Norton Core Router Review

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As our homes are getting progressively more and more connected, we’re also becoming more and more vulnerable. In October of 2016, a massive chain of smart toasters were hacked. Yes, we can hear you groan from here.

“What’s the worst they could do with that? Burn my toast?”

Believe it or not, this hacking attempt shut down Spotify, Twitter and The New York Times. When there are enough simple devices in a hackers network, they can shut down just about anything.

Researchers have conceptualized (and designed software that can protect against) hacking attempts that could bring down the power grid in major US cities by simultaneously turning on everyone’s heat and AC.

If we’re going to rely on our gadgets to control every part of our lives, it makes sense that we should take steps to protect these gadgets from malicious use. Before any online attack can penetrate your network, it first has to go through your router.

We’re not here to tell you that every router on the market is inherently vulnerable. In fact, most modern routers are quite secure. But the simple fact is that routers aren’t completely up to date with the way we’re using our networks. Norton’s Core Router aims to change all that. Since the company is well known for it’s easy to use security software, we decided to go hands-on and see what this powerful router has to offer.

Norton Core


Without a doubt, this is one of the most unique looking routers we’ve ever come across. You could legitimately pass this off as a piece of art. To anyone who sees it in passing, “router” is likely the last thing that will come to mind.

But the design isn’t just a gimmick. It actually serves an important purpose. If you want your home network to function at peak performance, your router should be at the center of it all. And this is certainly something that you won’t mind having there.

But every router needs to have a few things in common. One of those things is ports. If you lift it up, you’ll find that Norton has tucked all of the ports into a hollowed-out portion underneath. You’ve got four separate Ethernet ports, two USB 3.0 ports, and of course the power port and button.

Norton Core


Although the outside will catch your attention, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. Since this router is doing much more than a basic model, it’s important that it’s got some powerful hardware to back it up. The router runs on a dual core 1.7 GHz processor that runs a compact version of Linux. This isn’t unheard of in the networking industry, but it’s definitely approaching the upper echelon of hardware.

But perhaps the most unique piece of hardware found inside is the beamforming antenna. Until recently, there were two types of antennas on the market. You had omnidirectional antennas, which are the most common. These antennas broadcast signal evenly from the center. Directional antennas create a focused beam of signal that only heads in one direction. These are most commonly used in expensive corporate networks and are heavily engineered. The beamforming antenna is a bit like a combination between the two. The router actually has tons of antennas arranged in a circular manner. If the network is experiencing heavy use in one direction, the router can focus the signal where it’s needed. This improves the signal quality all around the house, making the router more powerful than competing models.

Norton Core


Now that we know the basics, what exactly is it that makes this router more secure than competing models? The first line of defense comes from the automatic background updates. Norton is constantly keeping its finger on the pulse of the security industry. When it detects a threat, it can automatically update every router on the market to protect itself from this threat. This means that you’re not just protected from the current threats, but the ones that haven’t even been created yet.

Norton is one of the few companies we’d trust with this job. Security research is an extremely expensive and resource intensive process. If a brand-new company released the same product, we’d have to be skeptical of their ability to maintain their system. But this is already the core of Norton’s business, so you can rest assured that they’re not going to bail on their clients.

You can think of the Norton Router a bit like a hardware virus scanner for your home. It’s got a huge database of current threats, and will be on the lookout for them at all times. But, in reality, most security issues come from users accidentally misconfiguring their network in a way that is not secure. The Norton router scans every device on your network and provides you with a security score. This score provides at-a-glance information about how secure all of your devices are. If issues are found, you’ll be notified and given directions on how to fix them.

We tend to be pretty on top of our network security (at least we thought we were) but the Norton Router still found a few issues. We had two devices that were out of date, and there were several risks that had come to light since the last one. All it took to fix was a quick update. The router also found that one of our devices had an open port, but this was corrected automatically. We simply got a notification explaining the change, with the ability to reconfigure if the change caused any issues for us.

Norton Core


The Norton Core uses the 802.11ac protocol allowing for up to 2,500 Mbps. This isn’t your standard AC WiFi, this is the updated version that allows for more than twice the bandwidth of the previous version. Fortunately, you don’t have to worry about backwards compatibility. The router had no issues connecting to our older AC equipment, and even provided acceptable throughput when we forced it into G mode.


