A router is a piece of hardware that connects devices, such as a laptop or smartphone, to the internet, either by wireless or wired means. A VPN router, on the other hand, is a router that automatically synchronizes with a VPN, meaning that all internet traffic from devices that are connected to the internet via the router are protected by the VPN. A VPN router is essential for users who have multiple devices that require internet access and VPN protection at the same time. VPN routers are automatically configured to work with a VPN, ensuring privacy and anonymity for all connected devices.
VPN routers, like standard VPNs, are predominantly used to provide security and anonymity to users. This is achieved, in part, by changing the IP address of all connected devices which can also evade georestrictions and permit access to blocked content. VPN routers offer the same level of security as VPN apps and can be set up to work with any VPN software. The internet speed connection also improves to the gigabits per second range when a VPN router is used. VPN routers generally use the same security protocols and encryption tools used by VPN apps, which includes 256-bit AES encryption, OpenVPN, WireGuard, PPTP, IPSec, L2TP, and IKEv2. Using a VPN app has several security benefits and enables users to bypass restrictions, including georestrictions. VPN routers are able to provide these functions with added flexibility, better speeds, and unlimited device connections, all as an easier to use product. The top seven VPN routers for 2022 are:
- Asus RT-AX58U
- Asus RT-AC86U Router
- Linksys WRT 3200 ACM Router
- Netgear R6400 DD-WRT FlashRouter
- Asus RT-AC5300 router
- Linksys WRT32X Gaming Router
- Asus RT-AX86U
1. Asus RT-AX58U
The Asus RT-AX58U router is a budget-friendly, Wi-Fi-6, and VPN-compatible router featuring ultrafast speeds of up to 3000Mbps, four antennas, dual-band radio frequency of 2.4GHz and 5.0GHz, OFDMA, MU-MIMO,160MHz bandwidth, and AiProtection security. This router offers an ultra-modern Wi-Fi standard, lightning-speed wireless connections, extended capacity, efficiency, and top-grade security. The Asus RT-AX58U router is priced at $169.
There are many advantages to using the Asus RT-AX58U router. First, even in high-traffic situations, the rare combination of OFDMA and MU-MIMO technology improves overall network efficiency. The Asus RT-AX58U router also works with devices that use 802.11ax or 802.11ac technology, which provides up to four times the network capacity. In fact, the OFDMA 802.11ax technology reduces latency by dividing each channel into sub-channels, allowing all connected devices to share the same amount of bandwidth. AiProtection across all connected devices also blocks all internet security threats. Finally, the Asus RT-AX58U router uses target wake time technology to improve the power-saving capabilities of connected devices.
Note:An important disadvantage of the Asus RT-AX58U is that it does not have a multi-gigabit port. The Asus RT-AX58U also has only one USB port, and the antennas are not removable. Finally, having a dual-band radio can be considered a downside: a tri-band radio is preferable.
The Asus RT-AX58U router can be installed to be wired or wireless. To make a wired installation, first, plug the router’s AC adapter into the DC-IN port and turn it on. Second, connect the computer to the router’s LAN port using the included network cable. Connect the modem to the router’s WAN port with a different cable and finally plug the AC adapter into the DC-IN port of the modem and into the power source.
To complete the wireless installation, first complete the first three steps of the wired connection. Then install an IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax WLAN adapter on the computer. For both the wired and wireless installation, install the ASUS router app on a smartphone or computer to complete the final configuration.
The pre-installed VPN on the Asus RT-AX58U router is ready to use with up to three VPN protocols: OpenVPN, IPSec, and PPTP. To use any of these features, go to the router’s website, click “VPN,” and choose the preferred mode. Enable the mode, then create an account for the chosen VPN mode. The Asus RT-AX58U is unique in that it is compatible with third-party VPNs, simply install the third-party VPN app for the router.
