Got a lot of devices in your home? Installing a VPN on your router is the best means of guaranteeing maximum multi-device protection. To help you find the best VPN router, we’ve taken the market’s best offerings for a test-drive and even provided some useful tips on how to setup VPN on a router.
By now you already know that VPN is the best way to protect yourself while using the internet. However, what do you do when you need to protect multiple devices? Do you install VPN on each device? What if your provider only allows you to connect a couple of devices at a time?
The best solution is to install a VPN router. A VPN router is simply a router that’s configured with a VPN service. This means that you do not need to install VPN service on each device to be protected by VPN.
Prior to using the router, the router is “flashed.” This means that VPN software is installed. You can do this yourself or you can buy a pre-configured router from a VPN provider. Once you install the router, it will establish a VPN tunnel automatically.
Next, just connect your devices to the VPN router. That’s it! Since the VPN connection is already established, there’s nothing else you need to do to be protected by VPN. A VPN router is perfect for households with multiple computers and devices to protect.
Why You Need a VPN Router
If you’ve got a lot of devices to protect or simply want to take advantage of the guaranteed always-on mode that a router-level VPN can provide, then you need to get your hands on on a hardware router (such as the DD-WRT VPN router, the Asus router VPN setup or any of the alternative options on the market.) Once you’ve made your pick, you simply need to select the best VPN software provider for your needs and you’ll be surfing and streaming securely in no time at all.
Benefits of a VPN Router
There are several reasons why you might want to operate a VPN client router in your home. A router with VPN services.
Is always running: Forget about making complicated configuration changes to ensure that your VPN service always kicks in when your device does. Having the VPN installed at the router level means that a pipe to the geography of your choice is always running for any devices connected to it. In addition, you can rest easy knowing that all of your household’s internet traffic is being encrypted and tunneled and is inaccessible even if somebody manages to use a brute-force attack to use your WiFi without your permission and attempts to digitally eavesdrop on your traffic.
Works with any device: Any device that can connect to your home or office’s WiFi network can be protected by a router-level VPN. This means that whether run an obscure distribution of Linux or the latest version of Windows, you’ll never have to worry about checking device compatibility for the hardware or operating system that you run in your home.
Covers your whole network: A router-level VPN provides traffic encryption and protection to any device connected to your WiFi network. That means that no matter how many smartphones, desktops, and laptops you and your family are running, you never have to worry about hitting simultaneous connection caps or device limits with your VPN provider of choice.
How We Selected the Best VPN Routers
When we put some of the market’s best offerings through their paces, we honed in on some of the following attributes which you need to ensure that your VPN router is as good as it could possibly be:
Setup: Whether you’re trying to setup VPN on Linksys router, setup VPN on Netgear router, or using another provider, it’s important that the steps you need to take to get up and running are clearly documented and easy irrespective of your level of technical expertise.
Price: A hardware VPN router represents an investment in your service. We took a close look at the pricing levels when reviewing the market.
Speed: You need to make sure that the router is going to be capable of offering satisfactory connection speeds to the various devices in your home. It’s also worth looking into whether a router VPN you are considering purchasing offers dual-band support or greater. Triband routers offer the best connection speeds possible for your devices.
Best VPN Routers
There are hundreds of routers on the market and finding the best one for your needs can be time-consuming. That’s why we’ve put together this quick list of five recommended VPN routers.
NETGEAR R7500-200NAS Nighthawk X4 Ultimate Gaming Router
If you’re looking for a reliable VPN router for gaming, then the NETGEAR Nighthawk X4 Ultimate Gaming Router is your best bet. It offers four-stream (4×4) Wi-Fi architecture that will allow for lag-free online gaming along with excellent 4K video streaming.
This router also offers Multi-User MMO technology that allows greater data throughput for multiple devices. With a 1.4GHz dual-core processor, you ‘ll enjoy jitter-free gaming. If you want to share network drives, this router offers twin USB 3.0 and eSATA ports.
NETGEAR R7500-200NAS Nighthawk X4 Technical Specifications:
CPU: 1.4 GHz dual-core
Antennas: 4 external
Transfer rates: Up to 2.33Gbps (600 Mbps on 2.4 GHz + 1733Mbps on 5GHz)
Linksys E2500 (N600) Advanced Simultaneous Dual-Band Wireless-N Router
If you own a small business or have a home office, the Linksys E2500 Advanced Simultaneous Dual-Band Wireless-N Router is a perfect budget VPN router solution. Its MIMO antenna array allows for excellent range, allowing employees to connect with ease or allowing you to work from anywhere in your home office.
It offers dual bands with connection speeds of up to 600 Mbps. If you need to share a network drive, it has one USB port available for easy sharing.
This router doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of some on this list but is perfect for those needing a basic router for a small or home business.
Linksys E2500 (N600) Advanced Simultaneous Dual-Band Wireless-N Router Technical Specifications:
Antennas: 2 Internal
Transfer rates: Up to 600 Mbps (300 Mbps 2.4 GHz + 300 Mbps 5GHz)
The ASUS RT-AC3200 is a tri-band router with dual 5GHz access points and one 2.4 GHz access point. With the device’s smart connect feature, the router automatically optimizes the connection for each connected device based on their needs and technical capabilities.
