Use this space to cheer the creator along, ask questions, and talk to your fellow backers. Please remember to be respectful and considerate. Thanks!
Hi Steven: In response to your three groups of questions:
1) When the user turns on the WatchList feature (optional), i.e., for a max list of 15 website URLs that the user enters, the cloud service will capture and present to the user of the Skydog application, the time spent by the users in the house at these sites in the last hour, day, week and month. Today we are not capturing more than a month of data, and again, this is an optional feature that the user can use with Skydog. Separately, when the Content Filtering feature (again optional) is used, i.e., a set of filtering categories can be set to block access to content, we do not capture any info on sites users are visiting.
2) We do not push upgrades. We provide notices to the Skydog user when we have a new firmware update for the router, and the user may trigger the update or schedule an update whether they are at home or away from home using the mobile application. This has been a very convenient and easy feature that our beta testers like as it removes the complexity of updating firmware while helping users benefit from the improvements we make to the router.
3) The standard WMM QoS schemes over wireless are supported. In addition, we have the Bandwidth Manager for the user to set a Zone (a set of Wi-Fi and wired connections) to have higher priority and more bandwidth over the other zones at that point in time. As shown in our Kickstarter video, you can easily switch the home network QoS priority so that the WatchMovie mode is selected to give streaming video higher traffic in the Family or Entertainment Zone over a large file download that is happening on the Work Zone. Alternatively, you can reserve a Zone for any device that requires highest priority over others. Depending on time of day and what users care to do, an application running on one device, like a Skype call for work on Dad's PC or the video stream from the Smart TV, may require the higher priority. Any one of these devices can connect to this HIghest Priority Zone to get the best performance at that time.
Skydog is giving users news ways to gain greater visibility and control of their home network and to optimize their network in real-time or following a schedule. We've also strived to make the interface intuitive and simple to use.
Hi, following up on the data question... is any site specific information captured and sent to the mothership, so to speak? IE: Are you able to monitor where users are browsing, VPNing, connecting, etc? If you do recover any of this information, how long do you retain the data, and do you store the data with user identifiable information?
Do you have the ability to push upgrades to the device without our involvement or do we have to accept upgrades? I'm just considering possible hacking issues. If someone were to compromise your system are they able to push compromised data out to our systems.
Lastly, for QOS, I've had many routers offer QOS of varying degrees of user friendliness, but generally you need to specify in detail the ports,etc. I'd love to be able to do that, but two nice features leap to mind. One probably much easier for you to do than the other. I'd love to just check a tick box on the QOS screen that says "Always prioritize web browsing." Normal browsing takes such small overhead I'd love that to always be number one. But I'd also love a way to prioritize streaming video (Hulu, Amazon Prime, Netflix) even if I'm downloading data like crazy. I don't know if you have a way to make that easy, but it'd be cool. :) Thanks!
Hi John: The Skydog solution runs with a cloud service, so the Skydog router does "call home" to provide status and for the cloud service to determine when the Internet connection to the home is down. The user can be notified in the form of email or SMS alerts when events occur on their Skydog home network. All this information is kept private to the user and the communication is via a secure protocol. We can also help improve our product this way to provide more accurate info and an improvement in user experience.
I wanted to post a question that might have been missed or confused by myself.
Does this router, upload any data to the mothership (you) for the effort of improving software, and the like?
I know there are a few routers on the market, in an attempt to keep things centralized, have them connected to the central server. Do you have this implemented or are the routers stand alone and do not "phone home"
Hi Steven: Yes, alerts on Internet disconnections and when they were back up are captured in the notifications and can be easily referenced from the Skydog application. We have heard many great stories from our beta testers on how that has helped them make a strong case to their ISP. Also, we provide speed tests to test the speeds between the router and the Internet. You can trigger this speed test from the mobile Skydog application on your smartphone even when you are away from home. Those speed tests are saved in the highly intuitive notification logs.
