Data security is a hot topic. We’ve seen leaks from massive companies like Google and Facebook recently where people have had their data publically exposed. Many people are also concerned about third-party companies and the government snooping on their traffic. Because of these issues, Virtual Private Networks or VPNs have never been more popular.
The way most VPNs work is by creating a secure tunnel from your computer or phone to the VPN service’s servers. Your data travels along that tunnel and then once it gets to the servers, it heads to its intended location.
Read more: Should you use a VPN on your phone?
The reason for using a VPN numbers in the hundreds, if not thousands. First off is privacy. By using a secure connection and encrypting your data, it’s hard if not impossible for someone to snoop on what you’re doing. VPNs also allow you to get around region restrictions and ensure that your connection isn’t susceptible to a man-in-the-middle attack while connecting to a site where you use sensitive information, like your bank.
There are a number of VPN options out there. Many are paid like Private Internet Access. There are some free services out there, but as the saying goes, if you’re not the customer, you’re the product.
But, now there’s a new kid on the block. For the last couple of weeks, we’ve been testing out the new VPN service from Izzbie.
Izzbie is a different kind of VPN that leverages your home network to a create safe and convenient private network. There’s no third-party cloud or 2P2 software involved and it uses military-grade AES 256 encryption for your data.
Sounds amazing right? So, let’s take a look at how it works.
First up, you attach an Izzbie One box to your network. I have mine coming out of my switch. You don’t have to fiddle with putting it between your connection and modem or router, it just connects with an open ethernet port.
Then, you run through the setup process and log in. Walking through setup in the app can be a tad confusing, but Izzbie has informed us that the app will be getting a redesign to make it more functional and intuitive to use. The company includes setup instructions in the box and has a video walkthrough on its YouTube channel as well. We found that the setup, once properly executed, is done within minutes and pretty painless.
After your account is set up, its time to find the Izzbie box on your network. A simple tap of the “discover devices” button and you’re off. Once you are connected to the box, you’re done. Now, all of your data from your phone is flowing through your home internet connection.
At this point, you may be asking yourself why you’d even want to do this. I am by no means a networking guy and I had trouble wrapping my head around the advantages here. If I’m going to route all of my network data through my home internet, why wouldn’t I just stay connected to WiFi all the time?
The real magic of Izzbie is when you leave the house. Now, you’re not connected to your WiFi but your data is still running through your home network. And, you get the added benefit of encryption.
If you’re on a business trip in another country and want to watch your favorite Netflix shows during your downtime, this is perfect for getting around region restrictions. If you have a home NAS that can only be accessed from inside your network, boom, you’re good to go.
You can also expand your possibilities by adding another Izzbie box to your arsenal. During our testing, I had a friend set up a box at his house so I could test the functionality. It helped quite a bit as I was troubleshooting some Plex server issues I was experiencing. But, if your workplace requires a secure connection to remote in, this is also an excellent option.
Izzbie tells us that the real value of the system is hooking up multiple Izzbie One boxes. It allows users to connect multiple LAN networks into a virtual LAN. This allows users to get a LAN-like connection to all of the IT resources they need access to. It also allows user-to-network and network-to-network communications as if they’re all on the same network.
There are downsides here, but they minor. You are capped to the speed of the internet connection your box is connected to. Instead of pulling 80-100Mbps through my cellular connection, I was limited to 15 up and down because that’s my home internet speed’s upload limit. If you have fiber, you shouldn’t really run into this issue. Additionally, if you’ve ever used a standard VPN, you know how slow they can be.
Izzbie is generally much faster, especially when connecting to a NAS. You get a LAN-like connection, which is much much faster. This allows users to map the NAS as if they were inside the same LAN. The same benefits apply if you’re connecting to devices like IP cameras, printers, or servers.
And it is a little pricey. The almost $300 price tag does feel a little prosumer. But, you are getting all the hardware you need and a lifetime subscription. In a world where everything has a recurring cost to it, it’s nice to be able to buy something and just be done paying for it. And Izzbie is appropriate for a prosumer or small business environment, so those who are looking for a little bit more than your standard consumer-grade options will be getting your money’s worth.
Despite those minor annoyances, we really find a lot of value in just how simple the system can be to set up and use. You see a ton of value here when you compare Izzbie One to a VPN router. Izzbie doesn’t require router configuration, a static IP, or DDNS. Additionally, you never have to open any incoming ports to get Izzbie to work, a major plus for network security. All you need to is a single user login and you’re on your way.
If you’re maintaining a corporate network, there are a ton of advantages for you too. It’s super easy to add and remove users for the Izzbie network. The system also allows your users to connect to multiple locations with just one login, instead of juggling multiple logins. No more tickets to reset credentials!
We think this is a great start for Izzbie. There are some things that need addressed like the aesthetics of the app, but those changes are on the way.
We spoke to the CEO, Alan Hui, to get an idea of where the company and the service are going in the future.
He told us that Izzbie isn’t stopping here. It plans to bring IoT products to the market like smart door locks and cameras that all use the Izzbie platform. Since you’d be able to use these devices without requiring the cloud to relay the data transmission, it’ll be much faster and more secure to use. It will also allow you to connect to IoT products in multiple locations using the same login, something most cloud services can’t do at this time.
So, should you invest in Izzbie? If you’re looking for a different kind of VPN, we think so. There’s a lot of promise here and we’re really interested to see where the company goes. If you’d like to get in on the ground floor, you can pre-order by checking out Izzbie’s Indiegogo campaign.