Best VPN routers to use at home

Hello! Our new blog post is entirely dedicated to home routers. Today you will find out what the requirements for a modern router designed to establish full-fledged Internet access from your home are. This article also provides guidelines for choosing the most suitable router for your family and provides descriptions of the most popular models along with their prices on Amazon.

A modern router for your home

Nowadays, it’s hard to even imagine a house or apartment without an Internet access point. At least in more or less developed countries. But one connection point is almost never enough, even if the family is made up of only 2 people. In order for all family members to have individual access to the Internet, you have to create a full-fledged local area network. This is where the router comes in – an indispensable device that can rightfully be called the heart of a home network. It is through the router that all data from the Internet passes to the home network, and it is the router that determines which device connected to it to send this or that data package to. The stability of the Internet connection and the speed of data transfer depend entirely on this device. So, unless you want you and your family to experience discomfort while surfing the World Wide Web, you must take the utmost responsibility to choose a reliable router that fully meets your needs.

What to look for when buying a router for your home

A distinctive feature of modern home Internet is the large amount of transmitted data at high speed. Streaming videos, video games, video calling and just plain web-surfing – all this requires a high connection speed and eats up a lot of traffic. Imagine the enormous amount of data that goes through your router if one of your family members is watching a Netflix movie, another – a Hulu TV series, a third – battling it out in  an online game, a fourth – video chatting with friends, etc. To make sure there’s plenty of Internet for everyone, the router must have a sufficiently high data transfer speed. Therefore, you need to purchase a router with a total bandwidth of at least 50 Mbps for each family member or for each connected device (preferably at least 100 Mbps). Also, the more processor power and memory the router has, the more connected devices it can serve simultaneously. If the family has children, make sure the router you get has the Parental Control function.

Parental Control Routers

In many families, teenagers (or even infants!) have their own computer or tablet that they use for both their studies and entertainment. Just like adults, adolescents spend a certain (sometimes, excessive) amount of time surfing the net. But the modern Internet contains a lot of negative information that can harm the fragile mind of a child. Alcohol, drugs, pornography, violence, racial intolerance – the Internet is filled with all this, and it’s easily accessible not only to adults, but also to teenagers.

It’s the parents’ duty to shield their children from the negative impact of the World Wide Web, and that’s where Parental Controls come in – special software that should be present in every home router

How do Parental Controls work on a router

The way Parental Controls are enabled depends on the router’s OS. In most cases, the router’s settings identify the computers and other devices that belong to adults (by determining their MAC address). These devices are assigned static IP addresses. All other devices are assumed to be used by minors and are subject to content filtering to prevent access to adult sites. Content filtering is done in various ways:

  • some operating systems allow content filtering by keywords (for example, drug, alcohol, pornography, etc). If a word from the blacklist is present on the site, the latter gets blocked;
  • others use a third party service (usually OpenDNS) that determines whether a website is +18;
  • also in the router’s settings, you can block access to individual sites by indicating their name or IP address;​​
  • log files store information about all sites visited by each minor for a certain period of time.

Moreover, Parental Controls prevent any files to be downloaded from torrents. Finally, another useful feature of Parental Control is setting a limit to how long the device can be online for. In other words, you can prevent your children’s computers and other devices from accessing the Internet during specific hours: at night, when doing homework, during dinnertime, etc.

Home Wi-Fi network features

Nowadays, the terms “home Internet” and “home Wi-Fi” have become synonymous. Which is why, when buying a router, you should always pay attention to the Wi-Fi standards it supports.

Dual-Band and Tri-Band Wi-Fi routers

A Dual-Band Wi-Fi router creates two Wi-Fi networks (2.4GHz and 5GHz). The 2.4GHz signal passes through walls more easily and generally has a large coverage area, 5GHz passes through walls much worse, but the 5GHz Wi-Fi network has an important advantage – it has a much higher data transfer rate. Dual-Band technology is supported by all modern Wi-Fi standards, starting with 802.11n.

A Tri-Band Wi-Fi router создает три Wi-Fi creates three Wi-Fi networks with frequencies of 2.4 GHz, 5.2 GHz and 5.6 GHz, respectively. Tri-Band Wi-Fi is part of the modern Wi-Fi 6 standard (see below).