Here are what our beta testers have said about these points:
Amy from NY:
"I was at work and I got a a text message from the Skydog router that my cable had been shut off and I had had payment arrangements already…I just left work walked next door and told them that look you just shut off my Internet…"how do you know this" and I showed them my phone and told them look my router just told me...and he said "well, there's no router out there that will do that, and I showed them the text message and I said "well then just explain this." and he looked at me dumbfounded, then looked at his system and he said oh sorry, we have accidentally turned you off...he said, "I've never heard of a router that told me your system was shut down!""
Dawn from IL:
"I have got an ongoing thing with my service provider...I am getting nowhere near the speed where they say I should be getting…we get frequent dropouts…Skydog gives me the opportunity to test the speed...go in and quickly grab it when I think my speed is compromised...so I have a nice record to present to my ISP, that's my next battle."
Mark from CT:
"I actually just recently moved…and it was very convenient for finding out when my Internet connection had been reconnected...my ISP will say it's all set, but I would say no it's not (he he) and they wanted to know "How do you know that it's not?" I am not online yet, and my router will tell me when I am online."
Hi, one thing I would like to see is monitoring of the incoming internet connection. For example, I'm sick to death of calling my cable company and telling them that my bandwidth isn't capping anywhere near where it should be. I'd love to be able to check a log on this device that would show throughput, but also disconnections and connections. If I could get a log that would show to the minute when my service dropped and recovered, that would be awesome!
@Jerad Clark Data that is very sensitive because of my job. Its not my data, so I am very careful on behalf of my clients.
Please, stay in a well tested version of the product. Maybe a good stretch goal would consist of some kind of advantages for your backers in case of upgrading to future versions.
Hi John: Thanks for backing us!
1) our Skydog router supports 11b/g/n on the 2.4GHz and 11a/n on the 5GHz bands. This dual-band router runs both bands concurrently and any combination of b, g, a, and n clients can be connected to the router. We have beta testers that are connecting in some cases over 30 devices and in a large 3000 sq.ft. home, and we have confirmed connectivity with the devices you have listed here and many more, including Xboxes, Wii's, PS3s, Smart TVs, NEST, baby monitors, wireless printers, wireless extenders, powerline adapters, and more. We have debugged issues after several months of testing and confirm stable connectivity.
2) Our Online Forum and help tips that we setup for Kickstarters with the success of this campaign will provide information on connectivity and troubleshooting suggestions. We have found the participation in our beta tester forums to be very effective and learned what will work well for home users.
Thanks to over 75 beta testers nationwide, the hardware has been tested for several months now in many different configurations with different service provider networks around the country and with many different client devices and versions. We understand that the hardware needs to be solid as a base capability, then only users will benefit tremendously from the unprecedented visibility and control that can be gained with our Skydog application.
Please see the FAQs section to our responses on protecting user's privacy, that we provide Kickstarters updates with no monthly fees, and many more.
Just because I don't use ac doesn't mean that I don't need it. That is terrible logic. I have the same router for 4 years now. and it is using "n" standard. I am looking to upgrade my router.
Arguing that I don't/wont need the 802.11ac is similar say to buying an old pentium core duo because I won't use the full power of the i7 processor.
Benefits of the 802.11ac are that it has beaming.
Further broadcast range.
Faster connection speeds.
Better management with current signals.
I hope there is a stretch goal to get 802.11ac or ad, otherwise this router seems completely obsolete.
@John Sponheimer - What kind of a data is on your home network?
I am very intrgued, so I backed hopefully to get my questions answered.
Let me say to start, the concept of a better home management is long overdue...Kudos.
1) I see Wireless N is supported, but I am concerned about my devices I have. Roku, Galaxy S3, iPhone 5, Nexus 7, Old Barnes and Noble Nook Color, Kindle. I dont believe N is on all of those...do you support ONLY N? Or are the other a/c/g supported as well?
