Starry Sta­tion

Sim­plic­ity, not power, is the name of this router’s game.

Mac Format - - APPLE CHOICE - Re­viewed by Joe Os­bor ne

£308 (in­clud­ing im­port fees) FROM Starry, starry.com fea­tures Two Eth­er­net ports, dual-band MIMO 802.11ac Wi-Fi

Con­fig­ur­ing your Wi-Fi can seem like sor­cery that you dare not

med­dle with. The Starry Sta­tion prom­ises to sim­plify Wi-Fi in your house with an in­ter­face that ac­tu­ally makes sense and con­trols that work. Is Starry Sta­tion worth rewiring the in­ter­net con­nec­tion in your house for? In the age of Wi-Fi mesh sys­tems, that de­pends on a lot of fac­tors, namely your level of tech savvy.

Equipped with just two Eth­er­net ports, one of which is for the WAN con­nec­tion to your mo­dem or gate­way, the de­vice’s fo­cus here is ob­vi­ously on wire­less. In­side are dual-band, 4x4 MIMO 802.11ac (a/b/g/n, too) ra­dios, and the whole thing is pow­ered by two dual-core pro­ces­sors – one for the net­work and the other for the in­ter­face, re­spec­tively. It sports an 802.15ac ra­dio for IoT de­vices.

The strik­ing de­sign is clearly in­tended to make you com­fort­able with hav­ing the Starry Sta­tion out in the open – which is good for an un­ob­structed sig­nal, of course. Its maker states the Sta­tion should be in the cen­tre of your house – which might be a prob­lem if your home isn’t wired to ac­com­mo­date that.

The Starry Sta­tion's core strength isn’t a pure through­put ad­van­tage over what the av­er­age ISP-pro­vided router is ca­pa­ble of, but rather its ease of use and over­all sta­bil­ity.

It pro­vided a much more sta­ble con­nec­tion dur­ing both the speed tests and down­load tests than you get with many ISP-sup­plied routers, with far less de­vi­a­tion in re­ported fig­ures in megabits per sec­ond (Mbps).

How­ever, save for within a scant few sce­nar­ios, there were largely lit­tle gains in out­right through­put be­tween the Starry Sta­tion and our ISP-pro­vided router. (In fact, in some sce­nar­ios the Starry Sta­tion ac­tu­ally per­formed worse.) It’s clear that the Sta­tion doesn’t of­fer any enor­mous through­put ad­van­tage over a com­mon com­peti­tor.

Su­per-sim­ple setup

Set­ting up the Sta­tion took just five min­utes, with easy prompts on the LCD touch­screen once the de­vice was con­nected to our mo­dem. You’re given a Wi-Fi Health per­cent­age score and can do an in­ter­net speed test – use­ful to check you’re get­ting the speed you’re pay­ing for. You also get parental con­trols down to the de­vice level from within the router’s in­ter­face, al­though they are a lit­tle sparse.

In an idle state, the Sta­tion dis­plays the de­vices on its net­works as if they’re plan­e­tary bod­ies or­bit­ing a star – a cute anal­ogy. Those in red are in bad shape net­work-wise for what­ever rea­son, while those in blue are do­ing fine. The size of the orb is dic­tated by how much band­width that de­vice is us­ing.

If you have an is­sue with your Wi-Fi, you can re­quest a call from cus­tomer sup­port right from the de­vice by leav­ing your num­ber. It’s a nice touch and could prove to be rather use­ful.

All in all, it’s a rather en­joy­ably el­e­gant in­ter­face that truly does make manag­ing your router very sim­ple. But is it worth it if you need to get your house rewired in or­der to place it where Starry says you should? Make sure you con­sider that even­tu­al­ity prop­erly be­fore shelling out £300 for the Sta­tion.

The de­sign is in­tended to make you com­fort­able with hav­ing the Sta­tion out in the open

The Starry Sta­tion doesn’t look much like your usual router fare.

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