Wi-Fi 6 – the most modern Wi-Fi standard

The newest standard for wireless networks Wi-Fi – IEEE 802.11ax, also called Wi-Fi 6 and Wi-Fi 6E, uses the frequency range from 1GHz to 7GHz ( 6GHz in total). Wi-Fi 6 data transfer rates are 30-40% faster than that of the previous Wi-Fi standard. Also, a router that supports the Wi-Fi 6 standard can simultaneously accommodate more devices than a regular Wi-Fi router.

Router coverage zone

The coverage area for all models of home routers is approximately the same and does not depend on the price of the device. The reason for this is that the power of the Wi-Fi radio signal is limited by the legislation of all developed countries, since long-term exposure to a powerful source of radio emission can negatively affect a person’s health. Also don’t forget that , 1GHz-7GHz radio waves are well absorbed by solid materials, therefore, for example, a brick wall can become an insurmountable obstacle to the signal (wooden, plastic and plasterboard walls and partitions transmit the Wi-Fi signal much better). Therefore, in practice, the coverage area of ​​a home router rarely exceeds 100 square meters. To expand the coverage area, people purchase devices like a Wi-Fi repeater and Wi-Fi Extender or deploy Mesh Wi-Fi.

  1. A Wi-Fi Repeater simply picks up the radio signal from the router and transmits it to nearby devices. But it also lowers the data transmission speed, sometimes significantly. It turns on automatically, you do not need to make any changes to the router settings.
  2. A Wi-Fi Extender receives the signal from the router both via cable and Wi-Fi and creates its own new Wi-Fi network next to it. If a cable connection is used, the data transfer rate does not decrease or if it does, it does so only slightly. When connecting the Wi-Fi amplifier to a router, you need to make some changes in the latter’s settings.
  3. Mesh Wi-Fi is a new technology previously only available to businesses. Mesh Wi-Fi consists of several modules (Mesh Wi-Fi routers), one of which is connected to the Internet, while the others are located in different places of the house. Mesh Wi-Fi resembles a network consisting of one Wi-Fi router and several amplifiers (Wi-Fi Extenders), but, while each Wi-Fi Extender creates a new Wi-Fi network with its own name and password, Mesh Wi- Fi forms one single network for the whole house. If you have a large multi-storey building and if you can afford it, Mesh Wi-Fi is definitely the way to go.

Why you should only buy routers that support VPNs

Anonymity, security, confidentiality, protection from hackers – these are but a few advantages a VPN provides. The easiest and most effective way to protect yourself and your loved ones from all manner of online threats – install a VPN on your router. After installing and enabling a VPN on your router, all devices connected to it become protected, in other words, the entire home network is now under a VPN “umbrella”. Why you need a VPN at home, you can learn from this article.

In addition, VPN allows you to download torrents, play games with limited access, etc. We have already written about how to use a VPN for torrents, and which ones are better for certain purposes, you can understand by reading several articles from here.

Installing Switcherry VPN on your Home VPN Router

Switcherry VPN will happily protect your home network. Our advantages:

  • a stable VPN connection at high data transfer rates;
  • we own thousands of modern high-speed servers located in dozens of countries around the world;
  • we don’t keep logs, nor do we transfer any information about our clients to third-party companies and organizations;
  • we guarantee complete security, anonymity and confidentiality.

To get the data necessary to connect your router to our service, please contact our tech support service. The article “How to install and set up a VPN on a router” describes in detail how to install and set up a VPN on your router by yourself.

Modern VPN routers for your home

Our review includes 7 router models that deserve attention.

