When you think of Norton, the first thing that comes to mind is anti-virus and security software. Back when PCs were expensive and a household would only have one or two, the software approach made sense. But an average home of today is equipped with a far greater number of connected devices which will explode even further when IoT becomes more mainstream. Keeping each one of these devices updated, secured and protected will be a nightmare. So Norton is trying to solve the issue on a network-wide level with it's new Norton Core router.
Before you read any further, I want to point out that I haven't used or played with the Norton Core. It was introduced to me by Gareth Lockwood, Senior Product Director at Norton over a conference call a few weeks back. Gareth mentioned that the device will be introduced and showcased at the CES show currently happening in Las Vegas. So all the information you're going to read ahead is purely based on that conversation.
Lets start with the way the Norton Core looks like. Routers have changed over the years and no longer look like bricks with antennas sticking out. Companies like eero, Apple and Google are making routers blend really nicely in your living room and Norton pushes on that even further. The Norton Core does not look like a router from any angle. It looks more like an art piece.
Norton matches the beautiful design with very high-end specs. The Norton Core has a 1.7GHz dual core processor with 1GB or RAM and 4GB flash storage. Antenna configuration is a 4x4 MU-MIMO foundation and ultrafast 802.11ac Wi-Fi designed to achieve maximum throughput speeds of 2.5 Gbps. There's one Gigabit WAN port and three Gigabit LAN ports along with two USB 3.0 ports for connecting storage or printers. Coming to what makes this router special, the following is a set of security features that Norton has added on the Core:
- Secure Boot
- Deep Packet Inspection
- Intrusion Detection and Prevention system
- Unique Device Based Certificates
- Encrypted User Data and Communication
- Secure DNS
Although the Norton Core features high-end specifications and top notch security, Norton is planning on making the router simple and convenient to manage through an app on your smartphone. Norton will also automatically push firmware and security updates to the Norton Core to keep it up-to-date. Another advantage that the Norton Core offers is security for IoT devices that don't have any control panel and are at the mercy of manufacturers to update through firmware.
All-in-all, the Norton Core appears to be a solid router. About the only place where it could face challenge is competing with the new generation of routers that support mesh networking to cover larger houses and areas using multiple points. The Norton Core does not support that yet and you'll have to rely on traditional extenders to increase coverage which ends up slowing down your network performance.
The Norton Core is expected to launch in the middle on 2017.