2) Privacy. I hate to say it, I don't care about the functionality if I feel my data is not save, under any circumstance. What is collected by you? I mean I really need to understand what is collected, and I believe as a pillar of your marketing you need to explain this in detail. I am not trying to blackmail you here...but its a serious issue. If the answers dont come out quite right, I will withdraw my funding (the product looks great, but I have LARGE reservations due to the nature of the data on my home network).
3) Firmware/software updates - How will this occur? How often? Do people get charged?
4) Tutorials of Integration into the network - Are you going to put tutorials online to show someone how to integrate this into a network with a Comcast router, or a Uverse router? I am techy but my networking/routing skills leave a little to be desired. I get my VOIP and Cable over this routed from my stupid telco/ISP, and frankly I would need help to get it installed properly. Done really night FAQs might be nice on the website for this....
Again, the product looks great, excited to hear back from you.
Hi "Some guy:" Thanks for backing us! Typically, in a multistory house, placing the Skydog router on the upper floor or in the middle of the house will give you the best coverage. The higher it is placed in an open space, not blocked by metal or mirrors, the better. Our beta users have confirmed that even in a two story, 3000 sq.ft house, or in a single-story 2700+ sq.ft. house, they have been able to get complete coverage with stable connections to all ends of the house. Another beta tester who had several other routers from different brands found Skydog to offer better range. He carried his laptop down the street with no clear line of sight, through trees, walls and under power lines and stuff, and got excellent signal even over 150 feet away from the router. If you cannot place the router on the upper floors or you have a larger home or your home has a lot of Wi-Fi signal interference, there are different ways to get more coverage, as we posted on Apr 12th below. As long as Skydog provides the IP address to all the client devices in the home, you can benefit from the powerful visibility and control that Skydog has to offer.
I currently use a Dlink router and a Dlink range expander. Router is in the basement and the expander on the main floor above it for better coverage. I understand ranges will vary based on home construction and placement but what is the rated range output/tested range output on this Router. Doesn't appear to be any ports for a high gain antennae accessory. I've seen your Cloud Command system on your website. Just hoping it can go upwards to 2nd story from the basement without having to run cable and get a second unit as I'm hoping to have less routers in my house.
Like what I see of the product so far. Dlink and Linksys rarely put much effort into their firmware for user interfaces or feature additions.
Hi Shaun: Yes our mobile application is HTML5 based and runs from the browser on WP8 phones. See our FAQs for more. Thanks for backing us!
Hi Lee: while we are getting positive feedback from our beta users that coverage is very good with one Skydog, we realize the merits of having multiple Skydog devices connected wirelessly through some form of mesh that will give strong wireless coverage throughout a large home or where signal interferences exist. We are looking into this as a next stage and would welcome more feedback and interest raised from other Kickstarters as well. Thanks!
Hi Andrew: Skydog works great for homes as well as for small businesses. Small businesses can benefit from the multi-zone technology to create separate subnets with it's own security and minimum bandwidth guarantees. Guest access and Content Filtering are also really good features for small businesses.
Since I do not have an iOS device, what can I do about the mobile access? I have a Windows Phone 8 (Lumia 920) will there eventually be a WP8 app?
Is there provisions for creating a Mesh in a home so coverage in a home is continuous throughout the home? I would probably buy 3-4 units and deploy them on each floor of the house (including 2 on 1 floor because of coverage problems), link them into a single wireless SSID so all my devices see one big strong WiFi network.
Will you market this at just homes - or would you go for the small to medium business / SOHO market too?
Hi Andra: Thanks for backing us! Interesting, FON allows you to share a bit of your bandwidth via the router with others in the neighborhood. With the Multi-Zone capability of Skydog, you can set one of the three Wi-Fi zones (subnets) for public access with either no Wi-Fi security or with Wi-Fi security that you share with your friends. You can use the Bandwidth Manager to set a limit on the amount of bandwidth you would share, thereby, ensuring that public access does not hog the bandwidth you need for your own home use. That public access is completely firewalled and isolated (like a VLAN) so that they are only allowed to get access to the Internet and prevented from intruding into your home network . This is just like how we advertise about creating a Guest Zone for visitors. Hope you like these capabilities of Skydog to share a portion of your Internet access with others in a safe way.
