Starlink Bypass Mode for 3rd Party Router (e.g. Pepwave)

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mvweebles

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I arrived back in Ensenada a few days ago and re-activated my Starlink subscription. Wasn't working well - trouble connecting, and if/when it did connect, speeds were awful, especially upload.

Initially, I suspected a bad Ethernet cable connecting the SL Ethernet Adapter to the Pepwave router. Didn't solve the problem. So I reached out to the retailer from whom I purchased (5GStore). Their tech support responded within an hour and suggested placing the Starlink router in bypass mode (decent article describing it HERE, mostly it disables the SL Router's WiFi capabilities but has other features/benefits that may be beneficial to anyone running a 3rd Party Router behind the SL router).

Definitely solved the problem for me. Any thoughts on unintended consequences? Attached is a simple schematic of my system, and the error messages I was receiving.

Thoughts?

Peter
Starlink Configuration with Pepwave Router.jpg

Starlink WAN DNS Failed Screenshots.jpg
 
Is this a good time to ask the benefit of the bypass to an on board router. I ask as all my needs are met from the SL WIFI
 
Is this a good time to ask the benefit of the bypass to an on board router. I ask as all my needs are met from the SL WIFI

If you only want to use Starlink and the provided router has appropriate wifi coverage for your whole boat, stick with it. Using a separate router is mostly for cases where you want to integrate cellular connections, marina wifi, etc. as failover or cases where you want to have multiple wifi APs for better signal through the boat, etc.
 
...... Using a separate router is mostly for cases where you want to integrate cellular connections, marina wifi, etc. as failover or cases where you want to have multiple wifi APs for better signal through the boat, etc.

I agree that all needs can be met via the SL router......as long as you keep the subscription up. If you have multiple IoT devices aboard (Victron, Nav, etc.), having an onboard dedicated router to front-end administration makes life very easy.

Peter
 
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Peter,

You described my use almost exactly, but I use a small TPLink travel router and small ethernet hub, both USB powered. I have no problems running both the Starlink router and TPLink router with no loss in speed. I do it that way so when I shut down the inverter at night when off grid, I can turn the inverter back on from my IPad while laying in bed in the morning.

Tom
 
Is this a good time to ask the benefit of the bypass to an on board router. I ask as all my needs are met from the SL WIFI


Variety of reasons:


If there's value in having a different router downstream of Starlink, leaving the Starlink system in path means you're dealing with double NAT (your PC's IP address gets rewritten at least twice before your packets make it to the open Internet). That sometimes introduces a myriad of problems, and complicates troubleshooting. Most notably, any MTU issues can masquerade as SSL websites not loading completely.


If there's value in extending your Wifi coverage with (at least) one more AP, turning off the Starlink Wifi and putting your whole Wifi coverage into a common/unified system will drastically improve performance. In the world of 2.4GHz, there are only three usable channels that can coexist, so having that unified system makes channel management easier/better.
 
Your peplink router is much better (I use the same one)

I bypass the Starlink router (actually removed the box completely) and use the dish as an input into the Peplink WAN. I use peplink access points (two of them) on my boat for Wi-Fi coverage. Perhaps overkill.

The peplink also has cellular, Wi-Fi and starlink has WAN inputs to chose among.

Since I eliminated the starlink router/Wi-Fi AP completely I power the antenna over Ethernet.(it requires 48v I believe so use a 12v/48v or 24v/48 volt converter which is cheap). This means I don’t need 110 power to the starlink box so it’s all native 12v/48v removing the inefficient starlink 110 to 48 inverter. (The starlink box is sitting in a closet in case I ever have use of it if something breaks. )

Much simpler to administer and more robust, and I believe higher performance. Less power consumption.

The starlink gear is lower quality and I’ve already had to replace their cables that stopped working.
 
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Your peplink router is much better (I use the same one)

I bypass the Starlink router and use it as an input into the Peplink WAN. I use peplink access points (two of them) on my boat for Wi-Fi coverage. Perhaps overkill.

The peplink also has cellular, Wi-Fi and starlink has WAN inputs to chose among.

I eliminate the starlink router/Wi-Fi AP completely actually. Power the antenna over Ethernet. This means I don’t need 110 power to the starlink box so it’s all native 12v/48v. (The starlink box is sitting in a closet in case I ever have use of it if something breaks. )

Much simpler to administer and more robust, and I believe higher performance. Less power consumption.

The starlink gear is lower quality and I’ve already had to replace their cables that stopped working.



Here are detailed instructions on how to ditch the Starlink router and go straight DC.

https://svrenaissance.com/musings-about-starlink/

Highly recommend it. Worked great for me until I upgraded to the flat high performance, which is AC only.
 
