The 7 Best VPN-Enabling Devices to Buy in 2018

Zyxel Next Generation VPN Firewall
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For all the joy and information the Internet brings to the world, it remains a place with an underbelly of virtual threats. Tackling these threats requires preparation and awareness. Fortunately, there are devices out there that can help protect you against potential attacks. A VPN, or virtual private network, establishes a secure connection between different sites (two or more) with strong encryption. Ideal for huge corporations with thousands of employees that travel or for protecting a small home or office, a VPN offers control over what data comes in and what data goes out. Take a look at our choices for the best VPN devices to find the best one that works for you.

Best Overall: ZyXEL ZyWall VPN

Designed as a business-grade device, the ZyXEL ZyWall VPN is designed with multi-core CPUs to offer outstanding VPN and firewall performance. Capable of high-speed networking up to 1 Gbps throughput and up to 300 Mbps when the VPN is active, the ZyXEL more than keeps up with the demand of today’s workforce. Security-conscious buyers will find comfort with the 110 VPN firewall, which allows for Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol (L2TP) VPN for mobile devices, including Android, Windows Phone and the iPhone. Setting up the VPN is easy, thanks to the included client software that does the heavy lifting for you and has you up and running (securely, of course) with just three simple steps. Ultimately, the ZyXEL works to keep monitoring and administration efforts low while allowing customers or employees to access internal company servers, e-mail or data safely and securely anywhere in the world.

Runner-Up, Best Overall: Cisco Systems Gigabit RV325K9NA VPN

With an intuitive user interface that makes setup a snap, the Cisco Systems Gigabit RV325K9NA VPN 14-port router will have your network protected in just minutes. Featuring dual Gigabit Ethernet WAN ports for maintaining heavy Internet traffic, the built-in SSL (Secure Sockets Layer) and site-to-site VPN is perfect for creating a secure environment for both remote employees and multiple offices. Added security comes courtesy of the stateful packet inspection (SPI) firewall and hardware encryption that provides another layer of security for the most secure data of your business.

Best for the Home Office: UTT HiPER 518 VPN

Capable of supporting up to five concurrent IPSec VPN site-to-site or client-to-site tunnels, the UTT HiPER 518 is a great addition to a home office. All the usual features are here that a home office user would want, including a built-in firewall, bandwidth management, as well as access control to keep unwanted users away. For homeowners who want to maintain peace of mind, the HiPER 518 supports VPN failover, a redundant backup that allows a VPN to move immediately from one WAN connection to another if the first connection drops. Ultimately, this leaves the user’s data protected in the event of an emergency. Past redundancy, setup is straightforward with the “quick wizard” handling most of the initial configuration. Additionally, the HiPER 518 Web-based user interface is basic, but remains user-friendly while offering control over settings and management. However, the one missing VPN feature with the HiPER 518 is the lack of VLAN support, which helps segregate VPN and non-VPN bandwidth for maintaining Internet speed.

Best for Small Businesses: Linksys LRT224 VPN

A dedicated business-class router, the Linksys LRT224 VPN offers outstanding support for office network requirements. Featuring up to 50 IPSec tunnels for both site-to-site and client-to-site VPN control, the LR224 adds an additional five OpenVPN tunnels for dedicated access to smartphone owners everywhere. With VPN active, the max throughout is 110 Mbps, which hardly competes against the non-VPN 900 Mbps speed, but holds its own all the same. Once you log into the Web-based admin interface, the system page lets you look at the main stats, as well as the setup wizard (where you can set up the time, passwords and WAN/LAN settings). The rest of the options are available under a configuration tab that provide slightly deeper control of the LRT224 functions. While Linksys claims the LRT224 offers the highest throughout of any dedicated business-class router, it does so without a browser-based SSL VPN, which might be a mandatory requirement in some business or enterprise settings.

Best for Portability: GL-AR150 VPN

Whether you’re at a hotel or a coffee shop, connecting to an unknown Wi-Fi network carries a multitude of risks to both your computer and your important data. The GL-AR150 mini router is the ideal budget companion with OpenVPN client and TOR included for added safety and security. With OpenVPN installed, you’ll have the choice of more than 20 plus VPN service providers, as well as TOR firmware available to keep your browsing history away from prying eyes. Weighing 1.41 ounces, the GL-AR150 is highly portable while still offering support for tethering over 3G and 4G cellular networks. Powered by any laptop USB, power bank or 5V DC adapter, it’s easy enough to carry the GL-AR150 around in a briefcase or backpack. Beyond portability, the device can quickly convert a wired Wi-Fi network into a wireless hotspot within seconds all while running under the protection of OpenVPN.

Best Splurge: Dell SonicWall TZ300

Targeting offices of 25 users or less, the Dell SonicWall TZ300 packs plenty of security to justify it's splurge-worthy price. It includes both SSL VPN encryption, as well as advanced IPSec for a top-to-bottom approach to VPN security and data defense. Mobile users will love the TZ300, thanks to its native VPN remote access clients that offer a plethora of qualified devices, including both Apple phones and tablets, Mac computers, Google’s Android devices and Windows 8.1 and 10 devices. For businesses that want employees to focus solely on productivity, the availability of advanced controls will help reduce the use of apps such as Facebook or Twitter.

Best Router: ExpressVPN Linksys WRT3200ACM

With blazing-fast Wi-Fi speeds, MU-MIMO technology for ensuring every device gets the appropriate amount of bandwidth and Tri-Stream 160 technology, the WRT3200ACM is an action-packed winner. With Wi-Fi speeds that can top out at 3.2Gbps, the WRT3200ACM can hold up against heavy use and it’s well-equipped to tackle threats. Running open source firmware enables the secure setup of a VPN client, so that there are no DNS or WebRTC leaks. The built-in firewall doubles as a kill switch by quickly discovering and closing off any network intrusions. For devices running on a network that doesn't require VPN protection, the WRT3200ACM applies split-funneling that lets devices access the VPN-enabled network and non-enabled network simultaneously without impacting bandwidth or performance. Furnished with an enterprise-grade dual-core processor, the WRT3200ACM is perfect for both small offices and homes where protection is a must.


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