Best VPN Routers to Keep All your Devices Protected Online
As days turn into years in online world, VPN gradually becomes the primary reason of defence for your system when you’re online. It has becomes a necessity because it keeps your system safe and secure against hackers, ISPs, and the government from snooping over your online data.
However, there are certain devices where you couldn’t get a VPN even if you try to, because the platform does not support such apps. This is where a VPN router comes in. Installing a VPN on a router will keep all your devices secure. This guide explains 7 best VPN routers for your online safety. View our detailed guide of Best VPN to learn more about VPN services.
What is a VPN Router?
A VPN router is specifically designed that communicates within a VPN environment. To put it simply, a VPN router is like any other router but with a VPN client installed. So, despite connecting each of your device to a VPN, you can simply turn on the VPN router and connect to it. Every device that are connected to VPN router have encrypted online activity and a secure online privacy.
VPN Router Functionality
Once you have installed and configured a VPN onto your router, every activity you perform over the internet remains secure. Even if a VPN router is connected in public places such as at the airport or at a coffee shop, your data is safe. A higher encryption VPN service provider will greatly impact performance and keep your traffic secure.
Summary of Best VPN for Routers
Here are the best VPN for routers that we have managed to assemble in one table:
Best VPN Routers of 2018
A VPN router is a device with a normal internet but have a VPN attached. Every device that connects to a VPN router are safe to stream anything over the internet. It encrypts your online data and unblocks geographically restricted content. This way, you get internet freedom all the way without getting to connect a VPN separately on each device.
Here is a list of best VPN routers for you to try in 2018:
7 Best VPN Routers of 2018
Here are the 7 best VPN routers where VPN software are easily installed and configured:
1. ASUS RT-AC5300
A high-end gaming router that aims to making lag-free gaming experience. You will find this VPN router with advanced features but it comes with a good price. The design is spider-like having a total of eight antennas circled around the router. The design may not appeal to many people, but its advanced features can make amends.
- Good Wi-Fi coverage
- Advanced gaming features
- Only 1 USB 3.0 port
2. Netgear R7000
Undoubtedly the best VPN router when it comes to streaming videos and playing games. It kills the ping and improves your streaming experience with zero buffer time. It has 3 external antennas with a transfer rates of 600mbps, while having 2 USB ports.
- 1,000 MHZ Dual core
- Supports DD-WRT Mega builds
- Low transfer rates
3. Linksys WRT1200AC
When looking at its specification, performance, and price factors, then its safer to assume that it is the best VPN router in its category. You can install different VPN providers because it also supports DD-WRT firmware. It further allows connection of hard drive on its router via gigabit connection.
- Connects hard drive
- 2 USB ports i.e. USB 2.0 and USB 3.0
- A bit expensive
4. Linksys WRT32X Gaming Router
As the name suggests, it is a perfect router when it comes to gaming. It has a striking similarity to the Linksys heavy-hitter WRT-3200, but with enhanced features. It uses a custom firmware which is easier to navigate and that makes it the best VPN router 2018. It reduces lag and improves ping performance, which is an essential element while playing games.
- Custom firmware
- Attractive visual design
5. Linksys WRT 3200 ACM
Linksys WRT 3200 ACM makes the list our best VPN router 2018 where DD-WRT firmware is easily installed so that VPN compatibility is made easy. When you order the router, you get four antenna, three bands, including a router. It comes with four Ethernet ports and a USB 3.0 port.
- Supports open-source firmware support
- 256 MB flash memory
- Coverage can sometimes be very poor
6. ASUS RT-AC86U
ASUS is popular in gaming-centric products with some great interface design. Even if you’re not a gamer, it will make a perfect blend as well. What makes it preferable for VPN use is its fast performance where it won’t let your internet speed to fall. Also, it allows third-party firmware to be installed onto this router.
- Used for both gaming and VPN purposes
- Fast speed that leads to fast performance
- Not so easy-to-use
7. D-Link DIR-885L/R
It is a mid-range best VPN router but with a good Wi-Fi range. It has to offer great speed and with a great combination that are very much likeable by game lovers. It is easier to setup and configure which is a feature that most people wants. The reason why it makes a powerful VPN router is because it supports DD-WRT open-source firmware.
