Will China Block VPNs?

You may be hearing China’s policies in the news when it comes to Internet use/censorship. Or maybe you be hearing the term “Great Firewall of China.” This is used to describe China’s restrictive firewall. The firewall blocks services such as the Google Play Store and WhatsApp, to websites such as Facebook and The New York Times. Now, there are emerging reports that China may be moving to block Virtual Private Networks.

Is China Really Trying to Block VPNs?

According to Bloomberg:

“China’s government has told telecommunications carriers to block individuals’ access to virtual private networks by Feb. 1, people familiar with the matter said, thereby shutting a major window to the global Internet.”

As of July 19, a Chinese telecoms carrier says that has a notice from authorities directing them to start blocking VPN services. Moreover, only a few weeks prior, Hong Kong based service GreenVPN was forced to shut down after receiving notice from Chinese regulators.

Also, China is issuing partial blocks to popular encrypted messaging app WhatsApp, preventing users from sending photos, videos, and some text messages.

From these instances alone, it seems China will be heavily cracking down on tools and services that circumvent the Great Firewall.

Why Are VPNs Popular in China?

When a VPN is in use, all of your network traffic is rerouted through a VPN server. Furthermore, this privacy tunnel encrypts your data flow. It also provides you with a different IP address in the location of your choosing. In short, this allows users in China to bypass the “Great Firewall” and its restrictions.

Consequently, if this law to block VPNs goes into effect by the beginning of next year it will leave China’s Internet users without access to global unrestricted Internet. Left without a way to bypass the firewall, people in China will be stuck with whatever Internet the government allows.

Blocking VPN services could also be troubling for international companies who rely on VPNs to access servers. In the past, China’s actions against VPNs had companies thinking twice about operating their businesses there.

Will China’s VPN Block Work?

However, it must be stated that China’s VPN block may not even work. In 2012, the Wall Street Journal reported on Chinese users accessing the Internet by means other than VPN. Citizens seem to always find a way around authoritative State measures.

Governments can seem like omnipotent beasts with divine power. However, one should take a step back and realize this simply is not the case. The State is able to derive power based on an assumed legitimacy. However, the State can lose legitimacy in the eyes of citizens. This will happen if the State takes actions that its Citizens deem as not in their best interests. A loss of legitimacy leads to a loss of perceived power, which in turn opens the door for Citizens to take action in their own hands.

For now, the action that Chinese Citizens (and people visiting China) can take to get around the Authoritative State is using a VPN router.

Using a VPN Configured FlashRouter In China

If you plan to visit China, we recommend taking note of the potential options available to you. All of our FlashRouters can work in China and can be used alongside a Chinese ISP modem/router in a Dual Router Setup.

Plug and Play VPN Router Privacy

On our VPN by Country page, you can view popular VPN and FlashRouter recommendations for China. All things considered, one of our most popular FlashRouters for any country is the Linksys WRT1900ACS DD-WRT features a 1.6 Ghz Marvell processor and 4 external antennas. Ultimately, this makes it a great balance of range and power.

More top VPN routers for China include:

  • Netgear Nighthawk R7800: A 1.7 GHz Broadcom processor at a competitive price-point.
  • Asus RT-AC3200: Six external antennas offering the most powerful Tomato performance on a FlashRouter.

Recommended VPN Providers

ExpressVPN is a great VPN provider that has a long history of use in China. Based in the British Virgin Islands, with servers in 75+ countries across the globe, ExpressVPN offers a comprehensive reach and provides unobstructed access to international content. Their network is SSL secured with 256-bit encryption. Furthermore, ExpressVPN constantly optimizes to provide premium speed and optimal bandwidth.

NordVPN is another popular provider that has had success in China. Recently, NordVPN implemented an advanced VPN solution for users in China.

Using VPN Routers To Access Worldwide Content

VPN solutions will not only work in China, but any country that censors the Internet. However, FlashRouters has had experience assisting customers dealing with intrusive governments world wide. Whether it is the draconian censorship of Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates or the snooping eyes of the National Security Agency in the United States, FlashRouters is here to offer solutions. Even recent anti-privacy policies in the UK or the Data Retention restrictions in Australia.

Futhermore, placing a pre-configured VPN router in your network will allow for full spectrum encryption. Any device connected to a FlashRouter will be encrypted by the VPN. Concerned about leakage? A VPN network is a solution.

Location Leaking Prevention Techniques

If your concern is with leaking of your location, a FlashRouter can help. Securing your devices on a network level with a VPN Router is an imperative. To add levels of prevention and security, try incorporating a VPN Kill Switch into your VPN network.

