CNET First Look
Norton Core router gives you secure Wi-Fi, top speedsThe Norton Core router gives you rapid speeds and a free year of security for all your devices, although its range was a little disappointing.
[MUSIC] The Norm Core router has the looks of Disney's Spaceship Earth at Epcot with the security of Fort Knox.The AC2600 device includes a free one-year subscription to Norton Core Security Plus to protect an unlimited number of devices on your network. Norton even disabled access to the menu via browser. So you can only use the Norton core app for security. Security features are by far the most attractive reason to buy this router. It has in-depth parental controls and anti-malware for all your smart devices, including ones you can't normally install software on like appliances or security cameras. The app also notifies you when it blocks malicious content. And it gives your network set up a security Score, recommending things you can do to make your network and devices more secure. You can also choose different packet inspection levels for filtering and blocking network content. But enabling the highest level of security could affect your speed. The new enclosed range may be an issue for some. On both 2.4 gigahertz and 5 gigahertz, the signal and speed drop significantly through walls at 25 and 50 feet away. At close range though it had very good top speed on both bands, topping out at 866 megabits per second on 5 gigahertz and 168 on 2.4 gigahertz. It also lacks network storage capabilities despite having two USB ports. And you're gonna be very frustrated trying to cram any amount of cords into the tiny space provided on the bottom of the router. All the ports are way too close together, and you'll be hard pressed to plug in one standard sized ethernet cable, let alone plug or unplug a specific one when all the ports are being used. Very poor planning on Norton's part. Those faults aside, the Norton Core is worth the $200 price tag, if you want set it and forget it security, or if you already subscribe to Norton's services. Keep in mind though that you will be on the hook for $10 a month after the first year if you wanna stay fully protected. Overall, the Norton Core will do its job as a security router, but it may not be able to provide fast enough Wi-fi to cover a large home with many devices.