Super-fast routing capability with excellent range. Built-in VPN enables secure remote access to the home network, and router includes DynamicDNS for added convenience.
Some reported issues with router dropping WiFi connectivity after recent firmware updates.
Advanced security options like an advanced firewall, VPN options, and DoS policies ensure all information and devices are protected. One LAN port and 4 WAN ports for multiple wired connections. Access to the cloud for storage.
Some customers noted DHCP issues.
VPN compatibility from over 30 providers ensures that anyone can find the right VPN provider for the router. OpenVPN comes preinstalled. Up to 128GB microSD slot. Fast wireless speeds.
Requires micro USB for power.
Compatible with smart home devices to ensure that the router is easy to use. Achieves high speeds and maintains the speeds over long periods of time. Easy setup and maintenance thanks to the app. VPN is solid and secure.
Has limited range.
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A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, provides an additional layer of privacy and security when you’re accessing the internet. Because we spend so much of our day connected to the internet in some way — through our work computers, personal devices, smart home devices, game consoles and more — privacy and security are more at risk than ever before.
A VPN router is an economical solution to protecting your online privacy. This device combines the functions and speed of a traditional router but routes outgoing traffic through a VPN layer. Your upfront costs are more than what you might pay for a VPN subscription to your smartphone, for example, but you’ll save money in the long term because you protect your privacy on multiple devices.
If you’re new to the concept of a VPN router and not sure whether you’re picking the right one, know that VPN routers are user-friendly and fairly easy to set up. It’s worth noting the reasons why you should buy a VPN router, features to look for, and key considerations when choosing the best router for your needs.
While it’s possible to use a free or subscription-based virtual VPN service, setting up a VPN router gives you greater control over privacy when using the internet in your home or home office on any device connected to that router.
Why does that matter? Virtual VPN services are installed on one device at a time. You may need to subscribe to one service on your smartphone, another service on your desktop PC, and so on. With a VPN router, all the devices in your home that connect to the internet through that router have VPN support without needing to activate another VPN service. It gives all of your devices, from gaming consoles to kids’ tablets to connected home devices like Alexa, Echo, or Nest, an extra layer of privacy and security.
Like any VPN, a VPN router shields your IP address and protects your surfing activity using encryption. Outgoing data (such as an online search for a new frying pan) is encrypted by the router before the data is sent over your ISP’s network and out onto the public internet. That data stays encrypted until it reaches a server operated by the VPN service you selected; it’s decrypted on that server and sent onward to the search engine you’re using. The search engine will see only the IP address belonging to the VPN provider’s server — not your actual IP address — so it doesn’t know where the original request actually came from.
In addition to setting up the VPN router on your home network, you’ll need to subscribe to a VPN service. There are several VPN services available, both free and paid.
Protect your online privacy: A VPN router’s chief purpose is to help your online activities stay private. Many online entities, including search engines and internet service providers, collect your activity data — what sites you visit, what devices you’re using, what purchases you make, how much time you spend online, and even the average temperature that your connected thermostat is set to. This data is sold to advertisers, who use it to try and sell you more stuff, and it’s sold to other entities, whose use of your surfing data may not be so benign.
Limit the information about you on the web: If you’re worried about how search engines and third parties acquire and use information about your online activity, a VPN router is a great option because it limits the information those parties can access.
Provide remote access: VPNs are helpful when you want to access a website that’s blocked due to your geographic location. The clearest example is Netflix, which has a different content lineup in each country it operates in. If you’re traveling in Europe, for example, but want to stream a series that isn’t licensed in the country you’re staying in, turning on a VPN and pointing to a U.S.-based server will enable you to log into your U.S. Netflix account and watch the show. This is an uncommon scenario on a home-based VPN router, but very common on mobile devices and laptops.
Be your only security option: A VPN router is not considered a completely secure option. Its purpose is simply to hide your actual IP address and surfing activity. For example, when you’re conducting a financial transaction such as paying a credit card bill online, the card provider’s website has a layer of encryption (you’ll know this because the web address starts with “https” rather than “http”). Their secure website protects you from snooping eyes while conducting your transaction — not your VPN.
