Google's OnHub makes it easier to manage and secure your network, while the F-Secure Sense offers advanced security.
There’s a growing trend to shift security to the perimeter of the network, rather than relying so much on endpoint protection such as antivirus software.
In fact, some experts say that efforts to secure Internet of Things devices may hasten the demise of antivirus software. Regardless of whether that’s likely to happen, it makes sense to add strong layer of network security to protect the increasing numbers of connected devices from increasingly sophisticated threats.
Small business firewall appliances from the likes of WatchGuard and Check Point are designed for this purpose, but for homes and very small businesses, the router would seem to be an ideal place to add security. And that’s exactly what the F-Secure Sense does.
It’s not available in Australia yet – and neither is Google’s advanced OnHub router – but hopefully, they're indicative of what future wireless routers will be capable of. Neither looks like your typical boring router and each offers a mobile app to make it easier to manage your network.
The F-Secure Sense router analyses all traffic going in and out of your home or office network, protecting any connected device – be it a PC, smartphone or fridge. Controlled by an app, it's easier to understand and personalise settings than most routers' admin systems.
The Sense scans web traffic before it gets to your devices, as well as acting as a virtual private network (VPN), firewall and more. Scanning is bolstered by F-Secure's Security Cloud, which uses artificial intelligence to look for odd behaviour that may signal an attack. It includes a firewall, tracking blocker and virtual private network.
However, don't think such hardware means the end of security subscriptions: you'll need to shell out a monthly fee for a subscription to F-Secure's cloud system. The F-Secure Sense is due out in the US and Europe later in 2016, although there’s no indication of when it will be available in Australia. It will cost US$199, which includes one year of service.
The Google OnHub is already available in the US and comes in two versions: the OnHub from TP-Link and OnHub from Asus, with each Asian company responsible for the manufacture of its respective device.
Otherwise, the devices are virtually identical and managed by a simple app, which makes it easier to manage and secure your network, such as sharing your Wi-Fi with a guest, and adding and administering devices.
The hardware is designed to look attractive, so users won't hamper the signal by hiding it away, and features a ring of antenna to further improve reliability. It comes with automatic security updates and a built-in firewall, but doesn't have the network scanning offered by F-Secure Sense.
The OnHub costs US$199.99, and again, there’s no indication of when it will be available here.