Peter,

You described my use almost exactly, but I use a small TPLink travel router and small ethernet hub, both USB powered. I have no problems running both the Starlink router and TPLink router with no loss in speed. I do it that way so when I shut down the inverter at night when off grid, I can turn the inverter back on from my IPad while laying in bed in the morning.

Tom

The Pepwave router is commonly used in first-responder vehicles and is 12VDC so no need for an inverter to run it. However, it is 10x the price of a small travel router.

A friend just bought a hi-end motor home and had Starlink installed. Because its desireable to park an RV in the shade (and thus hobbling a Starlink antenna), and RV parks often have decent WiFi (at least compared to Marinas), I nudged him to have a decent with SIM card back-up capabilities. He didn't want the complexity, but I'm sure that will change after a few road trips.

Here are detailed instructions on how to ditch the Starlink router and go straight DC.

https://svrenaissance.com/musings-about-starlink/

Highly recommend it. Worked great for me until I upgraded to the flat high performance, which is AC only.

Ted/OC Diver did this a while back and posted the same article (I think). Electronics equivilent of open-heart surgery sort of scared me off when I read "This will require .... cutting Starlink cables and crimping your own RJ45 connectors. So it is not for the faint hearted."

Peter
 
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Here are detailed instructions on how to ditch the Starlink router and go straight DC.

https://svrenaissance.com/musings-about-starlink/

Highly recommend it. Worked great for me until I upgraded to the flat high performance, which is AC only.

Interesting. So the new dish requires 110? I would have to rearchitect around that and placement so I haven’t been tempted yet. Have you seen important benefits? I have such a large lithium bank that power really isn’t an issue.
 
For what it’s worth, I’ve been amazed at the power of the Starlink router. My boat is at the end of a finger and I can get WiFi from the Starlink router at the top of the ramp, probably 500’ away.
 
For what it’s worth, I’ve been amazed at the power of the Starlink router. My boat is at the end of a finger and I can get WiFi from the Starlink router at the top of the ramp, probably 500’ away.

Same for us
Does everywhere on our 60fter, even the ER
And have had it work at a pinch on the beach if anchored close in.
 
If you don't want to cut cables, this pair of devices works like a charm:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BYJTHX4P/


https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0BX74T2T5/

You will get power over the stock Starlink Cable and an ethernet connector without the starlink adapter.

SteveD, have you done this. It is 48V, so that power adapter is needed to boost 12v and then 1st link does not include the 2nd link item or power adapter. 3 separate orders for about $200. When I first saw $40 on first link I almost bought, then spotted the 48-57V input. But a good alternative to cutting wires
 
SteveK. Yes, I am using that. I bought an extra-beefy DC-DC converter on AliExpress. So far all is working splendidly. All of this stuff is discussed at great length on the 'Starlink on Boats" Facebook group, which is a very good source.
 
Interesting. So the new dish requires 110? I would have to rearchitect around that and placement so I haven’t been tempted yet. Have you seen important benefits? I have such a large lithium bank that power really isn’t an issue.



Basically zero connectivity interruptions or slowdowns whether at rest or in motion. And it is authorized for in motion use, which we need for remote work. Our old RV dish worked at trawler speeds, but would have occasional dropouts for anything from a few seconds to a few minutes.

I’ve also heard that Starlink is starting to nag people who continue to use the RV dish in motion. I just can’t risk losing my Starlink account for violating their terms of service if it ever comes to it. Would mean the end of remote working from the boat in July and August. So I pay the money and play by the rules.
 
UPDATE - I thought I had the issue solved but I still have an oddball error - gathering obstruction data. This will take another 6-hours (see screenshot).

Starlink tech support has been a mixed bag. Because of the intermittent nature of the issue (and it seems to shift a bunch), I have re-opened the initial trouble ticket three times, and opened a second ticket for the 6-hour obstruction error.

Starlink responded to the 6-hour error perfectly: about 2-hours later, said they ran diagnostics and found there is a problem with either the router or the ethernet adapter and will express ship replacements ASAP.

However.....Starlink never responded to the other three tech support tickets (one was 2-days old) - I figured them out via other resources and closed the ticket with an update for their knowledge base. I did receive a prompt 'thank you' for closing the tickets.

So where does this leave my OP? Well, the original fix - bypass mode - failed, so I did a factory-setting reset. Eventually it came back to life but the 6-hour issue arose. SL seems to be working okay right now, but has been wonky for a couple days.

Bottom line - I no longer have a recommendation. I don't even know what problem I have, but there is something.

Will update when I receive the Router/Adapter.

