Due to numerous governmental security scandals, internet thieves, and eavesdropping ISPs, internet security is only becoming increasingly important with each passing day. Unfortunately, the average consumer fails to understand that they have simple security mechanisms at their disposal. The best way to protect yourself online is by using a VPN to encrypt your data before it is sent over the public internet.
VPNs do create processing overhead to establish a tunnel, and because of this, you want to make certain that your wireless router offers the highest data rates available. Even seemingly trivial applications like gaming and video browsing may not seem important to eavesdroppers, but they can still capture IP address information and metadata if you are not using a VPN.
As you consider the latest and greatest home networking devices, there are a few things you will want to look for. First of all, your home router will need to have a feature called VPN Pass-through. Additionally, you will want high wireless speeds and solid firewall capabilities to give you the best home internet security on the market.
NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK R7000
This Netgear model is phenomenal and highly regarded for many reasons, and its VPN capabilities are fantastic. With VPN Pass-through capabilities, it is well-equipped to handle VPN tunnels from your PCs or mobile devices. However, this model adds value to your personal security by allowing you to create a VPN tunnel back to your home network. Whether you are at work or a coffee shop, this model will allow you to securely access data from your private network. What this means is that you can securely transfer files (for example, from a Network Attached Storage device) across the internet without any fear of online attackers seeing your data transfer. Even better, this model offers support for DD-WRT. The Netgear R7000 Nighthawk is a powerful device that supports the latest Wireless-AC standards. It uses dual-core 1GHz broadcom processor, which is capable of handling the encryption applied when you use a VPN, while allowing you to enjoy great speeds.
To begin with, this model offers VPN Pass-through support as well as DD-WRT support to ensure full VPN functionality. Unfortunately, this model only offers a 300MHz processor and its maximum wireless speed is 300 Mbps.
You might now be wondering why this model is advantageous. First of all, it is only a fraction of the price of the previously mentioned models while still offering you solid security support and firewall capabilities. Not every computer, laptop, and tablet adheres to the latest 802.11AC wireless standard. So, even though your router may offer the latest and greatest wireless speeds, you won’t ever reach the theoretical maximum without upgrading the wireless card in your PC or laptop to 802.11AC. Essentially, you can still get advanced security performance at a fraction of the cost of competing models if your PC, laptop, and tablet hardware is a generation behind. The E1200 may offers less features than other devices in the list and its maximum wireless capacity is 300 Mbps, bu it is cheap and will be a convenient solution to enjoy the benefits of a VPN across different devices.
The Trendnet TEW-812DRU is a nice blend of performance and affordability (about $150.00) and it still offers DD-WRT support as well as lightening quick 802.11AC wireless speeds. A wonderful feature of this model is the ability to create a separate guest network (similar to a DMZ) so guest users cannot access your local LAN devices. However, this model does not allow you to create a VPN server to connect to your home network remotely. In addition, this model has watered-down software that doesn’t keep up with the Asus RT-AC66U or the Netgear Nighthawk R7000. Although if you want a decent quality router that will support your VPN, you will be pleased with this model.
NETGEAR NIGHTHAWK X10 AD7200
Apart from its magnificent design, the Nighthawk X10 is incredibly fast and it is one of the few devices on the market right now that can support Wireless AD. This router also allows firmware changes, which is something that not all routers allow. There are four antennas for input and output and the X10 also runs MU-MIMI, a technology that can support multiple data streams. NETGEAR routers also uses unique dynamic quality of service or QoS software, which is set to prioritize tasks that require a higher amount of bandwidth, including gaming and media streaming. The Nighthawk X10 features 1.7GHz quad core processor, which makes this router a powerful solution to enjoy seamless streaming and gaming.
One of the best things about this tri-band router is that it is easy to use and it works really well for Tomato. It has 6 antennas that can be adjusted and it features 4 gigabit Ethernet ports, as well as two USB ports, one of which supports USB 3.0. The RT-AC3200 uses a dual-core 1GHz processor and while this is no longer the best standard in the industry, it still allows this router to deliver good performance. This router also supports MU-MIMO technology and wireless AC. The RT-AC3200 can be used with multiple devices at the same time. It offers a user-friendly interface and the ASUS AiCloud 2.0 software is also very practical.
This model is quite comparable to the Nighthawk R7000 with only a few drawbacks. While you will find this model a little bit cheaper than the Nighthawk R7000, it does not have the same processing capabilities (600MHz compared to the Nighthawk’s 1GHz processor). That is quite a substantial difference (40%)!However, it does offer VPN Pass-through, but as a result of its processing power you may notice diminished performance over VPN tunnels as opposed to other routers with high-performance applications. In addition, the RT-AC66U provides you with the ability to establish a VPN tunnel to your home network from you laptop or table.
A final word before purchasing the AC66-U, is that if you plan on doing heavy VPN usage on it, paying a little extra for the AC68 may be worth it. When people ask me about AC66 vs AC68, I explain the latter has a better CPU, and USB 3.0. If you can afford it, I highly suggest you opt for an AC68, but if you’re on a budget, the AC66 remains very capable for everyday VPN usage.