With a Kill Switch, if the VPN connection on the router drops, the Internet connection on the router turns off. Moreover, this offers a sense of reassurance. You will not have to worry about being revealed to a nefarious government by a VPN cut out. Ultimately, FlashRouters will setup a kill switch on your router free of charge with any router.

Questions About Your VPN & Router Options?

Our team at FlashRouters has extensive experience in navigating the privacy and security needs of users worldwide from thousands of satisfied customers worldwide.

Send our Networking Experts a message and we will offer one on one consultation for your specific setup and situation. Moreover, solving these tough issues from UK to China to Singapore is our primary mission.

July 12th: Internet-Wide Day Of Action To Save Net Neutrality (NNDoA)

On July 12, 2017, the Internet will come together to sound the alarm about the FCC’s attack on net neutrality. Companies such as Netflix, Facebook, Amazon, and Twitter will be joining the fight to defend Internet freedom. FlashRouters is glad to do its part in making sure this message is spread.

From the SOPA blackout to the Internet Slowdown, time and time again the Internet stops censorship and corruption. And it’s not just the US going after similar legislation and privacy protections. In the last few weeks, there have been rumblings out of the UK and efforts to block privacy services in Egypt.

How To Protect From Net Neutrality Rollbacks?

It may be hard for net neutrality to last forever. This is due to the absurd amount of money to be made by regulating packets and bandwidth. However, if these big cable companies win over the FCC, we can offer you a potential network-wide solution.

Plug and Play VPN Router Privacy

FlashRouters offers a wide variety of network securing wireless router options that support a myriad of VPN providers that will help you fight back against the end of net neutrality.

A VPN can help encrypt your Internet traffic so that your ISPs will not be able to follow your activity. This will prevent your ISP from being throttled because of the content or website that you are using.

Not sure where to begin, try our handy 5 question Open Source Router Finder!

Looking to find the perfect WiFi Router for your setup?

What is Net Neutrality?

Net neutrality is the principle that Internet service providers should not control what we see and do online. On February 26, 2016, the FCC ruled in favor of net neutrality and stated that no one – whether government or corporate – should control free open access to the internet.

Some of these Internet service providers (ISPs), such as Comcast, Verizon, Time Warner Cable, and AT&T want to put an end to net neutrality. These ISPs are lobbying the Federal Communications Commission and Congress.

Save Net Neutrality 2017

If the ISPs succeed, the FCC will give these companies control over what everyone can see and do on the Internet. The FCC will have the power to slow down or block websites. They may also charge websites extra fees to reach an audience.

The Internet will eventually become a place where many of our favorite websites will be forced into a “slow lane.” This will happen because only wealthier companies who can afford “prioritization” fees will have special “fast lane” access to internet users.

As of now, many cable companies charge and throttle Netflix because they offer the same content as their own proprietary streaming services.

This problem could be widespread if the FCC chooses the put an end to net neutrality. So stay aware and stay vigilant and let July 12 be the beginning of us taking action against net neutrality restrictions!

UK Drafts IP Act Just In Time For Virgin Media Router Hack

In wake of the recent terrorist attacks throughout the UK, one step that governments want to take is a fight against encryption. The war against encryption is fueled by the belief that intelligence agencies need to be able to break encryptions to combat terrorism.

What’s Wrong With Breaking Encryption?

This poses a problem because companies that use end-to-end encryption are not able to disclose encrypted data. Companies are not in possession of the encryption keys. Only the end users are able to decrypt the data.

One potential solution for this problem would be to completely ban end-to-end encryption. However, this would spark a national outcry. On the other hand, companies could be forced to allow intelligence agencies to utilize backdoors. These backdoors would pose a huge security threat to users. Backdoors allow the massive potential for hacks and data breaches —  all without the user’s knowledge.

UK’s War Against Privacy

In the past months, the UK has begun to draft the Investigatory Powers (Technical Capability) Regulations 2017. The IP Act will allow a technical capability notice to be issued to telecommunications providers by the Secretary of State.

This notice would require the telecommunications operator to install specified technical capabilities that will be used by government agencies to receive warranted access to any data that they might demand.

These technical capabilities still remain very unclear and vague. The IP Act also includes very non-specific obligations for telecommunications operators to follow such as:

To provide and maintain the capability to disclose, where practicable, the content of communications or secondary data in an intelligible form and to remove electronic protection applied by or on behalf of the telecommunications operator to the communications or data, or to permit the person to whom the warrant is addressed to remove such electronic protection.

What Apps Will The VPN UK IP Act Effect?

This will affect many encryption services, including end-to-end encryption services such as WhatsApp. WhatsApp utilizes the respected open-source Signal Protocol for its encryption system.

