Looking to the future

This past January my router began to give signs it was getting ready to roll over and die. Finally, as February hit, it refused to even power on. It was time to get a new router.

About this same time I became aware of a new mesh wireless system which was about to be released, Luma. Seeing the introductory video for this system made me think, “I want this.” So, even though the pre-order for the Luma was a good deal more than getting just another routing box, we decided to go ahead and place an order for a pack of three Luma devices. We did this knowing the release date was “Spring 2016.” I figured I had enough older routers, and enough friends with older routers should those fail, to make it until the Luma finally shipped. So far, things have worked out pretty well.

Why would I want to wait for a wireless system with a vague shipping date? Simply put, the features.

Enterprise level security

With Luma I don’t have to hand out passwords to people over an over and over again. Instead people send a request to join the network and I approve them via an app. The best part is, I can approve people for certain durations. This means giving access to my network to one of my kid’s friends doesn’t mean they’ll always be able to walk down the street and hop on my wifi any time they want. I like that.

Additionally, the system is set up to automatically detect viruses and hacking attempts. While no security system is full-proof, I’m looking forward to the added layer of protection.

Parental Controls

Luma will allow parents to set limits on which type of internet content their children are allow to view, with familiar ratings like “G” and “PG-13.” I’m not a fan of internet filters, and there is are legitimate reasons for children to check out sites which filters may rate as being more “adult” than their current permissions, but with Luma allowing access is simply a tap away.

It also makes me feel a bit more comfortable allowing other people on my network, of all ages. Luma keeps track of sites visited 1, so if someone goes off the deep end and begins visiting really bad sites I’ll know which clients were used to do so. Some folks find this creepy, and I can understand why. I see it as a way of keeping my network secure and the well-being of my family reasonably intact.

Mesh Networking

The typical way for people to extend a wireless network is through repeating. This is literally what it sounds like. One radio finds the signal of another radio, and repeats it 2. This extends the range of the wifi network, but typically at the expense of a significant speed hit.

Luma, on the other hand, doesn’t create line of repeated signals, degrading the further you move from the original source. Instead, it creates a mesh, like the netting of a hammock, which covers the networked area. In a repeated network, adding radios typically creates problems, as the data needs to flow in a virtual straight line to the outside network. In a setup like Luma’s, however, the more radios 3 added to the network, the better. Data can flow along multiple paths simultaneously and reach the outside world. The more Lumas used to create the mesh, the faster the network will be able to respond.

There are other mesh network systems out there, including Open Mesh and Eero, but Luma is the first which strikes a promised balance between power and true simplicity.

In Practice

So how does this work in practice? The truth is, I’m not sure because Luma has yet to ship. I’m very eager to get my hands on the system and see what my wifi network can become!

As Spring approached, and has now emerged, the team at Luma has been great at sending updates to it’s pre-order customers and Facebook fans. Beta test results have been shared, advice for how to use the system well has been published, and customers were even given some behind the scenes images of the manufacturing process. All along the folks at Luma have said, “We’re on track for a Spring 2016 release.”

Is that a wide range? Sure it is. But I placed my order knowing the promised shipping window had a wide range of dates. Seeing the updates coming from the company, however, leads me to think I’ll be running a Luma network sooner, rather than later.

I am eagerly waiting for the future.

  1. Not the actual content. 
  2. Think of it as the networking equivalent of “Whisper down the lane,” with similar issues. 
  3. Or “nodes.” 

2 Thoughts

  1. Is that the same thing that allows the lap top and printer to work together without being connected by wires?

    Sent from my iPad


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