ExpressVPN has long been at the forefront of software innovation in the VPN space. But now, it has taken the unusual and interesting step of moving into the hardware market too.
It has just announced the launch of the ExpressVPN Aircove, a Wi-Fi 6 router that comes with a VPN built in by default and offers a user interface tailored to help users protect themselves and their families from the online security and privacy threats they face out there.
Aircove isn’t the the first VPN-enabled router of its kind on the market but it’s the first time a gigantic VPN provider has entered into the arena.
All about Aircove
The ExpressVPN Aircove is not an ExpressVPN partnership with an external company. It has been designed and built in-house by the same engineers that created ExpressVPN’s software and helped to build what remains our Editors Pick of the best overall VPN on the market today.
It offers VPN protection in-built and straight out of the box, meaning there is no tricky manual installation guide you have to follow.
The Aircove uses Wi-Fi 6 which, according to ExpressVPN, offers faster and more reliable wireless connectivity. It is capable of covering homes up to 1,600 square feet, which is pretty big already but is also compatible with various Wi-Fi extender tools as well.
Needless to say, that protection is with ExpressVPN, so you don’t get to pick and choose your VPN provider. But with ExpressVPN being the best VPN on the market right now, for many people, that is not likely to be a big cause for concern.
As with other VPN-enabled routers, the Aircove will offer security and privacy protection to your entire Wi-Fi network, meaning that all devices that connect to it, including Internet of Things (IoT) enabled devices, will be protected.
As Harold Li, ExpressVPN’s Vice President, has explained, “The average US home now has 25 devices connected to the home Wi-Fi network. From laptops and tablets, to smart-watches and TVs, things add up quickly, and it becomes more difficult to keep track and know that every device is protected.
“That’s why we built Aircove, to provide users with simple, flexible VPN-protected internet connection across every room, on every device, for every household member”.
Do IoT devices need protecting?
The short and simple answer to this question is, mostly.
Anything from your fridge and your toaster to your doorbell and your heating system can be IoT enabled these days, and while that offers a number of advantages when it comes to things like updates, it also has a number of disadvantages too, particularly around security and privacy.
ExpressVPN has quoted a recent study which states that 98% of all IoT device traffic is unencrypted. As they explain, this has the potential to allow attackers to easily extract personal and confidential data as well as cause havoc in your home.
How to use Aircove
As you would expect with something made by ExpressVPN, Aircove is claimed to be extremely easy to set up and use.
All you have to do is plug in and switch on, connect to your internet connection and your ExpressVPN account, and you are away.
The Aircove router also comes with a key feature that has proved popular with their VPN router apps in the past too. That is Device Groups.
Device Groups allow users to drag and drop their devices into up to five groups, each with its own VPN location.
That means you can connect your Smart TV to a UK server, your mobile phone to the USA, and your laptop to India, all at the same time.
Other nifty features include the generation of QI codes to allow visitors to connect to your Wi-Fi with no need to share passwords and auto-update, which means you can be confident that your router software is always up-to-date with the latest security patches and features.
Independently audited already
If that wasn’t enough, ExpressVPN has also gone the extra mile and asked Cure53, an independent cybersecurity firm, to audit their source code and conduct a penetration test to see how secure the Aircove is.
The results were impressive, with Cure53 concluding that “The ExpressVPN team has established a first-rate security level for the components in focus … Overall, the code organization and quality garnered a positive impression, indicating that security was a high priority during development and a substantial aspect of the software’s life cycle.”
The ExpressVPN Aircove has been launched in the USA today at a price of $169 and will be available elsewhere in due course too.