WiFi routersâ€”just about everyone has one, but we donâ€™t know a lot about them or who makes them. One fact is clear; the consumer networking product space is dominated by white and Asian guysâ€”which is why Luma is blowing my mind.
The largest, most prolific consumer router companies are Linksys, Netgear, and D-Link. Linksys and Netgear are American companies, and D-Link is a Chinese business with headquarters in Taiwan. The CEO of Linksys, whom I’ve had the pleasure of meeting, is Chet Pipkin, a white dude and a completely likable fellow. Netgearâ€™s CEO is Patrick Lo and the head of D-Link is Roger Kaoâ€”both of Asian descent.Â Router parts are made overseas, mostly in China.
Iâ€™ve covered the networking product space reviewing routers, range extenders, wireless adapters, and other such products for almost a decade. There have been several startups of late, promising to fix the woes of WiFi coverage that plague many. The biggest complaint is dead areasâ€”routers that donâ€™t transmit a strong enough WiFi signal to cover an entire home or office space.Â Eero is one such startup promising whole-home coverage.
Now we have Luma, a WiFi solution that employs three identical routers. These routers sync together to create what is known as a â€śmesh networkâ€ťâ€”think of it as a blanket of WiFi that covers an entire area in wireless connectivity.
I am always impressed with startups that dabble in hardware. The costs of manufacturing, not to mention research and development, makes a hardware-focused startup more challenging than launching a business that creates a software or service solution.
Luma was created by Dr. Paul Judge and Mike Van Bruinisse. Both are networking experts that have worked together for almost two decades. But get thisâ€”Dr. Paul Judge, CEO and co-founder of Luma, also just happens to be a black man. Judge is a serial entrepreneur, investor, scholar, and all-around bad ass. He holds a B.S. in Computer Science from Morehouse College and received his Ph.D. and M.S. in Network Security from Georgia Tech.
I have yet to test Luma, but I am expecting a review unit any day now. However, it looks promising. As a person obsessed with computer networking since the 90s and as a black person, I am absolutely intrigued with Dr. Judgeâ€™s Luma, and its vision for whole-home WiFi. I canâ€™t wait to get my hands on the product.