Would it be possible to integrate FON (http://www.fon.com) in the hardware?
Hi CK: Thanks for backing us! There are no hardware differences, and we will have regulatory certifications for the countries we ship product to. As we build units for international markets outside
the North America, we will possibly use a power adapter with an interchangeable plug.
What is the difference between US and other region version in terms of hardware?
1) any personal data captured is primarily for the use of that user for their private home network account and to provide that user with improved visibility and control of their home network,
2) we do not capture any personal or user-entered data that is transmitted between user devices and websites visited (non Skydog websites),
3) we do not share any personal information with any third party unless the user provides consent and grants us permission. Today we do not share any information to external entities.
The communication between our cloud service and the Skydog application is via HTTPS (SSL secured), and we use a secure authentication scheme with a Unit ID Code (UIC) that securely registers the Skydog router(s) to a user's account.
We appreciate the concerns on privacy and have strived to design the right architecture to provide an enhanced home network experience while maximizing on protecting the user's privacy as best we could.
We appreciate your commitment and pledge to our cause!
The Skydog Team
Regarding Hardware and support I'm good with what you are offering. Proprietary is fine as long as it works (and you do have a solid history) and firmware and updates can't be worse than most of the existing router providers out there :-). Also a good idea to just stick with the standards that are actual standards, not still in development.
Thanks for taking the time to answer.
@Whitecat - While it's good to support current standards, which AC is not, the cellphone market of a single phone released to consumers with AC support doesn't seem to be a selling factor:
dont' get me wrong. I'd rather this routher have AC support, so I wont have to replace it in a few years... but, I'll just replace it in a few years.
Hi "Whitecat": thanks for backing us! You are right that there are lots of "router companies" constantly integrating the latest and emerging wireless standards into their products. 11ac is in our roadmap as well, however, we are finding that there is a big void between what users need and what the traditional router companies are doing. With so many devices, more than the number of people at home, the increased complexity of all these applications up and running, and the lack of understanding what's happening at home while the gates to the Internet are wide open, there is a serious lack of visibility and control. It is not just about adding faster wireless. We see a greater opportunity to address this deficiency. With our expertise in expertise in cloud-powered networking, mobile applications and analytics, we believe we can uniquely address what homes and families would really care they get from their home network solution. We would like to get this experience to all with our high-performance dual-band 2x2 N gig router asap with the success of our Kickstarter campaign. New wireless standards will come as we advance in our cause. Appreciate your backing and support!
I know they are still underdevelopment. But that hasn't stopped router companies from outputting the new standard. And phones are now incorporating the new standard. I would be surprised if there were a new phone that didn't have 802.11ac.
Why aren't you using the new wireless standard?
We are on Facebook! Stay up to date with news, polls and much more on our Skydog's Facebook page. https://www.facebook.com/skydoghome
See our FAQs for responses to enquires on specifications. Thanks!
Hi Terry, on your question about OS and whether the router is flash-able, we are using our proprietary system on the Skydog router and designed it so that we can provide a rich set of new value in visibility and control applications by making the firmware work well with the cloud service and mobile application. So, at this time we are not making the router flash-able to run something else. We hope users will appreciate the new experiences, enhanced visibility and ease of control that is gained with our Skydog solution. Thanks for your support and understanding!
Hi Jason: Thanks for backing us! Yes, our HTML5-based mobile application works with popular browsers on leading mobile platforms including Android, iOS and Windows Phone 8. We've added this response in our FAQs.
Just backed. I didn't see mention of which platforms your mobile app will support. Will you support Windows Phone?
Hello Terry: Thanks for backing us, and apologies for a delayed response. We will answer some of your questions here and respond to others on Monday.