Nighthawk R7000 – AC1900

Nighthawk R7000
Nighthawk R7000

Specifications:

  • processor: Dual Core 1 GHz;
  • memory: 256 MB;
  • total bandwidth: 1.9 Gbps;
  • number of available ports: 1 Gigabit WAN, 4 Gigabit LAN, 1 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0;
  • supported Wi-Fi standards: Dual-Band 802.11a/b/g/n/ac;
  • supported VPN protocols: IPSec, PPTP, OpenVPN;
  • price on Amazon: $206.96

Description:

An old (on the market since 2015) but still popular family router. Smart parental controls block sites by keywords, keep logs of browsing history and are able to limit the time spent online and connect/disconnect children’s devices on a schedule. It has dual firewall and DDoS protection. Supports modern Wi-Fi security protocols (WEP, WPA-PSK, WPA2-PSK). Downside – the router does not support the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard.

Buy the NETGEAR R7000 on Amazon.

Linksys WRT 3200 ACM

Linksys WRT 3200 ACM
Linksys WRT 3200 ACM

Specifications:

  • processor: Dual Core 1.8 GHz;
  • memory: 512MB;
  • total bandwidth: 2.6 Gbps;
  • number of available ports: 1 Gigabit WAN, 4 Gigabit LAN, 1 USB 2.0, 1 USB 3.0;
  • supported Wi-Fi standards: Dual-Band 802.11a/g/n/ac;
  • supported VPN protocols: IPSec, PPTP, OpenVPN;
  • price on Amazon: $219.95

Description:

A very popular router, probably the best in its class. It can transmit data to three devices simultaneously using MU-MIMO technology. Comes with OpenWrt or DD-WRT firmware. The easy to set up Parental controls block access to websites with adult content and sets limits for how long devices can stay online. Full support for modern security protocols. The downside – this router also isn’t new and doesn’t support the Wi-Fi 6 standard.

Buy the Linksys WRT 3200 ACM on Amazon.

Linksys MR9600 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Router

Linksys MR9600
Linksys MR9600

Specifications:

  • processor: Quad-Core 1.8GHz;
  • memory: 512MB;
  • total bandwidth: 6.0 Gbps;
  • number of available ports: 1 Gigabit WAN, 4 Gigabit LAN, 2 USB 3.0;
  • supported Wi-Fi standards: Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6/802.11ax;
  • supported VPN protocols: IPSec, PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN;
  • price on Amazon: $249.95

Description:

A modern router that supports the Wi-Fi 6 standard. The router became available in spring 2020. Parental Control allows you to set up all sorts of locks and restrictions for each connected device individually. The router can be used as the first Wi-Fi Mesh module. Disadvantages: the router only supports the latest Wi-Fi security protocols (WPA-2, WPA-3), so there may be problems connecting devices with older operating systems. The VPN setup process is also poorly illustrated.

Buy the Linksys MR9600 Mesh Wi-Fi 6 Router on Amazon.

NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX43 Wi-Fi 6 Router

NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX43
NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX43

Specifications:

  • processor: Triple-Core 1.5GHz;
  • memory: 512MB;
  • total bandwidth: 4.2 Gbps;
  • number of available ports: 1 Gigabit WAN, 4 Gigabit LAN, 1 USB 3.0;
  • supported Wi-Fi standards: Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6/802.11ax backwards compatible with 802.11a/g/n/ac;
  • supported VPN protocols: IPSec, PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN;
  • price on Amazon: $249.99

Description:

A modern, reliable home Wi-Fi router going for a medium price. Uses the latest Wi-Fi 6 standard with full support for antiquated 802.11a/g/n/ac standards. Like all routers, NETGEAR has a dual firewall, built-in anti-theft antivirus, DDoS protection and Smart Parental Controls. This router can connect up to 25 devices at the same time using MU-MIMO technology, it can simultaneously transmit data to five devices.

Buy the NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX43 Wi-Fi 6 Router on Amazon.

TP-Link Archer AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 Router

TP-Link Archer AX6000
TP-Link Archer AX6000

Specifications:

  • processor: Quad Core 1.8 GHz;
  • memory: 1GB;
  • total bandwidth: 5952Mbps;
  • number of available ports: 1 2.5Gbps WAN, 8 Gigabit LAN, 2 USB 3.0;
  • supported Wi-Fi standards: Dual-Band Wi-Fi 6/802.11ax backwards compatible with 802.11a/g/n/ac;
  • supported VPN protocols: PPTP, OpenVPN (both server only);
  • price on Amazon: $377.99

Description:

State-of-the-art heavy-duty home router. The WAN port has a bandwidth of 2.5Gbps. In addition to the firewall, there is a built-in antivirus. The Parental Control system allows you to create an individual profile for each child with its own restrictions and locks. Content filtering is also in place to prevent family members from visiting malicious sites.

