The whole “Internet of Things” (IoT) is like having a Swiss Army knife that does the one basic thing in its name but also has a corkscrew, a screwdriver, lots of other things. For a device to really be IoT, it needs to not just be multi-talented but to be sensible in it how it’s able to multi-task. That’s why ASRock’s X10 IoT Router not only deserves its name, but is worth having exactly because of what it does.
The X10 does three things that all revolve around the home. It’s a router that accepts an Internet connection cable and so able to pass that on through Ethernet ports on its chassis to other devices. But it also possesses Wi-Fi capabilities and supports AC1300 (the fastest standard now available). This means it also comes equipped with high-gain antennas and support for MU-MIMO and beamforming: both of these technologies working together to send 5GHz (up to 867Mbps) and 2.4GHz (up to 400Mbps) Wi-Fi signals on its way to cover the home with strong and stable signals. That’s going to be needed because of what people expect Wi-Fi to handle these days — a weak, puny 5GHz signal isn’t going to be able to handle 4K streaming, that’s for sure.
So obviously it makes sense that the X10 is the starting point of the home network, and will have the expected controls and technologies built in that people need and want: stuff like parental controls, being able to function as a secure VPN server, able to transmit files from home for accessing remotely (M2M or machine to machine tech). Plus the expected iOS/Android app for setting up and remotely working with the router without having to go to a computer; manually controlling smart devices or setting up schedules, controlling multiple X10 or G10 routers and doing all kinds of other stuff as well.
Now that’s a lot for one router to do, but there needs to be more for it to truly hit IoT status. The X10 accomplishes that by becoming a “hub” for smart devices that let you control, alter and modify your lighting, monitor water consumption and electricity usage, automate your door locks, thermostats and more. The catch is that all these devices are using Zigbee, a wireless technology which the X10 controls in a mesh network. Zigbee-compatible devices need a hub (or master control) for keeping everything in line, and since the X10 has a ZigBee controller built right in, that’s taken care of.
But there’s more — the X10 provides universal remote control capability because it has an IR (infrared) transmitter built into it too. IR works by sending a command via an invisible beam to a device’s IR receiver (for example, a TV or portable AC unit, etc.). Thanks to a “Cloud” based device database, controlling these IR devices becomes a simple matter of a few taps, even though you’re not physically present where the device is. For those going “old-school,” use a device’s remote control to program the X10.
And don’t freak out that there’s too much to make sense out of — just check out ASRock’s short instructional videos. They’re easily digested.
The X10 IoT Router is designed to be powerful but easy to operate because there’s no advantage to having a plethora of features difficult to access — then they’re likely to be ignored. That’s not the case here, because the X10 begs to be used and for that use to be expanded into ways that automate your home. That’s pretty amazing for having a price tag of just $139.00.