enabled Bypass Mode.
When you return to your app’s landing page, you will find both the Network and Statistics pages grayed out and thus being inaccessible.
Not being connected to the WiFi and thus utilizing your cellular data (as highlighted by the 4G/5G you should see at the top of your phone) should mean that Bypass mode has successfully been enabled.
Starlink makes sure to point out that you need to own the Starlink-branded ethernet adapter and use your own network equipment (i.e., router, cables, etc.).
A factory reset is required if you plan to disable Bypass mode. We published a separate tutorial on how to do that here.
What To Consider
One aspect to be aware of is that the third-party router you plan to use offers both Network Address Translation (NAT) and Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP).
Whenever activating Bridge mode, you’ll lose the DHCP services that are responsible for assigning IP addresses to your devices on your local network.
Additionally, the NAT functionality of the Starlink router will also be lost, which allows multiple devices to share a single public IP address.
Although you’re technically able to replace the DHCP services with a switch, it won’t be sufficient unless you can configure the switch to do NAT/masquerade.
Without this configuration, you won’t have anything in place to share the single CGNAT (Carrier-grade NAT) IP address from Starlink.