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  Topic Review (Newest First)
2015-08-14 05:46 PM
Mediaman09 It would appear that ASUS Merlin does what I need .

Also per their web site, its interesting to note that do say that "While Asus has now integrated the OpenVPN server and client support into the official firmware, the Asuswrt-Merlin implementation retains some additional flexibility, such as the ability to configure two separate server or client instances."

For an ASUS router, I am more comfortable with Merlin (over dd-wrt) as somehow its ASUS sanctioned. Also more brick-proof, so they say. On the Netgear R7000 Nighthawk, I would only use dd-wrt and only if I needed the functionality.

So the my latest plan is:
  • Disconnect, and park for safe keeping, the Netgear R7000 (now my main router). Don't want to touch yet in case I need to roll back to it.
  • Connect the ASUS AC68U and upgrade from factory to ASUS Merlin firmware
  • Configure it as a main router, radios off, static IPs, static routing, OpenVPN Client, etc
  • Once proven and working, redeploy the Netgear as an AP. No need yet to flash it to dd-wrt just yet.

Lots of diversity here with the two different routers each with their own stock and own third party firmware.
2015-08-14 05:14 PM
ExDilbert The N66U runs essentially the same firmware as the AC68U so there should be little difference in VPN capabilities and setup. (I don't see a VPN client on the N66U either.) The AC68U is basically the same router with faster CPU and AC capabilities added to the RF section.

To do what you want, it's most likely that DD-WRT or another third party firmware will be required. Except to get a VPN client or some other specific feature, not sure if I would run DD-WRT on an AC68U. Apart from some extra features in DD-WRT, the stock firmware is probably more stable and the Merlin builds a little better yet. DD-WRT tends to be a little more stable on older hardware. From what I've read 5GHz WiFi does not always work well on DD-WRT.
2015-08-14 01:45 PM
Mediaman09 I too am talking about sitting in my home, want to access the internet, with a masked IP, using VPN on the router.

This is so frustrating though. I just put in an order for the ASUS AC68U but I think I will give it back. Looking at the manual, there are no VPN Client options (like Isee on the N66U). There are only VPN server options, which appear to be the opposite of what I want.
2015-08-13 07:37 PM
ExDilbert Just to be clear, I was talking about putting an OpenVNP client on the firewall.
2015-08-13 05:18 PM
VPN Server is when you want the router to act as the server so you can access your home network while at another location
The server is the device that listens for incoming connections. The other end is the client. So, you could set up the server end on a router and client on a laptop computer One curious situation is where both ends are network firewalls. Just choose one to be the client and the other to be the server.
2015-08-13 03:39 PM
Mediaman09 Those Windows VPN shortcuts I referenced above, while convenient, really should not be used. It appears they use IKEv2 protocol
2015-08-13 11:22 AM
Mediaman09 About OpenVPN, when I try to read up on it (most of which I dont fully understand), I find three things:
  • as a protocol, its good, relative to others ( (Ref 1; Ref 2)
  • in term's of installation and ease of use, especially as a Windows client, its a bit archaic, but it works.
  • items of using on the router (so that all devices can benefit), its very doable with dd-rt, but hit and miss with other routers (Netgear R7000 user alone example hate it. Read this.) Not sure if this is the rule or the exception.

To help my learning curve I installed OpenVPN as a Windows Client, and am using it now, with my VPN service provider (SmartDNSProxy who provides VPN an DNS services). OpenVPN as a client is a bit unfriendly but it works. Also found by accident that I can avoid the interface and just use Network Connection in Window's, so I don't have to enter username/password each time. Not sure if Windows use a different protocol when I do this.

But what I really want to do is set it up in the router. Very confusing ( for me) as some routers are more accommodating than others. Also terminology gets in the way re VPN Server vs VPN Client. I have since learned (I think) that:
- VPN Server is when you want the router to act as the server so you can access your home network while at another location
- VPN Client is when you want the router toact as a client to log into a VPN service provider, so that you, through any connected device in your house, can access the internt through that VPN service

So its really VPN Client capability I am looking for in a router, preferably with stock firmware.

