Overall Network Protection 

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I have always regarded Bitdefender as a software company with its undoubted expertise in the area of security and antivirus – that is until now.

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The reason for this change is the Bitdefender entry into the field of hardware arena with the launch of the company’s Box product.  While a definite change in product type, Bitdefender has remained true to its roots as this hardware release is still steeped in the field of protecting devices from malware infestation.

Designed to protect the home network, consisting of all its connected devices including those that form part of the Internet of Things (IoT) within your home environment, the Box is subtitled the Security of Things.  In a way this completion of the circle is appropriate as the devices which protect our homes, now have their own protection from outside threats in the form of the Box.

Making up this product are the Bitdefender Box, power plug, Ethernet cable, standard-to-micro USB cable and a small Quick Setup Guide booklet.  Having described the Setup Guide as small, I could well use the same word for the description of the Box.  This white topped, black based box with rounded corners has dimensions of 88 x 88 x 27 mm with these measurements duplication those of the Setup Guide apart from the depth.

Located on the rear of the Bitdefender Box are ports for connection to a power source, Wi-Fi router and your Internet Service Provider (ISP).  This latter connection option is used to connect the Bitdefender Box to the Internet without involving a router.  A further item to get the full benefit of this system is an app from the iOS or Android store.  This will need to be downloaded and the app will pair to the Box when it is set up correctly.

The lightweight (92g) Bitdefender Box is powered by a single core 400MHz MIPS microprocessor with access to 16MB of flash memory.  There is also 64MB of DDR2 RAM and support for 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi.  When first powered up, the Box will emit a red flashing light from the front of the unit as the device works its way through its setup process.  You will need to create an account for the Box and protect it with a password. 

An automatic check will be made to see if any new updates are available.  In my case it was.  On the completion of this firmware update, my router announced it required further action that involved logging into its router web interface and disabling the DHCP option.  This resulted in the red light on the front of the Box changing to a blue light to signify that the setup process was complete.  However other aspects of the system were not as happy as I was cut off from the web and unable to load any Internet pages.

A request for help from Bitdefender technical support team was called for with telephone and email support being available.  A solution to the problem as to why my Cisco X3000 modem/router was being unresponsive was quickly achieved.  The solution was to disconnect and then reconnect my network so that the new connection was recognised.  As a result I now had access to the web although it did not feel quite as quick as that achieved prior to the introduction of the Bitdefender Box.  But I have no timing evidence to support this feeling.

You can use the downloaded app to view Box activity.  This app will show the amount of protected traffic plus the percentage taken up by the various elements on the network under the Box protection.  A timeline will allow you to move between time periods to check out any activity that might have occurred.  Individual devices can be named and setup to act as a quest or family device with settings relating to management, private line and local protection.  Notifications can deliver information as to any activity as devices connect to the network and other actions take place.

The Bitdefender Box works by intercepting network traffic and scanning it for signs of malware presence.  If any is detected then it will be blocked and you will be informed.  Constant updates are promised regarding improvements in performance and features.  These updates come as part of the annual subscription fee for the product.  At presence I only have access to US dollar prices with the initial purchase costing $199 for the Box and a year’s subscription.  Subsequent subscriptions will cost $99 per annum.

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