There are free firmware for routers that extend the functionality of certain models – DD-WRT, Tomato and Hyper-WRT come to mind – but if you want a user-friendly interface, the Skydog system might be better for you. Made by PowerCloud Systems, it lets you monitor and manage home networks using a convenient mobile app.
The Skydog router looks like a typical router. It has four Ethernet ports and offers dual band wireless N at up to 300mbps per band. But where it really shines is in its mobile app. The app is based on HTML5, so it will work with practically all mobile devices and desktop computers. It lets you see and label connected devices and restrict or put a time limit to their access, down to specific websites. This is great for parents who want to control their kids’ internet access without having to look over their shoulders all the time.
It also lets you save and switch templates so you can give more bandwidth to certain devices, like when someone wants to play online games or stream high definition videos. Best of all, you can manage a network wherever you are as long as you have an Internet connection. You can even manage multiple Skydog routers. That’s a godsend for people who are designated IT guys in their families.
Pledge at least $99 (USD) on Kickstarter to qualify for an early unit of the Skydog. Better start a fundraiser among your friends and family.