Best Aftermarket Wifi Routers For Starlink

The Wifi router included with every Starlink kit works fine for most people. However, if you want better performance, more features, and expanded coverage, an aftermarket router is a good upgrade to consider. 3rd party routers unlock more potential for your Starlink system. You can gain access to parental controls, device management, and port forwarding, for example.

In this guide, I will explain the advantages of using an aftermarket router. I will go over what makes certain routers stand out, and what features are important. Finally, I’ll recommend a few of the best Wifi routers to use with Starlink.

Advantages of aftermarket Wifi routers

You’ve already paid hundreds of dollars to get Starlink, why would you want to spend more money, especially when the kit already includes a router? For most people, it isn’t necessary to upgrade. But for gamers, people that work from home, and other power users, upgrading to a better router can unlock advanced networking features and higher performance. Here are some advantages that aftermarket routers can give you:

  • Higher performance – Today’s best Wifi routers come with Wifi 6 technology, gigabit ethernet ports, and other features that the Starlink router doesn’t provide. These features can enable faster Wifi speed, greater range, and more reliability.
  • Better mesh speed – Starlink sells their own mesh system to expand Wifi coverage, but it is only dual-band, compared to the latest tri-band technology. An aftermarket router can provide faster mesh speed and seamless coverage.
  • More security features – Most aftermarket routers come with a comprehensive administration portal that allows you to set up advanced security features, port forwarding, VPN’s, etc.
  • Advanced networking – With an aftermarket router, you have access to more advanced networking features, compared to the minimal customization available on the Starlink router.

How to use an aftermarket router with Starlink

One thing that confuses people about using another router with Starlink is the fact that the Wifi router and dish power supply are contained in the same unit. How are you supposed to upgrade to an aftermarket router and keep the Starlink router to power the dish?

Step 1 – Purchase the Starlink Ethernet Adapter

If you’re looking at your Starlink router, trying to plug in a device, you may be wondering, where is the Starlink router Ethernet port!? Before you can use an aftermarket router with Starlink, you will need a way to plug it in.

The Starlink router doesn’t have an Ethernet port. To get one, you will need to purchase the Starlink Ethernet Adapter from the Starlink shop.

Step 2 – Plug in the aftermarket router

Use an Ethernet cable (included with most routers) to plug the WAN/Internet port of the aftermarket router into the Starlink Ethernet Adapter. This connection allows the aftermarket Wifi router to access to the internet.

Go through the setup process according to the manufacturer instructions for your router model. Once finished, be sure you have internet connectivity through your aftermarket router (via Wifi and/or the router LAN ports) before continuing on to the next step.

Step 3 – Turn on bypass mode in the Starlink app

When you turn on bypass mode in the Starlink app, you turn off the Wifi and routing functions of the Starlink router, allowing the aftermarket router to take over everything.

To turn on bypass mode, open the Starlink app. Tap on Settings. With Router highlighted, scroll down and tap Bypass Mode. Slide the toggle to the right. Tap OK to confirm the change to bypass mode. You will have to perform a factory reset on the Starlink router to turn off bypass mode.

That’s it! You’ll still have access to the Starlink statistics and settings through the app or web interface. The stats are generated from the dish itself, so you don’t need to be using the Starlink router to do things like stow, pre-heat, etc.

For more detail on bypassing the Starlink router, check out our full guide on how to enable bypass mode.

Note: This article may contain affiliate links for the products mentioned

Recommended Wifi routers for Starlink

If you’re convinced that upgrading the Wifi router is worth it, I have compiled a list of the best routers for Starlink users. For simplicity, I’ve ranked the routers in the order of best, great, and good.

Generally, the higher cost models bring the best performance and features, so pick the features you need in a router to avoid spending too much. Any of the options below are better than the included Starlink router in terms of performance and features.

Best: ASUS ROG Rapture WiFi 6 Gaming Router

The best router for Starlink is the ASUS ROG Rapture WiFi 6 Gaming Router. If you need the highest Wifi speeds for gaming, large file transfers, etc., this is the router for you. The ROG Rapture has all the latest Wifi technologies you would expect. Wifi 6, 802.11ax, 802.11ac support, and tri-band radios.