Although this is one the safest routes of encrypted communication, it still has its risks.

Users are still required to trust the companies to hand over correct encryption keys when asked for them. The IP Act will allow the government to install backdoors on a server level. Doing so will negate end-to-end encryption.

Martin Kleppmann, a security researcher at the University of Cambridge states that ““I do believe open source is very helpful here,” he adds. “It’s not a silver bullet, but it makes it more difficult to sneak in a backdoor unnoticed.”

Open Source for Security

As mentioned above, open-source software is clearly better for security. Even if you were to not use open-source services such as WhatsApp’s Signal Protocol, open-source software can benefit just about anyone who is focused on their personal privacy and security.

Just recently, Virgin Media has advised over 864,000 users of the Hub 2 to change their WiFi router passwords. Researchers have tested the router’s security and found that the router’s password was able to be cracked in just a few days. The default password was only eight characters long and was made up of only lowercase letters.

Using Enhanced Firmware to Remove Router Backdoors

Here at FlashRouters, all stock firmware, which is typically open to backdoor attacks, is re-flashed with open-source firmware such as DD-WRT or Tomato. This alone greatly improves your network security as well as your network speeds.

Open-source firmware also gives you the added capability of protecting your network with VPN encryption, adding an extra layer of security and privacy.
Make the switch to the faster, safer, and more reliable home WiFi network with a FlashRouter. With the looming threat of cyber terrorists and a nosy government, we also offer some UK specific options as well.

Egypt Blocks VPN Providers, Multiple News Websites

At the end of May, the Egyptian government ordered ISPs to block access to 21 news sites. The Egyptian government claims these sites either promote terrorism or spread ‘fake news’.

Some of these websites include Masr al-Arabia, Al-Shaab, and Rassd, as well as the Qatari-funded broadcaster Al-Jazeera.

This is essentially an attempt to block news that opposes the ideals of the government.

Egypt Blocks 5 Major VPN Providers

A total 65 news websites are on the block list. Currently, the unknown Egyptian authorities are targeting VPN services in their blockade.

This is due to the fact that Internet censorship is commonly thwarted by tools such as the above-mentioned VPN. VPNs allow citizens to browse the Internet freely by rerouting your network traffic through a VPN server. Doing so effectively encrypts your data. It also provides you with a different IP address with a location of your choosing.

The Egyptian authorities have realized this workaround and began blocking VPN services that would allow citizens to circumvent earlier website restrictions.

The Association of Freedom of Thought and Expression reports that the websites of Cyberghost, Tunnelbear, TigerVPN, ZenVPN, and HSSElite are now blocked throughout Egypt. You can expect the list to grow in the coming months. Sebastian Scherl, founder of TigerVPN, states that

“It is regrettable that some customers in Egypt experience difficulties accessing our service.” and that “It goes without saying that we are already working on multiple solutions especially in our apps to provide some workaround to these blocks and we are committed to continuing the fight that we started in 2011 to provide an open Internet access for anyone, anywhere.”

Interestingly enough, 4 out of 5 of these blocked sites offered free VPN services. This would presumably make them the most utilized throughout Egypt. It is likely that this is the reason that these specific services are being placed on block lists.

How To Get Around The Egypt VPN Block and Access Your News Websites

Fortunately, we are partnered with many other VPN service providers. VPN services can help you access your news and help protect your Internet security. Some of these include but are not limited to: IPVanish, PrivateInternetAccess, and PureVPN.

These VPN blocks can be bypassed by utilizing a pre-configured VPN WiFi router with various different VPN setup options.

Furthermore, here are some of our best routers to help take back the freedom of media and your right to know and access information.

Asus RT-AC3200Featuring six external antennas and Tri-Band WiFi.
Netgear R7000A perennial favorite, the original Nighthawk is a reliable router for a solid range.
Asus RT-AC5300Eight external antennas make the AC5300 the optimal choice for covering a wide area.

Best Routers For the Xbox One X

Every summer in California, major companies like Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft present their newest releases and technology for the coming year at E3.

The Microsoft E3 Briefing on Sunday 6/11 was highly anticipated.  Microsoft revealed their newest console, the Xbox One X – the next step forward from the Xbox One.

Meet The New Xbox One X

Scheduled to be released November 7, 2017, the big features of the new Xbox One X are true 4K gaming, a 6 Teraflop GPU clocked at 1.172 GHz, 2.3 Ghz Custom CPU, 1 TB HDD, 12 GB of GGDR5 Memory, and 326 GB of Memory Bandwidth.

With these eye-boggling specs alongside advanced silicon, the Xbox One X is the most powerful console gaming processor ever created.

