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Best Overall: Zyxel Zywall 110 VPN Firewall at Amazon
"Multi-core CPUs offer outstanding performance and protection for all businesses."
Best Wi-Fi Router: Linksys WRT3200ACM Router at Amazon
"Blazing-fast Wi-Fi speeds in this action-packed winner."
Best for Simplicity: Netgear BR500 at Amazon
"The fastest way for small businesses to get a VPN up and running in no time at all."
Best for Load Balancing: Cisco RV325 at Amazon
"Intuitive interface connects and protects your network in minutes, while dual Gigabit Ethernet ports help load balance your internet traffic."
Best for the Home Office: UTT ACC1220GW at Amazon
"Excellent bang for your buck in security and high-speed performance and an affordable way to support multiple internet connections."
Best Budget: TP-Link TL-R600VPN at Amazon
"Offers solid VPN performance for small businesses on a budget."
Best for Small Businesses: Linksys LRT214 at Amazon
"Dedicated business-class router, provides superior support for office networks."
Best for Home Users: Syfer Unlimited Smart VPN Router at Amazon
"A really simple solution for those who want to keep their home internet surfing private."
Best for Travel: GL-AR150 VPN at Amazon
"Lightweight, highly portable, choose from more than 20 service providers with OpenVPN."
Best Splurge: Dell SonicWall TZ300 at Amazon
"Worthy of the splurge: fast, deep inspection of incoming files, and optional services galore."
Fast VPN throughput
Supports all modern VPN protocols
3G WWAN support
Can be complicated to configure
Manual lacks configuration examples
Designed as a business-grade device, the Zyxel Zywall 110 VPN Firewall is designed with multi-core CPUs to offer outstanding VPN and firewall performance. Capable of up to 1Gbps throughput without the VPN enabled and up to 300Mbps when the VPN is active, the Zywall more than keeps up with the demand of today’s workforce. Security-conscious buyers will find comfort with the VPN firewall, which allows for Layer 2 Tunnelling Protocol (L2TP) VPN for mobile devices, including Android, Windows Phone, and the iPhone, supporting up to 100 VPN tunnels via IPsec plus 25 over SSL.
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.
Open Source Firmware
Solid 5 GHz throughput
Poor 2.4 GHz performance
Only four Ethernet ports
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. Offering Wi-Fi speeds that can top out at 3.2Gbps, the WRT3200ACM can keep pace with heavy use and is 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-tunneling 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.
Very easy VPN setup
Cloud monitoring and configuration
Users require Insight VPN Client for best VPN performance
Weak OpenVPN support
Limited advanced controls
For small businesses looking for a really easy way to set up a VPN between two or more locations, Netgear's BR500 is about as simple as they come. Netgear is known for creating some pretty user-friendly home routers, and they've leveraged that expertise to create an "Instant VPN" solution for businesses that can have your VPN up and running in minutes.
The BR500's secret sauce is Netgear's Insight Cloud Portal, which is used to establish VPN connections between routers and clients with a minimum of fuss. Instead of having to configure sometimes-complicated VPN settings on each end, each BR500 communicates with Netgear's cloud servers to exchange all of the information needed to create a VPN between two sites, or from a computer using the Insight VPN Client, which remote workers can easily download and set up from the Cloud Portal with only a few clicks.
The Cloud Portal also handles all of the other configuration aspects of the BR500's, and for a small additional fee you can even get proactive performance monitoring and advanced controls. It's a great and simple solution for anybody without a lot of networking experience, but like any simplified solution, more advanced professionals may be disappointed by the inability to tweak more advanced settings or use it with OpenVPN clients.
Dual WAN Ports with automatic load balancing
3G USB WWAN support
Easy admin interface
Weak IPsec VPN performance
SSL VPN can be flaky
With an intuitive user interface that makes setup a snap, the Cisco RV325 14-port router will have your network protected in just minutes. Featuring dual Gigabit Ethernet WAN ports so you can load balance traffic across two internet connections, the built-in SSL and VPN is perfect for creating a secure environment for both remote employees and multiple offices, with support for up to 50 IPsec site-to-site and client-to-site tunnels, plus 30 additional Easy VPN tunnels that can be established with the Cisco VPN client, 10 SSL tunnels, and 10 PPTP tunnels.
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, while still delivering impressive routing performance for straight non-VPN connections, and solid PPTP and SSL throughput, although SSL VPN connections could be unstable. While IPsec throughput was weaker than some competing routers, it's still more than acceptable in a router at this price, and should be more than sufficient to handle the needs of home users and most small businesses.
Simple to configure
Solid Wi-Fi performance
Supports multiple internet connections for fault tolerance
Poor load balancing performance
The simple set-up and troubleshooting support make UTT's ACC1220GW super user-friendly and, most importantly, you’re getting some excellent bang for your buck in terms of security and high-speed performance. The high-security firewall defends against viruses, port scanning, DDoS/DoS attack and ARP spoofing, so you can browse the internet without any worries. The router supports up to ten IPSec VPN tunnels simultaneously, as well as PPTP VPN clients, and offers five Ethernet ports —one for LAN and one for WAN plus three additional ports that can be configured for either LAN or WAN connections.
This allows you to configure the AC1220GW with multiple ISP connections for fault tolerance in case your primary connection goes down, as well as offering limited load balancing capabilities. The ACC1220GW also boasts high-speed wireless connectivity with simultaneous dual-band speeds of 450 Mbps (5 Ghz) and 300 Mbps (2.4 GHz) for a total of 750 Mbps. Also, the router comes with three 7 dBi antennas with MIMO support for maximum range, which is especially useful in multi-story buildings.
