ExpressVPN has launched its very own VPN router. Called the Aircove, it will be the first Wi-Fi router that will go to market with a VPN service’s software installed It goes on sale today, September 22, 2022, in the United States for the promotional price of $169—with the rest of the world to follow, starting with plans to launch in Europe in the first half of 2023, at roughly the same price.
A Router Designed for ExpressVPN
The Aircove has a number of selling points that negate many of the reasons why you shouldn’t use a VPN router. One of the most interesting for technophobes is the fact that it’s ready to go right out of the box. ExpressVPN promises that there will be little to no setup involved.
Anybody who has ever wrestled with flashing VPN firmware to a router is probably now sighing a breath of relief. Even when a router has been pre-flashed there’s still quite a bit of setup involved, something which the Aircove apparently will make a thing of the past. The only question is why nobody has developed anything like this before.
Easily Switching Servers & Grouping Devices
That’s not the only barrier to entry the Aircove will be removing. Another big issue with VPN routers is that they’re hard to configure: usually, you just set one VPN server to connect with and leave it at that, since switching is such a pain. However, ExpressVPN lets you use a specialized menu to select and set servers.
That’s pretty nifty in and of itself, but what makes it even cooler is that you can set different servers for different devices. Called “device groups,” this function lets you, say, put all your streaming devices in a good location to watch Netflix from, while all your smartphones are set for a nearby, faster server.
Having the Aircove ready to deploy right away and making servers easier to set and change is a huge boost in user friendliness and will likely make it a lot more attractive for new users to start using VPN routers. However, even to hardened veterans, the Aircove is an interesting alternative to existing routers.
At a price of $189.90—$169 is the promotional launch price—the Aircove is also a good choice for anybody that wants a VPN router on the cheap. Most of the best WiFi routers that also allow for VPN use are a lot more expensive than that. For example, the Asus AX6000 (RT-AX88U) costs half as much again, while the Linksys WRT3200ACM could cost as much as double.
The Aircove isn’t just a good deal when compared to other VPN-enabled routers, it can stand pretty well on its own merits. It’s a WiFi 6 router, meaning it’s as fast as most others on the market, offering speeds of up 600 Mbps for 2.4GHz and 1,200 Mbps for 5GHz connections. It also has good range and can cover an area of up to 1,600 square feet.
There are likely also to be other advantages to using a router that was expressly created to host VPN software. According to ExpressVPN’s press release, the Aircove can host over 100 simultaneous connections without performance issues, meaning you can practically connect as many devices as you want without the VPN slowing down.
As for security, the Aircove has gotten the seal of approval from Cure53, a well-known and well-respected cybersecurity firm. As it stands, it looks like you can use the Aircove without having to worry about your router being hijacked or your traffic being spied upon.
As an added bonus, the Aircove will not be tied to your ExpressVPN subscription. In an email, the company let us know that it can also be used as just as a regular router, though it’s unclear why you’d buy a VPN router and not use it as a VPN router.
A Router for the Future?
Overall, the Aircove looks to be an interesting addition to the home cybersecurity market. At the announced price, it looks like a pretty good buy for anybody that wants to add some extra privacy to their internet connections without having to worry about switching on their VPN on each and every device.
If you’re curious about the Aircove and want to give it a whirl yourself, you can buy it via ExpressVPN if you’re based in the U.S. At launch time, there’s no indication exactly when the promotional price of $169 will change to $189.
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