Linksys. The company has been around for years, and is now "the connected home division within newly merged Belkin International and Foxconn Interconnect Technology entity", with Foxconn the OEM manufacturer for just about any major brand you can think of, and now owner of its own major brands, like Linksys, too.
Linksys is one of the companies that makes mesh routers, which use multiple devices to create a mesh of Wi-Fi coverage in your home, far greater than any single router is able to do.
Now comes a new feature called Linksys Shield for what the company says is for "Velop Tri-band owners" (and not dual-band Velop owners), and while it is a premium subscription service, which means an extra monthly fee, it is a service provided in conjunction with Trend Micro, one of the top Internet security companies out there.
Why dual-band Velop owners can't purchase the service isn't explained.
Given that the filtering is happening at the router level, this means that all of your devices are protected, while also meaning that you can adjust the level of filtering and protection on a per device basis, with age-based filtering options.
It has to be said that some people just aren't happy about yet another monthly payment, as can be seen at this Linksys community forum in the US, but if you had to purchase separate software to do something similar, it would likely be a similar monthly or yearly subscription, and it wouldn't be integrated directly into your router.
Luckily it is still a mostly free world, so you can make whichever family security and Internet filtering software and hardware choices you feel are best for you, but Linksys and Trend Micro clearly think there is a viable market, and it's evident that many families will think so too, even at an additional cost, or they wouldn't have gone down this path.
The additional security features are listed as follows:
- Content filtering flags sites that contain adult, violent or unwanted content and allows you to choose which types of sites your kids can visit;
- Advanced browsing protection by checking the sites you visit against a database of millions of known threats, can help prevent you and your family from unsuspectingly visiting malicious sites; and
- Age-based content filtering, ability to schedule screen time and pause the Internet on specific devices.
Justin Doucette, Linksys senior director of product development, said: "Linksys prides itself on Wi-Fi performance including speed, coverage, and reliability and premium user experience enabled by software enhancements.
“We want to put the control back into the hands of our users, so they feel empowered to protect themselves and their loved ones from any potential danger in the digital world their own way.”
Hideyuki Tsugane, director of IoT business development at Trend Micro, said: "Having Linksys continue to select us as their security partner of choice makes us very proud.
“Together we are helping protect the homes and minds of Linksys users by securing their digital information in our exceedingly connected world.”
We're told that Linksys Shield is available to purchase through the Linksys App and will be a firmware update for Velop users.
Pricing for Australia, New Zealand and the US:
Australian Parental Control Subscription is A$7.49 per month or one year for A$75.99 and is available today via firmware and app update.
New Zealand Parental Control Subscription is NZ$8.49 per month or one year for NZ$86.99 and is available today via firmware and app update.
US Parental Control Subscription is US$4.99 per month or one year for US$49.99 (which may not include taxes as Australian prices traditionally do) and is already available via firmware and app update.