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New Router Recommendation with Physical VPN?

Posted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 2:43 pm
by SueS

I'm running Linux Mint 18.2 Cinnamon 64-bit. I am looking to replace an old Linksys WRT160N wireless router that I use to connect to a Netgear ADSL2+ Modem. I use DSL rather than cable. I'd like to find a new router that will work with the Netgear Modem, has good security for home use, including updated firmware and easy to update firmware (to quickly address KRACK type flaws that come up going forward). I don't need much speed. I don't stream or play games online. I just connect occasionally with one mobile device at a time and mostly just download books. My priorities are security and privacy.

I'd like for the router to include VPN capability. My understanding is that a physical VPN is much more secure than a software one, such as Any suggestions? Or am I misunderstanding how VPNs work, i.e. I need a separate server to run a physical VPN?


Re: New Router Recommendation with Physical VPN?

Posted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 5:24 pm
by phd21
HI "SueS",

All routers should be able to connect to your modem.

The VPN setup is still just settings using your VPN provider's files whether you are using a Desktop or a hardware router.

You can buy routers with VPN capabilities built-in, some even have the VPN provider you want to use already setup. Are you using PIA (Private Internet Access)? I would recommend getting a router with custom open source firmware, like "dd-wrt", tomato, etc... There are other posts on this topic in this forum...

If you are feeling adventurous, you might be able to "flash" your existing router with open source firmware, like "dd-wrt", "tomato", etc... and you will have the VPN option.

5 Best DD-WRT Routers of 2017, June 22, 2017

* The Best VPN Routers Of 2017, January 29, 2017
- see link for "Flashrouters" which sell pre-configured, pre-installed, routers.
* "Flashrouters"

VPN Routers – Ultimate Resource Guide (Setup, Tips, Best Models), July 27, 2017

Search results for
Best router with VPN capability ... nUjgFAMALI

Hope this helps ...

Re: New Router Recommendation with Physical VPN?

Posted: Mon Dec 04, 2017 6:16 pm
by greerd
I have a Linksys WRT3200ACM, the firmware that comes with, and the latest update only allows the router to be setup as a VPN server, NOT a client. If you want to use the router as a client, to connect to pia vpn servers for example, you need to install open source software, like Phd21 suggests.

I use LEDE (Linux Embedded Device Environment) which is an off-shoot of openWRT, which will allow you to add the openvpn software and set it up as a VPN client.

Also, the WRT3200 and (I think) the WRT1900 & WRT1200 has a dual partition (dual boot) so you can install open source on one partition and leave the original firmware on the other. Switching back and forth can be accomplished by either using the 'Boot Other' (or what ever its called) or by cycling the power switch on the router 4 times (waiting 2 sec between each cycle).

Re: New Router Recommendation with Physical VPN?

Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:39 pm
by SueS
Hello greerd and phd21,

Thanks very much for your quick, detailed and helpful replies. Greerd, I especially appreciate the links that you provided!


Re: New Router Recommendation with Physical VPN?

Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 1:43 pm
by SueS
Also, phd21, would you recommend PIA? Do you use it?

Re: New Router Recommendation with Physical VPN?

Posted: Tue Dec 05, 2017 2:09 pm
by phd21
Hi "SueS",

Absolutely, I recommend using the wonderful low-cost PIA (Private Internet Access) VPN provider. Make sure you tell them you are a Linux Mint user as well.

And no, unfortunately I cannot use a paid for VPN right now like PIA, although I would like too ...

Re: New Router Recommendation with Physical VPN?

Posted: Sat Apr 07, 2018 10:16 pm
by SueS
Hello phd21,

Thanks again for all those links you provided! I am finally getting around to buying a VPN enabled router in preparation for using a VPN. I appreciate you providing all those links. They helped me in my search.

Here are some further questions for you and others who were kind enough to reply to my original questions and/or are following this thread. As I indicated in my original question, I have a Netgear ADSL2+ modem. I think it's at least 2 years old. Does the security of that modem (or lack of up to the moment security because of the age of the modem) compromise the use of the VPN? I am thinking that as long as I am connecting through the VPN, the security of the ADSL2+ modem is not really an issue. Is this true? What if anything should I do to check that the ADSL2+ modem is secure? Can you point me to any posts or places to check the security of the modem?