Thanks to AVG, we now have a third entrant in the budding consumer mesh-network router market.
AVG’s product is called Chime, and it’s currently seeking funds on Indiegogo for a September 2016 launch. Much like competing efforts from Eero and Luma, Chime’s router can coordinate with additional hotspots around the house to extend the size of its network without the need for ethernet cables, powerline adapters, or other types of range extenders.
The difference with Chime is that it has AVG’s security software baked in. AVG says it will block malware and phishing attempts by analyzing inbound and outbound traffic, which should be especially useful for smart home products that don’t run their own anti-virus software. (Another anti-virus firm, F-Secure, is promising something similar with an upcoming product called Sense. Luma has promised a suite of security features in its mesh network router as well.)
Chime’s pricing will be similar to that of Eero and Luma, with a regular price of $200 for a single device, $350 for a pair, and $500 for three. As of this writing, AVG is five percent of the way toward its funding goal, with 23 days to go.
Why this matters: Mesh-network routers are a killer concept for eliminating Wi-Fi dead zones. Enterprise players such as Ruckus and Meraki (now owned by Cisco) have been selling them for years, but they're unproven in the consumer market. And at $500 for a three-pack, the asking price is much higher than what a conventional high-end goes for (Netgear's new Nighthawk X8 is street-priced at $400). We’d still like to see a major router maker enter the fray, but a well-known brand like AVG is a welcome addition. At this early stage, the more competition, the merrier.