What To Do When Something Is Broken?

For 15 years, I’ve built technologies to help large enterprises run and secure their networks. CipherTrust, Secure Computing, Purewire, Barracuda, Pindrop. Thousands of the biggest companies in the world relied on us.

Then one day last year I sat at home and realized that my home network was pitiful.

A popular Internet meme showing Maslow’s reconsidered. WiFi is kinda important.

Like many people I have laptops, tablets and also some cool Internet of Things device like thermostats, smart TVs, and cameras. However, the central device that connects them all — the wireless router, was dated. It was slow and frustrating. WiFi doesn’t reach everywhere in the house. Streaming Netflix doesn’t work in certain places in the house. I had to write down long passwords to get friends on the network.

And the router was actually pretty dumb. It couldn’t tell me what was happening on my network. It couldn’t tune itself to be faster. It couldn’t secure my devices.

It was then that I realized that all of the problems that we spent a decade solving for enterprises now existed at my house.

Ok, let’s build something.

We had to go solve it. Who better to do it with than my long-time partner Mike VB. For 15 years we’ve been building stuff together. We did CipherTrust and then started Purewire together. When we sat down at our usual coffee shop, Mike had similar thoughts and he explained the challenges of keeping his kids safe on the Internet. What sites are they visiting? Are they on the Internet too late at night?

It became clear that we had to go build the next generation home network. We gathered a team of brilliant developers and designers starting with our old friends Daniel Peck and Paul Royal.

We started building. We called it Luma. The definition of luma refers to the brightness of an image. Our goal with Luma is to brighten the home Internet experience by making it faster, safer and more secure.

You should be able to know who is using your WiFi network at any given time. Your WiFi network should figure out when the neighbor’s microwave is causing interference and route around it. Your network should know when there is a virus on a computer and then protect the other computers from it. These are things that we built for large companies and now we are building it for your home.

There are some fundamental problems with traditional routers that do not allow them to cover your house with WiFi. Look at speaker systems. If you want to cover your house with music, you put multiple speakers around house. You do not buy one single big speaker and just turn it up loud. Well that is what traditional routers try to do. Instead you should have multiple WiFi access points around the house to cover it with WiFi. So we built “Surround WiFi”. It is based on mesh networking. This type of technology powers the WiFi in almost every large enterprise.

The underlying technical details are compelling but we then had to make Luma visually appealing. We wanted the hardware device to be memorable yet unassuming. We made Luma in multiple colors to fit any decor. We then started designing an app that provides powerful experience of control and visibility for your network yet is simple and fun.

So after 15 years of building stuff for large companies, we get to build a device that will change the way that our family, friends, and others use the Internet. We’ve spent the last year secretly building it. I hope that you enjoy meeting Luma.

Here is the video:

Oh, and you can pre-order Luma now. It’s 50% off until the end of November.