However, this router has a serious drawback – there is no built-in VPN client, there is only a PPTP server and an OpenVPN server. Therefore, to protect your home network, you will have to install a third-party VPN client yourself, such as the OpenVPN client.

Buy the TP-Link Archer AX6000 Wi-Fi 6 Router on Amazon.

NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX200 Wi-Fi 6 Router

Specifications:

  • processor: Quad Core 1.8 GHz;
  • memory: 1GB;
  • total bandwidth: 11.0 Gbps;
  • number of available ports: 1 2.5Gbps WAN, 4 Gigabit LAN, 2 USB 3.0;
  • supported Wi-Fi standards: Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax backwards compatible with 802.11a/g/n/ac;
  • supported VPN protocols: IPSec, PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN;
  • price on Amazon: $591.25

Description:

The most powerful of all routers on this list. Easy to install and set up. Has a dual firewall, DDoS protection, built-in anti-theft antivirus and Smart Parental Controls, allowing you to customize the restrictions for each child. Using MU-MIMO technology, this router can simultaneously transmit data to 12 devices. Its main drawback is its high price.

Buy the NETGEAR Nighthawk RAX200 Wi-Fi 6 Router on Amazon.

ASUS ZenWi-Fi AX6600 Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6

ASUS ZenWi-Fi AX6600
ASUS ZenWi-Fi AX6600

Specifications:

  • processor: Quad Core 1.5 GHz (on each module);
  • memory: 512 MB (on each module);
  • total bandwidth: 6600Mbps;
  • number of available ports: 1 2.5Gbps WAN, 3 Gigabit LAN, 1 USB 3.0;
  • supported Wi-Fi standards: Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax backwards compatible with 802.11a/g/n/ac;
  • supported VPN protocols: IPSec, PPTP, L2TP, OpenVPN;
  • price on Amazon: $631.34 – for a set of three modules (XT8 3PK), $ 334.44 – for a set of two modules (XT8 2PK).

Description:

A Mesh Wi-Fi bundle to cover the entire house. It’s unique feature is the simplicity of the installation and setup procedures. The Mesh Wi-Fi technology ensures there are no blind spots. There is a firewall with a built-in blocker of malicious sites and customizable Parental Control. Full built-in VPN support (clients and servers installed for all supported VPN protocols).

Buy the ASUS ZenWi-Fi XT8 AX6600 Tri-Band Mesh Wi-Fi 6 on Amazon.

FAQ

1. What’s MU-MIMO?

1. What’s MU-MIMO?

MU-MIMO is a technology that allows a Wi-Fi router to transmit data to multiple devices simultaneously. MU-MIMO technology replaced the outdated SU-MIMO technology, where a router could transmit data to only one connected device at a time. MU-MIMO is supported by new 802.11ax, 802.11ac Wi-Fi standards; old 802.11b/g/n standards do not support this technology.

2. How do I know if the VPN connection is actually working on my router?

2. How do I know if the VPN connection is actually working on my router?

Go to any online service that identifies your “visible” IP address, for example the location-and-ip page of our company’s website. If your external IP address matches the IP address of the VPN server that you specified in the router settings, then your VPN connection is enabled and working.

3. My router doesn’t support VPNs. What do I do?

3. My router doesn’t support VPNs. What do I do?

Try changing the firmware of your router (we recommend using the DD-WRT operating system). To learn how to do that, check out our article. However, if modern operating systems do not support your model, then the only way out for you is to buy a new router.

4. I was told that the more antennas a router has, the greater its range. Is this true?

4. I was told that the more antennas a router has, the greater its range. Is this true?

No, it’s not. The range of the router depends only on the power of the radio signal, and it’s about the same for all routers. But the more antennas a router has, the fewer “dead zones” or “dead spots” in its range – less areas where the connection is poor.

Author: SwitcherryVPN Team

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