Starlink has proven to be a game changer in many ways, faster speeds, self aligning, service coverage area (just to mention a few). One of the other gamechangers that is being left out amongst all the hype is the fact that this is a complete self install system, a DIY dream for all the independent and budget minded people. The instruction sheet from the Starlink system shows just how far they've gone to make the system as user friendly as possible for set-up and activation (our first set-up took 9 mins) so that those who are less technologically inclined should be able to do it by themselves...well hopefully. This only seems like a natural progression for Starlink as the destination for the majority of their system is to rural remote internet users, who can find themselves hundreds of miles from civilization in some cases. Making it difficult and expensive to find a contractor for the installation, let alone for a new technology.
Making The Decision - Self-installation Pros And Cons
Just because it is a self install kit doesn't mean that you should?
Starlink is easy to set-up, we spent hours of training for some LTE, Satellite and broadband internet providers just to learn the specifics of their equipment. In all my years I have never seen a set-up that was as easy as Starlink, just look at the instructions, the simplicity is almost childish but at the same time absolutely brilliant. With a growing aftermarket of installation parts as well as Starlink's own offerings and all the helpful online content, I have to say that in the world of ISP equipment installation, Starlink is leading the way with a very progressive self install kit that maybe even a toddler could do, after coloring the instructions first..
The downside to having a self installation that it is so easy is that you may miss small details or even large ones that a good professional would've corrected, giving you a better network operation. We all know the benefit of getting an experienced person helping, it makes a difference. An experienced and trained professional should be able to make the most of your WIFI network and connectivity and be able to do it safely, plus you get to know your local Tech who can help you out in many different ways...but there is a cost.
Your local authorized Techs should be able to give you a quote, It is better to get the price ahead of time then to be surprised onsite. Once you have a dollar amount you can now decide intelligently which way to go.
Installing it yourself can save you money! The bottom line these days for many is saving money where they can and when they can. Starlink is no small bill, this perhaps is the strongest argument for many to DIY. The cost can be hundreds to even thousands of dollars in savings, and with all the online help and tutorials it is definitely in the realm of even a casual learner to set-up a decent network. All this being said there is still a value in having a pro come to your house to set things up, especially in a high demand network or if you're working from home and need to have all the bases covered for the best connection possible.
I have lost count of how many service calls that we have done throughout the years where the problem was the installation itself and not the equipment, often leading to a poor internet experience for the client. If you lack knowledge you'll run the risk of doing something poorly causing your system to perform poorly. Then in order to get it fixed your paying someone to come out for help, now your paying anyway, might as well have done it from the start and saved time. If you have any doubt in your skills, or you're just going to do a hap hazard job it will only cost you more in the end. We all know our limits and what we're comfortable doing, if installing a Starlink system in a home is just not something you can do then getting a pro is best.
"Good things come to those who wait" You can take your time and do it right, You may not be a professional but you're also not in a rush (Depending on your situation). You can go though articles and collect information to help you with your install. There is a vast library of videos that you can now watch, ironically because you have Starlink! Through the many thousands of installs I've seen while out working, some of the best ones were done by clients themselves, they had a thirst to learn and took the time to figure out how to best network their home.
Professionals will do your installation up to local regulation standards and codes. Having to redo a poor or failed installation often will take more time than if it had been installed right the first time around. Doing the installation correctly doesn't just include making it look pretty either, it is about performance, function and finesse. Having the right tools, know how, and patience to get the job done is just not a skill set that everyone has. Mounting structures to your home and on a roof, digging in the ground and climbing towers is very dangerous and should always be done as safe as possible and according to local laws and regulations, your local contractor will save you the homework if you to choose to use them.
So the option is there for some to have a pro come in to do the install, the question is will it be worth it? This is a loaded question that will vary with everybody's unique situation. Never mind having the skill set, you might not have the time(the kids are waiting)or maybe you just don't have it in you to be scaling a roof(if needed). Whatever your situation there is no absolute answer for everybody, a little education and some common sense should help you to make the best decision possible, whether doing the install yourself, or hiring somebody else. -The car mechanic buddy- We all have friends who know enough to be dangerous, as I like to say. You know the one that worked at a lube shop during their teenage years, figuring out enough about cars that they come in swinging wrenches only to have the vehicle towed days later to a reputable repair shop. Don't get me wrong I love having a few buddies come over, drink a few beers all while checking a few things off the list. Extra hands are great for Installing a Starlink system, if you happen to need someone to help fish a line then your buddies can be perfect, but they are probably not wireless technicians(unless your lucky enough)so their help will be limited. I would recommend laying out a concrete plan of execution to help get the job done better than just trying to make it up as you go. Their rate will be cheap but your overall install might be too. YouTube Videos and online help are abundant and growing, having knowledge might lead you in the right direction giving you the confidence and help needed to get the job done. This is definitely an avenue you can choose to go down, but lets take a look at what a professional might offer.
Hiring a professional will hopefully guarantee that all bases are covered when it comes to the installation. There are many things to consider, safety being paramount for all, no internet, no matter how good, is worth getting a major injury from. Scaling roofs and climbing through attics takes professional gear to help ensure it is done safely. Some older homes will have asbestos in them, making the risk element even further if not handled correctly. A trained eye will figure out quickly what will be most effective to hit the goal with the least amount of impact, which might include customizing some of the system, like adding extenders or boosters to help give complete coverage of your home. Some houses will be made of dense RF limiting materials that will require a much more tactical approach. Knowing and identifying these trouble spots are what any professional worth there weight will be able to do. Something as silly as drilling through a floor could lead to a major water leak or worse yet an electrical fire...knowing what your options are and identifying problem situations are what a trained eye should bring to the table.