Peter
 

Attachments

  • Starlink 6 hours obstruction data.jpg
    Starlink 6 hours obstruction data.jpg
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I just ignore the obstruction gathering data as it seems to occur often. Open skies, no change to boat obstructions, 5 minutes should confirm all the same as last time. During this it continues to work as needed.
 
UPDATE - I thought I had the issue solved but I still have an oddball error - gathering obstruction data. This will take another 6-hours (see screenshot).

Starlink tech support has been a mixed bag. Because of the intermittent nature of the issue (and it seems to shift a bunch), I have re-opened the initial trouble ticket three times, and opened a second ticket for the 6-hour obstruction error.

Starlink responded to the 6-hour error perfectly: about 2-hours later, said they ran diagnostics and found there is a problem with either the router or the ethernet adapter and will express ship replacements ASAP.

However.....Starlink never responded to the other three tech support tickets (one was 2-days old) - I figured them out via other resources and closed the ticket with an update for their knowledge base. I did receive a prompt 'thank you' for closing the tickets.

So where does this leave my OP? Well, the original fix - bypass mode - failed, so I did a factory-setting reset. Eventually it came back to life but the 6-hour issue arose. SL seems to be working okay right now, but has been wonky for a couple days.

Bottom line - I no longer have a recommendation. I don't even know what problem I have, but there is something.

Will update when I receive the Router/Adapter.

Peter

It's not you.

Right now I am having connectivity issues with starlink in ensenada.
 
I have a Peplink Router but elected not to use it. I have the Starlink Ethernet adapter so just use that to connect to my other network. I can connect direct to the Starlink wireless or TPLink. The TPLink stays on all the time. I am not squeamish about cutting wires so I used this from Amazon, Tripp Lite Cat6 Cat5e Shielded Junction Box, 110 Style Punch Down (N237-001-SH), Silver, to reduce my cable from 75 ft to about 15.

Tom
 
Variety of reasons:


If there's value in having a different router downstream of Starlink, leaving the Starlink system in path means you're dealing with double NAT (your PC's IP address gets rewritten at least twice before your packets make it to the open Internet). That sometimes introduces a myriad of problems, and complicates troubleshooting. Most notably, any MTU issues can masquerade as SSL websites not loading completely.

If there's value in extending your Wifi coverage with (at least) one more AP, turning off the Starlink Wifi and putting your whole Wifi coverage into a common/unified system will drastically improve performance. In the world of 2.4GHz, there are only three usable channels that can coexist, so having that unified system makes channel management easier/better.

Putting the SL device in Bypass Mode does two things - 1) Turns off WiFi, and 2) Turns it into a simple layer-2 bridge. The first means that there is no issue with running your WiFi on a different router, and the second means there is no danger of double NAT because a layer-2 bridge doesn't do IP. NAT and all other layer-3 functions will happen on the first layer-3 device in the chain - in this case, the OP's other router. The SL device will just be passing frames.

In my case, I live on and work from my boat doing IT Engineering for a company based in the northeast. I am currently using SL, but I don't have anything else behind it so it runs in Router Mode using the on-board WiFi.

The long-term plan is to be moving a lot and live on the hook as much as possible while still being able to work every day - and to be able to work underway if necessary. The plan to accomplish this is to add another internet connection using one of the 4G multi-vendor hotspots - also in bridge mode - and a router/firewall that includes the ability to do SDWAN. That way, I can use the SDWAN to define what traffic uses which outbound connection, load balance both connections, and/or have all traffic failover completely if I find myself in an area where one or the other doesn't work.

Without the ability to put the SL device in Bypass, none of this would be possible.
 
UPDATE - I thought I had the issue solved but I still have an oddball error - gathering obstruction data. This will take another 6-hours (see screenshot).

Peter

Since I've been using it, I've noticed that this seems to happen when satellite coverage isn't there or isn't adequate at that time.

I have nothing to back it up at all as I haven't dug into it - but I believe that it's possible the device interprets the loss of signal as the result of obstruction rather than the lack of adequate coverage.

However, my instances where this has occurred are typically measured in minutes, not hours. The app may *report* that it will take hours to gather obstruction data, but the dish will reconnect regardless.

So perhaps faulty equipment is to blame in your case.
 
Since I've been using it, I've noticed that this seems to happen when satellite coverage isn't there or isn't adequate at that time....However, my instances where this has occurred are typically measured in minutes, not hours.
The App showed the re-configuration did indeed run the full 6-hours, during which time the Internet did connect, albeit at lower speeds and higher latency.

Replacement router/adapter will be shipped today so I should see it next week sometime. I have no idea whether this is a hardware issue (SL's diagnosis), a configuration issue (e.g. bypass mode), or a network/satellite issue as KSander's contribution suggests.

