Networking, Small business

Sleepy Router Market Awaits Wakeup Call

Small business and home office routers. Can't live with them. Can't get online without them. Sure, most low-cost routers are "good enough" at the basics. But a growing number of folks think the router market is ripe for disruption -- especially at the low- to mid-end of the market.

I've made similar statements before. But the anticipated disruptions are taking a bit longer to materialize than I originally expected. In the consumer market, I expected Google's OnHub to redefine the home router experience a month or two ago. I was wrong. OnHub didn't deliver the wow factor -- the performance, the simplicity -- that I awaited.

Google and Asus OnHub Version 2.0

Now Google is back with a new version of OnHub. Actually, let's call it the Asus OnHub this time around. This promotional video for the new device is pretty nifty:

But the latest OnHub "innovations" are also head scratchers. For instance, Google says:

"With the ASUS OnHub, we’re also introducing Wave Control, which lets you boost the Wi-Fi speed for a particular device by simply waving your hand over the top of the ASUS OnHub—great for busy houses."

Ummm... Don't we all want the best speed possible for all of our WiFi devices all the time? Should I assume if one device receives that WiFi speed boost, the other folks in the house just got throttled back? Hmmm... We'll get our answer when the $220 device ships soon...

Datto Network Appliance for the IT Channel

Meanwhile, I'm also waiting on the Datto Network Appliance (DNA), a router that seeks to redefine networking in the small business market. CEO Austin McChord is a hands-on R&D guy; he's the type of hacker who likely designed the DNA router in his own basement. (Earlier, he started Datto out of his parents' basement.)

Datto already has a strong IT channel following in the business continuity market. But DNA's launch is critical to the company's expansion into new sectors -- especially as Datto attempts to feed MSPs more products to consume, deploy or manage for SMB customers.

Target Ship Date

Datto announced DNA earlier this year and originally expected it to ship this fall. But it sounds like Datto decided to inject more wireless capabilities into DNA, and the company now expects to release the router in January 2016. The Datto product team tells ChannelE2E:

"We pushed the release to January for a more robust solution, adding in WIFI.  It is a cloud based ISA with auto failover to 4G. All built and priced for the channel. That means we have built the product to include lots of margin for the solution provider.  Not only will it be more affordable than most solutions available today but there is enough profit and margin for the solution provider to easily add it as a top producer in their managed services offering."

DNA will be a channel-only offering, adds Rob Rae, VP of business development at Datto.

We'll be watching for updates...

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.