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CNET First Look
The SkyDog router is an interesting home routerThe SkyDog router combines near-obsolete hardware, and state-of-the-art firmware into a box that's destined to dig a hole your pocket. Good thing we have CNET editor Dong Ngo who says "not so fast!" to it!
Hi, guys. Dong Ngo is here, and this is the SkyDog routers from PowerCloud Systems. Now, this is a very special router because it combined near-obsolete hardware and state-of-the-art firmware. And they ask you to pay a lot for it. So, before you do, make sure what you need more, the real good performance or the level of control that the firmware gives you-- though that's fine. First up, the real deal. Now, this is a true dual-band Wi-Fi router. It's a port with dual stream setup of the 802.11n standard. And that means it give you the top speed of 300 megabit per second on each of the two Wi-Fi band at the same time. On the front here, as you can see, there's a ray of light to show the start of the router. It's also the WPS button. But it doesn't do anything. It's just a placeholder. There's more placeholder on the back here, which is the USB port. Doesn't do anything, either-- at least for now. The routers do have a 4 gigabit LAN port and one WAN port. And it is wall mountable. That's a about it. So, specs-wise, it is probably the least impressive I've ever seen in a very long time. And in my testing, its performance was dismal compared with recent new routers. And the reign was not very long, either. Basically, it has nothing of note. Now, that brings us to the part where the router is exciting-- it's firmware. By far, it is the most advanced I've ever seen. Now, the router come with a cloud-connected web interface, which allows you to manage your home network remotely from anywhere in the world by going to skydog.com and log in with a free account. Now, the vendor-assisted remote home management is not new. But PowerCloud Systems did a very good job with SkyDog here. As you can see, it has a very robust web interface that offer a lot of tool for monitoring and reporting. And I mean a lot. It will take me hours to actually talk about all of them. So, take my word for it. Note the router has three virtual network called zone, including Home, Work, and Guest. You can actually control the-- bandwidth for each of the zone, but you cannot specify what Wi-Fi band or zone works on. By default, all zone work on both of the 2.4 gigaHertz and 5 gigaHertz band at the same time. Now, the second very classic feature of the router is the web filtering feature. You can define the blocking mechanism from basic to extreme. With basic, meaning that you can access or host everything, and extreme meaning that you can't access anything at all. You can even create your own level of blocking by using the supporting-- category. There are hundreds of them from adult content to youth distraction to social media. The very cool thing is that with one client or user, you can actually apply one level of blocking at a time, and a different level of blocking at another time. Basically, the router offers you all the ways you can think of in terms of filtering stuff on the internet. Now, that's all good. But the effect in this hardware depends a lot on how the websites are probably categorized. You know, while the SkyDog is very exciting, I find it a little bit too slow and too limited in terms of hardware capability to justify the current price of some $150. Never mind the fact that it cost you another 30 bucks a year after three year if you want to continue to use the cool feature about which are the only reason why you buy it in the first place. Now, for more of the SkyDog, check out my full review at CNET.com. One thing, though, if you looked at this SkyDog here to block your children from pornography in the internet, well, good luck. For one, in my testing, even as the high filtering setting and [unk] you Google to show and display all type of images. But the main reason why it's not gonna work because what you're watching right now is considered porn by men. And they just can't have enough of it. But that's because I'm Dong Ngo, and this has been the first look at the SkyDog Router from PowerCloud System.