I haven't yet bought the router I will put VPN on, so my options are wide open. From what I read, ASUS might be the safest bet.

I am going to have a read of these tutorials next :
Smart DNS Proxy | VPN Setup for Asus Router : OpenVPN Prot...
They talk about setting up OpenVPN on a number of ASUS routers, all with stock firmware.
2015-08-12 05:30 PM
JamesK ^^^^
With OpenVPN, like other VPNs, you generally go to the firewall, if you want to access more than one computer. I have used OpenVPN in the past and it worked well. These days, with IPv6 and SSH & SSL/TLS I no longer need a VPN and can connect directly to the desired computer.
2015-08-12 09:53 AM
ExDilbert I meant a secure, encrypted, dedicated connection, like OpenVPN.
2015-08-11 06:42 PM
I am talking about a dedicated, encrypted SSTP VPN to a remote server, not a PPTP VPN. If there is an easy way to route around that, I would like to hear about it.
Did you mean SFTP? Regardless, you didn't mention that and that's not quite a VPN in the general sense. It's just encrypting the connection. A VPN generally connects to a network and allows access to more than one device behind the firewall. It could be PPTP, IPSec, OpenVPN etc.
2015-08-11 01:13 PM
Originally Posted by Danno10000 View Post
I am very happy with my Netgear R7000 Nighthawk with DD-WRT. It has been extremely stable and has great Wifi coverage. May not be the best now, but it is the best router I've ever owned.
I have enjoyed mine as well. Expect it will remain solid when I make it my main router (its now just an access point)

Its also encouraging that it's dd-wrt compatible. That will give me more options if I need to ever go there. Curious though, why is it not listed in the dd-wrt database : Router Database | ??

UPDATE .. But it is listed here :

What is the different the between the "database" list and the "supported" list" ?
2015-08-11 01:00 PM
Danno10000 I am very happy with my Netgear R7000 Nighthawk with DD-WRT. It has been extremely stable and has great Wifi coverage. May not be the best now, but it is the best router I've ever owned.
2015-08-11 12:14 PM
ExDilbert JamesK, re post #19, see post #16. I am talking about a dedicated, encrypted SSTP VPN to a remote server, not a PPTP VPN. If there is an easy way to route around that, I would like to hear about it.
2015-08-10 07:32 PM
Mediaman09 It quite entertaining reading the user reviews on some of the routers mentioned here and others. So far I have seen quite a few horror stories ending with:
-"I will never buy ASUS again"
-"I will never buy Netgear again"
-"I will never buy D-Link again"
-"I will never buy Linksys again"

These of course be for all sorts of reasons, some perhaps avoidable, some perhaps not. At the same time, some very respected technical sites, eg smallnetbuilder , paint a very different picture. So its certainly not black and white.

On price, there quite a price range to choose from even with the routers mentioned in this thread, from TP-Link AC1200 Archer 5 (about $130 CDN) to ASUS RT-AC68U (about $230).

As I seem to be redeploying equipment every few years, I think its best to keep my options open, even if I turn off some features for now, so that leads me to the AC68U... This will give me:
-a top rated modem now
-dd-wrt compatibility as an option if I need it now or later
-static routing
-some native VPN features
-the ability to swap it with the R7000 Nighthawk if the need arises.

I think its well worth the $100 difference (or even less if I wait for a 10% to 20% Staples coupon, or labour day sale) to have the flexibility.

Gonna sleep on it. I have time.

Also checked the manual for the Nighthawk (stock firmware - no dd-wrt f/w available) and it seems to have more VPN options , so if I configure the house for 'VPN on the main router", I'd likely have the Nighthawk as the main router and the ASUS as an access point.
2015-08-10 04:00 PM
There are good reasons not to run the VPN on the main router.
What would those be? I've never installed a VPN anywhere else, except on a laptop computer. This way the laptop can access the home or office network. When installed on the router, then it just handles traffic for the VPN as it would any other route. If the VPN terminates anywhere else on the local network, the other devices need to have their routing configured appropriately.
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