Starlink obstructions have been the most common problem most Starlink users face.
Starlink dishes have a wide field of view, so when obstacles stand in their way, the connection to the satellites can be interrupted.
It could be the reason your Starlink never attains the expected speed or why you experience frequent outages.
Your Starlink app will inform you about the apparent obstruction.
We will show you some of the data you can get from the app and how to deal with Starlink obstruction issues.
Table of Contents
- How to Check Starlink Obstruction
- Starlink Obstruction Percentage
- What are the Obstructions to Look For?
- How to Properly Mount Your Starlink Dish to Avoid Obstructions
- Will Starlink Work in an Obstructed Area?
- Which Direction Should My Starlink Dish Face?
- Final Thought
How to Check Starlink Obstruction
Starlink offers a mobile app that has an obstruction tool.
You can download the app from the apple store or Google play store and use the obstruction feature to check for potential issues.
The tool uses your phone camera to scan for potential issues. Simply put your phone camera on, and move it around as it scans the entire sky. Follow the on-screen guide.
Once you finish scanning, the app will calculate the obstruction percentage that you should expect if you install your dish in that space.
With this information, you can install your dish while facing the direction with a clear view of the sky.
When you power on your Starlink after installation, let it run for 12 hours for the app to collect data about the obstruction.
When you open the app after that, the menu will display a graphical readout of the obstruction in relation to the dish.
The app can also help you figure out the extent of interruptions you are likely to experience due to the obstructions.
Rectangular Starlink dish on the floor.
Starlink Obstruction Percentage
As mentioned, the obstruction checker tool of the Starlink app will give you the obstruction percentage. Here is how your Starlink will work with certain percentages:
- 0% – No obstructions and therefore don’t expect any outages.
- 1-5% – There are few obstructions and therefore, you will experience some sort of periodic outages. You will also have issues with video calls and gaming, but most internet activities can just work fine.
- 6-10% – The real issues start at this level. If your Starlink app indicates an obstruction percentage beyond 5%, expect frequent outages that last several seconds. Meaning in addition to gaming and video calls that will be problematic, even TV streaming will start to buffer.
- 11% and above – The issues get more serious if the obstruction percentage goes beyond 10%. You will have problems streaming TV, making video calls, gaming, and even slow-speed downloading web pages.
What are the Obstructions to Look For?
The app can do all the work of mapping out obstructions in the way of your Starlink dish.
However, sometimes you can avoid the obstruction without involving the app.
You simply need a good understanding of what counts as an obstruction.
Trees are the most common obstacle many Starlink users battle, especially the foliages and canopies.
Other solid and opaque objects such as buildings and hills also pose a threat to signal reception.
Nearby antennas and dishes can also obstruct the view of your Starlink dish. Street lamps, fences, palisades, and chimneys should not be assumed either.
Once you understand what can interfere with your Starlink signal, you can steer clear of such objects while installing your dish.
How to Properly Mount Your Starlink Dish to Avoid Obstructions
You need to mount your dish for better signal reception. For that reason, properly mounting your dish goes beyond just avoiding obstructions.
You can’t just mount the dish anywhere without giving it a thought.
If the temporary mount that comes with the Starlink is not adequate, you can improvise a mounting method that can work in your area.
Ideally, you should mount the dish further away from the obstructions or higher than the obstruction.
J-mount on elevated surfaces such as poles, porch eaves, and chimneys are some of the options that will work for you in such areas.
For Starlink RVs, volcano mount and leader mount will help you avoid obstructions.
Satellite dish on the roof of a camper with a clear view of the sky.
Will Starlink Work in an Obstructed Area?
Starlink will work even in an obstructed area. However, this depends on the extent of the obstruction and your online activity.
For example, more demanding internet activities such as video calls and gaming require a stronger connection.
Such activities may not be possible in obstructed areas.
For streaming movies and TV shows, obstructions can be less of an issue.
Streaming a TV show creates a buffer to smooth out the experience and this makes obstruction less an issue.
Which Direction Should My Starlink Dish Face?
The direction your dish should face depends on where you live.
However, there are reports that aligning your Starlink dish towards the north offers a more stable connection.
There must be a clear view of the sky. Incline it at approximately 45 degrees or let the entire dish face the sky.
The Starlink app will help you in aligning the dish.
Will Starlink Work with 3% Obstruction?
Starlink should still work fine with 3% obstruction. You will be able to download, stream TV shows, browse and send emails.
However, gaming, and video calls can be problematic.
How Far Away from Starlink Obstruction?
Your Sarlink dish should be above or away from obstructions. You need to be 2.5x obstruction height to the North, 1.5x height to the East or west, and 0.5x to the South.
How Accurate is the Starlink Obstruction App?
The check for obstruction feature on the Starlink app is not 100% accurate.
However, the Starlink obstruction calculator still does a great job of detecting the obstructions in the way of your Starlink dish.
Your Starlink dish should have a 100% view of the sky.
Obstructions will mess up your Starlink internet connection. You are likely to experience frequent outages in areas with obstructions.
However, Starlink still works well in minor obstructions, especially where the app indicates below 5%.
You will be able to stream shows, send emails, and browse the internet with no issue.
Make use of the Starlink app to check for obstruction so that you mount the dish where it can receive maximum signal.