My Favorite VPN Router

There is no need to judge me just because I currently have three WiFi routers in my house!
  1. combo DSL modem/router provided by AT&T, my internet service provider. I have turned off wifi capabilities on this device and use it purely as a DSL modem.
  2. TP-Link Archer AX11000 WiFi 6 router for all internet access except for streaming services through VPN. Previously had TP-Link AC4000 WiFi router. Both have been excellent to me except for missing VPN client support.
  3. GL.iNet GL-AX1800 (Flint) WiFi6 router for streaming services through VPN (to access content that is blocked in my geographical region). Rumor has it there is at least one Amazon Fire Stick in my house running few not-so-trustworthy add-ons in Kodi!

Both GL.iNet and TP-Link routers are connected to DSL modem through network cables and are used as routers (although they may be configured as repeaters, instead of as routers, as can be seen in the screenshots below).

I think I know a little bit about Linux and coding but I’m no expert in networking. In the past I tried setting up VPN client with OpenWRT on Raspberry Pi. Spent a lot of time reading up whatever I could find on the ‘net and watched many videos. The process was so complicated, at least to me. You can only imagine the relief when I discovered GL.iNet routers! (I also use GL.iNet GL-MT300N-V2 (Mango) Pocket VPN router when I am at my local coffee shops or libraries. And I use GL.iNet GL-MT1300N (Beryl) Pocket VPN travel router when I’m traveling.

I do not have any VPN clients installed on my computers, tablets, phones, and media streaming devices. No need for VPN clients on them because they get VPN connections through VPN routers when needed. This way I can have as many VPN connections as I have devices and avoid hitting the "limit of 5 devices" my VPN subscriptions come with. My VPN providers see only one VPN connection, from my router.

If configuration of a router and setting up VPN with OpenWRT were as simple as it is with the web user interface on GL.iNet routers, there wouldn’t have been a reason to look beyond OpenWRT!

What do I like about this router?

  • easy setup through web browser
  • VPN client configuration management is simply uploading the configuration files from VPN provider (I have subscriptions to FastestVPN (supports only OpenVPN) and KeepSolidVPN (supports both OpenVPN and Wireguard) services)
  • supports Wireguard VPN protocol (WireguardVPN is faster than OpenVPN)
  • free AdGuard service blocking ads and trackers
  • kill switch (stops internet access when VPN connection drops)
  • great coverage throughout my house (even though I use the “Low” Transmission Power setting. The choices are Max, High, Medium, Low)
  • Wireguard speeds are good for my use case. Per 40ms ping, 45Mbps download, 20Mbps upload. This may not seem much but is excellent considering that max speed my DSL service offers is 75Mbps. These numbers will only see an increase if/when I upgrade to cable/fiber internet service.
Cons you ask?
  • no way to turn off the lone LED on this device. (TP-Link routers allow turning off all lights. It can even be scheduled to when they stay on and when they are off.) What is the purpose of keeping the light on when nobody is looking at it? Wasting electricity for no good reason, if you ask me.
  • no way to schedule automatic reboot of the router, I have to remember to manually reboot the router once a month or so. This reboot is neither required nor recommended but I just do it to avoid having to do the reboot when I do not want it to be rebooted. Preemptive, that's all. (my ASUS router does that and I have it scheduled to be rebooted once every month on the first day of the month. Haven’t had to log into ASUS router since the initial setup.)

I have the 2.4GHz radio turned off and also disabled the guest network on 5GHz band on this GL.iNet router because I don't use them on this router. But they are turned on/enabled on my ASUS WiFi 6 router.

Although this router happens to be small, sleek, and whisper quiet, I did not make purchasing decision based on how the router looks. As long as all it does is sit in a corner of the house and does its job well, I don’t even have to look at it. And this router has performed well so far. Haven't had any problems for over four months that I’ve had this router.