- Supports DD-WRT open-source firmware
- Easy to configure and setup
Benefits of VPN for routers
Then best VPN for routers mentioned above are regular internet routers, but with a VPN software installed, they could pose tons of benefits. Here are some benefits of using VPN routers:
- Encrypted Wi-Fi at home or public places
- Secure devices that are incapable of installing a VPN
- One VPN router for all devices
- Protects your data non-stop
- Unblocks geo-restricted websites and apps
- Secure streaming
Limitations for VPN for Routers
- You will have to go into your router’s settings every time you wish to switch servers
- All devices running internet off your VPN router will have the same external IP address (the VPN server’s IP address)
- You will have to buy a router if one is not already part of your networking architecture
- You need to decide if you want a Wireless router or a WiFi router
- You may find yourself facing additional costs for putting up an ‘Accelerator’ if you run into weak signals
- Due to firmware compatibility limitations between your router and your VPN service provider, you find yourself with limited access to the full range of protocols for use on routers (Most VPNs only provide PPTP for routers)
FlashRouters are advanced routers with an upgraded and enhanced firmware that includes VPN protocols such as OpenVPN and PPTP with wireless modes. Some of these FlashRouters are wireless VPN routers and have a tested firmware embedded i.e. DD-WRT or Tomato firmware will be flashed on your router.
When getting a FlashRouter, you do not have to go through configuring your VPN onto the router, but it will be configured by default, so that helps you establish a VPN connection with ease. It has a built-in configuration for 60+ VPN providers and all you have to do is plug-n-play.
What Is DD-WRT Routers?
DD-WRT is a Linux-based firmware for routers that makes VPN easier to install on these routers. It was first exclusively designed for Linksys WRT54G router series, but due to its popularity it is now available for most routers including D-Link and Netgear.
OpenVPN is the strongest VPN protocol of a VPN provider. DD-WRT supports OpenVPN protocol that ultimately makes your device more secure than other routers. Therefore, if anyone wants a router so they could install a VPN software, then make sure it has DD-WRT firmware.
DD-WRT and VPNs
DD-WRT routers have both client and server options that can allow you to connect to any other VPN system. DD-WRT is an operating system for VPN routers, without it, becomes impossible to install VPN onto routers.
PPTP is widely used protocol for DD-WRT routers because it is easier to install and is supported by many OSes. However, looking at the downside, it is rather less secure than OpenVPN. DD-WRT routers are able to install OpenVPN, a secured VPN protocol but takes a little more effort to install.
You will only find a few routers in the market with DD-WRT pre-installed because it is often used as a replacement for the existing OS of commercial routers. Installing DD-WRT is not as difficult as it may sound.
A router is like a small PC with multiple Ethernet ports also having a wireless Ethernet capability. The first step that you need to do is to find the compatible version of DD-WRT that can support that particular model of the router. You can find this information when digging deeper into router’s technical information.
The latest version of DD-WRT will also support OpenVPN protocol, but it is important that it goes well with router. In some cases, you install DD-WRT on a router and then separately add OpenVPN files. DD-WRT website will provide you with technical details.
Depending upon your router, the installation process for DD-WRT will vary. First you would require a software image for the router, and then find its IP address, log in, and upload the firmware onto the router. Reboot the system and now you will need to find the IP address of your PC, which you will observe it would be changed. Configure the router and you are good to go.
DD-WRT has a rather simple interface, and any individual with a basic understanding of networking will have no problem using DD-WRT and installing a VPN.
The Best DD-WRT Routers?
As discussed earlier, VPN is easily installed on DD-WRT routers. However, there are a few VPN routers that have pre-installed DD-WRT operating system. Hence, users find it easier to install a VPN than installing a DD-WRT on a router. Here is a list of best DD-WRT routers:
- ASUS RT-AC5300
- Netgear R7000
- ASUS RT-AC56U
- Linksys WRT1200AC
Networking Architecture of Router VPN
I’m guessing you are currently using the internet through one of these two settings:
Setting 1 – COMPUTER <-> MODEM <-> INTERNET
Setting 2 – COMPUTER/OTHER INTERNET-ENABLED DEVICES <-> ROUTER <-> MODEM <-> INTERNET
If you are currently running setting 1, you need to add a router and implement setting 2. This is because your modem device cannot possibly function as your router. Routers can be as easy and as complicated as you want them to be. The easy way is to buy a pre-configured VPN router.
