Why would you need to buy a new Wi-Fi router? Isn’t the one sent to you by your Internet service provider enough? It is to this question that we will answer in the following article.
For some users, a classic router will be more than enough. But if you’ve opted for a smart home, there’s a good chance your router will need to be upgraded to the next generation as well.
Today, you can find a wide selection of “smart routers”, specially designed to meet the demands of managing a connected home. Here are their main advantages.
1. Network security
Routers are a weak link in the security of your home network. Historically, they have been an easy target for hackers. In the past, this was not that big of a deal. A good antivirus program would protect you from all but the most aggressive and hard-to-spot viruses, and most homes only had one or two devices connected.
Everything has changed with the advent of smartphones. An average French home now has 7.4 devices connected to the Internet. As smart technology continues to permeate every aspect of our lives, the number will grow exponentially. Gartner predicts that this number could reach 500 by 2022.
Many of these new devices do not yet have the same defense as your computer. Considering how much information they know about you, this is a cause for concern.
Fortunately, router manufacturers have taken this into consideration. For example, F-Secure’s new Sense router sends traffic from all your smart devices through its protected network.
The Chime smart router comes with software preinstalled by AVG’s antivirus experts. It will automatically protect all your smart home gadgets from malware and phishing attacks.
2. Simplified management of users and their devices
Most routers present a list of devices connected to the network that is cryptic and difficult to understand, which makes it extremely difficult to manage users. It’s unclear why the biggest manufacturers haven’t tried to simplify their products, but soon they will face stiff competition from start-ups.
Take the new Luma router, for example. The accompanying app gives you complete control over all users in your network. You can :
- Choose who can and can’t access your network with a single tap.
- Add parental controls for your children.
- Receive alerts when your kids try to access restricted content and instantly grant or deny access.
- Suspend the entire network and prevent all devices from connecting.
3. Better coverage
Signal “dead spots” around the house are a familiar and annoying occurrence for many homes. Why is it possible for you to instantly chat with your friend halfway around the world on a cell phone, but your router signal cannot reach your bathroom?
The technology to improve coverage has been around for a long time, but mainstream manufacturers have largely chosen not to implement it. Gold, poor coverage creates problems for a connected smart home.
Smart routers offer solutions. Google’s OnHub router has 13 antennas instead of the usual two. It also features a circular architecture that diffuses your network evenly in all directions.
An alternative approach uses several smaller devices to create a mesh network. The Netgear smart router available in the latest Darty flyer for less than 120 euros, for example, has external antennas and a Beamforming option which improve its range and reliability for better WiFi coverage in large houses.
Smart routers can make your life easier and improve the security of your wifi connection. Indispensable for a connected home, they are now available at much more affordable prices than a few years ago.