Gryphon AX Mesh System Review (2-Pack)
When we looked at the Gryphon Guardian mesh Wi-Fi system, we were impressed with its rich parental controls and strong short-range throughput performance, but found that its long-range performance was lacking. The company’s latest offering, the Gryphon AX 2-Pack ($ 479), also comes with excellent parental controls and offers high throughput at close range. Best of all, its long-range performance is also solid. Our Editors’ Choice pick, the $ 449.99 Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8), offers slightly better overall performance and a few extra features for a few dollars less. But the Gryphon AX offers a solid “place” in the mesh race.
Identical white mini towers
As the name suggests, the Gryphon AX 2-Pack comes with two identical white mini tower nodes that cover homes up to 5,000 square feet. A single node that covers 3,000 square feet will set you back $ 279, which will save you money if you have a smaller house. The nodes are 6.6 x 3.2 x 5.2 inches (HWD) and have a small status indicator on the front. On the back are two gigabit Ethernet ports (LAN and WAN) and a power outlet. This system lacks the multi-gig LAN ports and USB ports that you get with the Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8).
Each of the nodes is powered by a quad-core processor, 1 GB of RAM and 512 MB of flash memory. Each also has six internal antennas and the system uses most of the latest Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax) technologies including WPA3 encryption, orthogonal division multiple access (OFDMA) data transmissions, simultaneous data streaming MU-MIMO and direct transmission -Signal beam formation to the client.
Gryphon AX nodes do not support 160 MHz channel bandwidth, which many other Wi-Fi 6 routers offer as a way to reduce signal interference. But Gryphon AX nodes do support Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) bandwidth, which should help locate a low traffic channel. It is an AX4300 tri-band system that can achieve maximum data rates of 591 Mbps on the 2.4 GHz band, 1237 Mbps on one of the 5 GHz bands and 2475 Mbps on the second 5 GHz band. .
Gryphon routers are known for their robust parental controls, and the AX system lives up to its reputation. The easy-to-use options offer age-based filters for elementary, high school, and high school students, as well as toddlers and adults. You can also choose an unfiltered setting. Toddlers can only access sites on your whitelist, while the elementary school category gets whitelist access along with an assortment of educational sites. Middle school students do not have access to social media sites, unlike high school students.
App screens from left to right: the app dashboard, category block controls, and device access controls
Once you have created a user profile, you can enter and modify access control for that user by restricting access to specific categories and applications. The list of categories is long and includes gambling, video streaming, social media, sex education, dating, and political sites, among others. You can also monitor site visits using the Insights feature and track the overall data usage for each user.
Gryphon does not include network security software with this system, but you get a 90-day trial of the company’s advanced Internet protection tools, designed to protect every device on your network from malware, vulnerabilities security and other online threats. Once the trial period expires, you will need to subscribe to Gryphon’s Premium plan: $ 7.99 per month or $ 89.99 per year.
Navigate in the Gryphon Connect app
You control the AX system with the Gryphon Connect mobile app for iOS and Android devices. It opens to a home screen that displays the network name, the number of repeaters (nodes) and the number of active devices connected. There is also an Internet Speed Test button, a panel showing the total amount of data used during the month, and a button to suspend Internet connectivity.
At the bottom of the screen are the Alerts, Users, Home, Devices, and Settings buttons. The Alerts button opens a screen where you can view notifications such as when the system has been restarted or when a device has connected. Meanwhile, the User button will take you to a screen where you can create user profiles, assign parental controls, and monitor user screen time and web browsing history.
The Home button takes you back to the Home screen and the Devices button lets you see a list of clients, whether they are online or offline, and how they are connected (wired or wireless). Here you can also view a list of managed and unmanaged devices and gadgets (smart home devices) that are connected to the network. Tap any device to see its MAC ID and IP address, give it bandwidth priority, assign it to a user, enable port forwarding, or remove it.
Tap the Settings icon, shaped like a gear, to configure the Wi-Fi, LAN, and WAN settings. This is also where you can configure IGMP Snooping if you have devices like Apple TV and Chromecast on your network, as well as set up QoS settings. Finally, the Settings menu allows you to enable malware protection, add another repeater (node), view system information, and configure two-factor authentication.
Easy to install
As with most mesh systems, the Gryphon AX is easy to install. I started by downloading the mobile app and creating an account. I logged in, allowed the app to access my phone’s camera, and scanned the QR code based on the node that I designated as the primary router. Following the on-screen instructions, I then unplugged my modem, connected the Gryphon router to the modem, and powered on both devices. After about 30 seconds, the light started blinking white, indicating that the router was online. I waited another 10 seconds for the pairing process to complete, gave the new network a name and password, and after another 20 seconds the initial setup was complete.
To add the second node, I hit the Settings button at the bottom of the home screen, hit Add Mesh Repeater, and scanned the QR code. I powered on the node, waited about 30 seconds for the LED to flash white, then waited another 1.5 minutes for the app to find the node and associate it with the router. I gave the node a location, placed it in another room, and the installation was complete.
The Gryphon AX provided strong performance in our throughput tests. The 860Mbps router node score on the proximity test (same room) was the same as the Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8) and just 5Mbps slower than the Linksys Velop AX MX10. The TP-Link Deco X90 led with a slightly higher score of 888 Mbps.
On the 30-foot test, the Gryphon AX router showed excellent range and topped the pack with a score of 462 Mbps, significantly higher than its competition. The Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8) scored 347 Mbps, the Linksys Velop scored 333 Mbps, and the TP-Link Deco X90 took the lead at 305 Mbps.
The Gryphon AX satellite node also gave respectable throughput test results. Its 625 Mbps proximity test score was a bit faster than the TP-Link Deco AX90 satellite (623 Mbps), but it couldn’t match the Asus ZenWiFi AX (675 Mbps) and Linksys Velop (667 Mbps) satellites. On the 30-foot test, the Gryphon AX satellite achieved 591 Mbps, once again surpassing the TP-Link AX90 satellite (583 Mbps) but not the Asus ZenWiFi AX (619 Mbps) or Linksys Velop (611 Mbps) satellites. (Learn more about how we test routers.)
In addition to throughput testing, we use an Ekahau Sidekick Wi-Fi diagnostic device and the Ekahau Survey mobile app to test wireless signal strength. (Ekahau is owned by Ziff Davis, the publisher of PCMag). This combination generates a heat map that illustrates coverage throughout our test house. The darker green areas on the map indicate the strongest signal measurements, and the lighter green and yellow areas show a weaker signal. The circles represent the location of the router and the satellite node.
As shown on the map, the Gryphon AX system delivered a strong Wi-Fi signal throughout most of our test house. The signal was a bit weaker in the lower left bedroom and parts of the garage, but that’s forgivable – there are multiple walls between the nodes and these areas of the house.
Solid throughput, but no multi-Gig ports
If you’re looking for a Wi-Fi 6 mesh system that offers powerful parental controls, put the Gryphon AX on your shortlist. This two-part system provided solid flow performance and good signal range in our testing. It’s a snap to set up and manage with Gryphon’s user-friendly mobile app. That said, if you need multi-gig and USB connectivity, our Editor’s Choice winner, the Asus ZenWiFi AX (XT8), is a better choice and a bit better.
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