UPDATE: Apple has not updated their router models in years and has reportedly stopped manufacturing the Apple Airport line and Time Capsules.
If you frequently use one of the popular WiFi base stations like Apple Airport Extreme or Apple Airport Time Capsule, you may want to add an extra layer of security by using it alongside a VPN service provider. After all, Apple Airport Extreme and Time Capsule are excellent solutions for Mac-fans looking to maintain a large high-speed network for an entire office, home, or classroom.
The advantage of these Apple products over other routers is the ability to use Apple Airplay to wirelessly stream or mirror content from iOS devices to HDTVs and speakers. It only makes sense to want to boost that service with a top-tier VPN connection.
However, what VPN services provide – a way to protect your sensitive online information from malevolent actors, the ability to access geographically restricted websites, etc. – can occasionally lead to some tricky technical questions that can leave even more experienced users stumped from time to time. There is a way you can have a working OpenVPN client in conjunction with Apple Airport Extreme and other Airport devices, but it may not be exactly the way you think.
Apple Airport Default Options for VPN
Apple products like the Airport Extreme, Airport Express or Time Capsule are created with simplicity and user support in mind. However, that simplicity comes at the expense of advanced features, so the only real way to take advantage of a VPN service with Apple Airport would be through a Dual Router Setup with a FlashRouter.
Apple Airport Extreme & Time Capsules do have a VPN option tab but it is not intended for use with VPN service providers. It is intended for connecting to a specified VPN server for a business. The VPN option is limited to PPTP/L2TP and does not include OpenVPN at all. So if you are trying to connect to OpenVPN for work or via a VPN service provider, you are completely out of luck.
Here are the advantages for Apple Time Capsule users looking to add a FlashRouter to their network for use with an AppleTV or Roku:
- Apple Airport Limited VPN Support: Apple features limited VPN support, which is not intended for use with popular VPN service providers, so they can not be configured. No OpenVPN. A FlashRouter would allow for a connection to nearly any VPN provider.
- DD-WRT & Tomato Firmware: Adds internal VPN client OpenVPN functionality within enhanced firmware alongside fully featured PPTP/L2TP (IPSEC) setup options. No more VPN service setup frustration!
- DD-WRT & Tomato Native Support for All OS’s: Connectivity issues with devices become a thing of the past. Whether it is Apple, Linux, Android, a Roku, open-source firmware supports them all.
Sadly, the Airport firmware can not be upgraded to activate OpenVPN integration throughout your entire network due to Apple’s closed networking software and system.
Dual Router Setup for Apple Airport Extreme/Time Capsules
In order to utilize OpenVPN with your Apple networking device, you will need to use a FlashRouter to have a working VPN service with Apple Airport.
Using the popular FlashRouter Dual Router Setup allows VPN users to easily switch between their local Apple Airport, Time Capsule or Airport Extreme network (for day-to-day, basic usage) and their VPN provider (for heavier protection and accessing geographically restricted material). The Dual Router Setup allows you to have a dedicated home network that’s segregated from your VPN, and enables you to use your VPN across your whole Apple Airport Extreme or Time Capsule network.
This is the perfect solution for those looking to create a large, high-speed Apple Airport network that covers their whole home or business with the protection a VPN service provides.
The Dual Router Setup also allows users the opportunity to get some use out of their old router while making a significant upgrade with a FlashRouter. In this case, it’s just what you need to make your VPN and your Apple Airport Extreme or Time Capsule work together.
Recommended VPN Routers For Apple Airport Extreme
You really can’t go wrong with a FlashRouter. Our devices are powerful, fast, and flashed with highly-popular and feature laden DD-WRT or Tomato firmware, which boosts their functionality and versatility by leaps and bounds. Check out our recent best-sellers list to find out which of our devices are the most popular these days.
Our latest addiction is Wireless-AC routers, which took the speeds of our fastest routers and just about doubled them (from 900 Mbps to 5300!). At the moment, our list of Wireless-AC routers include the the much-lauded networking powerhouses: Asus AC5300 DD-WRT Router & Netgear R7000 DD-WRT Router. Looking for something a little more modest? We can happily recommend the fan favorite Linksys WRT1200AC DD-WRT.