If you’ve had trouble getting Wi-Fi to every corner in your home, 2017 will definitely solve that problem for you. There has never been a CES that showcased more home mesh Wi-Fi systems than this year. These systems all include more than one piece of hardware and they all aim to fix the biggest problem in home wireless network: range.
Protecting your home against online threats and making it easier to connect smart home devices (and keep them connected) are also networking trends at CES this year.
The Wi-Fi system movement started with the Eero a year ago. Eero has great coverage, and it’s smart and super easy to use. Then Netgear ships its own, the Orbi, which is much faster. Now practically every networking vendor, plus a few start-ups, have shipped a Wi-Fi system or have had something coming out later in the year. Even Google has joined the race with the Google Wifi.
So it wasn’t exactly a surprise that many of them made it to the show this year. Here are some that are worth looking forward to.
Linksys Velop: This is the first mesh system from Linksys and it’s designed to deliver both fast performance and large coverage thanks to its dedicated band for back-haul connection. The Linksys Velop is available now and costs $500 (about £405 or AU$685) for a set of three.
Asus HiveSpot: Asus’ HiveSpot has the exact same hardware specs as the Linksys Velop, but it’s cheaper. Furthermore it comes with built-in real-time protection, called Ai Protection, for the entire home network against online threats. The HiveSpot costs just $400 for a set of three, which converts to about £325 or AU$550.
TP-Link Deco M5 Plus: TP-Link’s first Wi-Fi system is similar to the Eero but adds the option to use Powerline to connect different units together. The device won’t be available until the later this year.
Norton Core: This is the first router from Symantec and it has built-in online real-time protection for the entire network, which could be useful if you’re building a smart home. It also gives you 20 licenses of Norton Core Plus Security suite. You can use this software to protect your computers even when you use them outside of the home network. Symantec says the Norton Core is “mesh ready” and it will announce the additional units at a later time.
The Norton Core will be available in Spring and costs $280. After a year, you’ll have to pay $99/year if you want to keep the protection. The preorder price converts to about £165 or AU$275.
Comcast’s new digital home platform: Comcast is about to upgrade its Xfinity gateways into a smart home digital home platform that has the same functions and features as most Wi-Fi systems. It’s also making a new Advanced Gateway that’s a full Wi-Fi solution. This means soon, it will be a trendy thing to use the Comcast provided gateway and you won’t need to get your own equipment to get the best home Wi-Fi network you want.
Other than that, D-Link also introduced two Wi-Fi systems, the Covr and the Covr Powerline. Both Luma and Eero also showcased their products with updated smart features. So yes, by mid 2017, your options of Wi-Fi systems will be at least double. With that, their prices are expected to be lower too.
Better connections and online safety
As smart devices become increasingly popular, more people are finding that getting them connected to a Wi-Fi network can be a dreadful task. Cirrent introduced ZipKey to deal with this. It’s a new way to get Wi-Fi-enabled appliances such as smart TVs, printers, security cameras and so on connected to a home Wi-Fi network quickly and remain connected even when the network’s setting has been changed. Major vendors and service providers, including D-Link and Comcast, now support ZipKey and existing smart devices can be ZipKey-enabled with a firmware update.
CES 2017 also saw a number of products that keep your home network safe from online threats in real time. Many routers and Wi-Fi systems have this features built in. But there are also separate devices, such as the Cujo, which promise to protect the entire network.
This article originally appeared on CNET as “CES 2017: It’s a Wi-Fi system war and you’re the winner.” Check out complete coverage of CES 2017 on CNET.