Cudo's to SL for solid response on replacing Router/Adapter.....but a bit disappointed in their response to previous tickets which were largely ignored for a couple days.

That said, encouraged so few users report issues.

Peter
 
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The App showed the re-configuration did indeed run the full 6-hours, during which time the Internet did connect, albeit at lower speeds and higher latency.

Replacement router/adapter will be shipped today so I should see it next week sometime. I have no idea whether this is a hardware issue (SL's diagnosis), a configuration issue (e.g. bypass mode), or a network/satellite issue as KSander's contribution suggests.

Cudo's to SL for solid response on replacing Router/Adapter.....but a bit disappointed in their response to previous tickets which were largely ignored for a couple days.

That said, encouraged so few users report issues.

Peter

Their web/email-based support is NOT top-tier. That's just an indisputable fact. But having top-tier support with phone banks for an internet access product sold virtually worldwide would require an ungodly number of people and likely raise the costs to the end user significantly.

I've had requests answered within hours and others answered within days - it all depends. But regardless of how long it takes, I always received an answer - even if it was an answer I didn't like, LOL

And for all the hell I've put the system through, it still works and gives me decent internet access in places 4G/5G never reaches - so I can't complain too much.
 
I don't know if any of this relates to the issues you are having, but here goes.


1) I have a rectangular SL dish, their RJ45 adapter, and the wifi/power supply/router at home. The router is not in bypass mode, but I don't use it for anything other than providing power. All network traffic goes through the RJ45 adapter to my home router. Periodically, anywhere from once a day to once a week, the RJ45 port will lock up and stop passing data. If I connect to the SL wireless, everything works fine. It's only the RJ45 port that stops passing data. Power cycling the Starlink router/power supply always gets things going again. This has been happening since I installed the RJ45 adapter. SL sent me a new adapter, to no avail. It's a software bug if I've even encountered one, and I doubt anyone is working on fixing it. I put my system on a light timer so it power cycles every night. That recovers it automatically if I'm away.


2) I assume that when the SL device does a software update, it reboots afterwards. I wonder if that triggers a new obstruction evaluation process, and if that's what you are seeing?
 
I don't know if any of this relates to the issues you are having, but here goes.


1) I have a rectangular SL dish, their RJ45 adapter, and the wifi/power supply/router at home. The router is not in bypass mode, but I don't use it for anything other than providing power. All network traffic goes through the RJ45 adapter to my home router. Periodically, anywhere from once a day to once a week, the RJ45 port will lock up and stop passing data. If I connect to the SL wireless, everything works fine. It's only the RJ45 port that stops passing data. Power cycling the Starlink router/power supply always gets things going again. This has been happening since I installed the RJ45 adapter. SL sent me a new adapter, to no avail. It's a software bug if I've even encountered one, and I doubt anyone is working on fixing it. I put my system on a light timer so it power cycles every night. That recovers it automatically if I'm away.


2) I assume that when the SL device does a software update, it reboots afterwards. I wonder if that triggers a new obstruction evaluation process, and if that's what you are seeing?

TT - #1 sounds like how I have my system configured. Worked find when I initiallysetup several months ago, but got wonky when I un-paused service. Reboot didn't always help, and going direct via SL router was usually successful, but not always.

The 6-hour obstruction evaluation process seems to be what prompted Tech Support to send new hardware.

Setting-up a hard re-boot periodically sounds like a good idea.

QUESTION: given all your traffic runs via your home router, why not use Bypass Mode?

Peter
 
QUESTION: given all your traffic runs via your home router, why not use Bypass Mode?

Peter


I don't think bypass mode existed when I added the RJ45 adapter, or I never noticed it. I'd like to try it, especially if it reduces power consumption. All I need the SL router to do it provide power to the dish. When I put that system together, the only way to not have the router on all the time was to hack up cables and a 3rd party POE injector, and I never got around to doing that.
 
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I don't think bypass mode existed when I added the RJ45 adapter, or I never noticed it. I'd like to try it, especially if it reduces power consumption. All I need the SL router to do it provide power to the dish. When I put that system together, the only way to not have the router on all the time was to hack up cables and a 3rd party POE injector, and I never got around to doing that.
Pretty straightforward. In App, go to "Settings." Scroll down to "Bypass Mode." Will give a warning that once you do it, you cannot undo it without a hard reset, which will require renaming the generic network and password, which I did without affecting names on connected devices.

Only downside of Bypass Mode I can see is the SL wifi disappears so if for some reason my main router is out, I'd need to reset SL router which requires physical intervention - cannot be done remotely (must powe-cycle the SL router 6+ times in rapid succession).

Peter
 
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