The smart, open-source router we deserve

This could be the first router we don't want to throw out the window

Technology evolves at an alarming rate. A few decades ago computers were giant monstrosities the size of cars but now you can carry them in your pocket. Mobile phones were bulky bricks with few features but now they’re slim and emulate XBOX games. Robots used to be sci-fi but now they’re taking people’s jobs. Some technologies don’t seem to progress at the same rate though. Today’s printers are still the same paper-chewing demons using unicorn blood for ink, and projectors are only just catching up with the times. There is perhaps one piece of technology that is the most frustrating yet commonly used: the router.

We’ve all tried the “easy setup” for a new router and wondered why the hell it isn’t working despite following the instructions perfectly. Maybe it just needs turned off and on again? We’ve all had friends ask to join our networks and unsurprisingly struggle with vN3847yCbT38 as a password. Let’s not start on how ugly they are. Routers surely should have improved more by now considering they’re found in pretty much every connected home. A new Kickstarter project called Lylo looks like it could be the first router to be genuinely excited about. It could be the router we deserve.

At its simplest, Lylo provides internet access to your devices via Wi-Fi just like any other router. Beyond that it promises to fix all the things we hate about other routers. It’s pretty and looks like it belongs on your coffee table rather than hidden out of sight behind the TV or sofa. The creators, Oneby, promise that their router will make life easier when it comes to setting it up, connecting to new devices, and even controlling what people can get access to online. Oh, and it’s an adorable little orb.

To connect a new device, you just tap it against the router. Instead of needing a horrible password, the admin will receive a notification allowing them to confirm or deny access. You can set up Lylo so that guests can connect temporarily, which keeps your network more secure.

Image © Oneby

An intriguing feature of Lylo is the control of the internet that connected users experience. Parents can set up the router so that adult content isn’t available for their children. There’s no application or configuration required because it all happens in the router itself. The internet connection can even be deactivated temporarily during homework hours or at night time, creating angry children the world over.

We’re excited about smart home tech so it’s great to see a router that’s designed for a future where all your home appliances can be controlled from your smartphone. Rather than using loads of different apps to control things like your lights and thermostat, Lylo’s app can control them all via the router using preset configurations. Night time mode? Lights off, doors locked, and temperature lowered slightly. Off on holiday? Lylo will turn on the lights periodically to make it look like someone’s home. Lylo should make home automation simpler by running everything through the same helpful hub.

Image © Oneby

Lylo is open-source so you can modify it, improve it, and profit if you like. There’s no subscription service or cloud computing for any of the internet control features, so all your information is kept private in your home. It can connect with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, USB, ethernet… The features list is massive and addresses everything that makes most routers so rubbish. At this rate we can only assume it gives back rubs too.

The Kickstarter campaign is looking for €150,000 (£118,335). The cheapest backing option that includes the router as a reward costs €219 (£172). It’s more expensive than most of the frustrating black boxes currently available but it’s not every day you see a cute, open-source router that actually wants to play nice.

Main image © Oneby