ExpressVPN has launched its own VPN router. Named Aircove, it will be the first Wi-Fi router to hit the market with VPN service software installed. the rest of the world follows, starting with plans to launch in Europe in the first half of 2023 at about the same price.
Router Designed for ExpressVPN
Aircove has a number of benefits 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 little to no setup required.
Anyone who has ever struggled with VPN firmware on a router is probably now breathing a sigh of relief. Even when the router has been pre-flashed, there is still a bit of tweaking required, which Aircove will presumably leave behind. The only question is why no one has developed anything like this before.
Easy server switching and device grouping
This is not the only barrier to entry that Aircove will remove. Another big problem with VPN routers is that they are hard to set up: you usually just set up one VPN server to connect to and leave it at that since switching is such a pain. However, ExpressVPN allows you to use a dedicated menu to select and configure servers.
It’s pretty nifty on its own, but what makes it even cooler is that you can set up different servers for different devices. This feature, called “device groups”, allows you to, say, put all your streaming devices in a convenient location to watch Netflix while all your smartphones are tuned to the nearest faster server.
Aircove’s readiness for immediate deployment and the ease of setting up and changing servers greatly improves the user experience and is likely to make it more attractive to new users looking to start using VPN routers. However, even for hardened veterans, Aircove is an interesting alternative to existing routers.
Priced at $189.90 ($169 is the initial promotional price), Aircove is also a good choice for anyone looking for an inexpensive VPN router. Most of the best WiFi routers that also allow VPNs are much more expensive. For example, the Asus AX6000 (RT-AX88U) again costs half as much, while the Linksys WRT3200ACM can cost twice as much.
Aircove isn’t just a bargain compared to other VPN-enabled routers, it can do quite well on its own. It’s a WiFi 6 router, which means it’s as fast as most on the market, offering up to 600Mbps for 2.4GHz and 1200Mbps for 5GHz connections. It also has good range and can cover up to 1600 square feet.
There are probably other benefits to using a router specifically built to host VPN software. According to an ExpressVPN press release, Aircove can support over 100 simultaneous connections without performance issues, meaning you can practically connect as many devices as you want without slowing down your VPN.
In terms of security, Aircove has received a nod from Cure53 , a well-known and respected cybersecurity firm. As it stands, it looks like you can use Aircove without worrying about your router being hijacked or snooping on your traffic.
As an added bonus, Aircove will not be tied to your ExpressVPN subscription. In an email, the company told us that it can also be used as a regular router, although it’s not clear why you’re buying a VPN router instead of using it as a VPN router.
Router of the future?
Overall, Aircove looks like an interesting addition to the home cybersecurity market. For the advertised price, it looks like a pretty good buy for those looking to add some extra privacy to their internet connections without having to worry about enabling a VPN on every device.
If you’re curious about Aircove and want to try it out for yourself, you can buy it through ExpressVPN if you’re in the US.