Updated: Mar 15, 2022
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Your home is surrounded by tall trees, yet 300ft away is an open field where you can place Dishy. Can and should you run a cable to the field for the best line of sight?
This is a question we've heard a lot out there, installing internet over the years it is certainly a situation we've run into. There is no cookie cutter answer for everybody's problems but there is a list of possible solutions to try. If you can, it is always best practice to use Starlinks supplied parts, which unfortunately limits you to 100ft range from the dishy to the power pack. If you're looking to extend this range a few options we have tested and have worked, but are pushing the limits and possibly compromising the life expectancy of the equipment.
If you can't find a clearing within the 100ft range of the cable then you can look at either extending the cable or setting up point to point links if you have power. Running an extended cable will be the only option for some, so we tested out to see how far we could go with an extension. Let's break down how we completed our testing and get the results. First up is cabling and the type that will work best.
If you're going to go this route you need to consider a few
things first. The kind of cable to use, Cat5E and Cat6A are both usable but we would always recommend getting the best possible as the internet is a fickle beast and you will be chasing down problems from poor equipment for a long time to come. Use the best and don't cheap out, it may only bring you grief. Check out this link to learn more on cabling https://cablesys.com/updates/differences-between-cat5-cat6-cables/ The cable must be rated for outside burial use, don't use indoor cable, as it will work well at first but will deteriorate quickly in the weather, making replacement needed every few years if not yearly. Bury the cable! People will often hang cabling incorrectly, there is a lot of weight pulling down on long extended runs and this is amplified by frost build up or critters running on it. The stress stretches the cable and will cause internal breakage, Not to mention branches and snow that will cut the cable when falling. Buried in the ground you have no worries of these impediments, you only have to worry about larger weights crushing the cable in the ground which probably won't happen as we're already referring to being surrounded by trees earlier. If you do need to cross a roadway then make sure the cable is in a conduit to protect it from getting crushed, conduit can be found at most local hardware stores. If you're really worried about cable being damaged in the ground then you could run conduit for the whole distance, this is a great idea and if something does go wrong with the cabling you can easily replace it by pulling a new run through the conduit instead of digging up the ground.
What length can you extend too? We have tested out at a 500ft total length and had nothing, 400ft nothing, 300ft and we have signal and the system seems to be working just fine. We did this using a surge protector that extended the existing 100ft Starlink cable into the surge protector and out the other port another 200ft to the power pack in the house. For more information on the surge arrestor check out this link https://www.l-com.com/surge-protector The overall length was just over 300ft and the system has been working well, but time will be the test as the power pack(Brick) is working harder to push the POE for the dish down 300 plus feet of cable compared to the factory 100.
300ft is a long distance that can possibly help get you Starlink services, but first consider other avenues like tree trimming foliage or tower mounting, as you might be able to stay within the factory settings of the Starlink system and prevent premature wear. If this is the only option then this will work, and will work well if done properly. Make sure that the power pack has some cooling ability, prop it up and if possible have a fan pushing air on it. It's extra work for the power pack to push through the extension, creating more heat to be carried off. If you can't get a fan make sure it has space and proper airflow getting around it. VERY IMPORTANT as this could affect the life of the system. If you can get away with the provided cable length then I would advise to do this when possible. Adding cables will create areas that will need maintenance over time making troubleshooting a little bit more tricky. That being said it can be extremely useful under certain circumstances. We ran the Starlink system at 300Ft with no problem for a couple months. Using a 200 Ft Cat6E Cable through a surge protector that connects the 100ft Dishy cable making for a total of 300ft. We definitely noticed the heat emanating from the power pack was much greater. Our one challenge was the red light came on the router, but after a few resets it came back on. This is the first time it had more difficultly coming back on. Typically takes 10 mins this one took an hour before it came back online. There was little deviation in speed tests, (as we have tested in the past Starlink hardwired always performs better).
With some of are installations the houses have been pre-wired with Cat5/6 cabling, in order to utilize this cabling and save drilling holes through walls we simply set-up a surge arrestor and connected the Starlink system up to the house cabling via the surge arrestor. This came in really handy a few times as the homes were completely finished and would've been very difficult to get the router into the home without cutting out drywall. The downside to all of this is that your putting more connections inline with the system, the more connections the more spots for failure especially if the work is rushed and hacked together. Better to take your time and do it as best you can to help your internet stay online with the least amount of issues. If you do have problems than Starlink will not be able to diagnose problems with your installed equipment, that will be on you. So make sure connections are done well and kept dry and easily accessible.
Conclusion: The Starlink has worked well for a couple months now with a 300ft total extension. There was one moment where the system came up with a red light and took a few reboots to come back online. This could've been caused by the extension but it is also a more common problem found in systems without any extensions. The biggest concern was the heat coming from the transformer, very hot to the touch. It runs warm when working normally but you can feel the difference in heat so make sure it has room to breath for cooling. Better yet, mount a fan for airflow across the device. I would definitely try everything possible to use only Starlinks existing equipment and only use this as a plan b scenario. There are other options for extending Starlinks capabilities, like Ubiquiti links that can extend the signal for kilometers but those are articles for another day. If your enjoying these blogs then please subscribe to our site.