Category Archives: Internet of Things

Top 3 Reasons For A Wireless Router Upgrade

 

Assuming that a wireless router is a set-it-and-forget-it device is an increasingly bigger security risk. If you are truly interested in the best performance and maximum privacy, vigilant monitoring of your home network is a must.

Older wireless routers are often the culprit when network security or WiFi performance problems arise due to unfixed manufacturer flaws or outdated hardware performance.

When issues are consistently occurring, a wireless router upgrade can be the cure!

The Importance of A Wireless Router

A wireless router is the centerpiece of any home network. Every device that uses a connection to the Internet takes advantage of the network created by the router to get online. For more information, FlashRouters has a comprehensive overview of what a routers actually does.

Single Router Setup

A powerful wireless router provides connected devices with the speed and performance to keep activities, like Netflix streaming and online gaming, working optimally.

The speed of a wireless connection is based on a variety of factors, starting with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) package. ISPs offer various subscription packages which are differentiated by bandwidth limitations. Economy subscription packages offer slower connectivity, as ISPs incentivize subscribers to purchase advanced plans for greater bandwidth.

The second factor affecting the speed of the wireless connection of devices is the distance from the router. Simply put, devices that are closer to the router will have a stronger connection to the router’s wireless network.

Furthermore, the make and model of the router affect how fast data is processed. The number and size of antennas, the speed of the internal processing unit (CPU), and the amount of flash memory embedded in the router all affect performance.

Still unconvinced? Here are the top reasons to upgrade:

More Devices Covered

According to research, the number of devices connected to the Internet of Things will jump from nearly 27 billion in 2017 to 125 billion in 2030. Having the proper wireless network infrastructure to support more devices is critical.

Enter MU-MIMO. MU-MIMO technology (Multiple User Multiple Input Multiple Output) reduces competition between devices on the WiFi network. With a MU-MIMO router such as the Netgear R7800 DD-WRT or the Linksys WRT3200ACM, multiple devices communicate with the network at the same time.

Before the introduction of MU-MIMO, routers used SU-MIMO technology (Single User Multiple Input Multiple Output). Devices connecting to networks using SU-MIMO technology compete for connectivity, as the network processes requests on a first-come, first served basis (as shown above).

In other words, devices form a line, like people entering a theater through one door. No one can enter the theater before the previous person enters. Likewise, device requests are processed only once the router processes the preceding device’s request. Consequently, if a network has many bandwidth-hogging devices, congestion can occur. This can lead to slow speeds and subpar performance.

A router using MU-MIMO technology, meanwhile, fixes this problem by breaking up bandwidth into streams. The router processes individual streams simultaneously, allowing for more devices to connect concurrently, thereby decreasing congestion. It is as if the theater above opened two, three, or four doors, instead of one. That allows for greater speeds and better connections.

Upgraded WiFi Standards

A wireless router upgrade can help your network stay up to date with the latest wireless standards. Check out the chart below to see how some of the older wireless standards compare.

 Wireless-GWireless-NWireless-ACWireless-AD
Max Throughput (Speeds):54 Mbps900 Mbps5300 Mbps7200 Mbps
Max Wireless Range (Radius):75 Ft200 Ft500 Ft500 Ft
Wireless Channel Widths:20 Mhz20/40 Mhz20/40/80/160 Mhz5/10/20 Mhz
Wireless Bands:One 2.4 Ghz (Single Band)One 2.4Ghz & One 5 Ghz (Dual Band)One 2.4 Ghz & Two 5 Ghz (Tri-Band)One 2.4 Ghz, Two 5 GHz Bands, & 60 GHz Bands (Quad-Stream)

As shown above, newer wireless standards allow for more device connections thanks to additional wireless bands. Wireless-AD expands on Wireless-AC by adding another wireless band. The new 60 GHz band allows for short range, powerful connections, reducing the load on other bands. Less load means that devices have a longer lifespan, saving you money.

Upgrading to a router with a newer wireless standard will extend wireless range considerably. Newer wireless routers come with more external antennas for better range and connectivity. Case in point, the Asus RT-AC5300 DD-WRT VPN FlashRouter. This customized Open Source router takes the top spot for range with eight external antennas, ensuring that any house can be covered by the network.

Better Security

Upgrading your wireless network also helps deal with the number one issue: security. Older routers are less likely to have updates and therefore have more vulnerabilities. Newer routers are more commonly updated and have better security protocols. However, even they are not free from trouble.

Recent router attacks like VPNFilter have shown that regular routers and stock router firmware are still full of security flaws and vulnerable to hacks. Plus, manufacturers are slow to respond to known flaws. So where does that leave you?

Luckily there is a open-source firmware solution like DD-WRT. It is constantly updated, ensuring that there are minimal issues and if issues do arise, they are resolved quickly. However, installing DD-WRT is difficult, time-consuming, and could leave your brand-new router nonfunctional. That’s where FlashRouters comes in! We’ll take the hassle out of upgrading your wireless network and let you enjoy your upgraded wireless network experience.

