A fast and reliable home Wi-Fi network is a necessity for many homeowners. But those of us who want to stay connected — in any corner of the home — are often hit with the cold hard truth.
Reliable internet access throughout the whole house is not always easy to achieve, and neither is it easy on the pocket.
Enter Plume, a startup that touts itself as a "rebel" in the home Wi-Fi business. The company's vision is to create a future of high-quality "managed" Wi-Fi at home.
Plume has created cloud-based "Pods" that are only the size of one's palm. This particular technology, along with its sleek form factor, makes it easy for homeowners to gain better net access in even the quietest corners of the home — where the signal might be weak if the more traditional router is used.
In short, Plume throws out the one "central" router system, whose signal may no longer reach the farthest ends of the house.
Goodbye, Old Wi-Fi Router?
"These unnecessarily expensive products," Plume CEO Fahri Diner says of old routers, "are based on decades-old technology."
Having only one main router to connect an entire house can also easily congest the system, given the increasing demands for fast and stable internet access in a variety of activities.
The old routers might not be able to handle "the complex variables and loads affecting a Wi-Fi network in a modern connected home," Diner adds.
A 'Rebel' In The Market? How Plume's Wi-Fi System Works
How exactly is Plume changing the game? For one, this brand relies on cloud technology and Bluetooth, and is deemed "self-optimizing." A user simply connects one Pod to the modem, downloads the application to set up a private home network, and plugs in all the other Pods in any regular outlet.
It's literally plug > download > connect. And the Plume Cloud takes over from there to "manage" the connections.
But perhaps the most striking feature of Plume has to do with its machine learning capability. The system can track the type of activity the Pod is being used for, whether it be for gaming, watching high-definition TV or managing the Internet-of-Things, and recommend how best to optimize the Pod based on these patterns.
The Cost Of A Good Home Wi-Fi System
For $234, Plume sells a minimum of six Pods, which the company says is perfect for a two- to three-bedroom home. (Of course, Plume recommends more Pods for wider coverage.) That total gives it a price tag of $39 per unit, but the price goes up to $49 after the preorder period.
"The intent was to give people more Wi-Fi, in more places, on more devices, more of the time – all at a more affordable price point," Diner says.
The Plume cofounder is also hoping to work with internet service providers that can distribute the router alternatives along with their Wi-Fi service package, and charge an additional monthly fee of $10 for the cloud-based Wi-Fi management.
The question is: would homeowners be willing to cough up extra bucks for this smart system?