Wireless routers: those uncanny-almost-ugly-looking devices that provide WiFi have always been drifting around between two edges: they are either good or a weak link in network security. It is not a secret that nowadays it is quite easy for hackers to lay their hands on passwords and information; poor manufacturing standards are the consequence of an industry that has long focused on price over security.
Donald Burns addressed the topic in regard to what aspects ought to be considered prior to acquiring a Wireless Router; however, buying a wireless router, especially for smart homes and startups, is still something seen as a daunting and dreary task. Homeowners, for their part, have not precisely focused on their network security; many, in fact, seem to ignore what routers are capable of and instead rely on their regular Internet service provider to provide these in their plans and modems. It was not until Internet service providers started charging monthly fees of $5 to $8 for modems, consumers started looking for and buying their own network devices. Same thing actually happened to small ventures and small businesses, especially soon after the emergence of the digital era. Be that as it may, both homeowners and entrepreneurs seem to behave similarly when it comes to choosing a wireless router: the vast majority seem to lean towards price and base their purchasing decisions on that specific aspect.
Nevertheless, it is also necessary to mention the fact that even those who want to research further on high-end features do not have much, in terms of variety, to choose from: most wireless router devices come with just a pyrrhic number of extras. But in light of how fast today’s digital landscape has been evolving, the aforementioned conditions have started to change though: a myriad of startups and even well-established, much larger companies are trying to enhance today’s current connectivity conditions and provide a much better and proficient user interface, and, after realizing that the network is not as secure as they would have thought, provide better security conditions as well. And, in fact, it has been the sheer array of concerns in regard to security what has boosted this rigid market. Consumers, both entrepreneurs and homeowners, are the ones who bring more connected devices into their environments —this, obviously, goes way beyond tablets and smartphones. This also includes connected speakers and assorted appliances)—. Taking into account what the future looks like, today’s consumers are going to need routers with additional features such as device management, graphical interfaces, high-end security features, etc.
Big router makers are known for producing flawed routers with security patches that cannot be updated or have suppliers whose chips come with outdated software’s —some are over a decade old—. This scenario, alongside the current status around security and consumer needs, seemed to be compelling enough for startups such as Securifi and Eero, and big companies like Google to start developing newer, more secure gear.
Perfect for homeowners and entrepreneurs
Securifi, for instance, has been making wireless routers for nearly three years. They recently launched the third version of their router for smart homes and startups. It combines different types of radios along with the regular WiFi signal so that homeowners and entrepreneurs can control what type of devices are connected to the network. The router does have more radios, and it also has a touch screen so that buyers can program it without the traditional struggle that seems to be inherent to the traditional device. Besides, it regularly updates its software on its own.
For those whose major concern is the security issue, there are other routers that have been manufactured with security as their primary focus. Innovation labs, for instance, came up with the Chime WiFi Router with software from famous software developer AVG. This router contains antivirus software perfectly tailored to protect devices from malware and phishing eventualities. The router is capable of analyzing both incoming and outgoing traffic while looking for suspicious and irregular activities. However, it is not yet clear whether it would be enough against compromises at the firmware level were they to occur.
Perfect for startups and households
A perfect example of a router with high-end and fancy features is the Torch, which has been designed mostly for parents. This router is listed on famous funding site Kickstarter and contains a particular software that allows parents to easily control the sites that their kids attempt to access online. This has already started to be used within the corporate world, since, much like a corporate IT manager, this modem prevents people from accessing certain websites. It actually serves these two purposes: parents can make their children’s iPad to log off the network at a specific time just by programming Torch.
* Featured Image courtesy of Michael Newman at Flickr.com