Q: The HTML 5 App
Skydog> Our Skydog mobile application (HTML5-based) for smartphones, tablets, PCs and Macs accesses the user's home network account on our cloud server, not the router directly. The application can be accessed from anywhere you are connected to the Internet, whether at home, another Wi-Fi network, or via 3G or 4G/LTE wireless. A simple to use and extensive set of information and control is thereby available to the user with our solution.
Q: Since it is a first release how long can we expect to get updates for this version of the hardware?
Skydog> Our primary focus at this time is to achieve our campaign goal, so that we can go into mass production for this rather powerful N600 (2x2) Dual-band N (concurrent) Router with all five Gigabit ports. The hardware has been QA tested and certified and has been under-going extensive in-home beta tests for several months in addition to testing in our labs. Thermal levels are very good too, The strength of our software/hardware architecture allows us to continue to add updates and capabilities to this version of the router as it benefits from leveraging the power of our cloud-based services. Any future development of a higher-end router (like 11AC) will enable us to offer a tier of routers including this current version for Kickstarters, so you can expect that we will support this version of the router and provide software updates on-going.
We'll get back to you on your other questions. Thanks for your patience and support!
Is the router running a proprietary OS? Is it a fork of one of the opensource options like Tomato or DD-WRT? Is the hardware flash-able to one of these on the very off chance it doesn't meet specific needs later in its life?
Is there a manual or product spec sheet we can see since you already have hardware in boxes?
The HTM5 app - that resides on the router or are my logs going out to your servers to be analyzed/displayed to me?
Since it is a first release how long can we expect to get updates for this version of the hardware? I can imaging that if successful you'll have newer/better versions and I don't want to be left behind as an early adopter - Don't follow the forced Apple upgrade model please.
Also, lots of mention of No Monthly Fees. Is there a plan that eventually it might?
Thanks. Great idea.
Thanks for the response!
Ok, will do Shannon! For the others to benefit, here's what we responded to Shannon:
Q: Will the router support WDS or mesh networking (for extending wireless coverage using multiple Skydog routers by having the routers communicate wirelessly with each other)?
Skydog> At this time, we do not support mesh wireless or WDS communication between the routers. This is an interesting concept, and we are exploring the feasibility for a future possibility. Today, we have several other ways to extend wireless coverage using Skydog with:
1) one or more wireless extenders (standard client/AP mode communication, not proprietary WDS),
2) using another router connected to Skydog via the LAN port with a long cable or with a pair of powerline networking adapters. Note that the second router should be running in bridge mode where DHCP & NAT IP addressing is turned off.
3) via a powerline with wireless extender kit (one powerline to ethernet connected to Skydog and another powerline to wireless AP on any power outlet in the house.
So, there are several ways we can support extending wireless coverage in the house.
All my questions were fully and clearly answered. Thank you!
Thanks for the reply @PowerCloud Systems, good information!
I'm posting a question I got an email response for. Please respond for others. Will these router support WDS or mesh networking?
Hi Jerad: Yes, you have a good point. Here are our responses to Andrew and Matthew. Hope these help, and thanks for your support!!!
Q: Would it work with BT Infinity (FTTC) here in the UK?
Skydog> Just plug it into the BT infinity Ethernet-out port. If the user is subscribing to a dynamic WAN IP plan then it should just get DHCP from BT and work. If subscribes to a static IP plan, then the WAN IP configuration needs to be configured from the local interface.
Q: Can it handle 1 or more static IPs?
Skydog> The WAN supports 1 IP (regardless of the static/dynamic configuration).
- How well does the DHCP server work? Can you set DHCP reservations etc?
Skydog> You can set an IP address for a specific MAC address both inside and outside of the configured DHCP pool.
Q: Port forwarding and other "standard" router functions - are they in there?
Q: Does it have a VPN server?
Skydog> We don't support VPN server (endpoint function), but VPN pass-through would work
Q: Will these routers act as just Access Points to extend a wired network into the air and still provide many of the functional benefits? When acting as APs and not as the primary router will I still benefit from your awesome sauce for the clients connected wirelessly?