Use ASUS AiMesh to create a seamless mesh network. Mix and match compatible ASUS routers to expand Wifi coverage throughout your home if necessary. You might not even need to, with this single Wifi router featuring massive antennas and 15 channels on the 5ghz band.

You can also configure a VPN to run right on this router, which can protect your entire home network. That isn’t a feature that is very common in routers, so if you want to run a VPN on Starlink, this is the one for you.

What I like about the ASUS ROG Rapture for Starlink users:

  • Highest performance available for Wifi users (thanks to Wifi 6, tri-band radio)
  • AiMesh to create seamless mesh networks
  • Advanced security and networking features from the ASUS management software
  • ASUS ROG is a gamer/power user focused product line

What I don’t like:

  • Most expensive option on the list
  • “Gamer” look won’t fit into many spaces

Great: NETGEAR Nighthawk 6-Stream AX5400 WiFi 6 Router

If you want better performance compared to the Starlink router, but don’t need the top-of-the-line features, my recommendation would be the NETGEAR Nighthawk 6-Stream AX5400 WiFi 6 Router. Unlike with the default Starlink router, with the Nighthawk you get Wifi 6 technology, enabling faster speeds are more reliability. You also get a gigabit Ethernet port, and Wifi antenna’s that can cover up to 2,500 sq. ft.

My favorite features on the Nighthawk are the NETGEAR Armor security software and the advanced parental controls. Compared with the Starlink router, you can configure your Wifi network to be secure, and also safe for kids who may be using it.

What I like about the NETGEAR Nighthawk for Starlink users:

  • Wifi 6 technology for speeds up to 4.5 times faster than Wifi 5
  • NETGEAR Armor security software
  • NETGEAR Smart Parental Controls software
  • Affordable, high performance router

What I don’t like:

  • Dual-band radio, not tri-band
  • 25 device limit

Good: TP-Link Archer AX10 WiFi 6 Router

The TP-Link Archer AX10 WiFi 6 Router is the most affordable aftermarket router on our recommendation list, but it doesn’t mean it’s not a great upgrade compared to the Starlink router. For under $100, this is hard to beat. You get the benefit of Wifi 6 technology, for speeds nearly 5x higher than the Starlink router’s Wifi 5 technology. You also get the customization that an aftermarket router provides through the TP-Link management software.

The unique Tether app allows you to manage your Wifi router from your phone, or you can use the traditional web interface. The AX10 supports the newest 802.11ax standard, and is backwards compatible for older devices as well.

What I like about the TP-Link AX10 for Starlink users:

  • Faster Wifi speeds vs the Starlink router thanks to Wifi 6 support
  • Tether app to manage your Wifi network and router
  • Advanced security and networking features
  • Budget friendly

What I don’t like:

  • Won’t cover as much area as the higher-end options
  • Dual-band radio instead of tri-band

Final thoughts

An aftermarket Wifi router is a great upgrade to make for Starlink customers. The default router that comes in the Starlink hardware kit is average, but doesn’t support the fastest Wifi technology. It also doesn’t provide much in the way of customization or configuration.

It’s easy to use an aftermarket router with Starlink by purchasing the Starlink Ethernet Adapter, and then turning on bypass mode. Any of the product recommendations above would be a great choice. Are you using any of these routers, or do you recommend something different? Let us know in the comments!

Subscribe Now

The latest Starlink news, reviews, tutorials, and much more!

81 thoughts on “Best Aftermarket Wifi Routers For Starlink”

  1. HI Noah, first of all thanks for your very understandable website information. Especially for a nitwit like me, it gave just that little push in daring to buy the starlink system. (Gen 2) . Since I live in an absolute white spot of internet or phone coverage, it does work quite fine.
    Yet, My house is old, with rather thick stone walls (60cm walls). And I need to bring internet access to some adjacent buildings. So, I already bought the ethernet adapter. But I now need to buy the routers/accesspoints, to make connections in the other buildings. My questions are following;
    1. Which type of FTP or UTP cable is best, or significantly good enough, to bring to the other spots
    2. Is it wise to have a fast router as main router to connect the other routers as accesspoints to. And, I expect that the speed of all of the accesspoints is defining for the internetspeed.
    3. One of the adjacent buildings of this house is also used as holidayhouse, and will then also house kids. With their use of internet and streaming etcetera, might be wise not to choose for the most economic router then. Yet, I’m not in to gaming, nor want to facilitate that especially. So it doesn’t need to be top of the bill.
    So I might just buy the economic ones I guess.

