Although many people may have a home Wi-Fi network, most will also have little control over it and little info about how good it is. Luma is aimed at providing users with fast, secure and safe home Wi-Fi. Multiple units ensure network strength throughout the home and an app provides info and control.
The 4.6 x 4.1 x 1.1-in (117 x 104 x 28-mm) device is an 802.11a/b/g/n/ac router that supports both 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands. Like the Eero, it plugs into a user's existing modem to access the Internet and then uses a variety of approaches to optimize the network and to bestow the user with control over it and information about it.
The company behind the router, also called Luma, says that setting up the device is simple, with users needing only to plug it in, download the accompanying mobile app for iOS or Android and pair over Bluetooth. Instead of trying to strengthen a Wi-Fi signal by adding more antennas, as it suggests others try to do, Luma does so with additional devices. It can be used on its own or with multiple units.
The first unit is plugged into a modem and additional units are then placed around the home as would be done with Wi-Fi repeaters. These then connect back to the first unit over Wi-Fi. Luma describes this approach as being like that of distributed home sound systems, such as Sonos. The accompanying Luma app helps users to optimize the network for their home and advises where they should put each unit in order to get the strongest overall signal.
Once the system is set up, it creates a mesh network (or "Surround Wi-Fi") that's said to effectively eliminate buffering and dead zones. It is also reported to provide enterprise-grade network security, with automatic virus and intrusion detection.
Using the app, it's possible to view the network speed, whether other wireless networks are causing interference and where potential problem spots are. It's also possible to see what devices are being used and what other people on the network are viewing.
Users can grant access to others via the app, doing away with the need to provide visitors with fiddly passwords, and revoke access as required. If a person or device tries to connect to the network, the user is sent an alert and they can grant access or block the user as they see fit.
Luma also includes simple content filtering controls and it's possible to set rules and policies for each network user. For kids, time limits and curfews can be set for when the Internet is accessible and content can be filtered based on the familiar PG-rating scale, with notifications generated if the young ones try to access content that's inappropriate.
It's also possible to pause network access when required, such as at during mealtimes, and it can be switched off at night.
Luma is available online. A single device is currently available to pre-order for US$99 and a pack of three devices for $249. Shipping is expected to start in the first half of 2016.
The video below provides an introduction to Luma.
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