In the modern house, Wi-Fi is not a luxury, but a necessity. A solid connection means your kids can do their schoolwork from their room, you can surf the web at night in bed and watch the gamers in your family never worry about delay. The easiest way to get a good connection is with a mesh router: two or more devices that overlap to provide redundant, deep coverage.
Gryphon sent us two sets of their routers for testing: the Gryphon Tower and the Gryphon AX router. While this review focuses primarily on the Gryphon AX router, we did test the Gryphon Tower. Spoiler: It’s good, but the AX is better.
Gryphon Tower vs Gryphon AX
The main difference between the two router types is their coverage. They are not interchangeable; you cannot use one Gryphon AX and one Gryphon Tower. The Tower offers up to 5,000 square meters of coverage with two routers (one as a repeater) and throughput speeds of up to 1.3 Gbps.
The Gryphon AX, on the other hand, can handle Wi-Fi 6. It supports up to 4.3 Gbps and can support a wider range of connected devices. It also handles triband networks (2.4GHz and two 5GHz). There’s built-in malware filtering and intrusion detection technology to help keep your home network more secure, along with a ton of parental controls. The physical design of the AX is much smaller than the tower, making it easier to fit into tight spaces.
The only real downside to the AX is that each router only has two ports. One is the connection point for the Ethernet cable from the router. If you want to wire a game console or a computer, you only have one port to work with.
Price and value:
On its own, the Gryphon AX costs $279. You can also buy a two-pack for $479, resulting in a savings of $80. You can combine more than just two Gryphon AX routers if you have a larger house, but two of the routers are enough to cover 5,000 square feet of space. Gryphon also offers a 90-day money-back guarantee if you’re about to take the risk.
While these routers are not cheap, they compare to comparable devices on the market. For example, the ASUS RT-AX86U has many of the same specs, but costs $345. It also supports lower throughput speeds.
We researched many of the top Wi-Fi 6 routers on the market, and there are few options with better speeds and comparable features at this price. In addition to the basic purchase price of the router, 12 months of free Gryphon Premium is included. Many of the router’s best features are locked behind a premium subscription. This plan normally costs $99 per year or $9.99 per month.
App and Router Features
What is most striking about the Gryphon AX and its app is the number of features and options it offers.
You can set up multiple users within the app and assign specific devices to that user. Each user has their own settings, including Screen Time, Web Browsing, Access Control, Data Usage, and more. By creating individual users, you can limit the amount of time or the type of content that an account can access. For example, you can set specific time periods that your kids can access the internet with their laptops.
You can also view their browsing history through the app. It even includes a feature called “Show CDN” that clears the browsing history so that you can more easily see the websites the user has visited. With Access Control you can block websites by URL or by category. You can block gambling or dating websites, social networks and even music and video streaming sites.
The ability to block specific websites for certain hours is extremely useful for both parents and people who need help focusing on tasks and avoiding distractions.
There are also several individual settings that you can activate within User Settings:
- Age group: Assign specific security settings based on age. Options range from Toddler (blocks all except specified safe sites) to Unfiltered (unlimited access.)
- Safe Search: Filters adult content from popular search engines.
- Safe YouTube: Blocks all YouTube videos marked as adult content.
- Ad blocker: Blocks hardware-level ads, meaning any connected device can see content without the need for an ad blocker extension.
- Store browsing history: Tracks that user’s browsing history so you can view it from within the Gryphon app.
- Allow VPN: If you choose to allow a user to use a VPN, it can bypass Gryphon’s filtering and parental controls features.
Staying safe while browsing the web is more important than ever before, especially now that there are so many data breaches. The Security Center warns you of two major risk factors: weak passwords and open gates†
If a connected device has an open, unattended port, it can be used as a back door for hackers to gain access to your network. If you have a password that the software considers “weak” (as too easy to guess), Gryphon will warn you from the Security Center.
The Security Center can be accessed from the main page, where you will also see the number of malware applications that have been blocked, the amount of data used, and the last time a speed test was performed.
In the Devices tab, you can see every connected device on your network. However, if you have a smart home or just connect to a lot of devices, sorting everything can be difficult. This tab divides devices into a series of categories: managed, unmanaged, gadgets, TV and games, priority, and home-bound.
As if that weren’t enough, these categories are broken down even further based on connection type. You can view all devices, wired devices only, devices that are offline, or any device connected to your primary network.
Tapping on a device will give you a summary of its information, including:
You can also choose not to monitor that device and prioritize up to three devices in your home. Giving a device priority will give it the most network bandwidth if multiple devices are competing for it.
Installation and configuration
The idea of a mesh router can be intimidating to many people, especially anyone who doesn’t consider themselves “tech-savvy.” The Gryphon AX is incredibly easy to set up. All you need to do is download the app from the Google or App Store, create an account and follow the on-screen instructions.
These instructions boil down to:
- Connecting the Router
- Using the app to scan the QR code at the bottom
- Place your phone nearby until the two can sync
Most of the installation process is automatic. Once the first router (or primary router) is set up, you can add a mesh repeater. Again, this process is pretty much the same as setting up the first one.
It took less than 90 seconds to set up each router. After the devices were up and running, the app offered the option to set a Wi-Fi name and password. The best feature is that you can use the same SSID and password so that existing devices connect automatically, rather than having to reconnect all devices at once.
Once you’ve set up the Gryphon app, you can personalize your experience. You can manipulate detailed settings such as channel selection for different network bands, use Wi-Fi radio control, and even enable or disable the IoT network. This last feature is especially useful if you have a smart home as you can keep all connected devices on the same network without interference from other devices.
The app lets you choose what level of malware protection you want. However, it does have a “recommended” level that offers protection without being too intrusive. You can even control the LED light on the front of the router and choose whether it is always on or if it should go off for certain hours.
The app insists on account security. For example, if you don’t enable two-factor authentication, you’ll be prompted to do so until you agree. You can also ask the app to require Face ID if you are an iPhone user.
The Gryphon AX offers incredible WiFi coverage throughout the home. With the primary router on the top floor and the mesh repeater on the bottom floor, we found that devices had better connections and faster Wi-Fi speeds than with just a single router. Every aspect of this router, from setup to day-to-day operation, was unobtrusive and allowed us to focus on using our devices rather than worrying about connections.
The Gryphon AX is well worth the price, especially considering its added security features, parental control options, and ease of installation. Anyone would have a hard time finding a router with the same features at a better price.