Parental controls on devices are nothing new, but if you want to take things a bit further than that, you can invest in the Gryphon AX router to really control your family’s internet access. This sleek looking device is the latest offering from Gryphon, and like its previous models comes with a whole host of parental controls baked into the router, so that no matter what device connects to your network, you can ensure that your other devices and family members are kept safe.
The Gryphon AX is a mesh router, so you can pair two of them together to blanket Wi-Fi across your home. Given than just one unit can cover a space of 3,000 sq ft, it’s a remarkable system to use that pretty much eliminates any dead zones in your home. Its minimalistic look also makes it easy to hide in plain sight, and with no antennae sticking out or bright flashing lights, the Gryphon AX easily blends into any environment it’s setup in.
Security is the Gryphon AX’s number one priority, and there are a lot of options to take in. Basic security options such as blocking unknown devices, screen time management, browser control, and guest Wi-Fi are straightforward to setup and applied instantly. More advanced security options such as malware protection and ad-blocking are also available, but these are only unlocked for Premium subscribers.
This is one of the things that holds back the Gryphon AX. Given that it’s already an expensive router, some households may not need to opt for the Premium subscription and can happily make do with the default security options. You also have to make do with just the single LAN port, so if you have more than one device that needs wired Internet, you’ll have to invest in a small switch to accompany this as well.
Price and availability
The Gryphon AX is available now and is priced at $279. You can buy a two-pack bundle for $479, which is better if you’ve got a truly massive space that needs more connectivity.
However, it’s available only from Gryphon’s website, with shipping only to users in the USA. We’re hoping that this changes in the future and that shipping either opens internationally or is made available through other sellers such as Amazon.
The Gryphon AX’s packaging is kept to the bare minimum – the box contains the router, an Ethernet cable, power adaptor, and a small instruction booklet to download the app to set everything up. The plug pin is also a US standard one, so you’ll need to make sure you have a converter handy to adopt to your local standards.
The router itself is sleek and stout, with no ugly antennae anywhere, unlike most standard wireless routers. At the back you’ll find the power point, and two Ethernet ports – one for Internet and one which can be connected to a single other network device or to a switch to allow for greater wired connectivity.
It’s unfortunate that there’s only one free network port since you’re more likely to want to connect gaming consoles or TVs with wired ethernet than wireless. There’s also no USB port for connecting a USB drive or printer, so bear this in mind if it’s a feature that’s important to you.
The simple nature of the Gryphon AX’s design means that you can set it up in any space and it instantly blends in. It looks like some sort of futuristic Bluetooth speaker or could even be mistaken for an air freshener – the point is, it doesn’t draw attention. The single LED light at the front is also miniscule, ensuring that the Gryphon AX doesn’t distract when the lights are turned off in a room. There’s no word yet if Gryphon will offer the AX in other colors such as grey or black, but we’re quite happy with this pristine white edition.
Setup and Performance
It’s worth taking a bit of time to consider where you’re going to set up the Gryphon AX, especially if you’re only going to be using just one unit. Our test home was a two-storey, five-bedroom villa, spanning about 3,600 sq ft in total. While one unit in theory could fit the entire space, we had a duo-pack sent to us for review, which would pretty much eliminate any dead zones.
Setting up the Gryphon AX takes a little bit of time, since there’s technically no login page or web browser access like with most routers. You have to first download the Gryphon companion app and sign up for an account before you can add in your devices.
Once you’ve signed in, setup is straightforward – plug the Gryphon AX into a power socket and connect the included LAN cable for Internet. The app guides you through scanning a QR code on the base of the device to register it with your account, and once paired you’ll be allowed to set up your Wi-Fi SSID and password.
The app is easy to understand, and has various options grouped into different sections depending on what you want to view. The home screen shows the current network name and devices connected, as well as handy internet speed test. There’s also a counter for the amount of data used each month, should you be on an internet plan that has a data cap.
Strangely, you can only sign in to the Gryphon app on one device at a time, so if both parents want to have control over the network, this isn’t currently possible.
Other screens include options to group devices into various categories, and also assign devices to particular users with a specified age group. In this way, you can group together phones, tablets, PCs, and game consoles for children, and keep other devices unfiltered or with different settings. There are also options to set screen time on the router itself, which is handy for devices that don’t necessarily provide this option. Finally, there are also web-browsing tab which lets you view the websites being visited on the network and accordingly filter or block them.
For basic parental controls and security, you can use the Gryphon AX as-is, but if you want complete control of your network, you’ll need to sign up for a Gryphon Premium subscription. Charged at $7.99 per month, you’ll get access to malware protection, ad-blocking, as well as an extra feature called Gryphon HomeBound.
Gryphon HomeBound allows parents to route internet on their child’s devices through the app to continue to monitor and track their activity even when they’re not on the home network. This might sound like overkill for some users, but for parents who want absolute control over what information their children are exposed to online, this might be the best tactic. However, keep in mind that extra $89.99 per year is what you’ll have to cough up in order to use this feature.
Performance-wise, the Gryphon AX did an excellent job covering our villa. We set one node up downstairs almost in the middle of the floor plan, and the second node upstairs in the family room directly above. Pairing the second node via the Gryphon app was a breeze, and the two were soon providing a much wider reach of Wi-Fi than our older routers. Wi-Fi dead spots in the front yard, kitchen, and back pool area were all but eliminated, and could even reach the front gate where one of our Ring cameras was set up.
Network speeds were also very good – standing in front of the main Gryphon AX node on the ground floor we ran a speed test that clocked 435Mbps out of our 500Mbps line. In the front garden this dropped to around 198Mbps, and upstairs we saw speeds of 300Mbps to 210Mbps, depending on whether we were close to or far away from the second node.
We certainly appreciate the Wi-Fi coverage that the Gryphon AX provides to a home this large, and most users will feel the same. But for smaller apartments and homes this system might be a bit of an overkill to invest in, so the Gryphon AX really will suite a niche selection of properties – unless you fancy sharing your Wi-Fi with your neighbours as well.