Few Criteria for Choosing a Hardware-based VPN Router

Featured, Getting Started, Misc, VPN Services

Choose VPN RoutersI’ve gone crazy doing lists and selection those last couple of days, most probably because it was the end of the year where it’s usually the time for making plans for the new year and all those kind of stuff. Do you find yourself doing that kind of lists too?

What router are good for running VPN?

Anyway, this time, I wanted to focus on router hardware that is a good fit for running VPN on them. Frankly speaking, although I have a little two computers home network, I never worried installing the VPN client on my router – especially because the second computer is used by my wife who only cares about accessing the internet for doing e-mail, browsing, and Facebook 🙂 So I was better off having a VPN software installed on my own computer for my own purposes.

But in case you want a centrally managed VPN implementation for your own network, be it a home network, or a small organization network, then having the VPN layer implemented on the router side is definitely the way to go.

Here again, there are a lot of options: you can think of the very powerful Cisco or Juniper routers that are designed specifically for running multiple VPN tunnels. Or you can go for the “lighter” VPN routers that are designed for SOHO use.

My criteria on how to choose VPN routers

For this article, I won’t even consider those big guys in town that are meant to connect to multiple locations in the world; let’s just focus on the SOHO (Small Office Home Office) segment. So here are my criteria on how to choose VPN routers:

  • It should be easy to install. You don’t have to be an IT expert to set it up, nor should you have a great understanding of all the different options. In fact, considering that I would have already chosen a VPN provider, chances are that I would have been given credentials and protocols to be used, so the VPN router should be able to implement them. This should be an easy one since most of the protocols are implemented into all those hardware nowadays.
  • It should have the right connection that goes with my internet connection. This can be the tricky part: internet connection solutions can come in a variety of “flavors”. Some providers will give you a box that is pre-configured for the internet connection. All the devices in my network would then need to connect to this box either via WiFi or via Ethernet connection.At this stage, I may want to check if that ISP box allows some bridging feature with my VPN router. Otherwise, that box would have to implement some network address translation (NAT) and it may cause you some troubles- in your case, check with the VPN router provider how would that be implemented. Other providers allow you to have your own router directly connected to an ADSL jack. This is a perfect fit since you can choose a VPN router that can connect to an ADSL jack. Then you do all the internet connection and VPN configuration on the same router.

As an option, and if you don’t have yet a WiFi router in your organization, you may want to request a router that also acts as a WiFi access point. This can come handy for a small entity (your house for example).

Finally, here is my selection of hardware-based VPN routers.

How do you choose VPN routers? Let us know in the comments below.

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