In the modern home, Wi-Fi isn’t a luxury, it’s a necessity. A strong connection means your kids can do their homework from their bedroom, you can surf the internet in bed at night, and your family’s gamers never have to worry about lag. The easiest way to get a great connection is to use a mesh router: two or more devices that overlap to provide full, redundant coverage.
Gryphon sent us two sets of their routers for us to test: the Gryphon Tower and the Gryphon AX Router. Although this review focuses primarily on the Gryphon AX router, we tested the Gryphon Tower. Spoiler alert: it’s fine, but the AX is better.
Griffin Tower vs. Griffin Ax
The main difference between the two types of routers is their coverage. They are not interchangeable; you cannot use a Gryphon AX and a Gryphon Tower. The tower offers up to 5,000 square feet of coverage with two routers (one serving as a repeater) and speeds of up to 1.3 Gbps.
The Gryphon AX, on the other hand, can handle Wi-Fi 6. It supports up to 4.3Gbps and can support more connected devices. It also manages tri-band networks (2.4 GHz and two 5 GHz). There’s built-in malware filtering and intrusion detection technology to secure your home network, plus a ton of parental controls. The physical design of the AX is much smaller than the Tower, making it easier to install in 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 connect a game console or a computer, you will only have one port to work with.
price and value
On its own, the Gryphon AX costs $279. You can also purchase a two-pack for $479, which translates to an $80 savings. You can combine more than two Gryphon AX routers if you have a larger home, 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 not sure about taking the risk.
Although these routers are not cheap, they compare to similar devices on the market. For example, the ASUS RT-AX86U has many of the same specs, but costs $345 and also supports lower performance speeds.
We’ve reviewed several of the best Wi-Fi 6 routers on the market, and there are few options that offer better speeds and similar features for this price. In addition to the router’s base purchase price, it includes 12 months of Gryphon Premium for free. Most of the router’s best features are locked behind a premium subscription. This subscription normally costs $99 per year or $9.99 per month.
App and Router Features
What stands out most about the Gryphon AX and its app is the number of features and options it brings to the table.
You can set up multiple users in the app and assign specific devices to that user. Each user has their own settings which include screen time, web browsing, access control, data usage, etc. Creating individual users means you can limit how long or what type of content an account can access. For example, you can define specific time slots during which your children can access the Internet with their laptop.
You can also view your browsing history through the app. It even includes a feature called “Show CDN” which sorts browsing history so you can more easily see the websites visited by the user. Access control allows you to block websites by URL or by category. You can block gambling or dating sites, social networks, and even music and video streaming sites.
The ability to block specific websites at certain times is extremely useful for parents and people who need help concentrating on tasks and avoiding distractions.
There are also a variety of individual settings you can enable in User Settings:
- Age range: Assign age-specific security settings. Options range from Young Children (blocks all but specified safe sites) to No Filter (unlimited access).
- secure search: Filters adult content from popular search engines.
- youtube vault: Block all YouTube videos marked as adult content.
- ad blocker: Blocks ads at the hardware level, which means that any connected device can display content without the need for an ad blocking extension.
- Store browsing history: Tracks this user’s browsing history so you can view it from the Gryphon app.
- Allow VPN: If you choose to allow a user to use a VPN, they can bypass Gryphon’s filtering and parental control features.
Staying safe while browsing the web is more important than ever, especially today when there are so many data breaches. The Security Center warns you about two main risk factors: weak passwords and open ports.
If a connected device has an open and unattended port, it can be used as a backdoor for hackers to gain access to your network. If you have a password that the software considers “weak” (too easy to guess), Gryphon will alert you from the Security Center.
The Security Center can be accessed from the home page, where you’ll also see the number of malicious apps that have been blocked, the amount of data used, and the last time a speed test was run.
The Devices tab allows you to see all connected devices on your network. However, if you have a smart home or just connect to lots of devices, it can be difficult to check everything. This tab divides devices into several categories: Managed, Unmanaged, Gadgets, TV & Games, Priority, and HomeBound.
If that’s not enough, these categories are further broken down by connection type. You can see all devices, only wired devices, any offline device, or any device connected to your main network.
Tapping on any device will give you a breakdown of its information, including:
You can also choose not to monitor this device and prioritize up to three devices in your home. Prioritizing a device will give it the most network bandwidth if multiple devices are competing for it.
Setup and Setup
The idea of a mesh router can be intimidating to many people, especially those who don’t consider themselves “tech savvy”. The Gryphon AX is incredibly easy to install. All you have to do is download the app from Google or the App Store, create an account, and follow the on-screen instructions.
These instructions boil down to:
- Router connection
- Using the app to scan the QR code at the bottom
- Move your phone closer until the two can sync
Most of the setup process is automatic. Once the first router (or main router) is configured, you can add a mesh repeater. Again, this process is very similar to setting up the first one.
It took less than 90 seconds to configure each router. Once the devices are up and running, the app provided the option to set a Wi-Fi name and password. The best feature is that it allows you to use the same SSID and password so that any device existing one connects automatically, instead of having to reconnect all devices at the same time.
Once you’ve set up the Gryphon app, you can customize your experience. You can manipulate granular settings such as channel selection for different network bands, use Wi-Fi radio control, and even enable or disable IoT networking. This last feature is particularly useful if you have a smart home, as it allows you to keep all devices connected on the same network without interference from other devices.
The app lets you choose the level of malware protection you want. However, it has a “recommended” level that offers protection without being too intrusive. You can even control the LED light on the front of the router, choosing whether it’s always on or if it should turn off at certain times.
The app insists on account security. For example, if you don’t enable two-factor authentication, you will be prompted to do so until you accept. You can also tell the app to ask for Face ID if you are an iPhone user.
The Gryphon AX delivers incredible Wi-Fi coverage throughout your home. With the main router on the top floor and the mesh repeater on the bottom floor, we found that the devices had better connections and higher Wi-Fi speeds than with a single router. Every aspect of this router, from setup to day-to-day operation, was unobtrusive, allowing us to focus on using our devices instead of worrying about connections.
The Gryphon AX is well worth the price, especially considering the added security features, parental control options, and ease of setup. Anyone would be hard-pressed to find a router with these same features at a better price.