Like most Norton products, this isn’t something that you buy once. The company has to constantly keep its security database updated. For this reason, it’s a subscription device. If you’re already paying for Antivirus, you can rest easy since the subscription includes free antivirus for 20 devices. But if you’re not willing to pay for an Antivirus, or you aren’t willing to switch over from another provider, this probably isn’t the model for you.

Norton Core


As a bonus add on to the security features, Norton offers filtering tools to keep your family protected from unsavory content. If you have children, you can select the types of sites you want them to be able to access, and receive a notification if somebody tries to access something they shouldn’t.

You can also set bandwidth limits for each device. This is especially useful for anyone who lives in a rural area and is using mobile or satellite internet with bandwidth restrictions. This feature means that you’ll never see an overage charge again. It’s also handy if you’ve got one user who just can’t keep his usage at bay, and you’d like to add on some limitations to their use.

Final Verdict

Wondering if the Norton Core is right for you? We’d recommend this to anyone who’s been looking to tighten up their network security, but doesn’t have the technical know-how or the time. We spend a lot of time working with technology, and we’d like to think that we’re on top of any security issues. But what the Norton Router taught us was that even we can let things slip some times.

While this security system is reasonably foolproof, those of us who like to dig into the nuts and bolts of a network might like this option as much. It’s designed to be simple, and so it doesn’t give as much control over the finer details. For these users, we’d probably recommend something like the Linksys Max Stream EA7300 as an affordable option, or the Netgear Nighthawk X10 if you want peak performance. While both of those routers are built to the highest standard, if you want to turn them into an impenetrable security system like the Norton Router, you need to be confident in your technical ability.

Another consideration is range. This router has excellent range for just being a single device, but it’s not going to effectively cover an entire house as well as something like the Linksys Velop. Norton doesn’t currently have a mesh version of it’s router, but it’s something we’d like to see.

For the average home user, we’d definitely recommend trading in your antivirus subscription for a router like this. After all, securing your devices without protecting your network is a lot like bolting down your valuables and not locking the door.

16 thoughts on “Norton Core Router Review”

  1. Ok- I’m the “average” home user, with limited technical skills as those who like to know the nuts and bolts of a networks inner workings. I would love to learn but simply don’t have the time or patience being a parent of 3 children (whom allllll use devices on a wifi network). I currently have Verizon Fios 100 mbps with Signal Extender Router. No I don’t say that it is NOT good- but I suffer from a lot of disconnects and variable low signals on different occasions. We are definitely a household of MANY devices, from IPADS, laptops, cellphones, smart watches, gaming consoles (xbox, playstation), multiple smart tvs, chromecasts, fire tv, apple tv, a couple ALEXA dots, ECOBEE Thermostat, Schlage Wifi Locks, etc etc. I can easily say that we have 15-20 devices connected at a given time with our 6 person household. I really want security as well. I do have a subscription with Norton already and would consider the Core. However, what would that entail, changing my internet provider – or would this simply replace the router I currently have and just connecting the wires to the CORE? Would I be able to connect the Fios signal extender router to Core considering that you mentioned that the range is great but not perfect? I am just curious and hope I can get some feedback on some simple probably trivial questions as an “average” or maybe even “novice” user. I really appreciate it ! THanks in advance.

    • Fatima, sorry, this is not an answer to your questions. I am just thanking you for clearly stating my exact situation. This device is a lot of money and it would be nice to be able to make an educated decision. One would hope Norton would provide more information about these basic questions.

    • Not with the site but I can answer a bit of your question. Yes you can simply replace your router with this one. But you will most likely NOT be able to attach your “extender”. Im guessing you have a fios provided repeater. If your still having dissconnects and “holes” in your wifi with an extender you probably want a wireless mesh network. Its pricy but will cover every inch that you want it to. If there is a dead spot, you just add to the network with another node. While the Core doesnt have mesh options right now they say its “mesh ready” which points to a possibility its going to come online later. However, the Core does claim to cover betweena 3000-5000 sqft home, so that is slightly larger than most routers ranges. I would contact norton, ask their return policy, and test it out. FIOS provided routers arent exactly on the cutting edge of technology and this router may solve your problems

      • I would be very concerned with whom I spoke with at Norton. Yes, you can return it. But is that the goal. I have had one on order for months. I have had a Netgear router added to my modem through BrightHouse Cable in Florida. I upgraded my internet service and got a combo modem/router (eh?) but kept it because I knew I had the Core on order. Anyhow, I received the Core. The setup is easy. However, I have my Desktop connected via ethernet (hard wired) and I have a printer connected via Ethernet. I called Support for help. I needed the IP Address to set up a port for the printer. WELL… After one hour, this still never happened. The person on the phone was so so so clueless. And believe me… I am no rocket scientist. But I knew what I needed. All I wanted was an IP address. I am still waiting for my return label. He told me the Core doesn’t cover this type of situation. NOT true by the way or it would not have three ethernet connection on the back of the unit. But I am done. Back to Netgear. I would have liked to have tried it. Hope I will get the label. I don’t have another hour. Doesn’t anyone know how to say let me find someone who can help you. By the way, this is why I gave up. What will happen in the future.

