The Problem: Why we need a VPN router (why regular routers won’t do)
All internet traffic on every device in your household should be secure to ensure optimal privacy for every member of your household. But even if you buy a subscription to a VPN service, that’s a tall order. Services allow an average of three devices to connect to a VPN simultaneously. These days, it’s lucky if that is enough to secure every device one person owns. It’s definitely not enough connections to protect a family of four.
The easiest way to fix this problem is by using a VPN-enabled router to secure all household devices through one connection. But that’s not as easy as it may sound, because a standard router won’t do. Many routers support VPNs, but only as a server. Popular companies like Linksys and Netgear have built-in VPN servers that allow you to connect to your home network while away, but they don’t have the capability to act as a client.
This is a problem because any router that can’t function as a client can’t link your home network to the remote VPN network. This does nothing to keep anyone safe from snooping and attacks while at home.
The Solution: VPN routers that can act as clients
To solve this problem, you need a VPN router that can act as a client so multiple devices can access security and privacy from home. The easiest way to do this is to buy a preconfigured router through a VPN service. IPVanish, ExpressVPN and NordVPN are three services that offer routers preconfigured with their service.
If you’re tech-savvy, you can configure a router yourself with open source firmware. The two most popular types of firmware used are DD-WRT and Tomato. We’ve compiled a list of the best VPN routers for each type of firmware.
Best DD-WRT Routers
This router is one of the best for wireless connectivity. It has 8 external antennas set up in a 4-transmit 4-receive configuration (4T4R). This helps improve transfer rates because collisions are avoided. It also has Multi-User- Multiple Input-Multiple Output (MU-MIMO) technology and advanced gaming capabilities. We recommend this model for small businesses with a lot of people connecting devices to a router.
Netgear NightHawk AC-1900
This router is a 1900 MBPS Wireless-AC capable router, so it is configured for the fastest wireless speed. It has a 1GHz Dual Core processer and is capable of “beamforming.” It can focus signals on devices that move, like laptops, tablets or phones. Any home or small business with a lot of people walking around on gadgets may want to consider this option. This brand is also recommended for supporting Tomato.
ASUS RT AC 88U
This router is good for high workloads and many connections. The wireless network is slightly weaker than other VPN router options. It’s a good choice for tight working spaces, especially if you are running a lot of applications and processes and want to use a wired connection. It has a 1400 dual-core processer and four external antennas.
ASUS RT AC56U
This model has a sleek, modern design that makes it easy to hide away, and popular for home use. There are two USB modules in the router. You can connect a hard drive to these for fast file sharing. It has an 800MHz dual-core processer and three internal antennas. It’s a very powerful, affordable router for home use.
This is another good option for a mid-sized household. It’s cheaper than the AUS-RT model, and has the same specs (800 MHz dual-core processer, three internal antennas and the same transfer rates.) The wireless range is weaker, but it’s hard to notice with personal use.
Best Tomato Routers
The most powerful router on this list, the AC3200 has six external antennas for strong wireless connections. Combined with a 1Ghz processor, nothing beats it for speed. It supports wireless-AC and has Tri-band wireless technology, and is a good choice for businesses.
This router continuously makes lists of best VPN routers, whether you are using Tomato or DD-WRT. It is not the most advanced choice as far as performance. It earns its place because of affordability. The Wireless-N router supports wireless-AC devices, so make sure your devices do too, or you will not experience performance gains. It has three external antennas, 256MB of RAM, and a 600 Mhz processor. Though it is not the most advanced, it is fast and meets the needs of most users.
This is a newer model of the N66U. The router supports wireless 802.11 AC, so connections are faster. Despite this difference, it has the same 600MHz processor and three external servers.
Cisco Linksys E2500
This router is simply capable of running Tomato to create a VPN router. It doesn’t have any external antennas or special features, so the design is sleek and it can be hidden. If you are simply looking for a router with decent speed that supports Tomato for personal use, this is a good choice.
After you have learnt which VPN router is the best for you, its time to choose the best VPN service.