September 27, 2022
Which-Router-is-Best-for-Vpn

Which Router is Best for Vpn

Which Router is Best for Vpn? My articles on Virtual Private Networks (VPNs) and reviews of VPNs such as ExpressVPN, NordVPN, and TorGuard are sure to have caught your eye, although my coverage of VPN use on routers has been spotty at best.

If you can implement VPN on your router and cover multiple devices, why not? VPNs typically have a limited number of simultaneous connections. As with everything in life that appears too good to be true, this theory is no exception.

Here are the reasons why routers are typically terrible VPN conduits.

Encryption Takes Significant System Resources

Most people use VPNs to keep their Internet activity private. By connecting a device to a VPN server, we are able to create a secure tunnel between our device and the server. Data flowing through that tunnel is also encrypted to ensure its security.

In fact, it is the encryption process that is so detrimental to VPNs on routers.

Today, the majority of VPN users choose OpenVPN because it offers the best combination of security and speed. For the most part, it is faster than IPSec and much more secure than the outdated PPTP protocol.

As of yet, OpenVPN has not been made scalable by developers. Due to this, it can only execute single-threaded instructions, which means that it cannot use multi-threaded processors. The OpenVPN software can only run a single core at 1.5GHz even if your computer or router says it has a quad-core 1.5GHz processor.

In 256-bit encryption, each and every bit of data you receive from your computer is encrypted by a ‘key’ that consists of 256 binary symbols (1s or 0s). VPN encryption requires a lot of processing power on a PC or router.

Routers Are Much Less Powerful Than PCs

Due to the fact that you’re encoding and decoding data, encryption takes up considerable system resources. PC processor speeds typically range between 2.4GHz and 3.4GHz and are equipped with RAM of between 4GB and 16GB.

A consumer-grade router typically has a processor with a speed of 600MHz to 1GHz and a total memory of 128MB to 256MB.

I will illustrate this with my experience with the ASUS RT-AC1300UHP Wireless Router.

I am able to get my maximum ISP-allowed speed of 50Mbps using TorGuard VPN Client on my Windows 10 laptop.

With the same protocol, I am only able to access between 13-15Mbps on my router. As you can see from the image below, my router’s processors are working at just over 80% capacity to achieve this speed.

Likewise, ExpressVPN and NordVPN give me slow speeds over my router, which are not caused by TorGuard;

How To Set Up VPN On A Router

It depends on the router’s firmware how to configure a VPN connection. In most cases, though, it’s a quick and painless process. There are generally step-by-step instructions provided by most VPN providers.

Here is an example of how I installed ExpressVPN on my ASUS AC1300UHP to show how easy it is.

Step 1: Choosing a device for configuration

You will be able to access a setup page once you’ve signed up for ExpressVPN, where you can choose the device you want to configure for detailed instructions. I selected the ASUS device (including Merlin). ASUSWRT is a standard firmware for ASUS routers, but the setup process is identical to that of the third-party firmware, “Merlin.”.

When you’ve selected your router, I strongly recommend setting up an OpenVPN connection. The best performance and security are provided by OpenVPN.

Step 2: OpenVPN configuration

You will be presented with a username and a password once you click ‘Configure OpenVPN’. There will be a few dropdown menus listed below that list the major regions where you can choose your VPN server location. Click on one and then choose your configuration file. Save the .ovpn file somewhere you can access it later.

Step 3: Log in to the router

You can access your router’s login page by opening a web browser. ASUS routers usually use 192.168.1.1 as their IP address. You should be prompted to click on ‘VPN’ after logging into your router

Step 4: Add a new profile

Choose the ‘VPN Client’ tab on the VPN page and then click on ‘Add Profile’

Step 5: Uploading VPN file

Complete the OpenVPN form by clicking ‘OpenVPN’. Enter a description for ‘Description’ that will explain the VPN connection.

┬áIn Step #2, you entered the username and password. Once you have selected the files, click ‘Choose File’ and click ‘Upload’ to download the .ovpn file. Click ‘OK’ when you are finished.

Step 6: Activation

You should be able to start working as soon as you finish. After setting up the account, click on the ‘Activate’ button next to it to begin the connection. Perform a DNS leak test to ensure your VPN is working.