Not all professionals are the same, I definitely recommend an experienced tech that has a proven record. The wireless installation industry has predominantly been run by piece work, causing many installers to cut corners to save time and make money. So be picky and ask for a quote and references before going ahead with the work so there is no surprises at the end, a professional should have no problem doing this for you. Once you have a quote you can make a judgment on the true worth of the cost, don't forget that Starlink's lack of live (talking on the phone) technicians might have you scrambling to find help, building a bridge with a local tech might be another reason to use a professional, after all there isn't going to be a Starlink tech answering a phone for you let alone coming to your door anytime soon.
The Starlink system comes with everything you need to get up and running, the router is decent enough that it should suffice in most cases, however there are some large homes and detached shops/garages that would be nice to have internet coverage in. Adding to your Starlink is definitely possible, a lot of the equipment that we've been using for years is compatible, meaning that your options are only limited by your budget and common sense. A pro will help you to make the best decisions when it comes to this need, networking can be difficult and tedious at times, a pro will be able to help get you through some issues with ease and at the very least give you answers and reasons as to why things might be the way they are. Where you might spend days trying to figure out what is going on with your system an experienced tech might have it done in hours maybe even minutes.
When it comes time to mount Dishy your options will be limited by the equipment you have on hand, The Starlink comes with everything your need to get up and running not everything you need for installation, there is a list of items that you can purchase from Starlink to help as well if you think ahead, as well as a plethora of aftermarket items some of which a contractor may have on their truck. If you're mounting Dishy up on your roof, you're creating a possible leakage spot if not done properly, sealing and placement are critical. I've seen Dishes installed right in water raceways, causing a much higher chance of leakage and rot. With Gen 2 systems it's further complicated by Starlinks proprietary 75Ft cable, this limited reach might mean having to take the quickest route possible to get the router in the best possible place for distributing signals equally throughout most of your home. If you have a smaller home then the router placement will be easy, larger 3000sqft homes plus might find the Starlink router just can't reach certain sections creating dead zones. This might be tolerable for some, but others will want to find a solution.
Next to the Dishy placement, the router is the most important installation step, bad router location will lead to a myriad of frustrating issues. Every time I see a speed-test with someone disappointed my first instinct is to go to the router, router failure and poor placement can mimic each others problems, making it hard to figure out. Having the best signal possible and knowing what bandwidth you're on, testing with multiple devices.(Devices fail too) to help diagnose your problem can more times then not help figure out why someone might be experiencing poor signals. Just understanding how a speed test works might even help. I'll give you a quick example, Starlinks speed test in the app has 3 circles, Green Circle(Internet speed to device) Blue Circle (Internet speed to your home) White Circle (Total through-put of your device to router). The Blue Circle test in the Starlink app is completely unaffected by other devices on the network, giving you your truest speed. Meanwhile using Speedtest.net or fast.com both good speed test platforms, but they are only equivalent to the Green Circle of the Starlink app and are also extremely affected by other loads(devices running) on the network, as a test to see this try running a speed test with a single device first and then try running two at the same time and watch how scrambled your signals get. the only way to prevent this is to kick everybody off the network, then you might get closer to true results, but router connection will still play a factor here. Once these speed tests were figured out by the general public it created a large swell of service calls that should've never been made if the system was fully understood. Professionals will have the tools necessary to figure out just what is going on and offer solutions for your problems, if not at least answers as to why. Using professional RF analyzers to help pinpoint problem areas and suspect bandwidth crossover, but now we're getting techy, but hey this is the internet we are talking about.
Running cable line is usually the most laborious part of the installation. scaling ladders, tucking cable around seams behind facia and siding, drilling holes, installing wall plates and sealing it all off takes time, a skilled tech will make it look easy but it is something that took time to learn all the ins and outs of, trust me I've been there, I've definitely made my fair share of mistakes along my career, some things that can be avoided and will be very costly to learn on your first install. There is a possibility that the cable can be damaged in this process, even slight cuts/tears in the jacket can lead to water building up inside the line, slowly making its way down to the router causing premature failure. The more difficult part here is that typically problems like these don't show up right away, your internet will be fine for awhile, maybe even years under some circumstances, but eventually it hits and starts with little nuisances that might last months before complete system failure. Respect the cable, don't pull on it dramatically, always be slow and gentle watching for kinking and using a second set of eyes if your pulling through a wall, and of course covering all connections to prevent debris from getting in them.
Installation Complete. If you are able to manage these steps with efficiency on your own then more power to you. As an installer of many different technologies myself I understand the technicalities of some systems. As I said earlier in this post Starlink makes it rather easy for a basic setup, usually having you up and running in a very short time. When custom installs are wanted or required some professional help can be a huge time saver. The main point I am trying to get across is that when help is needed a trusted local installer can be a big asset. If you don't have access to one that is why we (All Media Services) are here, and that is the driving force behind our creation of StarlinkCommunityForums. We want to do our best to improve your Starlink experience, not because we get paid by them (because we don't), but merely because we believe in the product and believe in helping others connect on more than one level.