Norton, one of the best-known names in security software, is branching out into hardware. At CES 2017, parent company Symantec announced a stylish yet security-minded router that it says is designed to protect both your home’s Wi-Fi network and the devices connected to it including Windows PCs, Macs, smartphones, tablets and even Internet of Things devices like Wi-Fi thermostats, smart TVs and security cameras.
Symantec describes it as a digital safety solution for connected homes.
The Norton Core is a dome-shaped device – inspired by defense and weather radars – measuring roughly measures 6” x 6” x 5” in your choice of Titanium Gold or Granite Gray color schemes. Symantec clearly put some time into the aesthetics in the hope that you’ll feel comfortable displaying it out in the open versus tucking it away behind the TV and thus, obstructing its signal.
Lurking inside the Core is a 1.7GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 4GB of flash memory. Symantec says it supports Wave 2 Wi-Fi and can simultaneously transmit at 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz at speeds of up to 2.5 Gbps across distances of up to 5,000 square feet.
Every incoming and outgoing network packet across the home network is scanned for malware, spam, viruses and intrusions, Symantec notes, adding that if a connected device is detected with known vulnerabilities or threats, the device can immediately quarantine it and alert the user.
As CNET correctly highlights, security at the router level isn’t a new concept. Asus, for example, already has products on the market that offer built-in security in collaboration with Trend Micro such as the RT-AC5300 and the RT-AC88U.
Indeed, the no-nonsense approach to the whole thing seems to be Symantec’s selling point.
Interaction with the Core takes place via mobile app where you can see a “security score” of your home network (kind of like a credit score) and get tips on how to bolster your defenses. The app also shows blocked threats and how many devices are currently connected to the network (up to a maximum of 20 PCs, Macs, Android and iOS mobile devices plus unlimited IoT devices) in addition to offering up the option to adjust Wi-Fi settings, managing guest access and fine-tuning parental controls.
The Norton Core is available to pre-order as of writing for $199.99, a significant savings compared to the eventual MSRP of $279.99. Those who pre-order will also receive a complementary one-year subscription to Norton Core Security Plus. After the first year, you’ll be billed $9.99 per month for the Norton Core Security Plus service. Norton Core will continue to function as a router if you elect not to renew although the company says all network, IoT and device level security as well as parental control features will be unavailable if the subscription is not renewed.
Shipping commences this summer.