Also check: How to Increase Router Speed on Tp link Wireless

Ranked: The 3 Best Wireless Routers For VPN

Which Router is Best for Vpn? However, there are some routers that perform slightly better than average at handling VPN connections. At least when it comes to consumer routers, these are usually quite expensive.

When choosing a router that is built for VPNs, keep these two characteristics in mind:

  1. Processors with high performance
  2. Firmware that has been modified or customized

Since these routers often have powerful processors, they are good options for low-latency gaming or high-bandwidth video streaming.

In addition, some VPN providers partner with router manufacturers to pre-configure and tune select routers for VPN access right out of the box. You may not be able to find this everywhere, as it isn’t available worldwide.

Visit FlashRouters for pre-configured VPN routers. They offer routers that are pre-flashed with a wide range of top-quality VPN services, such as ExpressVPN and NordVPN.

In addition to choosing DD-WRT routers, you may also choose routers with custom firmware.

All that said, there are some routers out there that are absolute monsters, and if you plan on running a VPN connection with high encryption with them, you’ll be fine.

1. Netgear Nighthawk X10 AD7200

A wireless router that looks like it came out of Alien vs. Predator, the Nighthawk X10 has a quad-core processor that runs at 1.7GHz. The X10 comes with dual USB 3.0 ports and gigabit ethernet ports, allowing it to not only serve as an Internet router, but also stream HD media to up to 20 devices.

Though the Nighthawk X10 has a hefty price tag (even on Amazon, an X10 will easily cost over $600), our main reason for considering this router is its powerful processor. Your router will be better able to handle the demanding encryption of your VPN if it has a powerful enough processor.

2. Linksys WRT3200ACM

Its 1.8GHz dual core processor makes the Linksys WRT3200ACM wireless router look cool in blue. It is possible to customize Linksys routers with Linux mods and to configure them using browser-based utilities. DD-WRT is powerful and stable and I have used it before on Linksys routers.

Also check: How to Install a Router Linksys

Moreover, Linksys designed an easy to use interface enabling easy installation of DD-WRT firmware, which makes the WRT3200ACM doubly special. It is often possible to customize router features with such a firmware.

As compared to the X10, this router is significantly less expensive. With shipping included, you can even get it at a price that is less than half of what an X10 would usually cost. Also, top ratings have been consistently awarded to it by tech authorities such as PC Mag and Techspot.

3. ASUS RT-AC86U

Designed to mirror their Republic of Gamers flagship product line, the ASUS RT-AC86U was designed to meet the demands of gamers, one of the world’s most finicky consumer groups. The router features a dual-core processor running at 1.8GHz and comes equipped with Trend Micro’s AiMesh technology and built-in protection.

Touted as one of the best all-around routers by CNET, this model has been acclaimed by the big boys. As a user-friendly Linux-based laptop priced under $200, the ASUS RT-AC86U is priced in the sub-$200 range.

Caution Before Buying

There are plenty of routers that can be used for home networking and VPNs, but these three are good and have been tested by others. Several others do the same. To discover what’s available, I strongly recommend that you check out FlashRouters.

To make matters worse, not every great router is compatible with VPNs. There is also a lot of blame to be placed on the native firmware of those routers.

I had, for instance, a TP-Link Archer C7 router, which is also a reliable and stable router. Their default firmware, however, did not include a VPN option, so I had to re-flash my firmware to an open source version that did have one.

This warning should be taken seriously

VPNs are not always compatible with all routers.

However, this option may not be available to all router brands and models. My Archer C7 was re-flashed with DD-WRT.

Conclusion: Your Choice Of Router Is IMPORTANT

Last but not least, let’s talk about some of the factors you should consider when setting up your router for VPN. The first thing you need is a router with a potent processor (only look at single-core speeds, multi-core isn’t relevant for VPN). The second thing is a router that supports VPNs. You might also consider a re-flashed device that supports VPN service.

Regardless of what you do, it is highly unlikely that a standard consumer-grade wireless router will offer you the same speed as a PC-based VPN client. Math doesn’t get any simpler than that.

Processors on PCs will always remain more powerful and provide faster encryption than routers (at least for now). Even if you don’t have a router-based VPN, you will be able to run 20 devices through it!

 

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