Generally, the signal strength of any router depends on the user’s proximity to the router and the presence of an obstruction. However, the closest measure of signal strength is the data transfer rate of the router. The Asus RT-AX58U router has a maximum theoretical data transfer rate of 574Mbps on the 2.4GHz radio band and a maximum theoretical data transfer rate of 2402 Mbps on the 5GHz radio. Other services of the Asus RT-AX58U router include up to 3000 square feet of coverage, mobile app support for customizing and controlling, and AiMesh technology to form a stronger mesh with other routers.
2. Asus RT-AC86U Router
The Asus RT-AC86U router is one of the best VPN routers for gaming, having been designed with powerful features in mind for smooth online gaming. The Asus RT-AC86U router provides ultrafast gaming speeds, a smooth and buffer-free connection, and maximum power efficiency. NitroQAM technology, 5GHz quad-stream band, a 2.4GHz triple-stream band, adaptive QoS for game boosting, WTFast game accelerator, MU-MIMO technology, and three antennas for better network coverage are some of the best features of the Asus RT-AC86U router. The Asus RT-AC86U router costs about $164.
The benefits of the Asus RT-AX58U are Long-distance to mid-distance coverage with a range boost, fast USB and LAN data transfer speed with dual-core processors, reduced latency for a better gaming experience, and the ability to connect multiple devices without significant speed decreases. Despite these benefits, there are a few key disadvantages to be aware of. Firstly, in the 2.4GHz band of the Asus RT-AX58U there is an automatic 20/40 split that results in significant connection loss. There’s also no way to mount the device on the wall and the firmware is slightly complicated to use.
The Asus RT-AC86U router can be installed to have a wired or wireless connection. For the wired connection, start by inserting the router’s AC adapter into the DC-IN port and plugging it into power. Secondly, use the bundled network cable to connect the computer to the router’s LAN port. Again, use another cable to connect the modem to the router’s WAN port. Lastly, insert the modem’s AC adapter into the DC-IN port, then plug it into a power source.
The Asus RT-AC86U router is ready to use with the pre-installed VPN and can be used with three VPN options: OpenVPN, IPSec, or PPTP modes. Visit the router’s website, click on “VPN”, and select the preferred mode to use any of these options. Enable the mode, then enter the username and password to create an account for the VPN mode selected.
The Asus RT-AC86U router has a data transfer rate of 750Mbps on 2.4GHz and 2167Mbps on 5GHz. Other services that are unique to the Asus RT-AC86U router are AIProtection for network security, advanced parental controls, the presence of four ethernet gigabit ports, a USB 2.0 port, and a USB 3.0 port.
3. Linksys WRT 3200 ACM Router
The Linksys WRT 3200 ACM router is one of Linksys’ newest and most advanced products. The flexibility of the Linksys WRT 3200 ACM router is unique, allowing the stock firmware to be replaced with an open-source code. Dual-band radio frequency (2.4GHz and 5GHz), MU-MIMO technology, tri-stream 160MHz technology, the presence of four antennas, a 1.8GHz core processor, and 802.11ac technology are some of the most notable features of the Linksys WRT 3200 ACM. It is possible to customize the settings of the Linksys router, enabling a single user to create up to 50 guest networks with unique passwords. The Linksys WRT 3200 ACM router currently costs around $249.
Among the benefits of using the Linksys WRT 3200 ACM router are ultra-fast speeds on the 5GHz frequency band, triple-stream 160MHz technology for a wider channel coverage, and complete control over network security with customizable firmware. The 2.4GHz band’s poor throughput speed, unstable performance over a long distance, and the higher-than-average price are the only significant downsides of the Linksys WRT 3200 ACM router.
