VPN Travel Router

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  • ToolAA

    Active Member
    MDS Supporter
    Jun 17, 2016
    8,720
    God's Country
    I've been doing a bit more traveling lately and as a standard practice I've used a small TP-Link travel router while in hotels. Usually its main function has been to work as a WiFi repeater to boost the WiFi signal into the room. Some hotels still have active CAT5 jacks which would usually result in even faster performance without having to be throttled to paid wifi. Now that It's about 5 years old, it seems a bit sluggish.

    Last week I upgraded to a GL.iNet GL-MT1300 (Beryl) travel router. This little guy is really a full function router with built in capability to connect through paid VPN services. I set it up at home last week to connect through my paid ProtonVPN service using Wireguard protocol. Thus weekend I had my first chance to test it out while staying at a Hampton Inn. The router has a phone app interface so that I could easily connect to the hotel WiFi and input my room number and last name into their login gateway. The router connected right away and created my own personal WiFi network that was routed through ProtonVPN. It worked flawlessly and my wife liked it even better because once she setup the travel router login on her phone she didnt have to keep logging into the hotel WiFi each time we left and came back to the room. I tested out some youtube videos which played without interruption. A speedtest comparing the hotel WiFi direct connection with the VPN connection through the travel router both yielded about 9.4Mbps DL speed and 1.5Mbps Upload speed. Crappy when compared to my home network but about normal for free hotel wifi.

    So if you do a lot of traveling and want to maintain a bit more control and security over you internet connections while traveling, you may want to look into getting a travel router with VPN. The Beryl is $69 but the next model down the Opal is only $35 and operates at 300mbps max which is still way more bandwidth than you would likely find at any hotel.
     

    tourrider

    Grumpy
    Jun 9, 2009
    2,073
    Corry, PA
    I do like their products. I’ve been using the GL-AR750Slate for a few years. Thanks for the review, I’ll have to check it out.


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk Pro
     

    woodline

    Active Member
    MDS Supporter
    Jan 8, 2017
    1,914
    GLinet routers are pretty much the standard for travel routers these days. One word of warning, the custom openwrt fork they use occasionally exhibits weird behaviors like defaulting DNS traffic routes back to China even when you force it to DoH or DoT (if anyone operating a personal network still uses that over DoH). If you’re tech savvy or don’t mind a lot of YouTube, reflashing with OpenWRT will up your security.

    That said, not everyone is going to care about that and it really simplifies a lot of security even in stock form. They give you a huge amount of control and security when traveling with family members who bring along lots of electronics. You can connect your travel router to hotel/campground/public internet, or even to your phone as a hotspot for long road trips. Now there’s no need to connect all your devices to public internet, which is both annoying and unsafe. No guest passwords when staying with family either. Do the one connection with your travel router, and everyone else is business as usual. Also gives you a lot of control over what your kids do on the internet.

    If you’re already paying for a VPN, there’s no reason not to have one of these too.
     

    ToolAA

    Active Member
    MDS Supporter
    Jun 17, 2016
    8,720
    God's Country
    Just an update from my OP. Other reasons why you may want a travel router. My wife started our vacation on Saturday and I sent the travel router with her. When she got to the beach condo I walked her through setting it up which was as simple as plugging in the CAT5 cable from the Comcast router to the WAN port and turning it on. I was able to use their remote log in feature to check the status from home and looked like everything was working as expected. She had no issues and a great wifi connection in the condo.

    b449dd059572c9fce66cfab353ada829.jpg



    I just got in late last night. I noticed my phone had connected to the condo wifi automatically. That meant that the Wifi ID and password was the same as it had been last year when we stayed here. So I checked the rental documents and the vacation rental company that leases these condos looks like they use a pretty standard wifi naming convention. For example “Dolphin 09 wifi” and the password was the rental office main phone number 912786xxxx. So for curiosity sake I tried to connect to the wifi routers in some of the other condos. I could see two other condos with the same naming convention. Sure enough they both worked.

    bfd50e5c704725973ef696f66f8ee055.jpg


    So this means that anyone who has likely stayed here still has access to the network and possibly people living nearby also can easily mooch of the free wifi.

    So I logged back into and scanned the condo wifi for our unit and found 5 devices connected to the wifi. IP ending in .4 is the wifi enabled TV. My phone is the Iphone 12. The other 3 devices do not appear to be in the condo.

    67ebdb31817943a8c6665496c6e1d468.jpg


    So running through the Travel Router is the way to go IMO. My families phones are connected through the VPN along with my wife’s laptop.

    2a5ef7625111a3bdb7d17a1cd9013273.jpg


    Also just ran a comparison between running the router with 81.6 Mbps and without the VPN 354Mbps

    59b1d0db9e4373edda5dbc3f3d284313.jpg


    87f90f9cbc1b2cc1eeef2ec98bda34dd.jpg
     
    Last edited:

    woodline

    Active Member
    MDS Supporter
    Jan 8, 2017
    1,914
    Edit: nvm, didn’t look at the pictures. My bad.
     
    Last edited:

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