This is a sponsored article and was made possible by Bitdefender. The actual contents and opinions are the sole views of the author, who maintains editorial independence, even when a post is sponsored.
Have you been longing for an easier way to protect the growing number of devices in your home or office? Tired of using software and looking for something a bit more convenient? With a focus on IoT (Internet of Things), Bitdefender BOX could be just what you’re looking for to protect the privacy and security of your computers, laptops, mobile devices, and smart devices.
The video below gives you a short and sweet intro to the BOX, after which we’ll get into the pros and cons of this hardware.
What Is Bitdefender Box?
In a nutshell, Bitdefender BOX is a piece of hardware that acts as an antivirus for your home network. Any device that is connected to the BOX will benefit from its security features which work around the clock to keep you safe from fraud, malware, data theft, phishing, spyware, and other online threats. It does this by intercepting your network traffic and scanning it for malicious activity.
Whenever a threat is detected, you’ll be notified via the mobile app (required and linked below). These notifications are broken down by user and device which can be customized in the app. Basically, you’ll be able to see who dodged a bullet and on which device it was dodged.
I do wonder if this could be a bit too telling for some people, though; not everyone wants their whereabouts known when it comes to the Web. In case you’re wondering: yes, you can see exactly which website was blocked.
Use Alone or as a Companion
Although you don’t need a router to use Bitdefender BOX, it’s recommended and just makes sense to use it along with your router. To do this, you just need to:
Connect the included micro-USB cable to the two-prong power supply and plug it into an outlet.
Connect the included Ethernet cable to an available port on your router and connect the other end to the LAN port on the BOX.
Open the mobile app and follow the step-by-step directions. Note: a Bitdefender account is required; you can create one in the app.
This way any device that is connected to the router (via an Ethernet cable or WiFi) is automatically protected by Bitdefender BOX. It can also be set up alongside an Apple AirPort for those who have one.
Alternately, you can use Bitdefender BOX as a “standalone router.” In this way it works similarly to a WiFi extender. It doesn’t provide you with Internet access, but you will have to connect each device to it manually in order to be connected. With this method the Ethernet cable will instead need to go into the WAN port.
If your router happens to be one that isn’t supported or if you have no way of changing the DHCP setting on your router (you will need access to your router’s admin page), you’ll have no choice but to use the standalone option.
Setup Takes a Little Time
Setting up Bitdefender BOX was a bit difficult, even with help from their support team; it took a few tries along with some basic troubleshooting. I do appreciate that it comes with everything you need to set it up: BOX, ethernet cable, micro-USB cable, power supply, and quick start guide.
The directions in the quick start guide are very easy to follow and there’s also a User’s Guide online in PDF format. So here I was thinking that I would just fly through the seemingly easy setup process but instead spent four days trying to figure out why the BOX wasn’t working properly.
Thankfully, Bitdefender’s support is very responsive, so they were able to help me through a major issue I was having.
Mobile Device Required
Since the only way to control Bitdefender BOX is via a mobile app (sadly, there isn’t a web interface), you will need a mobile device to use it. There are apps for both Android and iOS.
Once you’re able to get everything set up and running smoothly, you’ll be able to monitor the “protected traffic” for all connected devices via Activity Report. This easy-to-read graph is supposed to be updated hourly. This is one of the things I’m still having an issue with, though; it’s not being updated properly.
My favorite feature is the Devices list. It shows you everything that’s connected to the BOX. However, I did find it strange that everything from my WiFi extender to my WiFi thermostat showed on the list, but my husband’s smartphone was nowhere to be found. Even installing the app on his device didn’t help. I’m still troubleshooting this as well.
From the Devices list, you can add specific devices to your trusted “Family” list; these devices benefit from more features and get full access to your network.
Devices on the “Guest” list have limited control over them and are easiest to block from your network (as they should be).
If you want to be safe even when you’re away from home, you can activate the “Private Line” feature within the mobile app; this sets up a secured VPN to protect your mobile devices no matter where you are.
They Definitely Got the Design Right
The Bitdefender BOX weighs just 3.24 ounces and is 3.5 x 3.5 x 1.1 inches; it also supports 802.11n WiFi and has 100Mbps bandwidth. There are three ports on the back: micro-USB, LAN, and WAN. There’s also a small hole that can be used to reset the box by inserting a paperclip.
Even though the Bitdefender Box 2 will be coming out later this year, I honestly prefer this design to the newer model (going by what I’ve seen in pictures). Being the girly-girl that I am, the first word that popped into my mind when I saw Bitdefender BOX was “cute.”
You have to admit, you can’t help but love the aesthetically-pleasing design of this palm-sized box. I love how sleek it looks next to my router. As a matter of fact, I would say that it outshines my router. Lastly, the blue LED indicator peeking out from the bottom (that changes to red when there’s an issue or during recovery) is a very nice touch.
I much prefer this little piece of hardware to software that has to be installed on every device – and especially those devices that you can’t install software on. Bitdefender BOX is a way more convenient and economical way of protecting all those hackable devices in your home.