Being a huge fan of all things small and configurable (think Raspberry Pi, Arduino) I found myself in the market for a VPN service, the internet can be a bad place after all and thats just starting with your broadband provider :P. I had played with DD-wrt in the past and knew I had an TP-link old router that would have been able to be used to create a separate network (wireless and wired) but this was quite old and I figured there should be something to fit the bill, for not many bills. Advantage in using hardware, over configuring all the devices in the house individually, is in short, I am lazy 😀 also I wanted to be able to switch between my usual connection and VPN without additional software or digging around in device settings. My vpn provider offers 5 devices to be connected at once and by using a device it would only use 1 account for the whole house, leaving 4 accounts for friends and family. My VPN provider is also compatible with OpenVPN, great, so now I just need a little linux device. After a few hours searching I went from raspberry Pi’s (good but only one NIC and average wifi performance) to devices from GLI billed as “mini routers”, for use at home or on the road.
After some time searching GLIs site it was possible to get a mini router, with 300Mbps WIFI,2 NICs and USB (for 4G dongles and Pen drives), they call it GL-MT300A. They have sooo many different set ups it was easy to get all the functions I needed, and a few others that would be useful
Specs from official site
- Powered by MTK 7620A 580Mhz SoC
- 300Mbps high speed WIFI
- 2 Network Ports (10/100Mbps)
- Large RAM, 128MB
- Small, light, easy to use
- OpenWrt pre-installed
- UART and MicroSD interface, with MicroSD daughter board
- External antenna optional support
- USB powered, USB port for multi functions
As you can see the specs are up to the job, its running Open-Wrt and it was available from Amazon and Ebay, now just for the small factor of price….. £22 …. Deal, on my desk with in 24 hours, plugged in and running at home later evening. Set up was super simple and with a quick upload of a VPN config file and I was in business. And boy is it tiny!!! I know what your thinking, “thats not Open-Wrt” its hiding under a clean interface but if you want to get messy you can switch to an advanced view, I did to change to WIFI region and set the time source.
Wifi coverage is solid and covers the whole house, its powered by a spare micro USB charger (2.5amp) I had kicking around and it has a check box setting to block traffic should the VPN connection drop out….a software killswitch! 😀 One of the NICs is plugged into my router and the other is used for devices that do not have WIFI (and I’m sure a switch/hub will work nicely too). Ive not used the USB yet but could be useful for plugging in a hard drive or 3G dongle, well maybe.
So far Im happy with it and will be exploring more of the apps that can be installed later. I’ll cover my VPN service provider at some point and also maybe a follow up to see if this is as good as its so far been. I’ll leave you with a few pics, excuse the rushed look of them, check out the LEDs 🙂 Also if you wish to pick one of these up you can use my link and it will help fund Techun.limited future content:)