Who knew setting up a home mesh WiFi could be so simple?

I am a proud father of four beautiful children, two boys (nine and eleven years old), and two girls (five years and twenty months old).  This spread of ages brings a variety of interests and a need for various levels of supervision/responsibility.  Very few parents will allow their school-aged children to travel to and from the local supermarket/gas station but may allow unsupervised internet.  Before you think that it cannot happen to you, consider the world around you.  Even though I trust my son, older children (middle and high school students) recommended that my eldest (then nine) lookup adult themes.  This led to additional searches and ultimately to sites that he should not have been viewing. Despite my overconfidence, I was grossly underprepared for raising a child in the era of the internet. So what is a modern parent to do?

The Gryphon Guardian 3-Pack Mesh WiFi Security Router & Parental Control System arrived in a 14 5/8 inches wide by 9 inches tall by 2 5/8 inches thick retail package.  The cover, divided into dark blue and white wedges, did a phenomenal job at defining the title at the top left, demonstrated 2.5 of the nodes, and relayed six product-defining icons: up to 5000 soft WiFi Coverage, AC120, 802.11 bgn/AC True Mesh WiFi, Simultaneous Dual-Band Radios, Malware filtering by ESET technology, 2×2 MU-MIMO w/ Beamforming, and Gryphon Homebound ON-The-Go Protection. The top and bottom panels provided the Gryphon Guardian name upon a white panel, while the back panel provided additional specifics about the device. Enjoy Advanced Internet Protection against hackers/malware, gain on-the-go protections and parent controls, and access assistance on a 24/7 basis.  The reverse panel detailed the ESET technology’s ability to protect your cameras, thermostats, home assistants, and electronic devices from intrusion into your network.  For the first six months, this service is provided free-of-charge but is then available for a subscription.  Additionally, the “Gryphon HomeBound” will add parental support for the first 90 days and then require a paid subscription.  Lastly, each of the three routers/power supplies will provide you with a WAN/Gigabit LAN port and Ethernet backhaul support. 

I removed the outer slipcover from the internal tan cardboard box and then lifted the lid.  Within the packaging, you will find three cardboard columns.  I removed the four-panel “Welcome Quick Start Guide” and downloaded the 3* IOS Gryphon Connect App.  The instruction manual recommended that I follow the setup process within the App and that I should be up and running within 5 minutes.  To best review this device, I wanted to assume the role of a parent with average tech skills. This means that we do not have IT training, nor do we have a skilled background in computer science/programming.  As an example, I do not know that the average parent would know/understand MU-MIMO, Beamforming, WAN/LAN, etc.  For those instances, I would hope that interested parties would use search engines or start with something akin to Wikipedia to gain some basic understanding of the topics.  Either way, my goal is to provide a review of the Gryphon router, setup/features not as an expert/Guru but as a parent, and how it might work in an average home.  

With the App downloaded, I searched my iPhone 11 Pro Max for the orange-colored Gryphon shield symbol.  I tapped the application and found the App immediately requested permission to send notifications.  The main panel of the app displayed the Gryphon “Love The Connection” title name along the top and then provided a “Let’s Get You Started” section beneath the main logo.  I loved the red-orange/yellow gradient and the overall color scheme of the main app.  It felt calm/refreshing and almost like a sunrise-sunset.  Along the bottom of the app screen, you can choose amongst the three tabs: online chat, call us, or email us options.  To get started select the peach-colored “CREATE AN ACCOUNT” tab.  I entered my name, email, password x 2, and then selected next. The password will need to be somewhat secure and will need 6-32 characters, an uppercase letter, lowercase letter, number, and special character.  The password will remain red until the criteria for complexity are met.  At that point, select next and move to the next panel to further edit or create your account.  The app sent an email code to my email; I navigated to my email, obtained the three digit code, and entered it into the App.  If you do not receive the code, you can request a new one, or request the app to send a message to a mobile number.  I luckily received my code within moments, entered this code into the boxes and excitedly found my account to be verified. 

Once the activation process was complete, the App asked me for access to the phone camera to be able to scan the QR codes. This sounded reasonable and so I accepted this request.  I removed the central Gryphon router and realized just how unobtrusive these routers were.  Measuring 4 1/4 inches square at the base and 1 9/16 inches tall, the pseudo-pyramid-shaped routers were clean and quite visually appealing.  I loved the clean white look, the grey Gryphon name along the bottom right, and that the cables/inputs were all hidden at the back of the router.  Along the back of each of the devices, you will find a power input port, a small reset port, an Internet (Ethernet) port, and a LAN (Ethernet) port. The V-shaped grey bottom had a large ventilation port and four rubberized feet.  The design was well thought out and I suspect the devices to remain well ventilated.  Just beneath the large ventilation port, you will find a fair-sized white label with the serial number, Mac information, and a large QR code.  The App requested that you scan that QR code by tapping the peach-colored “Scan Activation code.”  The green checkmark alerted me to the fact that I had successfully completed the purchase.  The App promised six months of pre-paid advanced network protection (AI Intrusion Detection, Malware Protection, Device Vulnerability Scanning, Ad Blocking).  

