Want your data to be more private? Sick of being restricted to what you can stream and download?
Top VPN Routers - At a Glance
(the links above will take you to Amazon or FlashRouters. More info below)
Maybe it's time to consider a VPN. They can be installed on your PC/tablet/phone etc, or you could consider installing a VPN client on your router.
Sound interesting? Let's flesh this out a little more...
What Is A VPN?
A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, is a means of securely connecting to a remote network. By connecting to a remote network you are able to access the network as if you were actually physically in the area. All traffic between your computer and the VPN is fully encrypted.
This can have two main uses (there are others):
1) Businesses or individuals can use VPNs to allow workers to access the office network wherever they are in the world. This means they will be able to share/access files, devices, and programs as if they were in the office.
2) Make it appear as if you are accessing the internet from somewhere other than where you physically are. This can allow the user to avoid censorship, view geo-restricted web content or generally just have a little more privacy when using the internet. So, great for streaming content that you otherwise couldn't from your country of residence.
VPN Services To Consider:
Types Of VPN
Setting up an inbound VPN on your router will allow you to connect to your home network remotely. This will allow you to access files on your network when you are physically away from your network.
Many routers come with the required software already installed and as such it can be fairly simple to set up an inbound VPN on your network. There are a number of different VPN protocols that are used, but the most common due to its security and usability is OpenVPN.
Outbound VPN (the more interesting one!)
Setting up an outbound VPN on your router will direct all traffic that goes from your home network to the outside world via another geographical location.
As mentioned above this can allow you to do things like access streaming services blocked in your country as all your data is sent through a network in a country where the service is allowed.
This means that any website you access using an outbound VPN will think that the traffic is coming from the location of the outbound VPN.
One use of this will be that if you want to access a streaming website such as BBC iPlayer or Netflix while in a country that doesn't have support for these websites, you can use a VPN to pretend that you are accessing the website from a country with access.
As well as being useful for avoiding restrictions, setting up an outbound VPN on your network can give you an extra layer of anonymity when browsing the web as the websites you access will only be able to see the IP address of the VPN, not your IP address (the one assigned by your ISP).
How To Get VPN Services On My Router
Some routers already have VPN software (usually OpenVPN), installed on them. This can allow you to easily setup a VPN on your router which can be accessed wherever you are in the world.
However, if your router does not already have this feature built in, then all is not lost. It is still possible to set up your router for use with a VPN by installing some third party router firmware such as DD-WRT, Tomato, or OpenWRT and then installing a VPN on your router.
Outbound VPN’s on routers are much harder to set up than inbound ones and it is rarer for a VPN router to come with an outbound VPN already installed.
One easy get-around is to simply use a VPN on your individual devices instead of on the network level. This will allow that one device to connect to a dedicated VPN while the rest of your devices connect to your local network.
If you want an outbound VPN on your router, however, there are ways to go about this.
Install A VPN On Your Existing Router
As with installing an inbound VPN, if you want to install an outbound VPN on your router, you will need to install a third party firmware on your router to allow the VPN install.
The first thing to do is to make sure your router is powerful enough to support a VPN connection. While it may be tempting to use any old router you have lying around, an older router may not have the processing powered to run a VPN, as this How-To Geek article explains.
This is because a VPN will be running constantly on your router and as such, a newer router with a bit more processing power will be more likely to provide a good VPN service.
Following this, you will need to choose a VPN service and then install it on your router.
Best Routers for VPN
Netgear Nighthawk AC1900 R7000
The Netgear Nighthawk is a high-end router with a load of features that make it a great router as well as a perfect one for using with a VPN. It has a 1GHz Dual Core CPU which means it should have no problems running a VPN constantly and it shouldn’t have problems even if multiple devices use the router and the VPN at once.
As well as its CPU, it has features like Wireless AC , QoS, and beamforming that should give you fast connection speeds when you are using the router and VPN.
Asus RT-AC88U AC3100
Like the above Netgear router, the Asus RT-AC88U AC3100 is a powerful router that should have no problem running a VPN. In fact, it is even more powerful processor = 1.4GHz.
One of the biggest benefits of the Asus router is the fact that it uses the AsusWRT interface. This means that unlike the other routers on the list, you can install a VPN directly onto the router and it is not required for you to flash the router and install a new firmware.
As well as this, it has pretty much everything you could want from a high-end router including wireless AC, MU-MIMO, QoS and even a massive eight Ethernet ports.
The Linksys router has an even more powerful processor than the two routers above, coming in with a 1.6GHz dual core CPU. It also has 512MB of RAM to help all those data transfers running smoothly.
While it is possible to install an outbound VPN on to this router by installing a new firmware as mentioned above, this router also gives you the option to use OpenVPN to create an inbound VPN on your router, allowing you to access your network remotely.
As with the other routers on this list, the Linksys WRT1900ACS also comes with all the high-end router features you could need including USB 3.0, wireless AC, and focused Beamforming.
Netgear Nighthawk X8 R8500 AC5300
The main selling point of this router is the fact that it offers Tri Band wifi. This includes two bands that use the 5GHz radio and one on the 2.4GHz radio. This allows you to connect different devices to your router all while avoiding congestion.
In terms of installing your VPN, this router has a 1.4GHz CPU which should keep things ticking over as well the option to create an inbound VPN with OpenVPN out of the box.
The router has MU-MIMO support, Beamforming, and active antennas to keep all your devices connected at the fastest speeds possible, as well as six Ethernet ports for devices that require the stability of a wired connection.
Like the above Asus router, the Asus RT-N66U has a major advantage in that its use of the AsusWRT firmware means that you can install a VPN without having to flash your router.
As well as this, it comes with inbound VPN software installed so that you can set up your router so that your network can be used from anywhere in the world.
This Asus router has a range of features that make it a more than decent router and as expected it uses wireless AC, is Dual Band and has QoS.
While this router is perhaps not as high-end as some of the other routers on this list, the fact that it uses the AsusWRT straight out of the box does give it a big advantage when being used as a VPN.
Do you have any of these routers? Can you recommend others? Do you use a VPN client on your router? Tell us about it below 🙂