Starlink has revolutionized the way people in rural and disconnected areas access the internet. While it’s extremely easy to use, there are still some hacks that even power users aren’t necessarily aware of.
In this article, I will highlight seven tips that will improve your user experience and make you avoid common pitfalls.
Tip #1: Use Paper To Insert The Cable
The Starlink cable is notorious for being a little resistant. Many users have reported that the cable doesn’t let itself be fully inserted.
This can potentially cause network outages and other malfunctions. To make matters worse, the cable already comes plugged into the dishy, which makes many people not notice the issue to begin with.
Luckily, there’s an easy fix to get the cable fully plugged in by using a paper clip. I detailed the process in a separate article, which you can find here.
For those of you who don’t want to switch articles, here’s a quick breakdown: first, fold a piece of paper and cut out a lengthy strip right where the page breaks.
You then place the piece of paper underneath the cable as it is gently pushed into the designated slot.
Once the cable is fully plugged in, simply pull the piece of paper out. And one last important note: never plug or unplug any cable with the power on. Wearing protective gear is thus recommended.
Tip #2: Limit Data-Heavy Activities
In April 2023, Starlink introduced a 1 TB soft limit via its Fair Use Policy. Once users exceed the threshold, they will be deprioritized and thus likely experience slower speeds.
However, the cap is only applicable to those who are subscribed to Priority (Business) and Mobile Priority. Subscribers of Residential will continue to experience Standard level data.
Plus, keep in mind that the level of performance degradation is dependent on how busy the cell is, namely how many requests are being made by other users.
Nonetheless, to avoid exceeding the cap, it is advised to conduct all of your data-heavy activities outside of this timeframe.
Also, where possible, try to minimize the quality of the content you consume. For example, do not select YouTube videos to be played at 4K. The same applies to streaming on Netflix, Disney, and other platforms.
If you’re cognizant of your data consumption, then it should be fairly easy to stay below the 1 TB threshold.
And those who would like to continue experiencing prioritized speeds can do so by paying $0.50 for every additional GB ($2/GB for Mobile Priority).
Tip #3: Don’t Contact Support Multiple Times
Unfortunately, it may sometimes take days or even weeks for Starlink’s support staff to get back to you. This may be particularly pitiful if your system malfunctions and you don’t have any other viable alternatives.
Although it’s not been confirmed, rumor has it that contacting Starlink’s customer support multiple times will simply reset you back to the last spot.
This is a common mechanism among customer service operations as each unanswered message is treated as a new support request, thus resetting your positioning.
As such, your best bet is to remain patient – despite how frustrating it may be. Keep in mind that Starlink and SpaceX, given their exceptional track record, will eventually improve their CS quality as new hires are consistently made.
Tip #4: If Possible, Keep A Backup
This leads me to the next hack, which is to keep a backup if it’s available and if you can afford it. Contingency planning is essential, especially if your work is conducted solely online.
My personal recommendation is to purchase an unlimited cellular connection whenever possible. Bandwidth may be low but should in most cases be sufficient to get you online.
Furthermore, this will allow you to report a possible Starlink outage and not force you to drive miles upon miles to connect to the internet.
Tip #5: Don’t Leave Your Cable On The Ground
Whether you’re using Starlink at home or while living in an RV, try to place your dishy at an elevated level from the ground.
Users have reported incurring all kinds of damage to the cable, ranging from lawnmower accidents all the way to wild animals chewing on them.
Those who reside in a single location should probably mount their dishy onto a wall or roof, which should simultaneously minimize obstructions.
Plus, Starlink’s legs are quite frail, so a storm or even stronger winds could cause some irreparable damage to the dishy.
And if you travel in an RV, then just place the dishy on top of the vehicle. Alternatively, you could purchase a cord protector like this one.
Tip #6: Don’t Rush Things, Though
Despite mounting being the advised option, you should not rush the installation. Alternate between different spots to find the best possible spot for your dishy first.
Conduct all the necessary assessments and measurements before purchasing the not-so-cheap mounts Starlink sells.
Your roof should only be a viable option if you cannot find a location in which obstructions are pretty much non-existent.
Also, keep in mind that Starlink will point north in the northern hemisphere and south in the southern, which is differing from most other satellite dish orientations.
That patience should also extend to ground installations, though. If you receive a Disconnected error after setting everything up, then wait for another 20 to 30 minutes.
It normally takes the system a while until it properly connects to the satellites and ground stations. Additionally, don’t reboot the router or move it during this time span, as you’ll lose your obstruction data.
Lastly, seek help if your installation is more complex, for example mounting dishy to a large pole. We keep a directory of professional Starlink installers for that matter, which you can check out here.
Tip #7: Ask Support For A Discount
If you recently got your hands on a new Starlink kit, then there might be some good news. It seems that Starlink is issuing refunds for those who reside in countries that introduced discounts.
If you purchased a kit weeks before said discount was introduced, like in the UK pictured above, then you might be eligible to be credited the discounted sum.
To claim said discount, get in touch with Starlink’s customer support team. They will take care of the rest.