Gigabit Ethernet ports
No VLAN support
Limited DDNS support
The TP-Link TL-R600VPN is a great option for those who need a business-class VPN router on a budget. Not surprisingly, at this price it doesn't offer many frills but it manages to nail all of the basics and offers good VPN performance and throughput, and even offers multiple WAN ports for redundant internet connections.
This compact unit offers a stateful packet inspection firewall that will protect your network against DDoS attacks and also offers application-level gateways, port forwarding, and filtering options. It can also support up to 20 IPSec tunnels and 16 PPTP tunnels and 16 L2TP tunnels, although the straight IPSec protocols are only supported for site-to-site VPN configurations; clients will have to rely on PPTP or L2TP.
The TL-R600VPN offers theoretical performance of up to 680 Mbps on a non-VPN connection, while throughput drops down to around 20 Mbps when travelling over an IPSec tunnel, reasonable values for a router in this price range that should be more than suitable for small businesses.
802.1q VLAN support
QoS and priority bandwidth controls
Slower SSL VPN performance
Some setup options can be confusing
Designed with small businesses in mind, Linksys' LRT224 Dual WAN Gigabit VPN Router offers outstanding support for small office networks. 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 maximum throughput is 110 Mbps, which hardly competes against the non-VPN 900 Mbps speed, but it 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 the time, passwords and WAN/LAN settings). The rest of the options are available under a configuration tab that provides slightly deeper control of the LRT224 functions. While Linksys claims the LRT224 offers the highest throughput 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.
Intelligent AI malware protection
Works with your existing router
Very easy to set up
Requires monthly subscription after first year
Doesn't work with modem/router combos
No support for port forwarding yet
While most VPN-enabling routers are designed with businesses in mind, if you're a consumer who is simply looking to keep your internet surfing private, Syfer's Unlimited Smart VPN router offers an interesting turnkey solution that's really easy to set up. Instead of replacing your home router, Syfer plugs into the Ethernet cable that runs between your router and your modem, automatically setting up a secure VPN that protects all of the traffic between your home network and the internet.
In addition to its VPN capabilities, Syfer also protects you from ransomware, malware, and outside hacking attacks against your smart home IoT devices thanks to its adaptive AI firewall. There are also parental controls for category-based content filtering plus Google's Safe Search to keep your kids away from the darker corners of the internet, and a TunnelShaper feature that makes sure that your favorite streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Prime aren't impacted by the VPN.
Although Syfer offers some of the easiest comprehensive privacy controls we've seen, it doesn't come cheap, and in fact you'll need to pay a $10 monthly subscription fee to keep it going after the first year. Since it connects between your modem and your router, you also won't be able to use it if you have a modem/router combo, so you'll need to buy a separate router, but it's something that users who are security conscious should consider doing anyway.
OpenVPN and TOR support
Can be used as a portable hotspot
Portable and versatile
Basic Wi-Fi performance
Only supports 802.11n
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. OpenVPN gives you a choice of more than 20 VPN service providers, while the integrated TOR firmware keeps your browsing history away from prying eyes. Weighing in at only 1.41 ounces, the GL-AR150 is also highly portable while still offering support for tethering over 3G and 4G cellular networks with a USB modem.
While the GL-AR150 won't break any speed records with its lower-end 802.11n N150 Wi-Fi, it's really more than sufficient to support a single user connecting to Wi-Fi while travelling, and provide ample bandwidth even for 4K video streaming.
Powered by any laptop, USB, power bank or 5V DC adapter, it’s easy enough to carry the GL-AR150 around in a briefcase, backpack, or even your coat pocket, and it can also convert just about any wired or Wi-Fi network into a wireless hotspot within seconds, giving you an OpenVPN protected connection wherever you happen to be.
Comprehensive network protection features
Deep Packet Inspection
Native SSL VPN access
Some features require additional subscription fees
If you have the budget for it, the SonicWall TZ300 is worth the investment, offering enterprise-grade network protection for your office with deep inspections for all incoming files and powerful firewall security measures, including SSL, TLS, and SSH decryption. The TZ300 also features native SSL VPN access, ensuring a secure connection for all your Wi-Fi-enabled devices: computers, smartphones, and even the Amazon Kindle and Linux devices.
In addition to all this extensive protection, the router runs on a 4GHz Pentium processor, with 1024 MB of RAM, and a 1 TB hard drive, delivering high-speed performance for your entire office. If the standard features aren’t enough for your office, then Dell also offers a variety of optional services you can add on for an additional subscription fee, including more advanced anti-virus, anti-spyware, and anti-spam filters and content-filtering software to block inappropriate or unproductive websites at the workplace.
DD-WRT and Tomato - If you want the most flexibility possible, look for a router that is compatible with DD-WRT or has it preinstalled. Another good option is a router that’s compatible with Tomato, or Sabai OS, which is based on Tomato.
Dual-core processor - VPN-enabling devices have to do a lot more heavy lifting than the average router, so a slow processor can easily deliver a knockout punch to your data transfer speeds. If you want to be able to stream video or do anything else that requires solid connection speeds, then it’s important to choose a VPN-enabling device that’s packing some serious processing power.
Free VPN subscription - Finding the right VPN-enabling device is just the first step. Before you can secure all of your devices behind a VPN, you need to set your device up with a VPN service. Some VPN-enabling devices come with a free subscription to a premium VPN service, which simplifies this process.
The Linksys WRT3200ACM is a favourite of our reviewers for its open source firmware, it's nostalgic look, and a setup process that can be as simple or complex as you want it. It performs especially well on the 5 GHz band, tanks to its MU-MIMO Dual-Band Tri-Stream 160 technology, and reviewers describe it as "a great buy from a great company that’s been in the market for a long time."