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Where Starry Internet dreams of a gigabit, others have found a harsh reality

Stephen Lawson | Feb. 1, 2016
With fixed wireless broadband, the startup will take on big challenges.

All this adds to the cost of deploying a network and tuning it to deliver the promised speeds. Even after turning on commercial service, Clearwire fielded numerous complaints about poor performance.

Starry thinks its newer technology will help it overcome those hurdles. Among other things, it will use MU-MIMO (multi-user multiple-in, multiple-out), an antenna architecture found in newer Wi-Fi networks that's designed to form several beams to target different users. And it will have multiple licensed bands of spectrum.

Perhaps wisely, Starry isn't putting all its eggs in the Internet service basket. It's also introducing a distinctive wedge-shaped Wi-Fi router, the Starry Station. Subscribers can use it to spread the Starry Internet signal around their homes, but there are also Ethernet ports, so it can be used with other broadband services.

starrystation print 04 
The Starry Station Wi-Fi router will have a touchscreen and services including Internet speed tests. Credit: Starry Inc.

Going on sale next week for $349.99, the Starry Station will include a touchscreen and several special features, including a persistent built-in speed test to show how fast the Internet link is, parental controls, and a button to tap for immediate customer support.

The router will have the latest, fastest version of Wi-Fi, 802.11ac. It will also include IEEE 802.15, a radio technology used for Internet of Things protocols such as ZigBee and Thread. A Device Activity Map will show what devices are connected, whether each is working well, and how much data each one is using. Users will be able to manage the router through a smartphone app.

If a revolution in broadband never gets off the ground, smart homes might be Starry's next frontier.

 

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