The Core gives real-time protection for the entire home -- but you do have to pay an annual subscription.
You'll know Norton as one of the most popular names in security software, but now it's a piece of hardware too, as parent company Symantec introduced today at CES 2017 its first home router, the Norton Core.
This is a new app-enabled router that has built-in security to protect the entire home, rather than just an individual computer, the way Norton Security software does. Symantec says the device aims to keep devices connected to it safe, including Windows computers, Macs, phones, tablets and any internet-of-things devices, in real time.
According to Symantec, the Norton Core is backed by a team of security experts who are constantly analyzing and eliminating cybersecurity attacks worldwide. The router gets regular updates on cybercrime information and protection mechanisms to keep any device connected to it safe. If an infected device is connected to the network, it can isolate it from the rest of your devices to prevent the spreading of the malware.
Security protection at router level is not new. Asus has teamed up with Trend Micro to offer this for free on its high-end routers, such as the RT-AC5300 or RT-AC88U. The Norton Core, however, has gone one step further by making the protection comprehensive to home users.
Via the mobile app, you can monitor the network and see a list of online threats that the router has blocked. It even shows you the current safety level of your home network with a credit score-like number, from zero (completely vulnerable) to 500 (completely safe). You can also use the app to pause the internet for any connected device or set a bed time, during which the broadband connection is turned off.
The Norton Core is a compact dome-shaped device that measures just 6 by 6 by 5 inches (15 by 15 by 13 cm). Yet it's packed with powerful hardware, including a dual-core 1.7GHz processor, 1GB of system memory and 4GB of flash memory. The router supports the latest 4x4 AC2600 Wi-Fi standard, with a top speed on the 5GHz band of 1.73 megabits per second and up to 800Mbps on the 2.4GHz band.
Symantec says the Norton Core's Wi-Fi can cover a home of somewhere between 3,000 and 5,000 square feet. It also comes with four Gigabit LAN ports for wired clients. Symantec says that the Norton Core is also mesh-ready, hinting that in the future it can be used as part of a home Wi-Fi network. How this is implemented, however, will be reveal later this year.
The Norton Core is now available for preorder at $200, with a regular price of $280, in either titanium gold or granite gray. The price includes one year of subscription to its security protection, called Norton Core Security Plus, after which the ongoing cost is $99 per year. The subscription includes 20 Norton Security software licenses that you can install on your computers to keep them safe even when they are used outside of the network hosted by the Norton Core. If you choose not to renew the subscription, the Norton Core will still work, but only like any regular router, without the network protection, which is important for Internet-of-Things devices, which are generally more vulnerable to being hacked.
The router is set to ship this summer. UK and Australian availability was not announced, but the preorder price converts to about £165 or AU$275.