With properly labeled cables and ports, installation is simple. Begin by connecting the router to all four antennas. Connect the ethernet cable to the yellow port on the router, then to the modem. Wait for the power light to stop blinking/ stabilize, then use the default network name and password from the user’s guide to complete configuration on the Linksys website. Alternatively, the Linksys router app could also be downloaded to finish configuration. The Linksys WRT 3200 ACM router can be used with OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, and IPSec VPN protocols. To use the OpenVPN server with Linksys WRT 3200 ACM router, a few steps are required. Go to 192.168.1.1, enter the router’s password, click on the OpenVPN server on the menu bar, and turn on the VPN. Further modifications are possible.
The data transfer rate of Linksys WRT 3200 ACM router is 600Mbps on 2.4 GHz or 2600Mbps on 5 GHz. Other unique offerings of the Linksys WRT 3200 ACM are the ability to stream 4K HD videos and games without buffering. Digital devices can also connect to the router via USB 3.0.
4. Netgear R6400 DD-WRT FlashRouter
The Netgear R6400 DD-WRT FlashRouter is a smart Wi-Fi router with cutting-edge features for long-distance connectivity. Over the 2.4GHz and 5GHz frequency bands, the Netgear R6400 DD-WRT FlashRouter provides mid-range speeds but has several excellent features, including 802.11ac compatibility, dual-band radio frequency, four LAN ethernet gigabit ports, a USB 2.0& 3.0 port, WPA2-PSK security protocols, high-powered amplifiers, 256MB RAM, and 128MB Flash. The Netgear R6400 DD-WRT is also compatible with the Amazon Echo/Alexa, which is reasonably unique. The price of the Netgear R6400 DD-WRT FlashRouter is between $105 and $130, depending on the retailer.
Only a few steps are required to install the Netgear R6400 DD-WRT FlashRouter. Remove the modem from the power source and connect it to the router’s internet port with the yellow cable. Connect the modem and router to a power outlet and turn both on. Connect the computer to one of the LAN ports on the Netgear R6400 DD-WRT FlashRouter with an ethernet cable for a wired connection. Turn on the Wi-Fi-protected setup (WPS button) on the Netgear R6400 DD-WRT FlashRouter for a wireless connection. Then, to finish the process, input the password and name of the Wi-Fi on the router’s pack.
By installing the Privacy App from FlashRouters, or using a web browser, the Netgear R6400 DD-WRT FlashRouter can be used with a VPN. Go to “advanced setup” on the app or the website and then select the preferred VPN service. Third-party VPNs can be used in the same way by installing the VPN’s router app. Enhanced stock firmware, improved Wi-Fi range, improved network strength and stability, compatibility with third-party VPNs, advanced security with DNS leak protection, and free customer/tech support are all features of the Netgear R6400 DD-WRT FlashRouter. The main downside of the Netgear R6400 DD-WRT is that an extra subscription cost is required to use the VPN. The overall speed that the Netgear R6400 DD-WRT achieves is also not good enough for the price bracket.
5. Asus RT-AC5300 router
Another great router for gaming and 4K video streaming is the Asus RT-AC5300 router. The bandwidth range is wide, with one 2.4GHz and two 5GHz radio band frequencies. The Asus RT-AC5300 router offers excellent management features, game-enhancement features, and 4*4 data transfer. MU-MIMO technology, AiMesh, adaptive QoS, lifetime internet security, the presence of five ethernet gigabit ports (4 LAN and 1 WAN), one USB 2.0 port, one USB 3.0 port, and a 1.4GHz processor are some of the main benefits of the Asus RT-AC5300 router. While the WPA-enterprise & WAP2 encryption technology and the tri-band radio frequency make the Asus RT-AC5300 router rather unique. Depending on the seller, an Asus RT-AC5300 router costs between $300 and $330.
Using the Asus RT-AC5300 router comes with several benefits. The network is so powerful that it can cover an area of up to 5,000 square feet. The eight antennas also contribute to the Asus RT-AC5300 router’s extremely fast and stable network. A built-in gamer private network (GPN) improves servers for consistent ping times and AiProtection offers network security assessments to protect against malicious websites and distributed denial-of-service attacks. The main downside of the Asus RT-AC5300 router is that it does not support Wi-Fi 6, and the GPN requires a separate subscription for more advanced features.
