What’s New: Introducing Notifications on Starry Station

The Starry team has been hard at work on product updates and new features for Starry Station. This week, we’re excited to announce that the first of these new features is here.

Starry Station makes powerful WiFi easy to use and understand by offering a window–the touchscreen–into your network and internet connection. It’s also the only router smart enough to identify issues with your devices or internet. With Notifications, we’re expanding the list of problems Starry Station is able to surface.

Notifications alert you to common WiFi and connectivity problems as they arise. They offer simple solutions to the problems you’re experiencing, right on the touchscreen. This removes the guesswork of trying to figure out what the problem is (we’re looking at you, blinking lights), and significantly cuts down troubleshooting time.

Learn more about the these Notifications and the problems they solve below.

Internet Outage

internet outage UI notification

Problem it solves: Your internet service is unreliable

Any time your internet is down, Starry Station tells you right away, so you won’t waste any time trying to figure it out. It also keeps a running total of the hours you lose service each month. So if you ever decide to have a chat with your ISP about the unreliable service you’re getting, you’ll have plenty to discuss.


DNS Issues

slow DNS UI notification

Problem it solves: Slow WiFi

There are few things as frustrating as slow WiFi. Starry Station now has the ability to identify one common culprit: slow DNS servers. The internet Domain Name System, or DNS, is kind of like the phonebook for the internet. Every web site and service you access has a unique identifier called an IP address. The domain name system exists to turn those numbers into memorable names like facebook.com and instagram.com.

If your DNS servers are slow your overall WiFi performance will suffer. Starry Station now detects slow DNS servers, and in most cases, can automatically switch you to better performing DNS servers. Simply tap the touchscreen to switch, and your problem is solved.


5GHz Recommendation

5ghz network UI notification

Problem it solves: Your performance could be better (you just don’t know it yet)

Starry Station comes standard with two networks: a 2.4/5GHz dual band network for whole-home coverage, and a separate 5GHz network for high-speed gaming and streaming. And it’s always looking for ways to improve your experience. With this latest release, Starry Station can now tell you which devices (like a 4K TV, for example) would perform even better on the dedicated 5GHz network. Now you’ll always know that you’re getting the best performance possible.


Cable Issue

cable unplugged UI notification

Problem it solves: Your internet suddenly stops working

When something goes wrong with your internet, it can feel impossible to interpret what those blinking lights are trying to tell you. But Starry Station’s touchscreen makes the problem (and solution) clear. It alerts you when a cable from either your router or modem is unplugged, and shows you exactly which which port to plug it back into.

These Notifications were designed to save you the time and frustration of troubleshooting. We believe this greater visibility and control is a big step toward making internet simpler and better for everyone. And we’ve got plenty of new, exciting updates to come.

Stay tuned to find out what we’re unveiling next.

Our Take on Customer Care

At Starry, we obsess over customer experience. With Starry Station, we’ve designed a router that is simple, intuitive, and eliminates many of the barriers to understanding the way your Wi-Fi works.

But we didn’t just want a product that makes your life easier. The features we’ve built into Starry Station are also designed to make your experience with Customer Care quick, easy, and painless.

Never wait on hold again.

Having issues and not sure what to do? Request a support call directly from your Starry Station or the Starry App. A Starry Expert will call you soon to get your problem resolved.

Reach us when you need us.

Nine to Five was a great Dolly Parton movie but it’s not a realistic schedule for getting help when you need it. Our team is available 24/7, 365 days a year.

We’re listening.

Let us know what’s on your mind. Your feedback is important to us, and it helps drive new features and product enhancements.

Our team cares about your experience. Whether you could use an extra hand getting your Starry Station set up or have more advanced questions about your network, we’re here to help.

Six Ways to Limit Your Kids' Time Online

homework desktop

We’re all aware that we are spending more and more time in front of our devices. And so are our kids; but just how much time may surprise you.

Thirty-eight percent of two-to-five-year-olds own an Android tablet and 32% own an iPad.

Almost a third of these kids also have a mobile phone. In general, access to these technologies and the internet can help kids learn and grow. However, with so many connected devices, kids are spending 44.5 hours per week in front of screens. That’s way more time than they’re spending outside or participating in other activities.

