The Clean Router - A Safer Internet Experience at Home

Clean Router Pro Wireless Riouter
Courtesy of CleanRouter.com

The Clean Router Wireless Router is an amazing tool for families interested in filtering web content and managing web access in their home to any wireless device. The system is cost-effective, extremely full-featured and very fast. With a wide range of options for any family, this filtered wireless router is a great addition to a home where there are a number of wired and wireless devices accessing the Internet.

Why Clean Router?

I can't think of any parents I know who want to allow their children unbridled access to the Internet. Without careful parental monitoring and caution, kids can get exposed to all kinds of dangerous material on the Web from pornography to drug information to malicious software. And while many parents use parental control software on the computers in their home, smartphones and tablets and e-readers often have access to the Internet without going through these computer-based filters. The Clean Router offers an easy to administer solution to filtering the content of and managing access to the Internet for every wireless device connecting to your WiFi hotspot.

The Router

The wireless router sold by Clean Router comes in two different models. The family model, sold for $99, supports most family installations and allows connections to fewer than 7 different mobile devices. It operates at 560 MHz and can handle speeds up to 300 mbs.

 The pro model, selling for $199, operates at 720 MHz, supports speeds up to 1.3 Gps and supports in excess of 7 concurrently connected devices. The pro model operates in either the 2.4 GHz band or the 5 GHz band. Both models come with 4 Ethernet LAN ports and 1 WAN port.

We started in our home about 3 years ago with the older version called Pandora’s Hope, and we have been using the pro version of the upgraded Clean Router wireless router in our home for about 3 months.

  Its performance has been quite amazing.

Setting up the router out of the box was really easy and very intuitive.  It is a pretty simple matter to connect your devices via Ethernet or wirelessly and get started.  Ours was up and operating in about 10 minutes.

The Controls for Clean Router

One of the things I liked most about the controls for the Clean Router was the large number of options for tweaking performance. For example, the interface allows the user to specify times of access for each device attached to the network, along with a default guest time allowance. So, if you want to have the kids' devices off from 11:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. and have Mom's and Dad's devices on different schedules, you can.

There are also lots of setting options for the device itself. From the interface, you can enable or disable the router, change security settings, enable or disable port forwarding, modify universal Plug-n-Play settings, change and administer passwords and the like.  You do have to be on a device connected to the Clean Router in order to make setting and control changes.  It would be nice to be able to modify them from another network with a user name and password so we could check into our kids’ Internet activity from another location.

The Clean Router controls are easy to use and understand and can be managed by both a novice and an experienced user.

Content Filtering

The meat of the value of the Clean Router is the content filtering offering. It is more robust than many filtering interfaces I have seen and used with our home computers. It has the standard features like whitelist, blacklist and greylist, but it also has a full-featured keyword blocking function that is really helpful if some content you want to block is not generally blocked by Clean Router. For example, you may want to block access to content related to a certain name or location.

Clean Router has a relatively easy "slider type" interface allowing the user to pick a predetermined blocking strategy between strict and relaxed. There is also an interface that allows the user to block certain types of sites such as drugs, gambling, guns and violence, malicious software and pornography.

So there is a lot of flexibility built into the filtering system.

In addition, you can control image searches by blocking access to Google Images and to encrypted Google searches.  These are common methods kids use to access inappropriate sites, and this Clean Router feature helps with those searches.

There is also an "exclude from filter" list that allows any device you specify to be not subject to filtering. This might be good for an adult's device or for something like a DVR or an Apple TV that might not play well with content filtering.

Monitoring Features

One of the great things about the Clean Router system is that it continually monitors websites that have been visited and that have been blocked by date and by device. So, if one of the kids is trying hard to work around the filtering, you can see when and which sites were blocked and which device tried to access them. If the kids are supposed to be doing homework and instead are playing games, you can see when they visited which sites and have a chat. The level of control that this device has on your family's Internet experience is pretty amazing.

Cost

In addition to the router prices indicated earlier in the review, maintaining the up to date filtering data is $19.99 per month billed monthly or annually. Therefore, as new and dangerous websites hit the Internet, your family is always protected.

Support

We have had occasion to use the support system just once when we were in the initial setup phase and had trouble figuring out the interface for time restrictions. Support staff was timely and super helpful. The user manual is well written with lots of screenshots to help even the novice user successfully set up and manage the router and filtering.  The support site also has a series of very helpful videos posted that can help with common tasks like blacklisting, checking web history and setting time restrictions.

Overall Impressions

We have loved our Clean Router. It has made the Internet experience a lot safer for our children, and it blocks content that we would rather not see as well.

While it is a little pricier than similar wireless routers, the filtering and monitoring are quite robust and full-featured. Our experience has been nearly flawless and I recommend Clean Router to any family who wants to take control of the Internet experience for their family on any wired or wireless devices you use. For those interested in learning more about Clean Router visit their website at CleanRouter.com.