The Asus RT-AC5300 router can be installed to have a wired or wireless connection. For the wired connection, start by inserting the router’s AC adapter into the DC-IN port and plug it into power. Then use the bundled network cable to connect the computer to the router’s LAN port. Again, use another cable to connect the modem to the router’s WAN port. Finally, insert the modem’s AC adapter into the DC-IN port, then plug it into a power source.
To set up the wireless connection on the Asus RT-AC5300 router, first complete the first 3 steps of the wired connection. Then install an IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax WLAN adapter on the computer, and the router is ready to use. For both the wired and wireless installation, it is important to install the ASUS router app on a smartphone or computer for the final configuration.
The Asus RT-AC5300 router is ready to use with the VPN pre-installed with three options: OpenVPN, IPSec, or PPTP modes. Visit the router’s website, click on “VPN”, and select the preferred mode to use any of these options. Enable the mode, then enter a username and password to create an account for the VPN mode selected. A relatively unique feature of the Asus RT-AC5300 router is that it is compatible with third-party VPNs.
The theoretical throughput data transfer rate on the 2.4GHz IS 1000Mbps and 2167Mbps on each of the 5GHz bands. Other services available on the Asus RT-AC5300 routers are AiMesh for meshing the signal strength of different routers together, AiCloud 2.0 for accessing USB storage devices via the internet, and parental controls for web and app filters for children.
6. Linksys WRT32X Gaming Router
The Linksys WRT32X gaming router was created to provide a superior online gaming experience. The killer network’s optimization engine (Alienware, MSI, and Razer) synchronizes with Linksys WRT32X gaming router to provide sufficient bandwidth for gaming. For online gaming and 8K streaming, the Linksys WRT32X gaming router offers minimal lag, reduced latency, and a buffer-free connection. The dual-band radio frequency, tri-stream 160MHz bandwidth, four ethernet gigabit ports, 1.8GHx dual-core CPU, MU-MIMO technology, and one USB 2.0 & 3.0 port, respectively, are the unique features of Linksys WRT32X gaming router. The Linksys WRT32X gaming router costs $250 from the manufacturer.
The Linksys WRT32X gaming router has several notable benefits, such as the ability to replace the stock firmware with another code, the ability to use a fast 2.4 GHz band frequency, the presence of replaceable antennas in the event of damage, and automatic synchronization to killer-enabled devices. On the other hand, the downsides of the Linksys WRT32X gaming router are the fact the killer network prioritization is disabled once the stock firmware is installed and the user interface is not user-friendly.
The installation of the Linksys WRT32X gaming router is easy with properly labeled cables and ports. Start by attaching all four antennas to the router. Turn on the router and plug in the ethernet cable into the yellow port, then to the modem. Wait for the power light to change from blinking to stable. Go to the Linksys website to finish the configuration using the default network name and password in the product’s guide. Alternatively, the Linksys router app could also be downloaded to finish the configuration. Linksys WRT32X gaming router can work with OpenVPN, L2TP, PPTP, and IPSec VPN protocols but to use the OpenVPN server with Linksys WRT32X gaming router, a few steps are required. Go to the 192.168.1.1 url, enter the router’s password, click on the OpenVPN server on the menu bar, and turn on the VPN. Further modifications can then follow as the user prefers.
The Asus RT-AC5300 router can reach data transfer rates of 600Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 2600Mbps on the 5GHz band. Other services offered by Linksys WRT32X gaming router are fast file transfer, dynamic frequency certification, and 802.11a/b/g/n/ac wireless communication standard.