    Thanks from the edge of nowhere in Galicia (Spain)

    Simone

    Reply
  2. Hi Noah,
    First of all your are doing an awesome job for us outback travellers!..
    I have a question for you, we travel a lot in the australian out backs, would going with the ax10 as mentioned be similar to using a tri band ruckus AP router, what would you suggest us to use for our adventures!

    Best regards
    Don
    Love from australia

    Reply
    • Also Mate, Can We use the Ethernet ports on the routers for a wired connection to our laptops if required as well an these routers?

      Reply
        • As an old lady, here, who doesn’t do well with new tech, please let me know if I can bybass the Starlink router and connect an ethernet modem. I have a heart condition that doesn’t permit me to use wifi or any other radiofrequency in my home. We’re moving to a rural area after having lived in the city for decades. I’m thinking that we can put the wifi router outside on our covered porch and then wire the ethernet into the house? Maybe we can use our ethernet modem that we use now, that has no wifi option on it? We will need more than one ethernet port, because there are two of us using two computers. We usually use ethernet to stream videos and to do basic internet research. No gamers, here. Thanks!

          Reply
          • What’s the make and model of your current router/modem? You can turn on bypass mode to disable the Wifi signal on the Starlink router. You can then use an aftermarket router to take over all the routing functions. A lot of the aftermarket routers allow you to turn off Wifi, but maintain routing functions (this isn’t the case on the Starlink router). So, the answer just depends on which model you currently have. But assuming it’s compatible, your plan should work.

    • A tri band router would have an advantage in mesh network performance. But if you aren’t connecting multiple routers together, like in a home, it’s not a big deal. The AX10 would work great for you.

      Reply
  3. Do you know if it is possible to create one subnet for the Ethernet side of things, and another subnet for the WiFi side of things using the existing Starlink router and WAP? Use case: we want the Ethernet to plug into a third-party router/firewall (and behind that a whole LAN to run business), and the WiFi simply to be for guest use. We don’t want any wireless exposure to the business LAN. Thoughts?

    Alternatively (though more $), we could use bypass mode as you suggest, and do the two separate subnets on our third-party router/firewall. But I’m trying to see if the above is an option first before going down this route.

    Reply
  4. I have the Starlink base system plus two more Starlink mesh routers in my setup. If I add a third-party router and set the Starlink router to bypass, will that render those two mesh routers useless?

    Reply
  5. Noah, we need a mesh system to cover our house and outbuilding. I don’t want to spend as much as the Asus cost, so which router/mesh system would you recommend?

    Reply
    • I have a configuration where my old CenturyLink DSL is on one subnet (192.168.0.x), and my new Starlink is on a separate subnet (192.168.1.x). Starlink must be in bypass mode to use the ethernet adapter. I have an old modem/router with it’s WAN port plugged into this adapter. This router is configured to provide DHCP, and WiFi.

      The Centurylink modem is plugged into the old modem/router. The old Centurylink modem has DHCP disabled.

      Plugging anything into the network, or WiFi connection, will result in a Starlink connection due to the DHCP. To access the old Centurylink subnet, you must explicitly set the device to a fixed IP of 192.168.0.x. You may need to add static routing.

      It’s a real problem that when your Starlink is in bypass mode, as you cannot use the Starlink app at all. This means that you cannot access your usage statistics (well, some of that is on the web), but there is no access to the outage checks, their advanced speed tests, firmware updates, etc. The outage info should at least be available on the website.

      I guess I’m going to have to factory reset maybe monthly to go into the phone, to check for firmware updates. LAME.

      Reply

Leave a Comment