There are dozens – maybe tens of dozens – of Wi-Fi routers out there, so it’s very difficult to find something new and different enough to make a difference in user experience. The Starry Station Wi-Fi Router is certainly trying to be different, starting with its unique triangular shape and large front touch screen.
The Starry is practically plug and play, if you accept the Wi-Fi network name – the SSID – it offers, as well as a suggested password. You can, of course, change either or both, or even ask the Starry for suggestions with its name generator. The Starry is a dual-band Wi-Fi router, meaning it provides a signal in both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz bands. 5 GHz is faster, but doesn’t travel as far or penetrate as well as 2.4 GHz. This router can “steer” devices to the faster band, if the connection will be good.
From the front touch screen, you will see Starry’s rating of your connection’s “health” and speed, and the devices that are on-line. Settings can be protected with a four-digit PIN, and in addition to your home Wi-Fi network name, you can create a “guest” network, as many business Wi-Fi systems can, which allows visitors to have Internet access without full access to your home network.
There’s a Starry Station app for Android and iOS, which can be used for some advanced features, including port forwarding, and if you have young children (at our age?), or grandchildren, you can set rules to restrict specific devices access to Wi-Fi at certain hours, like bedtime; block certain not PG content always; or restrict access to specific sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Snapchat during certain hours, such as family dinner hour or homework time.
Because the Starry is a nice-looking white triangular box, with no visible antennas protruding, they say it can be placed anywhere in the home to create the best performance and not be hidden in a closet or behind the furniture, but of course you have to be able to cable it to your ISP’s modem or router.
Starry claims strong Wi-Fi performance, but according to those who rate such devices, it does not break away from the pack by much. In my strictly unscientific test, its signal was not significantly stronger or faster than the one from the Wi-Fi router supplied by my ISP, with each in the same location.
The Starry Station does have an interesting support feature: right from the touchscreen, you can request a call from their support team by keying in your phone number, 24/7. Support can also be reached by email or by messaging from their app.
The router has a speaker and microphone, but no applications yet for them.
The Starry Station is a nice piece of equipment and interesting looking, but it only has two ports, one for the incoming Internet (WAN) connection, and the other for your wired (LAN) network. Most home routers have at least four LAN ports, plus the WAN jack.
The router has a list price of $300 but is sold for a little less on Amazon.com, where Starry’s site directs buyers. There are dual-band Wi-Fi routers just as fast that sell for less, although they may not be so pretty.