Reviving HomeKit-Secured Routers

Routers secured by HomeKit may not be the first accessories that come to mind when thinking about smart home gadgets. Nevertheless, routers are still alive and well as an accessory category in the world of HomeKit. That’s despite a thread on Reddit this week that suggested HomeKit was no longer open for business as far as routers were concerned.

The thread reads that it has been unofficially confirmed “that manufacturers can no longer submit new products for HKSR,” referencing HomeKit Secure Routers. However, 9to5Mac has verified that router makers can continue to make new routers that are secured by HomeKit. The MFi licensing program allows companies that develop and distribute routers to integrate Apple’s HomeKit technology into their products.

Apple’s pitch for HomeKit-equipped routers is that they add “more protection to your HomeKit accessories by controlling which services and devices they communicate with on your home Wi-Fi network and over the internet,” per the company’s documentation.

While it’s true that there are other methods for restricting how smart home accessories can interact with the internet, routers secured by HomeKit are more straightforward. They offer customers in the Apple ecosystem an out-of-the-box experience that doesn’t require networking expertise while providing benefits that more technical users may configure.

One theory that surfaced after the incorrect information was published is that Matter could replace the need for routers secured with HomeKit. Matter, which Apple supports, is still making its way into smart homes, however, so HomeKit-equipped routers will continue to play a role in Apple’s privacy-focused smart home strategy. Whether or not companies continue to invest in HomeKit compatibility when producing future routers is up for grabs, but Apple is leaving the door wide open for new routers secured by HomeKit.