The names are cute and lower case and loaded with vowels; luma, orbi, eero. The cases are shapely and white and designed to look good on a shelf next to some books or on your desk like a prized chotski. The latest home wireless hardware is arriving in droves and it wants to be seen.
With the average household using over seven wireless devices everyday and the impending wave of network connected appliances right around the corner, companies large and small are racing to offer you easier, stronger and prettier wireless hardware for your home.
In the past few months, new products from tech giants Google and NETGEAR were announced to compete with slick looking WiFi gear from start-ups eero and Luma. And other entries are on the way like the AmpliFi system from Ubiquiti Networks, a small cube that can display the date and time like a modern clock along with you current connection speed.
These new devices all emphasis ease of installation through the concept of mesh networking where you simply setup one wireless router/hub and then connect multiple access points to extend coverage wherever you need it. The mesh concept is designed to eliminate dead spots that exist with the old school model of one WiFi router for the whole house or a more complicated “hub and spoke” router and access point design.
These new mesh access points simply require an outlet for power, but may not be easily hidden, so they have been designed with refreshing visual appeal that is fascinating to compare across brands.
Opting for a circular disk design, the new Google Wifi offers Network Assist technology to “keep your connection fast by always selecting the clearest channel and fastest band for your devices”. If features an app that helps to get you set up quickly and allows you to see what’s connected, prioritize devices, and pause the Wi-Fi on kids’ devices. Each Wifi access point covers up to 1,500 sq. ft, a set of three covers homes up to 4,500 sq. ft. And the Wifi points work together so you can add more if you need additional coverage. You can see Google Wifi here at Amazon.
The Orbi from NETGEAR sits like a milk glass vase and would look at home on the kitchen counter. It features a Tri-Band Mesh WiFi system that creates a dedicated wireless connection between the Orbi Router and a similar looking Satellite. Two Orbi cover up to 4,000 square feet. It is easy to setup and comes preconfigured out the box with Multi-User Multiple Input Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) simultaneous data streaming, and a lot more management options. You can see the Orbi here at Amazon.
eero Home WiFi System
With a lower profile, the glossy white eero sits flat and is designed to be more inconspicuous than the others. Stuffed into its 4.8″ inch square enclosure is a powerful dual-core 1 GHz CPU, two 802.11ac WiFi radios, and 5 antennas. A set of three will form a MU-MIMO mesh network that can cover a typical home. You can manage your network from a simple mobile app and automatic software updates that bring new features happen overnight. You can see the eero here at Amazon.
Luma Home WiFi System
Luma is hexagonal in shape and sits proudly upright on its side. In addition to white it comes in gold, orange and silver. Similarly powerful in hardware as the other options, the Luma start-up team is emphasizing security and control as differentiators. The Luma system provides content controls to ensure your children can only access appropriate websites. And the mobile app can pause Internet access and see what your kids are looking at and checks in with you if your kids are trying to access restricted content. You can see Luma here at Amazon.
AmpliFi Home WiFi System
The AmpliFi system comes from well-established Ubiquiti Networks and sports a round digital display on the front face of its white cube shape. Bringing a bit more function along with its form, the display can show the time and date or the speed of the network connection. It is a more traditional WiFi hardware design with two stick-like direct plug antennae access points to mesh with the main cube hub. AmpliFi offers a dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi System that delivers up to 5.25 Gbps aggregate speed and Wi-Fi Management using the AmpliFi mobile app. You can see AmpliFi here at Amazon.