Every time you connect to the Internet, you’re connecting to the same network as billions of other people. Unfortunately, unless you take the proper precautions, some unscrupulous people may snoop on you and your family. By installing a virtual private network (VPN) on your router, however, you can send your web traffic through an encrypted tunnel, making it all but impossible for people to spy on you!
Many people install VPNs on their personal computers, smartphones, and other devices. However, installing an opensource VPN directly on your router is a safer, more complete way to ensure privacy and security. VPNs on individual devices will only secure the specific device and can be harder to manage, leaving potential gaps in your security. Before diving into that, let’s take a look at how VPNs work.
How do VPNs Work?
As internet security threats have grown in recent years, more people have turned to virtual private networks to protect their privacy. A VPN creates an encrypted tunnel through which your data is transferred. This means the information cannot be read or redirected, making it all but impossible for people to spy on you.
Many people use the Internet for sensitive things, such as transmitting financial information or writing personal messages to loved ones. Unfortunately, some unscrupulous parties will try to steal this information, potentially compromising your financials or even resulting in blackmail.
That’s one reason more people are turning to VPNs to protect themselves and their families. Other reasons include:
- Ability to get around geolocation restrictions (i.e. Netflix’s region locking).
- Defeat net censorship.
- Bypass usage logs.
- Safely transmit confidential documents.
Some VPNs also provide additional protection against malware, phishing attacks, and other online threats.
If you install an opensource VPN on your router, you can essentially set it and forget it. As long as the VPN is up and running, any device connecting to the web through the router will be protected. All requests will go through the encrypted tunnel, whether that request is coming from your laptop, a smart appliance, or whatever else.
With the emergence of the Internet-of-Things (IoT), more and more devices are being connected to the Internet. These days, fridges, thermostats, and various other devices are being connected to the web. Many people are also connecting security cameras, fire alarms, and more to the Internet. Left unprotected, any of these devices could create a vulnerability within your home.
You can’t install a VPN on many of these devices, it’s simply not possible. A thermostat might be set up to connect to the web, but not to run a VPN. Ditto for your smart fridge. Even if you could connect all of these devices individually, could you imagine how much of a pain it would be managing each device and its VPN?
You can protect every device connected to the web, however, by installing a VPN directly on your router.
On-Router VPNs Are Superior in Many Ways
VPNs are often more reliable when they’re installed on the router and can be set to run 24/7. Device-specific VPNs have a habit of disconnecting on PCs, phones, and the like. Perhaps the VPN temporarily disconnected after the internet connection was interrupted. Even a temporary drop could leave your data exposed.
You may even have to log back in every time your computer restarts or after the computer wakes up. This can be a pain, especially if you have to re-enter your login information. When the VPN is on your router, you can restart your phone or PC as often as you want and won’t have to worry about losing protection.
Putting a VPN on your router is also much less of a hassle. If you want to protect other members of your family, you’ll need to either provide them with your password or will have to get on their devices and log them into the VPN. When the VPN is running through the router, however, family members can access the private network without logging in into the VPN itself. They must simply log onto the Internet through the router.
How to Install a VPN On Your Router
Wondering how to setup VPN for your router? The quickest and easiest way is to purchase a VPN-ready router, such as the Linksys WRT 3200 ACM router. A VPN-ready router will work with opensource VPNs right out of the box. Setup will vary from model-to-model but is generally straightforward and easy. Generally, you will have to install a VPN service’s specific firmware and enable it.
Don’t want to ditch your current router? You may be able to install VPN firmware, such as DD-WRT, on your router. You will have to install the firmware itself before enabling a VPN, which can be a bit complicated but if you have basic tech skills, you may be able to get the job done.
No matter the method you chose, an on-router VPN is a wise idea!