You do more now with an Internet connection than ever in the past. It goes beyond connecting to the Internet with your computer or smartphone. Now, with a WiFi router, you can stream content over your television, access weather information on your thermostat and even order products off Amazon with your microwave. Just about everything in your house can connect to the Internet.
With so much information going back and forth between your home appliances and electronics and an Internet connection you need to protect your devices from external hackers and those who might try to access your Internet connection. You likely have a password set on your WiFi router, but even with a password, it is easy enough to hack this information and use your Internet signal.
This is where a virtual private network, or VPN, comes into play. By implementing a VPN you’ll boost your Internet security and protect everything else connected to your network. However, your WiFi router does not automatically come with a VPN. You need to set it up and configure the hardware on your own. With the help of these instructions, you’ll discover exactly how to set up such a virtual private network and safeguard all of your Internet-based devices. VPN
What Is a VPN ?
A VPN, or virtual private network, is an Internet connection that helps boost the level of security your Internet network uses. A VPN is usually implemented to help protect confidential information. This is done by hiding online actions so outside users cannot see what you’re doing. It also blocks what is known as your IP address.
Your computer system has a unique IP address. This is like a physical address for your computer. Other websites and anything else online can see your IP address and know where the connection signal is coming from. Having this kind of information also makes it possible to see where you’ve been and to monitor your movements. By implementing a VPN on your WiFi router you’ll block your IP address, which prevents outside websites from viewing your IP address. It also puts up an additional level of security around your entire wireless Internet network at home.
There are a few reasons why you should consider the creation of a VPN on your WiFi router Internet connection. It ultimately depends on the level of security you’re interested in and if you want to prevent external websites from viewing the IP address of any device within your home.
The top reason you’ll likely want to consider a VPN is to improve the overall network security for your WiFi router. By blocking out your IP address and preventing outsiders from seeing the information it becomes difficult for you to be tracked online. When you visit a website, the site will not remember you and they will not see where you are originating from. This also prevents individuals who may try to hack into your WiFi network from siphoning off important login information and other critical details you don’t want others to access. Typically, you will use a VPN for security.
Additional Programming Access
There is another reason to install a VPN, and it has nothing to do with security. There are streaming services that block you from accessing certain programs based on your location. For example, let’s say you live in the state of Michigan and subscribe to the Major League Baseball streaming network. You subscribe because you want to watch all MLB games but you especially want to watch the Detroit Tigers.
However, because your IP address is located in the state of Michigan, you can watch every game over your Internet connection except the Tigers. Why? Because Major League Baseball has a blackout rule that prevents you from watching the local team without having a cable subscription. So despite being able to watch all other games, you miss the games you really want to watch. By blocking your IP address, you prevent the MLB Network from viewing where you’re from, and as such the game is no longer blacked out.
The MLB example is just that: an example. There are several similar reasons why you might want to block your IP address from networking information. Most sports teams have similar blackout details that require you to have a local cable subscription even if you’re already subscribing to the professional service (such as the NFL or NBA).
There might also be streaming services that are not available in your area. Take YouTube TV. It is available in larger cities but it may not be available in smaller locations. As your IP address is identified it prevents you from accessing the YouTube TV programming even if you want to pay for it. By blocking your IP address you can instead pick a location, such as Los Angeles, and pay for the subscription as if you lived in LA.
So while one reason to consider a VPN is to protect your Internet devices and increase network security, another reason is to improve your programming access and to view content you’re paying for but might be blocked based on where you live (using a VPN in this way is perfectly legal, so you don’t need to worry about that, as you are paying for the subscription service).
In order to set up a VPN on your WiFi router, you will need to follow some basic steps. These are easy to follow; you just need to make sure and follow each step by step.
Signing Up and Creating a VPN
To set up a VPN on your WiFi router, you need to sign up for a VPN service. To do this, you’ll need to select a VPN service provider and create an account. There are plenty of VPN service providers available. You will typically pay a monthly service fee although there usually are different options available to you for this.
Install the VPN on Your Router
In order to install the VPN on your router you must install what is known as a DD-WRT. This is a kind of firmware you’ll place on your wireless router. Basically, it is a software update for your router that is used to block out the networking IP address. When you sign up for the VPN service, you’ll receive a DD-WRT. This is the only way you can set it up on your router. Without the DD-WRT it is impossible and you must run the VPN through your computer, although it wouldn’t work on streaming devices like Apple TV, Roku, or any other Internet connected device (which is why it’s easier to install a blanket VPN over every device in your home by uploading the firmware to your router).
To set up your router, you must do a “flashing.” This flashes the new firmware over the old firmware. Note this may void any warranty on the current router (although check to see if there is any mention of the flashing in the warranty information).
Connect the router to your modem using a wired Internet connection (you can’t do it through a wireless update). You will also want to use a wired connection from the router to your computer. While flashing, the wireless Internet connection will not function so you will need a computer that has an Ethernet connection. If your computer does not have one you must purchase an adapter (although chances are you will still have an Ethernet port on your computer).
You can now launch your Internet browser and follow the firmware installation steps provided to you by the VPN client. After you have finished with the installation, you must turn the device off and turn it back on. This will complete the VPN DD-WRT installation.
Purchase a Different Router
Now, you may not feel comfortable installing the DD-WRT VPN on your router, or your router may not even take the DD-WRT. In either case you can purchase a DD-WRT pre-installed router, which bypasses this entire process. If you’re in the market for a new WiFi router, this is an excellent option to consider. While more expensive, you can purchase the hardware through top router manufacturers, including Netgear, Linksys, Asus, and others.
Complete the Installation
Whether you have the store-bought DD-WRT router or you flashed it yourself, you can now open your Internet browser, log onto your VPN provider and type in the device information located on the bottom of your router. The website will configure the router and finish installing the required information to complete the VPN setup.
It is more important now than ever before to do what you can to protect your Internet connection and all devices using the Internet. As the vast majority of hardware is likely using the WiFi router for a wireless Internet signal and not directly connecting into the modem, you need to protect the entire wireless Internet connection.
One way to do this is by establishing a virtual private network, or VPN, inside your home. By installing the VPN on your WiFi router you’ll protect all your devices, from a smartphone and computer to any Internet of Things (IoT) device that uses the Internet connection. So, if you are serious about your Internet security, now is the time to implement your VPN in the WiFi router.