Skydog> when you connect Skydog to an existing router that is connected to the modem or has the modem built-in, you will need to make sure that your devices get their IP address assignment from Skydog and not your existing router. This will mean that there may be cases when you may need to turn off DHCP services of your existing router to have Skydog assign all IP address assignments. Then you will benefit from all that the Skydog application has to offer to identify, monitor and control unique devices and give you the ability to assign users to devices.
Q: Will I be able to run multiple on the same network as I currently do with general APs to ensure full coverage and manage them both from a single account?
Skydog> you may use two Skydog routers in one house. You are able to use one Skydog application to view and monitor and manage the two routers and the users and devices connected to each. In addition, we will have the ability to turn off DHCP for one of those routers, so that all devices get their IP address assignment from the primary Skydog router. Then you will use the Skydog application to view one network instead of two. Also, please note that the two routers for our release in August will need to be connected via the Ethernet LAN ports, ie via a long/extended ethernet cable or using a pair of powerline networking adapters.
@PowerCloud Systems - Answering questions posted here in the comments, only via email means I don't get the benefit of that answer. As such, I'll let you know I'm curious about answers to both Andrew Davies and Matthew Stuart's questions, thanks.
BTW, it may appear that we are not responding to all the questions here. We appreciate your comments and have been reading ALL of them. Please rest assure that we are responding directly to the enquirer via the mail function or we are directing them to our FAQs. That way we can keep this Comments section to broader topics while having a better place to capture and find responses to specific questions. Thank you!
Hi Brandon: Thanks so much for your pledge. The router performs all functions for connectivity, bandwidth management, security and parental controls independent of the Skydog cloud service. No user traffic goes through our cloud servers. The cloud service is used for the user to gain visibility of usage, users and devices and for changing settings. So it's only these latter visibility and configuration changes that will not be accessible if our cloud sever goes down. Still, our servers have been deployed in industry-leading cloud services as we have been supporting business customers for several years for our Wi-Fi access solutions, and our servers have been running 24x7.
What parts of this device rely on the skydog service. If the unfortunate happens and your servers are no longer available, how much functionality do we lose?
Very impressed by this project. Have pledged straightaway.
By coincidence, I have just tried a competitors router (Linksys EA6500 with Cisco Cloud Connect) which does a similar thing. However, I will be returning the Linksys as, though it worked well, the configuration options and reporting are minimal at best. This will likely improve in time, but it doesn't cut it at the moment.
It was after I packaged the Linksys up that I stumbled across this project. If it delivers all it promises it will be a very popular product I am sure.
Would like to know a little more about it's specifications though :
- Would it work with BT Infinity (FTTC) here in the UK?
- Can it handle 1 or more static IPs?
- How well does the DHCP server work? Can you set DHCP reservations etc?
- Port forwarding and other "standard" router functions - are they in there?
- Does it have a VPN server?
Very best of luck with Kickstarter - August can't come soon enough now!
Hi Shawn: We are glad that you like our cause and thanks for backing our project! Great question: For Kickstarters who are making pledges on our current offers posted and at least until we reach our pledge goal, we are offering a great deal to our backers that they will get access to the application we are showing here with no monthly fees (and no annual fees). This is a dynamite deal, special to our early Kickstarters. Until we see the success of our Kickstarter campaign and what unfolds during this campaign, we cannot make any decision about when and how we bring this product to market. However, we can say that the minimum price in the market for Skydog will be $149, and even at this price there may be small annual service renewal fee for one or two of the features we are offering to Kickstarters today as rewards. There are still many other premium features that are possible in the future, such as an integrated service with home automation devices (like the "garage door is open when no one is home" example in our video). Those features may be offered at premium fees, but we have not defined them as yet.
So, we strongly encourage our backers to help us spread the word to our friends and family to seize the opportunity now to make your pledges and be rewarded with this special and fantastic Skydog offer.
Go Skydog !!!