If you have a household of internet connected devices, like cell phones, laptops, computers, cameras, security systems, tablets, vacuum cleaners, TVs, Stereos and oh so much more, then this is the best way to keep the wrong people from taking advantage of vulnerabilities of those things. The Bitdefender Box 2 is meant to sit between your Internet Service Provider and your network and monitor all traffic that goes out to the world wild web.
As I have a modem and a router the setup was fairly simple. Using the Bitdefender Central app it required moving 2 cables from the router to the box and box to the router and it was up and running. However, in order for the Box 2 to actually see all the devices on the network, the router had to be changed to a bridge, which is also fairly simple on most modern routers. If you don’t already have a router, or your modem is the router, the Box 2 can provide router functions. The one thing I don’t like is that you don’t get to control many of the network features you normally do of a typical router, such as controlling your channels and guest networks. So, my router still provides the individual device connectivity. Your network IP is also then controlled by the Box 2, which I can’t find any way to change back, so I have just adapted.
All of the control of the Box 2 is performed through the Bitdefender Central app with no local web interface. The app provides details of every device that is connected and for the most part identified the devices perfectly, providing their network names and device type. All devices that aren’t a computer or an Android device were identified as “Protected” while all the other devices showed as “Needing attention.” When checking the computers and phones it states that they are protected, but only on my home network and recommends installing local protection. If the device is not the device that you are currently using, then it will ask for an email to send you a link to the Bitdefender Antivirus Software for that device, otherwise you can choose to install locally if you are logged into the central site on a PC.
As for protection it has notified me that it has blocked dangerous URLs, one in particular I still have no idea what it is and why my TV is trying to get to it, but others were on purpose and the site just showed a Bitdefender splash page that showed it was dangerous. Through the app I could allow the site, though it isn’t very clear where it goes when you allow it if you do it by accident. You have to go into the Settings > Whitelist if you want to remove it again. You can also pause a devices internet connection preventing them from using your internet all together.
In addition to having local network protection you also get a year’s subscription to Bitdefender Internet Security for unlimited devices. This includes antivirus, optimizer and parental controls. All of these features can be monitored through the Central app and site as well. The software can be found through other reviews, but for the price, if you have more than 5 devices it is well worth the annual subscription. One feature I did not notice till I tried it with the Box 2 is the parental controls, once installed on the devices, allow for easy control and monitoring of your child’s devices. This can help limit what they can search for, who they contact, and the times or amount of internet they are allowed to use. However, it seemed to bog my son’s phone down a good bit and when I went to change the bed time hours, after hours, it would not give him access till we uninstalled parental controls. With the parental controls you do get to see more of what traffic is being used by them, but that is only devices being controlled.
Though I’m not much of a major paranoid type person, the one thing I don’t like is the fact that I have another party that now sees every single thing we do on the internet. It was bad enough my ISP could do it, and even Bitdefender software pushes their VPN to help protect privacy. However, the Box 2 is seeing your traffic before it is put behind a single IP and using their cloud to help determine what is safe and what is bad. Though I do feel comfortable that some random hacker may be adverted and my kids will be safer, I just don’t like knowing they can see stuff and they aren't showing me what they get to see. Like it shows per day how much traffic is “protected” but what was in that traffic.