Review: Linksys Shield

Having WiFi everywhere is a great thing. It allows you to surf for all sorts of information wherever you are in your home. Except if you have kids. Or anyone else who really should not be surfing for anything that they want as it is easy to get in trouble by surfing the Internet. However Linksys can help you with that. Assuming that you have a Linksys Tri-Band Velop mesh WiFi system which I have previously reviewed, they can hook you up Linksys Shield to keep those who use the Internet in your home from going to places that they shouldn’t.

So what is Linksys Shield? Linksys Shield is a premium subscription software service for users to block unwanted content and provide an additional layer of digital protection for your connected devices and family. It’s powered by anti-virus company Trend Micro which means that it will always be up to date.

Key features include:

  • Content filtering flags sites that contain adult, violent or unwanted content and allows you to choose which types of sites your kids can visit.
  • Advanced browsing protection by checking the sites you visit against a database of millions of known threats, can help prevent you and your family from unsuspectingly visiting malicious sites.
  • Age-based content filtering, ability to schedule screen time and pause the Internet on specific devices.

Now the thing to keep in mind that you have to be running the Velop Tri-Band mesh WiFi system. And Linksys Shield is enabled via a software update that you should already have. If you don’t have this functionality, do a software update and see if it pops up. If you own any other Linksys gear, you need not apply. At least not yet one but one would hope that this functionality comes to other Linksys products in the future.

So, how well does Linksys Shield work? Well, I got some help from some single male friends, and some other friends in the tech industry who helped me to compile a list of adult sites and “grey” sites like sites with questionable content like illegal downloads. I then set up a pair  of Linksys Tri-Band Velop nodes and made sure that they had up to date software installed on them. Setting up Linksys Shield is child’s play using the Linksys app. And one thing that I noticed immediately was that you could set up restrictions based on age. Specifically:

  • 0-8 years
  • 9-12 years
  • 13-17 years
  • 18+

The 18+ setting permits all content to come through, except malicious websites. Which in my testing included some of the adult websites on my test list. Everything else gets progressively more restrictive blocking items such as politics, social media, adult sites, etc as the age group gets younger. You can also personalize things by blocking indvidual types of content within those categories, or even specific websites that you deem inappropriate for your family. I then threw the list that I compiled at Linksys Shield and nothing made it through on any setting except the 18+ setting where some things that should have been blocked like sites with malicious content were blocked. Also I noted no false positives when I tried to go to sites that I was hoping that would be mistakenly flagged as being as forbidden by Linksys Shield. That’s more important as a content filtering system that generates false positives is going to get turned off eventually.

The bottom line is that Linksys Shield works and works well. A parental Control Subscription is $4.99 USD per month or one year for $49.99 USD. If your Velop Tri-Band units are up to date, you will have this functionality today. If you have a Linksys Velop Tri-Band mesh WiFi system and you have kids, consider this a must get.

 

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