Updated: Mar 15, 2022
Starlink is a game changer especially when looking at a rural setting (farm, acreage). We have come a long way since the dial up internet days (no doubt), and with the new Starlink system we took a massive leap forward in overall speeds and reliability. All of our customers from the launch of Starlink have been rural, with varying geography's and landscapes but consistently excellent speeds. Not everyone knows this but Starlink actually approves the purchase of a system to the rural and un-tested areas a lot faster than towns and city's with a more established high speed internet infrastructure (naturally).
Majority of the rural setups we have done needed some sort of customization in order to mount the Dishy in an open and stable area. So we finally have a power house of an ISP (great!), but now the question is, how do we find a good location that will provide year round signals and protection for the expensive equipment? Being a self tracking low orbit satellite system they require a 360 degree field of view in order to keep your internet connected as the low orbit satellites are constantly moving. The Dishy it self is NOT constantly moving, in fact it rarely moves. When initially installed it is supposed to lock on to one band of satellites in the low orbit and as that grouping of satellites slowly moves over the Dishy field of view you have a continuous stream of satellite internet signals being broadcast out, received by Dishy and re-broadcast throughout your home via the provided Starlink router. On the off chance that your system locks on to an entirely different grouping of satellites - is the main reason a 360 degree field of view is required. Minimal down time is the aim, and the more open sky that is available the better your chances of ultra reliable internet.
Check Out This Video on Finding a location.
(Live Starlink Satellite and Coverage Map)
We have talked about some of the alternative mounting options in a previous blog post: https://www.starlinkcommunityforums.com/post/dishy-alternative-mounts
on that previous blog post we didn't get in to as much detail about the locations, which is of vital importance for the aforementioned reliability. So lets set the stage; say we have a 4 bedroom bungalow nestled away somewhere off the beaten path. You moved here to get away from the hustle and bustle and hopefully find some peace and quiet. The house is surrounded by trees and that's the way you like it, but you have a business to run from home which requires video conference calls, document downloads and significant file uploads on any given day. You start to realize very quickly that the average rural ISP is going to fall short for your needs, especially when compared to what you were used to in the city. So you have heard of Elon Musk's internet and decide to give it a try, you place the order wait a few weeks and it shows up at your door... now what?
Although the install instructions seem very self explanatory there is often more than meets the eye with these systems, especially when working in remote areas. Some of the biggest hang ups come from the field of view that was mentioned earlier, and the majority of those obstructions in the field of view (ie: trees) are found outside of the city.
Where to start
Our recommendations come from years of experience in the satellite TV, and rural internet game. 1st step is to find the most open area you can manage, while still having the ability to run the cable in to your residence and feed Wi-Fi throughout the home.
2nd step is to make sure the open area you have selected is safe to get to (ie: snow, rain, ice, etc). We understand that every scenario will be different and not every step can be followed to perfection, but our recommendation (if a roof mount is required) is to try and have the dish accessible from a ladder, as most roof gradients can become dangerous when exposed to the elements.
And the 3rd step (maybe the most important step) is having the proper mount, and mounting supplies to keep your Dishy safe during strong winds, as well as minimizing any chance of future leaks.
Starlink has a plethora of mounts that they sell for both generations of the Starlink Dishy and this allows for those remote locations to have access to high speed internet. https://www.starlink.com/
Starlink has also created a fairly tough and robust dish (1st and now the 2nd generation), being as they are not a "fixed" dish system it is hard to keep them out of the elements (underneath a roof overhang for example). For the price though we hope that the Dishy does last for a good long time before replacement is needed.
That being said, we believe that if you follow the 3 key steps that have been out lined above, you will have a much better chance of making Starlink your long term internet service with minimal down time or interruptions caused by a poor installation.
We hope this has been informative when installing your own Starlink internet. Feel free to reach out to us if you have any questions regarding your system and we would be happy to help. Thanks for reading.