A VPN router can help businesses and home users share their network resources with other devices and remote users. The best routers in the market, that can serve this purpose, are reviewed for your perusal, in this article.
The Tunnels Matter
All business users should primarily check the number of VPN tunnels that are simultaneously supported by a router, along with AES encryption for maximum security.
Internet has remodeled all the established paradigms of communication and connectivity. By scaling the concept of computer networking to a global level, in the form of Internet, we have changed the way information travels around the world. A virtual private network (VPN) is a technology that uses the Internet medium for remote connectivity.
Many businesses are increasingly opting for such a network to provide employees with an option to access internal networks of the company, from any remote location around the globe. To set up your own network, one of the primary requirements is a secure VPN router. This router can also be useful, if you are planning to connect devices like PS3, Apple TV, Xbox, and Wii to a virtual private network.
Choosing a VPN Router
What should you look out for, when choosing this router type? You want a device that can simultaneously support multiple VPN tunnels, with inbuilt firewall, and most of the VPN protocols (Point-to-Point Tunneling, IPsec, Secure Sockets Layer, Open VPN), that are commonly used. A high connection speed and high-speed Ethernet ports are a bonus. A high grade processor and more RAM provides an edge, in terms of functionality. Look for routers that provide special security measures, to prevent hacking attacks (like an SPI Firewall and 3DES/AES encryption) and those which have a simple setup procedure. Brands like Cisco and ZyXEL are the best, in terms of providing enterprise class routers in this category.
Some companies like StrongVPN and Sabai Technology offer pre-configured routers that have customized operating systems to exclusively serve a VPN facility. These are ideal for novice users, who do not have the requisite knowledge of networking to set up these connections. However, they are not recommended for business users, who need a high level of security. You could either buy a router and customize it, or buy one that comes with built-in ready-to-use software, that is pre-programmed.
In terms of hardware and pricing, there is a clear division between those built for small businesses and the ones designed to serve home users. Devices belonging to both categories, are included in the reviews below.
Best Routers For VPN Setup
There is a whole range of routers available out there, that can provide VPN connectivity. Here, we have chosen the best for you, that score high on most performance parameters.
Ideal for small businesses that need secure access for their VPN connections, this is a powerful device that comes equipped with dual Gigabit Ethernet WAN ports, as well as highly secure site-to-site and SSL VPN connectivity. It also comes with a built-in 14-port Gigabit Ethernet switch, a stateful packet inspection (SPI) firewall, and hardware-level security features.
The device is designed to easily manage multiple concurrent users, large files, and multiple VPN connections smoothly. Most importantly, the router can be deployed in a matter of minutes, with easy-to-use configuration wizards. 3G or 4G modems can be connected with the device, using the two USB ports provided.
With a throughput of about 250 Mbps, it offers 25 IPsec VPN and site-to-site tunnels, 10 SSL VPN tunnels, as well as 10 PPTP tunnels. It is also equipped with DES, 3DES, and AES encryption. With all these features, it costs USD 380 on Amazon.
ZyXEL ZyWALL 110 VPN Firewall
This ZyXEL device is a monster performer, exclusively designed for VPN connectivity and is the product of choice, for businesses that are looking for a high number of simultaneous connections and impregnable security. Based on a multi-core CPU architecture, the device is designed to sustain 100 IPSec and 25 SSL connections simultaneously. It uses advanced Secure Hash Algorithm 2 (SHA-2) to secure every connection. The device is backed up by 7 Ethernet ports with high throughput.
The ZyXEL IPsec VPN client software makes it easy to set up connections. The device is designed to handle 60000 concurrent sessions. With all these features, it promises a throughput of about 380 Mbps for VPN connections and comes with a justified price tag of around USD 420 on Amazon. This is the best choice for businesses looking for a powerful device that can sustain multiple connections.
Cisco Small Business RV180-K9-NA VPN Router
Another device from the networking giant, the RV180 is exclusively designed for small businesses, taking their networking requirements into consideration. With a NAT throughput up to 800 Mbps, 10 gateway-to-gateway IPsec and 10 PPTP VPN tunnels, stateful packet inspection (SPI) firewall, Triple Data Encryption Standard (3DES), and SHA1 authentication, this Linux-based product is versatile, designed to deliver, just what a medium-scale enterprise needs. It can handle 12000 concurrent sessions, and comes with an easy-to-navigate interface. All of this is offered at a price of USD 108.00 on Amazon.
Belkin N300 VPN Router (F9K1004)
Designed to sustain 5 IPSec and 1 L2TP VPN tunnels simultaneously, this 802.11n router, is equipped with advanced SPI Firewall and a software wizard that simplifies installation. It is ideal for home users and small businesses, who are looking for a budget router, that can facilitate VPN connectivity. It promises a throughput of 300 Mbps on the 802.11n band and provides WPA2 encryption. The software that comes bundled with the device, makes it easy to set up VPN connections. With a price of USD 49.99, it’s a steal.
TP-LINK TL-R600VPN Gigabit Broadband VPN Router
A popular choice among users, with many favorable reviews overall, this TP-Link product offers 16 PPTP and 20 IPsec VPN tunnels at a price of USD 61.99 on Amazon. Integrated SPI firewall, 4 LAN ports, and good build quality, coupled with excellent reported performance, makes this another excellent budget choice. Those among you, who are in need of light VPN usage, can bank upon this router to deliver the goods.
Depending on your exact set of requirements, you may choose one from among the many routers presented here. Home users are better off with budget products like the Belkin N300, while businesses that are looking for robust VPN solutions, should go for heavy duty routers, offered by companies like Cisco and ZyXEL.