A common problem I find is that home networks are getting larger and more complex.   The more devices you have, the harder it is to know just what’s downloading and when.  You find that your Internet speed is slow, but your Internet provider is adamant that all is well and blames a device on your network for slowing things down.   This is always difficult to track down – the only sure way is to unplug everything and plug them back in one at a time.   Obviously, this isn’t an ideal solution!

I’ve been using an iPhone app for years called Fing.   I highly recommend this free app as it’s great for seeing which devices are on your network.   Each device has a unique address, and this app scans all addresses to see what’s out there.

Surprisingly, I recently discovered that Fing has a device called a “Fingbox” which just might be the answer to your home network problems!  The Fingbox uses something fancy called “Data-Link-Layer Network Programming and Packet Injection”.   What this means is it’s able to hack into your home network, find out what’s happening and block any problems!

When you plug a Fingbox into your home network, like the app, it scans your network to find out what’s connected.   It’s then able to monitor each device and tell you how much data it’s downloading/uploading which makes finding problem devices much easier.   And if you do find a device which is swamping your network with traffic, you can simply block it.

All of this is controlled via an app on your phone/tablet which talks to the Fingbox and makes things really easy to setup and monitor.

But this has other advantages for a family on a home network.  You can assign devices to family members and then set a schedule for internet access.  For example, if you have kids, this gives you the ability to control when they have access to the Internet.   It’ll block all types of devices from games consoles, to mobile phones.

This leads into another type of device which I also recently discovered – the Disney Circle.   This is another device which plugs into your home network and is controlled by an app.   This box doesn’t report on which devices are downloading/uploading, but it does give you an easy way to control what each device can access in terms of content.

Like the Fingbox, you can associate devices with family members.  From here, you can then set a filter level for that family member.   The available filters are “Pre-K”, “Kid”, “Teen”, “Adult”, “None”.   So, you get to choose the type of content your kids have access to.  This is a great way to not have to worry about what sites your kids can get into while connected.  You can even block specific sites, or types of site (for example, chat forums, social media, etc).

You can also block ads – something of use to all ages!

As with the Fingbox, you can set schedules and limits to control just how much time your family can spend on the Internet.  And just like the Fingbox, the app and device are simple to setup and simple to use.

You can find out more about each device at the following websites:

Fingbox: https://us.fingbox.com

Circle : https://meetcircle.com

Both devices are available in Canada for around $130 each.

If you have any questions, or if you’d like help setting up one of these devices on your home network – please get in touch ([email protected])

Until next time, keep your kids safe online, and regain control of your home network!