Whole-home Wi-Fi systems, or mesh systems, are all about seamless wireless coverage and ease of use. Most are simple to install and easily managed using a mobile app, and they are typically easy on the eyes, which means you can place them out in the open rather than tucked away in a closet. With the Gryphon Smart WiFi Mesh System ($399 for a two-pack), you get all this, and more. This tri-band AC3000 system is a strong performer, offers extensive parental controls, and comes with a one-year anti-malware and antivirus subscription powered by ESET Technology. It’s an excellent choice for parents who want more control over what their children are doing online, but it’s not quite as versatile as our Editors’ Choice, the TP-Link Deco M9 Plus.
Robust Parental Controls
We reviewed the two-pack Smart WiFi Mesh System, which covers large homes of up to 6,000 square feet. You can buy a single unit for $249 that covers 3,000 square
Under the hood are a Qualcomm 4019 chipset with a quad-core CPU, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of flash memory, along with six Wi-Fi antennas and a Bluetooth radio. The Gryphon is a tri-band AC3000 router that supports speeds of up to 1.7Gbps on one of the 5GHz bands and up to 400Mbps on the 2.4GHz band. The second 5GHz band, used for backhaul communications between nodes, maxes out at 866Mbps. The router supports 4×4 MU-MIMO (simultaneous data streaming), beamforming (direct-to-client signal transmissions), and automatic band steering (the router chooses the best radio band for optimal performance).
The Gryphon is installed and managed using a thoughtfully designed mobile app. There’s no web console, and that’s by design: The folks at Gryphon believe that a web UI introduces vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit. The app opens to a Dashboard with a round Pause button that allows you to pause the internet for any managed devices.
Below that are tabs for four client types: Managed Devices, Unmanaged Devices, Things, and TV & Entertainment. Managed devices are client devices that have been assigned to a user or a group and have been given internet access using parental control settings, which allow you to monitor online activities. Unmanaged devices have no restrictions and cannot be paused, and Things are for devices such as thermostats, lights, and door locks that should not be paused. TV & Entertainment devices include smart TVs, media servers, and other connected devices that you may want to pause.
To manage a device, tap Unmanaged Devices and select the device from the list. Next, assign it to a User or a Guest, or add a new user. You can also assign it to a Family group, which assigns the same parental controls to each device in the group. When you create a new User, you will be prompted to pick an age group with specific parental control filters, among them Toddler, Elementary School, Middle School, High School, Adult (18+), and Unrestricted (unfiltered). You can further enhance protection by enabling the Safe Search/YouTube filter that prevents access to adult content, and by enabling the Store Browsing History option that allows parents to view their children’s browsing history. (This is automatically disabled for adults and guests.)
Other parental controls on the Gryphon system include Bedtime, which allows parents to shut…