Luma has become the latest router company to introduce a subscription service in a push to generate steady income from a new breed of mesh routers. The Luma Guardian service is being sold as the “world’s first personal IT team,” which is a bit of a stretch. It includes a VPN to create encrypted privacy for all attached devices, Webroot SecureAnywhere anti-virus protection for up to three devices, monthly ISP Speed monitoring reports, and priority phone support for subscribers who pay the $5 per month fee.
Mesh routers, like Luma, are usually sold in packs of two or three in order to blanket homes with Wi-Fi. The relatively tiny units are spread around the house to get faster, more stable connections without any dead spots. Eero announced its own subscription model a few week ago, which charges $9.99 per month or $99 per year for a security service with parental controls.
It should be noted that router owners could save on fees by installing their own VPN and anti-virus software, and running a periodic ISP speed test. Then again, many would prefer to pay someone else to do it for them.
Many of the new router companies are backed by venture capital, including Luma. Luma is backed by Amazon, Accel Partners, Felicis Ventures, GV, and others. Subscription plans are one of the most lucrative business models because, let’s face it — most people don’t purchase a new router very often. And with election and account hacking very much in the news lately, we’ll likely be seeing more and more subscription services marketed by router companies in order to capitalize on those security fears.