Computer security company Norton recently unveiled their latest home security device, which is designed to protect Wi-Fi networks, the devices that are connected to those networks, and your entire Internet of Things. The device is a first for the company, which is known for providing antivirus protection software for computers.
It’s called the Norton Core and, while it is designed to help consumers keep their local Wi-Fi networks secured, it makes it’s boldest statement through its design. Norton chose to make the core a geodesic dome rather than creating some kind of ugly router enclosure. The Core is around 7 inches across, and it comes in two colors; Titanium Gold and Granite Gray. The Core is set up and controlled through an app on your smart device.
While it might sound a little unnecessary – or even silly – to have an attracting looking network device, there is a practical reason for the design. Many homes keep their router near the TV, which is typically the focal point of the room it is in. Having a router that looks aesthetically pleasing means you won’t need to find somewhere to hide your router because it’s ugly and ruins the look and feel of a room.
The Core is a powerhouse under the geodesic dome. The dome houses a 1.7GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM, and 4GB of eMMC flash memory. The Core is able to support IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and simultaneous dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz. It is also able to support 4×4 AC2600 MU-MMIMO and Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE). As far as hardware is concerned, the core has four Gigabit Ethernet ports and two USB 3.0 ports.
At the “core” of it – if you’ll pardon the pun – the Core is a router. It’s an entirely different approach to what Bitdefender is doing with the Box device (available at Bitdefender for $129.00), which connects to the router rather than replacing it. The Core comes equipped with speedtest tools, device prioritization, and even additional bandwidth and guest networks you can set up to expire after a certain amount of time. The Core also has features that let you manage which devices can be connected to the network, including the devices of your friends.
Another feature of the Core is strong parental control features. It’s possible to place restrictions on the kinds of content that different users are able to access it, and set up hours of operation for these users. That way you can ensure that your children aren’t able to get on the internet when they should be in bed, as well as ensuring that they don’t see obscene material.
As you might expect from a device by Norton, the Core is packed full of advanced security features. One unique feature of the Core is deep packet inspection. Norton issued a press release about the product, saying that every network packet that passes through the home network is scanned and inspected for viruses, malware, spam, intrusions, and more. If vulnerabilities or threats are discovered on a device connected to the Core, then it is able to quarantine the device; keeping it on a separate, segregated network. This prevents these vulnerabilities from spreading to other devices on the network. Of course, the Core also alerts users about the potential danger.
The Core will update itself automatically, meaning that you don’t need to worry about having the latest and greatest software.
I was lucky enough to be afforded the chance to play with one of the Core devices myself, and I have to admit that I was surprised by the design. It really looks nice, and I can say that I wouldn’t be ashamed to have one of these little beauties sitting in my home. I actually took a selfie with it! How cool is that? The plastic enclosures lack the slick, cheap look that you often find with other devices, and it looks like it would blend in nicely with just about any décor. I did notice that the units had some large seams on them, but Norton assured me these were prototypes. The finished product you’ll find on the shelves in the store will be much tighter and better looking.
It’s expected the Norton Core will retail for $279.99, but you can pre-order yours now for a limited-time price of $199.99. Every purchase of the Core will come with a year’s worth of Norton Core Security Plus, and 20 licenses for the desktop and mobile devices that will be on the network. Norton does note that the Core should protect an “unlimited” amount of IoT devices, even if it restricts the number of regular devices. The subscription costs of the Core software are going to cost $9.99 per month following the first year.
If you’re looking for a complex solution to keep your PC protected, then our recommendation would have to be the current Norton product; Symantec Norton Security Premium (2017).