Wi-fi setup is usually pretty easy: you find a space in the house, hire a team of radio experts to scan it for dead spots and an entire IT team to manage security and QoS. Then you try to connect from the back patio and discover that you can’t watch YouTube from the picnic table.
To remedy this Dr. Paul Judge and Mike Van Bruinisse created Luma. This tiny Wi-Fi hotspot connects using a sort of “surround sound” method to ensure there are no dead spots in your home. One unit costs $99 while three cost $249. It is available now for pre-order. Like Google before it, a custom and more clever Wi-Fi router sounds like just the ticket.
The system also offers user and parental controls so you can shut down certain devices at certain times. It connects via a private mesh network with other Lumas, thereby creating a massive hot spot around the house.
Luma has raised $3.5 million led by Felicis Ventures as well as Base Ventures, BIP Capital, Relay Ventures, Hans Robertson, co-founder of Meraki, and Jed York, CEO of the 49ers among others.
“The answer to Wi-Fi coverage is mesh networking as used by large enterprises,” said Judge. “Luma also provides parental controls, visibility and cybersecurity. Luma is the first product to provide this full set of speed, safety and security.”
Judge also put a lot of smarts into a little box.
“We squeezed mesh networking, content filtering, mobile device management and cybersecurity into a little good looking device. Each device communicates with app via Bluetooth and helps you find the best place in your house to put it. The Lumas then all communicate wirelessly to build the ideal mesh network for your house. They communicate about traffic patterns and network interference then they automatically tune and reconfigure on the fly to optimize performance at all times.”
The product ships in 2016 and is 50% off right now. Barring a quick trip to the Best Buy TCP/IP and Wireless Expert Lab (which I don’t think exists) this might be the best thing for a big home with lots of Wi-Fi trouble.