Almond: The Wireless Router for the Rest of Us
In the Summer of 2012, an unknown Taiwanese startup called Securifi introduced the world’s first wireless router and range extender with a touch screen interface.
Almond’s touch screen marks a radical departure in wireless router design. If you’ve ever set up a wireless router, you know that in the past you’ve always needed a PC to do so. Companies that make these devices typically “streamline” setup by creating a CD-based installer that, once popped into a PC’s CD tray, walks you through configuration. Or they provide a cryptic IP address for the router, forcing you to fire up a connected PC and enter it via a web browser. (The IP address essential to setting up, configuring, and maintaining my D-Link DIR-655 wireless router, for example, is 192.168.0.1.)
Almond, however, is different. Not only do you not need a PC to set it up and configure it … in ordinary use, you don’t need a PC to reconfigure or maintain it, either.
Almond’s Touch Screen Wizard Makes Setup Easy
Once you’ve taken Almond out of its box and plugged it in, its touch screen asks you to select a language (Almond speaks fluent English, Spanish, German, French, Russian, and Japanese) and next presents its Wizard.
The Wizard begins by asking whether you want to set up Almond as a router or as a range extender. Which you choose depends on whether you already have a reliable wireless router and want to extend its range in your home or apartment or whether you need to replace it with Almond. (FYI: a range extender is also known by tech enthusiasts as a repeater or booster).
Extending the range of an existing router is perhaps Almond’s most popular feature — mainly because as simple as it is to set it up as a router Almond’s even simpler to set up as a range extender.
In fact, to prove that set up takes no more than 2 1/2 minutes I’ve created this brief video demo:
Securifi Almond Range Extender Demo
Step 1: The Stylus
Before the Wizard begins, Almond reminds you that it carries a built-in stylus to assist you with your touch screen choices. You can always use your fingers, too.
Step 2: Router or Range Extender?
Almond asks you to choose whether you’re setting it up as a router or as a range extender. I’m explaining how to set it up as a range extender, of course.
Step 3: Pick the Router Whose Range You Want to Extend
Almond displays all the wireless routers in your vicinity. Find yours on the drop-down list (you can scroll down if the list is long), press to select it, and then press Next.
Step 4: Enter the Password for Your Router
I sincerely hope you’ve secured wireless access to your router with a good password. If you have, now’s the time to enter it via Almond’s virtual QWERTY keyboard.
Step 4 (Cont.): Review Your Password
Once you’re done, Almond lets you review the password to make sure it’s correct.
When you’re satisfied it is, press the Next button again. Almond now:
- Looks for your router
- Finds it
- Waits for your router to assign it an IP address, and
- Establishes a connection
That’s It! Almond’s Now Extending Your Router’s Range
That’s all there is to it. Almond’s now extending the range of your router—helping you access the Internet wirelessly from corners of your home or apartment you may once have avoided as so-called dead spots.
Of course, you’ll get the most from Almond as a range extender if you bear in mind:
- Almond’s selectable list of routers in your area indicates their signal strength—from green (strong) to amber (weak) to red (insufficient)
- Almond works best when it’s situated to get a strong and reliable green signal from your router
- The added range Almond gives your router depends on intervening walls and floors and, in cities, on competing for wireless traffic from neighboring routers, so if you encounter signal issues try resituating Almond
- As a range extender Almond by default takes the name of your router while adding the extension _Almond, so if your router’s name is Morpheus Almond’s name becomes Morpheus_Almond (however, the touch screen makes it easy to strip off this extension if you prefer)