I unplugged my previous router, and removed the large power adapter to plug in the Gryphon router.  I liked the 72 inch long power cable, but I did not like the design of the power box.  I honestly felt that they could have designed this a little better.  The 1 1/8 inches wide by 2 1/4 inches tall by 1 11/16 inches thick power box did not easily hide behind furniture due to the large size.  Additionally, the tall boxy shape made it difficult to use a wall outlet or surge protector.  I would encourage a future design to mimic the Xbox charging brick and to have a standard Type-A wall outlet, or at least a rotatable Type B outlet.  Alas, you will want to make sure that you get a power strip with the outlet ports perpendicular to the strip.  If you buy one that stacks them, you will find that you either lose 3 ports or must use the very end port.  With the small frustration behind me, I returned to the App and resumed the setup.  If you do not already have an Ethernet cable (internet connection cable), the company did provide a modest 40 1/4 inches long white-colored Ethernet cable. With the device powered on, plugged into my modem, the App noted that Gryphon Guardian was online. There was a small blinking white light along the front lower lip of the router, which blinked slowly to alert me to the power-on status. The App asked me to join Wi-Fi Network “GryphonSecured7f3” and I selected to join.  It then asked to find and connect to local devices on the network.  After about three minutes of total setup time, the App noted “Pairing Successful.”  I added the 2-step verification, added my phone number, and then added their generated code.  

If desired, set the Gryphon Guardian SSID to your previous SSID (Service Set Identifier or the searchable router name), use the same password as previously utilized, and allow all of your previously programmed devices to connect to this new router without any additional steps. That step alone made the entire setup a breeze without having to reconnect every device on my network. If needed, however, you can setup the system anew. Make sure you use a strong password when you set the system up; the preset password with the device ghome1234 is woefully inadequate to keep as your main password.  If you have a smaller home, a single device may be all that you need.  However, for my multi-story, dead zones home, I needed to set up the other two mesh repeaters.  For my two-story home, plus basement (router in the basement), I found that one node per story provided exquisite connection. At the risk of sounding cliche, the setup was so easy a caveman could have done it.  Other than the shape/design of the router power box, I had only praises for the packaging, product design, App, and setup.  I would give the company a 10/10 on everything so far, even with the slight ding on the power cable. 

App:
Once the setup was complete, the App took me to the Dashboard.  I received an immediate notification that the Firmware was being upgraded and the App features were limited. Along the top left of the screen, I found a small tappable bug (“0 Blocked”) alerting me to the malware count.  Along the top right, I found a green Gryphon Shield icon that announced the end date of my 6month trial.  Beneath these, you will find a large yellow ring with “Suspend” as an option.  You can choose to suspend now, in 5 minutes, or in 15 minutes.  Beneath the ring, you will see a green checkmark with “Internet is on for all devices” and then four colored icons: red managed devices, yellow unmanaged devices, green things, and blue TV/Entertainment.  Along the bottom of the screen, you will find five icons: 1. Notifications, 2. Users. 3. Home. 4. Network. 5. Settings.  I tapped notifications and found information about the recent firmware update, and the connection of my iPhone.  Interestingly it showed the MAC ID but listed the manufacturer as unknown. Tap the phone, then select “Manage This Device” along the bottom or “Keep it Unmanaged.”  If you desire to add protections, you can select the device as a Family device, Guest, or you can add a user.  From that panel, snap a photo of the user, add a name, add an age group (toddler, elementary, middle school, high school, 18+ adult, unfiltered), toggle safe search to filter out adult content, toggle ad blocker, store browsing history to view later, manage screen time, control apps/timing/etc, and toggle on/off VPN (bypasses all content filtering features).  Once you set up individual users, activate the safe search option, your family can still request access to blocked sites from www.gryphoncare.com.  This will send a request to the administrator (me) and I could either approve or disapprove of their website through the app (home and away).

Tapping Users, you will be able to assign devices to individual users, to add pictures, and to be able to manage accessible content. Tapping Network, you can run an Internet Speed test (225 download/11Mbps upload), see connected devices (iPhone/Apple Watch to start), evaluate the security of your Gryphon network, and prioritize devices.  Under Settings, you can refer a friend to get a $15 Amazon Gift Card, update the firmware (toggle automatic updates), add a mesh repeater, set the time zone (leave as auto encouraged), evaluate your premium subscription (6 months free, then $79 for 1 year or $149 for 3 years or $199 for 3 years plus 2-years product warranty add-on), adjust the protection level (essential, recommended, all threats), block new devices, or enter into stealth mode (disables notification to the user that site is blocked/internet is suspended).  You can also tap “My Gryphon” to see information about your device, contact support (learn info/contact support for help), each Gryphon how-to videos, learn FAQ about the device, read the privacy policy, add a secondary administrator on another device, view/edit the user account, toggle Face ID on/off to access the App, unpair the Gryphon, or log out.

I was pleased with the packaging, with the product’s design, with the ease of setup, with the router speed, and with the App. If you are looking for a simple setup mesh WiFi for your home, look no further than the Gryphon Guardian. Watch the included how-to videos and learn about the safe search options about the real-time approval option. When my kids wanted to access a website, they could send me a request, the App would show a ranking score, and I could either approve it or deny it. For the gamers and more advanced users, you can set up port forwarding by selecting the device, port forwarding, and then add the desired ports within the App. Additionally, you can create a static IP address if desired. Suspend the entire Wifi system, individual users, individual devices. If you have small children, you can select “store browser history” to better understand the sites they visit. Whether you have used other mesh devices in the past or this is your very first, the price was quite reasonable for the device. I do not know how I feel about the premium subscription. At present, the system seems to be fluid, intuitive, and easy to navigate. I do not yet know what this system will feel like without a subscription. If you desire faster speeds, faster interconnection, and a broader more robust network, you can purchase one or more of the Gryphon Towers and enjoy more advanced features. Interconnect the systems with your guardian setup and enjoy internet in every corner of your home.

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