    • Hey Fatima, this may not have the ability to replace your current router. Some use the coaxial connection (round wire that is screwed onto the modem/router) which this device does not have. If you use a router in addition to the connector from your internet service provider then it will most likely work. However don’t be fooled by the 3000-5000 square foot home coverage. This will be depend on the construction material and dividers in the home and this most likely calculated by having it in the center of the home rather than to one side of the home where most modem/routers are placed. I am also wary of using one source for internet security. None of the antivirus packages protect 100% and to rely on one is not enough. Although it is a great step, I believe it will develop a false sense of security. Check with Consumers Report and PCWorld (shows the technical and consumer evaluation of packages and devices) on ratings and you’ll see many times that the free version of one antivirus package has been rated better than paid versions, beyond that none are 100% effective. We use a combination of packages and good hardware that is much more effective with more capabilities and less expensive in providing security. I would deem this more a placate package. It is simplified and does some coverage, but at the expense of full security, dollars and capabilities. I would suggest finding a professional that can get you where you need to be instead of relying on off-the-shelf trial and error.

  2. I am currently looking for a solution to a WIFI problem for my church. Our current router is set up in a church office and we have a computer in the auditorium that we would like to connect to WIFI without having to pay a monthly dedicated line fee for a seperate router that may or may not see frequent use. There are 9 walls between the current router set up and the computer we wish to connect to Wifi. There is no way that we have found as of yet, to move the router close enough to this auditorium computer so that we can connect to the internet and do things like streaming videos. Would this Core router help at all with this issue and if so, how?

    • Scott: I think you would be much better off just running an Ethernet cable, it is much more reliable. There must be someone at the church that can help you. Another option is trying “ethernet over powerline” (search in google). I use it at home and it works “ok”. The speed is slower, but it works and is a $50 solution. A permanent cable is much better.

  3. So, does this router include security? Do I have to own some sort of software security on my devices to link to it? Also, how would this secure my IOT devices?

  4. I ordered the Norton Core when it was first introduced. Now worried I won’t be able to use it.
    I have AT&T 6.0 router…. from reading the comments the core won’t work with my setup?
    Thanks in advance…
    With my router now I can use my cell, pc, roku and alexa.
    Also have a yearly subscription to Norton’s Antivirus.

  5. Purchased a Norton Core at recommendation of Lifelock through Router was installed by GeekSquad agent. It operated flawlessly for 8 weeks then one morning crashed for no apparent reason. After several unsuccessful tries to reboot, I contact Norton Core Support. I was told the GeekSquad agent installed the unit with an undiscoverable email address, unknown to me. After repeatedly calling & speaking to a different Norton agent each time (they did give me an open case reference number) the case has been “escalated” to the engineering department. I was promised a call within 24-48 hours and it is now a week later and no call.
    At their request, I provided a copy of my best receipt to prove the unit was note stolen.
    My wife spoke with a Norton Core support agent and got the same run around I have been getting over the past 8 days & no hint of resolution in sight.
    I suspect the unit may have problem that Norton can’t fix at the moment or they don’t care about customer service & will drag us out till we quit. Then, I’m out $267 for the unit and $100 for the errant GeekSquad install service charge

    • The Geek Squad was caught viewing customer hard drives on behalf of NSA without customers knowledge. I would not trust them with anything. An ‘unrecoverable’ email address means they set up your core so they receive email related to your core – typically when you HELP.

      The Geek Squad is your problem not Norton.

  6. Question: I have several wireless routers in my home to cover the remote areas. If I hook the Norton Core to my cable modem first and then connect the other routers via an ethernet cable to one of the Norton Core ports, will my entire wireless net work benefit from the Norton Core router features and security protection?

  7. Simply put, yes.

    Because all the other routers (working as range extenders), are behind the firewall (and the Norton threat scanning), they would all be protected in the same way.


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