Protect against viruses and malware: A VPN doesn’t protect your devices from computer viruses or malware. That isn’t its function. Make sure to install virus and malware protection on your devices and keep it up to date.
Be more convenient: The VPN will be a hindrance if you like the convenience of certain websites auto-detecting your IP address and quickly logging you in. You’ll have to contend with the added steps of confirming your identity each time you log into certain websites or apps.
Operate at the same speed as your network: A VPN router can slow down your surfing session because it takes a little time — from a few milliseconds to a few seconds — to encrypt, send, and decrypt your data. This may not be noticeable during casual use, such as reading a web page, but it can be annoying while streaming or gaming.
It may not be legal to use: In at least 10 countries, VPNs are banned outright. Their use may be limited or regulated in other countries. Be aware of the regulations in your country when considering a VPN router purchase.
A VPN router is able to connect to the internet through your internet service provider’s gateway.
The more devices in your home that connect to the internet, the more processing power your VPN router will need. Otherwise, connectivity may slow to a crawl.
VPN routers all support OpenVPN, a scalable, point-to-point, configurable VPN system.
A VPN router may come preinstalled with firmware (an operating system for the router), or you can choose the firmware to install, like Tomato, Sabai, or DD-WRT.
This “quality of service” feature is available once firmware is installed and allows the network administrator to customize bandwidth used by connected devices. For example, if you want to prioritize a game console’s connection over other types of internet use, you can set that rule to go in effect whenever the console is turned on and connected.
A VPN router should at least have dual-band functionality, with 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz settings, so that older and newer devices can connect through it. If you frequently stream 4K video or games, step up to a tri-band router so you get that optimal performance you’re looking for.
If you frequently have visitors who need to access your WiFi, a guest network option will give them that access without letting them see the rest of your network. At present, only DD-WRT firmware supports this option.
This is an optional feature in higher-priced VPN routers that is very valuable should you need to maintain network connectivity if the broadband internet connection fails. The modem — either built-in or plugged in via a USB port — connects to a mobile network while still providing VPN encryption.
Having trouble setting up a VPN router? If the manual isn’t helping, go to the help page of the VPN service you’re subscribed to. Often, they have additional instructions to connect your router model.
Best for casual surfing and low bandwidth demand, VPN routers in the $27 to $64 range provide good privacy protection but sacrifice speed and performance.
Plenty of extra features and processing speed can be had for VPN routers priced at $66 to $129, but read the fine print carefully, as the available options tend to be an eclectic mix in each model.
VPN routers in the $135 to $299 price range are optimal for users who need top-grade features like failover to mobile connectivity, tri-band capability, network security, and gigabit speeds.
A. A VPN kill switch is an extra security measure that can help protect your privacy when or if the router disconnects from the remote VPN server. A disconnect can happen when the internet signal is weak or unstable, when the server at the VPN loses connectivity or goes down, or when a computer’s firewall or antivirus inadvertently decides the VPN router is a threat. Some VPN routers come with firmware that has this kill switch available (or automatically enabled). If they don’t, you can configure a kill switch through OpenVPN. Your kill switch options are “active” (the router sends an alert to your preferred device warning you that it’s no longer connected) or “passive” (the kill switch blocks your selected devices from sending data until the router reestablishes a connection with the remote server).
A. Consider the long-term costs involved. For example, you may be paying $5 to $20 per month to rent a standard router from your ISP. Divide the upfront cost of a VPN router by the amount you’re paying now to rent a router, and the cost is about the same over a one- to two-year period. Sometimes it’s much less, and you get a convenient layer of privacy protection for all your WiFi and wired devices in the home.
A. In addition to configuring a kill switch, you should periodically test the VPN router to make sure it’s connected to the remote VPN provider’s server.
A. Only a few mesh networks available right now natively support a VPN router (meaning, support is installed as part of the network’s operating system). You may be able to manually configure the mesh network through a VPN router, but both products need to be compatible to a certain extent. A mesh network that has OpenVPN compatibility is the best bet.
A. The more high-bandwidth devices used in a home, the higher a VPN router’s processing speed needs to be. A dual-core CPU is the bare minimum that you need; a quad-core CPU is even better.