Here at Starry, we’re all about the internet. But also we’re aware it can be a huge distraction, especially at important moments. Phones at the dinner table get in the way of quality conversation. Gaming can interfere with homework time. Family game night is constantly interrupted by Snapchat and texts. Reigning in internet usage can be difficult, to say the least. But we think these tips will help:

  • Keep a limited amount of devices in your child’s bedroom. A computer may be essential for homework, but removing it when it’s bedtime may prevent all-night distractions
  • Limit video games to a certain amount of hours per week. Gaming in particular can be a hard habit to break (nearly 23% of youth report that they feel “addicted to video games”).
  • Limit usage before bed. Many devices emit a blue light that can affect levels of melatonin, which can interfere with sleep.
  • Set rules for device usage such as no phones at the dinner table or no computer games after 10pm. Make the rules consistent and easy to follow.
  • Be a role model. If you’re telling your kids to put their phones away at dinner, make sure that you’re doing the same. Save work emails and text messages for later.
  • Encourage other activities! Get outside and play a game of basketball with your kids after school or play a board game after dinner.

Even with the best intentions, we know that rules can be hard to follow. And that’s why we created ScreenTime parental controls to make things a bit easier. With ScreenTime on Starry Station, you can manage network-wide rules for when certain devices can and can’t be online. When devices are in ScreenTime, they won’t be able to connect to your home’s WiFi, making it quick and easy to monitor when your kids are online. Rules allow you to set specific days of the week and times that devices won’t be able to connect to WiFi.

ScreenTime

We designed ScreenTime so that you could get the most out of your WiFi, and the most out of your family time. Families are a huge priority for us and we’re working hard on new ways to make ScreenTime even better.

What's New: Unleashing Innovation

One of the biggest drivers of modern technology is something we can’t touch or see. Spectrum (aka airwaves) is arguably one of our most important natural resources and how our spectrum is utilized and shared is critical to driving innovation and growing our economy. The spectrum policy we set in the United States will help define the future of connectivity and the diverse technologies that get developed as a result.

Last week, the Federal Communications Commission voted to move forward a plan that would make more licensed and unlicensed spectrum available for use in high frequency bands. Making this spectrum available will unleash wireless technology innovations for both fixed and mobile applications. And, it will ensure that a competitive marketplace emerges for new 5G millimeter wave technologies. We applaud the Commission’s leadership on setting a spectrum policy that positions the United States as a leader in this area, while also maximizing the benefits that flow to the consumer by enabling new entrants and new technologies to thrive.

Consumers benefit from innovation and innovation benefits from competition. We think the FCC is on the right track when it comes to both.

And if you want to geek-out a little bit more, here’s our CEO Chet Kanojia with his perspectives on spectrum.

Signal & Speed: Three Tips for Getting the Best WiFi from Your Router

Router Placement

The traditional black-box router isn’t exactly a looker, which is why it usually gets stashed behind the TV. Or in a fake plant. Or in the bottom of the closet. Hiding it away comes with one major downside: not-so-great WiFi performance. But besides location, there are a number of other factors that may be impacting your connectivity. Here are some tips on to how to optimize your WiFi performance to get faster surfing, streaming and gaming.

1. The key to getting great WiFi is choosing the right place to put your router.

You want to think about two things: where you’ll use it most and getting the best coverage possible for the rest of your house. The more walls between you and your router, the weaker your signal will be. Hidden away in a closet in a remote part of your home won’t get you the reach you want. A space where you frequently use WiFi is typically much better, like a living room or home office. You’ll probably want to do a bit of experimenting as there are two factors to consider: your home’s construction, and your router’s construction (the pattern or direction your router spits out signal depends on your router’s antenna). Also for some homes, signal will travel better vertically, while in others, it will travel better horizontally. Some routers also have beamforming, which can help cover any dead zones.

2. Try to avoid obstructions.

WiFi radio waves can travel through walls and obstructions, but the thickness of the material and construction may pose challenges to signal penetration. Household electronics can also create a problem. For example, microwaves and some cordless phones operate on a 2.4GHz band, which will interfere with your signal. Keeping your router away from these types of electronics will have you on the path to better WiFi.

3. Optimize your band usage.

Understanding a little more about your router will help you improve your WiFi. Dual-band routers produce two separate WiFi networks: 2.4GHz and 5GHz. The 2.4GHz band has a lower frequency but penetrates better than 5GHz. 5GHz bands are higher frequency, which give you faster WiFi, but don’t penetrate obstructions as well. If you’re doing a lot of streaming or gaming, you’ll probably want to be on a 5GHz band and make sure your router is obstruction free. Plus, 5GHz is typically less crowded than 2.4GHz, resulting in a stronger signal (especially if your neighbors are using a 2.4GHz router). Your phone and other mobile devices will fare well on a combined network so they can optimize between 2.4GHz and 5GHz based on where you are in your home.

Your WiFi signal is impacted by a number of factors (some which you have more control over than others); hopefully these considerations will help get you the speed you need! Stay tuned for more tips and tricks to improve your connected home.