7. Asus RT-AX86U Router
The Asus RT-AX86U router is a recent Asus release that supports Wi-Fi 6. The Asus RT-AX86U router’s main features include dual-band radio frequency, lifetime internet security, 160MHz bandwidth, four LAN gigabit ports, one WAN port, two USB 3.0 ports, target wake time (TWT) technology, WPA3 encryption, and OFDMA. One of the unique sides of the Asus RT-AX86U router is the dedicated 2.5Gbps WAN/LAN port for online gaming only. An Asus RT-AX86U router currently costs $280. This Asus RT-AX86U router also offers access to a unique mobile game mode by tapping a special button on the router.
The benefits of the Asus RT-AX86U router are excellent link aggregation, a robust gaming mode, beamforming, adaptive quality of service, and port forwarding, among other features. Nonetheless, there are a few downsides: the Asus RT-AX86U router is quite pricey, the smart connect feature can be slow at times, and there is no provision for wall mounting.
The installation of the Asus RT-AX86U router can be wired or wireless. For the wired installation, start by inserting the router’s AC adapter into the DC-IN port and plug it into the mains. Secondly, use the bundled network cable to connect the computer to the router’s LAN port. Again, use another cable to connect the modem to the router’s WAN port. Lastly, insert the modem’s AC adapter into the DC-IN port, then plug it into a power source. Similarly, the wireless installation involves the first three steps of the wired connection and an extra step. The extra step is to install an IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n/ac/ax WLAN adapter on the computer, and the router is ready to use. For both the wired and wireless installation, the user should install the ASUS router app on a smartphone or computer for the final configuration.
The Asus RT-AX86U router comes with a pre-installed VPN that can be used with three VPN options: OpenVPN, IPSec, or PPTP modes. Visit the router’s website, click on “VPN”, and select the preferred mode to use any of these options. Enable the mode, then enter a username and password to create an account for the VPN mode selected. However, the unique side of this router is its compatibility with third-party VPNs.
This is important:The RT-AX86U router can reach data transfer rates of 861Mbps on the 2.4GHz band and 4804Mbps on the 5GHz band. Other services include the AiProtection for commercial-grade network security, AiMesh for meshing similar routers for better network coverage, and advanced parental controls.
How to Setup a VPN on a Router
A VPN router is the best option for the successful installation of VPNs on a router. Below are the steps on how to setup a VPN on a router:
- Log in to the VPN router via the website or the installed application using the default login information on the product guide.
- For VPN routers, the VPN functionality is already pre-installed. Simply turn it on and configure it as desired.
- For non-VPN routers, the settings will have to be re-configured via the stock firmware to redirect traffic to a third-party VPN server. More information is always contained in the product’s guide.
- Once all configurations are done, test the router to see if the IP address is concealed and traffic is tunneled.
How do I Know if My Router has VPN Support?
To find out if your router has VPN support, consult the router’s manual or router’s features list before buying. On the router’s features list, watch out for “OpenVPN client”, which indicates if the router supports VPNs.
Do Routers Come with VPNs?
The vast majority of routers do not come with VPNs, but some VPNs come with routers included. Some of the best examples are listed in this article. Typically, off-the-shelf and custom-firmware routers are the best routers that support and come with VPNs. On the other hand, internet service provider (ISP) routers are commonly non-compatible with VPNs.
Should I Install an External VPN for VPN Routers?
It is not necessary to install external VPN routers, it is purely a matter of choice. External VPNs mostly have more robust features than pre-installed VPNs. There is also more flexibility when an external VPN is used, such as the ability to select a specific server. However, external VPNs require a subscription for access to the premium features. Popular VPNs such as NordVPN are partnering with router manufacturers like Flashrouters for better integration of external VPNs into routers.
Do Router VPNs Affect all Devices that are connected to the Network?
Yes, the router’s VPN automatically affects all connected devices to its network. After all, the essence of a VPN router is to have multiple devices protected simultaneously without individually installing a VPN on each device. The best VPNs for multiple devices allow unlimited connections and provide consistent privacy, protection, and optimum download/upload speed.