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Luma looks to boost your home network signal and security

Luma Silver Shelf.
Source: Luma
Luma Silver Shelf.

With home wireless networks managing a growing number of devices, one company wants to raise the bar (literally) for wifi signals.

Toward that end, Luma — a start-up that aims to compete with residential router systems such as Belkin, Linksys and Netgear — is introducing what it calls a "surround wifi," a router that provides a boost to Internet speed and security.

The hexagonally shaped hotspot is run by an application, but fits in the palm of a hand and boasts a multiroom signal. It seeks to end the dreaded 'low-bar' problem mobile device users frequently face when an Internet connection loses potency, or there are too many users on the network.

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In addition to scanning for viruses and identifying network users, the Luma can also exert parental control by shutting off mobile devices at certain times, or filtering access to certain sites.

In an interview, founders Paul Judge and Mike Van Bruinisse told CNBC that the numbers of household devices that access the Internet are surging, making home networks nearly as clogged as public wireless networks. Smart home technology, such as Wi-Fi thermostats, televisions and other products, are part of the problem, they said.

Connectivity and security issues "have been largely solved by companies, but a home network is as complex and demanding as a business network," said Judge, a veteran Silicon Valley entrepreneur.

"The average number of devices in a U.S. household has gone from five to six in the last three months," Van Bruinisse told CNBC, ticking off the growing number of home products that now require Internet access. That is making consumers more conscious about security, he added.

Judge said that Luma addresses three main home network concerns: ensuring coverage throughout the house, parental control of Web access for minors, and cybersecurity. Citing data from IDC, Judge told CNBC that more than $2 billion alone is spent by consumers guarding against malware and viruses — which Luma technology can identify.


Judge declined to comment on how much venture capital Luma has attracted, but cited a host of angel investors like Omar Johnson, Beats By Dre's chief marketing officer; Erik Norlander, an engineering partner at Google Ventures; Maynard Webb, chairman of Yahoo and former COO of eBay; and Jed York, the CEO of the San Francisco 49ers.

Luma launches officially next year, but a single can be purchased on the company's website for $99 and a three-pack for $249. Once the product goes mainstream, the price for a router will jump to $199, and a three-pack to $499, Luma said.