Routers are Cool Now: Norton Core vs. Google Wi-Fi

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Norton Core and Google Wi-Fi are both daring entries into the router market. They’ve both paid attention to design in an industry that’s been pretty content to ignore design almost completely, for the last several decades. But they also come with some unique tech features. The Norton Core’s comes loaded with cutting-edge security features for your smart home devices, while Google Wi-Fi has the ability to form a mesh of routers throughout your home, ensconcing every nook in top-tier wireless signal. So which one is for you?

Price

Price can be a make-or-break factor in any purchase, and both of these routers are on the more expensive side. Still, Norton Core is definitely the costlier of the two. At a list price of $279.99, the Norton Core is one of the more expensive routers you can buy, but it’s more than just a router. It’s a Norton product, which means security is built right into it. Norton Core offers a new level of comprehensive network protection that you can monitor from a special smartphone app. The security is certainly useful, but there’s a drawback. It comes with a yearly subscription cost of $99.

Google Wi-Fi is much cheaper, listing at $129 per Wi-Fi point. For larger homes, it may be necessary to buy multiple points, but you can usually three-pack lists at $299.99 and usually costs less. Not only is Google Wi-Fi cheaper, but it also doesn’t have a yearly subscription fee for security features. Then again, it doesn’t have any security features, either. Whether that matters to you is a question of personal priority.

Speed

These are both high-end routers, and they offer high-end speeds. Norton Core supports speeds up to 2.5 Gbps. That’s good enough for 4K streaming and the most demanding online gamers.

Meanwhile, Google Wi-Fi hasn’t released speed numbers, but reviewers from Engadget and The Verge both attested to blazing speeds, the kind that also support 4K streaming without a problem. These are both quality routers, even when you take the fancy packages and tech gimmicks and lay them aside.

Coverage Area

If you live in a large home, your network area is important. Symantec claims that one Norton Core can cover a home between 3,000 and 5,000 square feet. Naturally, any router is going to be affected by distance, and we’d expect issues if you’re on the far end of that radius, or on another floor in a multi-level home. But that’s still a heck of a coverage area – in fact, it’s one of the best around. It’s also mesh-ready, meaning that it could theoretically be part of a larger network. We haven’t yet seen how that’s going to work, though.

This is where Google Wi-Fi really excels. A single Wi-Fi point can cover up to 1,500 square feet. While it may have issues maintaining a strong connection through walls and floors, you can purchase additional points to create a complete Wi-Fi network. A set of three covers a home of up to 4,500 square feet and your devices will transition seamlessly between Wi-Fi points. If you have an even larger home, you can add than three Wi-Fi points to your network for seamless connections all over your home.

Protection

One of the biggest reasons people look at the Norton Core is for the security features. In an age of unprecedented smart home connectivity, internet security isn’t just for computers anymore. For an extra $99 per year, you’re provided with complete protection for your entire home, rather than a single computer. With cyber-attacks becoming increasingly prevalent, Norton Core may be a wise investment, but what does it protect?

Most cyber-attacks occur when an infected device connects to a network and then spreads the malware to additional devices. Norton Core stops these infected devices from spreading malware throughout anything connected on the network, keeping the issue contained. Norton further claims that it will protect computers and mobile devices from malware, viruses, and hackers.

Google Wi-Fi doesn’t have the same sort of security protocols as Norton, but it does have some. Like most routers, it has a firewall and WPA2 to prevent unauthorized access by those attempting to use your connection. Furthermore, Google Wi-Fi receives security updates to patch holes that hackers and malware exploit. However, if you’re really concerned about security, Norton Core may be the way to go. If you’re just looking for a reliable network all over your home, Google may be the best bet.

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