A less easy way is to go into your router’s VPN settings and alter them to run your VPN, and the most difficult way is to pick up an old router, install a new software on it, and then configure that router to run VPN.
If you already have a spare router lying around the house (or can get your hands on one), don’t get jumping just yet. Yes it can be reset and configured to work a VPN, but first you need to make sure it isn’t bricked. A ‘bricked’ router is a router that has damaged firmware, and if your degree/diploma in computer hardware did not include a course on Networking Hardware you need to take your router to a technician before you can start configuring VPN on it.
Check-List to find Best VPN Router
I always encourage my readers to realize that there are countless VPN providers out there (some free and some paid), but not every VPN service provider will fit your bill. To find the best VPN to use on your router, you need to begin by assessing your needs and then identify VPN service providers that are suited to them.
Different people have different needs, but there are a few factors that are undeniably mandatory.
Server spread: When assessing a VPN service provider, remember that your primary priority is country count, and your secondary priority is server count
Customer Support: Customer support is critically important for you if you plan on using your router for VPN tunneling. You never know when you might run into trouble and nothing works better than 24/7 support at times like these.
Speed: Your VPN router will probably be running the internet for multiple devices at the same time. High bandwidth and speed is imperative for a Router to run VPN.
Wireless AC Routers
One of the key factors when buying a router is to look for the fastest wireless standard that a router can run. Currently, the fastest wireless standard is 802.11ac that has replaced 802.11n standard.
Routers having the latest wireless standard is often referred to as Wireless AC, while routers having a previous wireless standard are referred to as Wireless N.
Dual-Band Routers and Tri-Band Routers
Another factor that you need considering is the dual-band feature of a router. By default, these devices are connected to 2.GHz band which can pose a lot of signal congestion, which significantly results in slower data speed.
Hence, dual-band routers can transmit 5GHz band which causes less signal congestion, and therefore faster speed than single band routers. Before you get a dual-band router, do ensure that you have a network adaptor that supports 5GHz.
Number of antenna do impact data speed. Routers that uses two antennas are often dedicated to one for sending and the other for receiving data. These routers are often referred to as SISO i.e. Single Input, Single Output.
Routers having Multiple Inputs and Multiple Outputs are referred to as MIMO. These are the fastest routers that receives and sends information quickly, but also it means transmitting of data at double rates.
DD-WRT and Tomato VPN
You will find it hard that a VPN service provider offering its designated app for specific routers that do not have DD-WRT installed. Therefore, it has become a necessity to install DD-WRT and then configure a VPN on those routers. Tomato VPN is another firmware that is similar to DD-WRT, upon which, configuring a VPN is made easy.
The difference between the two firmware is that Tomato VPN is easier to install, but its not compatible to many devices as DD-WRT. If you’re a beginner, then we’ll definitely recommend using Tomato VPN over DD-WRT.
VPN Router Speed and Performance
Many users would complain about speed and overall performance of their VPN routers, but to be fair, there are two important factors that causes VPN routers to perform poorly. These are processors of a VPN router and the VPN itself.
VPN Router Processor
The biggest factor affecting the overall speed is VPN router’s processor i.e. CPU. Most routers do have the capacity to install a VPN, but doesn’t have the capacity to handle a stronger encryption of a VPN. Therefore, always check on the technical specification for your VPN router and then configure a VPN.
VPN Service for Routers
It is important to mention here that some VPN providers would do wonders when they are installed on other devices excluding a VPN router. However, when installed on a VPN router they would slow down the speed due to higher encryption.
For example, NordVPN having a double VPN encryption may sometimes result in lower internet speed. Also, overloaded server could create this problem. It is recommended to use a VPN that has huge number of servers.
Pre-Configured VPN Routers
Pre-configured VPN routers or VPN-enabled routers are always a good choice as it releases you will all the frustrations of installing DD-WRT and then configuring a VPN yourself. It will probably save you a lot of time, but most importantly it comes with a dedicated support.
The Wrap Up
Since VPN has become a mandatory software that encrypts all your online data and keeps your online activity hidden, many people would want their every device secured over the internet. VPN routers allow all your devices connect to a VPN directly even if your device do not allow it, it keeps them protected. This guide explains everything about best VPN routers.
Published at Mon, 04 Jun 2018 00:00:40 +0000