Tech­nol­ogy: Say good­bye to your dull, util­i­tar­ian Wi-fi router

Bloomberg Businessweek (North America) - - News -

The last time you thought about your Wi-fiWi- Fi router was prob­a­bly the day you set it up— up—oror the day it sud­denly stopped work­ing. But a startup wants to give us a rea­son to think about that blink­ing box be­yond when we’re curs­ing it.

Just as Google’s Nest is based on the idea that some­one could find fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fi­fifind a ther­mo­stat sexy, Starry Sta­tion ($ ($349.99; 349.99; pre­order for April de­liv­ery at starry. starry.com)com) is for peo­ple who want some­thing more than a dull, util­i­tar­ian router. For starters, it’s a bright white alu­minum tri­an­gle, not a dark gray brick, and it has a touch­screen. ““TheThe last thing we wanted to do was de­sign some­thing that looked like it be­longed in a data cen­ter,” says Don Lehman, the com­pany’s head of in­dus­trial de­sign.

Starry Sta­tion isn’t just all looks. There’s nov­elty to its tech­ni­cal ap­proach as well. Stan­dard dual- dual-band­band routers en­able sep­a­ratewi- rate Wi-fiFi net­works, but Starry’s soft­ware au­to­mat­i­cally chooses which net­work is right for your de­vice— de­vice—bebe it one de­signed to carry a data- data-heavy­heavy sig­nal or one with a greater range but less ca­pac­ity. Usu­ally this has to be done­man­u­ally,done man­u­ally, and other routers that pro­mote auto switch­ing of­ten fail at it.

Other star­tups are work­ing on more con­sumer-friendly Wi-fiWi- Fi routers, too. Eero ($ ($499 for a three-pack;three- pack; eero. eero.com com and ama­zon.com,ama­zon. com, where, based on about 300 re­views, it has 3.9 out of 5 stars) re­cently be­gan ship­ping a se­ries of sleek white rect­an­gles de­signed for po­si­tion­ing around a house. To­gether they formwhat’sform what’s known as a ameshmesh net­work, which spreads a sig­nal evenly through­out a space. A sig­nal from a sin­gle router gets weaker the far­ther it has to travel.

The ques­tion Starry and Eero face is whether all of this is enough to en­tice peo­ple to pay a hefty pre­mium for it, given that there are highly rated routers avail­able for less than $100.$ 100. But, hey, at least peo­ple will be pon­der­ing this and not, How far can I throw this thing? <BW> <BW><BW><BW>

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