Quite a few people asked whether pcWRT is a Skydog router alternative. To those who don’t know, the Skydog router is (was) a wireless router that helps managing your home network, including parental control features. It started as a successful Kickstarter campaign, and enjoyed a good reputation on Amazon. The company which made Skydog was later acquired by Comcast, and the product was discontinued.
Comparing to Skydog, which had a lot of monitoring and reporting features, pcWRT focuses more on blocking inappropriate contents, and blocking various methods to bypass the blocking. Below is a more detailed comparison between Skydog and pcWRT.
|Firmware||Proprietary||OpenWrt||If you know what you are doing, pcWRT allows you to have shell access, install additional OpenWrt packages, configure features from the command line, etc.|
|DNS based content filtering?||Yes, proprietary DNS provider.||Yes, third party DNS provider, for example, OpenDNS.|
|Device based filtering policy?||Yes.||Yes, but you have the additional option to turn on an authenticating proxy and apply a different policy based on the proxy authentication.|
|Time management?||Yes. Different access levels can be assigned for different times.||Yes. Different time schedule can be specified for different domains/sites.|
|Safe search?||No.||Yes.||Safe search is required in order to filter out search results that are not safe for kids. In pcWRT, you can turn on safe search for google, yahoo and bing by checking a single checkbox.|
|Blocks public proxy?||No.||Yes.||Using public proxies is an easy way to get around content blocking. Since the proxy is specified by an IP address, DNS based blocking cannot block connection to the proxy server. And because literally nothing is known about who’s providing the proxy service, it might also be a security risk.|
|Monitoring and Reporting?||Yes.||Yes.||The pcWRT router reports sites visited, sites blocked and bandwidth consumption for each device.|
|Cloud based?||Yes.||Not cloud based, cloud management is available as an option.||The pcWRT router provides you the best of both worlds. It doesn’t depend on our servers to function, but you can use our servers to manage it remotely if you want to.|
|Price?||$149 covers the router, the app and three years subscription. $30 per year subscription fee afterwards.||$99. No subscription fee.||Skydog is no longer available for sale. The pricing structure is listed here for reference only.|