Vapor Chamber for Xbox One X

A first for home consoles, Xbox One X’s Vapor Chamber claims to use an advanced liquid cooling system to manage the temperature of the console. It also sports a centrifugal fan to provide maximum cooling but minimum noise.

Hovis Method of Power Usage for Xbox One X

The Xbox One X also uses the Hovis Method. The Hovis Method is “a cutting-edge digital power delivery system that custom tunes each console’s voltage.” This allows for advanced performance while minimizing power consumption.

The X is also fully compatible with all your existing Xbox One accessories and controllers. You can even use the existing Xbox One games you have this new system, with promised improved 1080p resolution and reduced load times.

Xbox One vs Xbox One X Feature Comparison

SpecsXbox OneXbox One X
CPU1.75 GHz, 8 cores2.3 GHz, 8 cores
GPU853 MHz, 12 CUs1.172 GHz, 40 CUs
Memory8 GB DDR3 @ 68 GB/s12 GB GDDR5 @ 326 GB/s
HDMI resolution and framerate1080p @ 60Hz2160p @ 60Hz

Use A FlashRouter For The Best Xbox Experience

First, let’s explain what we do here: At FlashRouters, we offer routers that are designed to best any competitor in terms of compatibility, power, and versatility. In order to accomplish that, we flash all of our routers with DDWRT or Tomato firmware.

These enhancement firmwares are perfect for an Xbox One X user. Their many features include allowing you to access advanced security options (very important for a system that allows for interactive gaming), extend your wireless range, and even control how your bandwidth is allocated (you’ll definitely want to prioritize your Xbox One X with a Xbox One X Router, as gaming and streaming are big bandwidth hogs).

For gamers looking to utilize OpenVPN, PPTP or L2TP connections with a Xbox One X, a FlashRouter adds full integration possibilities for those adding support for personal VPN connections as well as those to VPN providers.

Open source FlashRouters also have all kinds of NAT and Port Forwarding controls that work consistently. Many manufacturer firmware may have some limited settings but also provide limited functionality.

So basically, an open-source FlashRouter enables you to be able to enact some of the best possible ways of managing your Internet stability, bandwidth, and stability, then a device straight from Best Buy or Amazon will not. Plus, we actually include one-on-one US based remote support to make sure your network is performing optimally for the best Xbox One X Gaming experience. Sounds good, no?

Top Routers For The Xbox One X

To get the most of out your new Xbox One X, you’ll need a powerful router with a strong processor. A strong processor can provide high-quality streaming which you’ll need to take advantage of the Xbox One X’s 4K/2160p capabilities. It can also reduce lag to help provide a better online gaming experience.

Best of Breed: Netgear Nighthawk R9000 X10 AD7200 DD-WRT

What better way to take advantage of the most powerful game system ever created than with our most power FlashRouter, the Netgear Nighthawk R9000 X10 AD7200 DD-WRT? It has a massively powerful Annapurna Labs Dual Core 1.7 GHz (1700 MHz) processor and 4 high powered external antennas.

The R9000 is Ideal for:

  • 4K TV Streaming
  • Online Gaming with minimal lag
  • Premium VPN connection speeds
  • Bandwidth Management
  • DDoS Protection & Network Security

MU-MIMO Supported Router for Xbox One X

The R9000 also provides MU-MIMO support. MU-MIMO allows for the router to communicate with multiple devices simultaneously. This increases the speed of the WiFi network, by limiting interference between devices.

Wireless-AD Router for Xbox One X

One of the most exciting features of the R9000 is the integration and futureproofing for next-gen Wireless-AD. What separates Wireless-AD from most WiFi connections today is its capability for 7Gbps –  4 Gbps higher than the max speeds of Wireless-AC in optimal conditions via WiFi.

The R9000 DD-WRT is the first DD-WRT compatible router to offer the 60GHz spectrum over the 5 and 2.4 GHz bands to allow for this unique feature-set. If you are looking for high-quality streaming, lag free gaming for 10+ high end devices with a bit of wireless future proofing to boot, the R9000 Netgear X10 DD-WRT FlashRouter is the high-end performance router for you.

Economy Mu-Mimo Option: The Linksys WRT3200ACM DD-WRT

MU-MIMO DD-WRT Installed Linksys WRT3200ACM

Like the advanced feature set of the R9000 but would prefer a more affordable option?

The Linksys WRT3200ACM DD-WRT is the best high-end router at an affordable price. This router takes advantage of MU-MIMO alongside four external antennas and a 1.8 GHz Marvell Processor. The WRT3200ACM is the perfect economy DD-WRT router for the Xbox One X.