The router also has built-in USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports for faster data transfers for network devices. It also allows printer sharing. This router includes AiProtection from Trend Micro that provides protection from malware, malicious websites, and most any online threat.
This is a fantastic all-around router that will allow you to connect all of your devices at maximum speed. You’ll enjoy smooth video streaming, fast downloads, and lag-free gaming. With its 3T3R antenna design, you’ll enjoy increased range which will allow you to connect in any area of your home.
ASUS RT-AC3200 Technical Specifications:
CPU: 1 GHz dual-core
Ram: 256MB DDR 3
Antennas: 6 external
Transfer rates: Up to 3.2 Gbps (600 Mbps on 2.4 GHz + 3200 Mbps on 5 GHz)
TP-Link AC1900 Wireless Wi-Fi Router
The TP-Link AC1900 Wireless Wi-Fi Router is a great basic home router and perfect for those in larger houses. With data transfer rates of up to 1.9Gbps, you’ll enjoy fast downloads, smooth streaming video playback, and jitter-free gaming.
You’ll be able to easily hook up multiple devices thanks to its 1 GHz dual-core processor. The router also has a USB 3.0 and a USB 2.0 port to allow for network sharing.
The biggest selling point for this router is its range. This router has Beamforming technology which makes Wi-Fi connections stronger and more stable. With Beamforming, once your device is located by the router, the signal is concentrated towards your device rather than broadcasting in all directions like other routers.
TP-Link was rated as highest in Customer Satisfaction for Wireless Routers in 2017 by J.D. Power.
TP-Link AC1900 Technical Specifications:
CPU: 1 GHz dual-core
Antennas: 3 external
Transfer rates: Up to 1.9 Gbps (600 Mbps on 2.4 Ghz + 1300 Mbps on 5 GHz)
Asus RT-AC5300 Tri-band Gigabit Router
If you have the money to splurge for a “top of the line” router, then you need to consider the Asus RT-AC5300 Tri-band Gigabit Router. On the surface, this router looks to be targeted more for gamers than standard users, but it is powerful enough to handle anything you can throw at it.
Two things sell this router – speed and range. It has tri-band connectivity with a maximum throughput of 5.33 Gbps. Its range is an awesome 5,000 sq. Ft, meaning that this is perfect for most any home and also for many small to mid-size offices.
With a 1.4 GHz dual-core processor and 512MB of RAM, this router offers consistent speeds to allow you to stream, surf, download or do whatever you need to do online. It also offers one USB 3.0 port to allow for network sharing.
You’ll pay a bit more for this router than others on this list, but if you’re trying to cover a large home or office, it will pay for itself many times over.
Asus RT-AC5300 Tri-band Gigabit Router Technical Specifications:
CPU: 1.4 GHz dual-core
Antennas: 8 external
Transfer rates: Up to 5.33 Gbps (1000 Mbps on 2.4 GHz + 2167 Mbps on Dual 5 GHz)
How to Set Up a VPN Router
Those wishing to set up a VPN on their router can choose from the following two options to get their system set up:
Purchasing a preconfigured router: Both VPN providers themselves and third-party resellers such as FlashRouters offer advanced routers for sale that have been preconfigured to function flawlessly with a VPN company. Additionally, such devices have any router application that the company offers pre-installed. This is the recommended options for the vast majority of users who want something that will get ‘up and running’ flawless and do not want to take the risk of frying an expensive router during the flashing process.
Installing custom firmware and settings: Users can also refer to a list of compatible routers with a VPN provider and manually install the application themselves. Because this often requires that users replace the default firmware on their router with custom, third-party firmware (such as the well-known Tomato firmware for Linksys routers) there is a risk that the process could irreversibly destroy the router. As with flashing the ROM on your Android void, this process will also void the device’s warranty in the majority of cases. For that reason, it’s better reserved for advanced users that are confident they know what they are doing.
VPN Router vs VPN – Which is Better
Want to know whether you should go to the expense of purchasing a special router to obtain router-level VPN access or should simply install the software on your devices? We’re here to help make the decision easier. Whether a router or device level VPN setup is better for you depends entirely on your needs.
You should consider purchasing a VPN router if:
1) You own a large number of devices and will be wanting to use the VPN with every one of them – often simultaneously.
2) You require an ‘always on’ connection for every device that you are hoping to protect.
3) You use a variety of operating systems on your devices, some of which are not supported by the VPN provider that you are currently using.
You’re probably fine with just a VPN app if:
1) You have a limited number of devices that you wish to protect and all of them have apps from your VPN company of choice.
2) You want easy access to features, like split tunneling, that are more easily configured on device-level VPN programs.
3) You only want to use a VPN with specific devices.
Always Be Protected with a VPN Router
Router-level VPNs are still a relatively new technology but are a fantastic option for those that want to institute always-on VPN protection for their entire household. Those that are prepared to make an initial investment in the setup will see long-term returns in having all of their devices protected all of the time.