Upgrading To A FlashRouter For Maximum Performance

A wireless router upgrade is a great start, but upgrading to a FlashRouter is a more complete solution. A FlashRouter is a customized wireless router upgraded with highly customized open-source firmware. Upgrading to a FlashRouter provides added network stability and performance, increased range, and upgraded security.

Our router experts continually check routers for the newest builds, test them, and configure them onto your unique product. We then help you configure the router to ensure the optimal configuration for your environment. Check out some of our Wireless-AC FlashRouters below:

Linksys
Linksys WRT32X AC3200 Netgear R6400V2 AC1750 Asus RT-AC5300 AC5300
Wireless-AC3200 Mbps
1.8 GHz Marvell Processor
4 Ext Antennas
Top Gaming Router
Wireless-AC1750 Mbps
1 Ghz Broadcom Processor
3 Ext Antennas
Top Economy Router
Wireless-AC5300 Mbps
1.4 GHz Broadcom Processor
8 Ext Antennas
Great For Large Homes
$349.99$199.99$499.99

Interested in upgrading to the ultimate home networking centerpiece? Check out the Netgear Nighthawk R9000 X10 AD7200. It boasts a powerful 1.7 GHz Quad Core Processor and 4 high powered external antennas will provide a powerful bedrock for any wireless network.

Best DD-WRT Wireless-AD Compatible Netgear Router - R9000 Nighthawk AD7200

Bonus: VPN Protection

Upgrading to a FlashRouter allows for additional capabilities and upgrades to an already powerful wireless router, such as making it compatible for a VPN.

Furthermore, each one of our DD-WRT FlashRouters comes with our free FlashRouters Privacy App. The FlashRouters Privacy App revolutionizes and simplifies using a DD-WRT router with a VPN. With the Privacy App, users can:

  • Switch between locations with the tap of a button (as seen below using IPVanish)
  • Manage which devices go through the VPN and which don’t
  • Change VPN Providers with a few clicks on the same device

Want better support for your entire network? The FlashRouters Privacy App is here to help.

Any questions or concerns? Feel free to send us a message!

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.

Would VPN Service Benefit Me? (FlashRouters FAQ)

faq-routers

Since our inception, our customers have enjoyed the ability to combine high-functioning, versatile, open source routers with the cyber-security benefits of VPN service providers. As our company has grown, so to has the list of VPN service providers we can support.

In the face of increasing online security challenges and Internet censorship around the world, the necessity of a VPN service is clear. But maybe you’re not sure if it’s something that suits you. Maybe it strikes you as too technical, or maybe the upsides seem too hazy.

So we decided to explain just how vital VPN services are in this day and age and why you should subscribe as soon as possible.

VPN Service Benefits

People choose to invest in a VPN service for a multitude of reasons. So while we acknowledge the variety of circumstances that lead people to choose VPN service, we thought we’d focus on some of the more universal ones. To start…

1) Increased Cybersecurity

This is the big one, and also the primary reason we recommend VPNs so forcefully. Major hacks and the exposure of sensitive online data has become so common that we maybe hear about a quarter of them. Being online is just not as safe as it used to be.

That’s why VPNs are so urgently important. When you log into your VPN, all of your information is tunneled through encrypted servers set up all over the world. This is the best way to available to protect your e-mails, credit card numbers, and other sensitive data from would-be cyber-criminals. Many journalists depend on VPNs to keep the government out of their work.

It’s simple really: VPNs mean vastly improved cybersecurity. There are other good reasons (which we’ll get to shortly), but this is number one.

2) More Internet Freedom

As we mentioned above, all of your online activity is tunneled through encrypted servers set up all over the world when you log into your VPN. There are other benefits to this process than increased online security.

US Congress Privacy Rollbacks

For US users, the removal of safeguards from Internet Service Providers is enough to make anyone stop in their tracks and think about their personal Internet Privacy protection plan.

We don’t want to harp on this topic too heavily as it has been heavily covered of late but the potential outcome is truly nefarious and horrifying. What these Privacy Rollbacks will do is remove the protection of data collection barriers from ISPs so that the companies already charging you for Internet access can sell your activity to any advertiser or partner it chooses without any repercussions. To some this would be like removing the essential principle of the separation between church and state from the US Constitution. Sounds fair to us. :/

Bypassing Regional Restrictions While Traveling or Working

Pick an encrypted server set up in, say, London, you’re now assigned a London-based IP address. This means that every device on your VPN is operating as though it were in London. Consequently, you can stream anything Internet-based and limited to the UK.

You see where we’re going with this, right? Basically, this enables you to shake off the shackles of geographical Internet censorship. Live in a country than bans VoIPs like WhatsApp? VPNs are your friend. Just log in and pick a country with no WhatsApp restrictions.

3) Online Privacy

A good VPN is one that keeps no logs of activity. That would totally undercut the purpose of a VPN, right?

Freedom House released their latest findings on Internet freedom late last year, and here’s part of their assessment:

  • Internet freedom around the world declined in 2016 for the sixth consecutive year.
  • Two-thirds of all internet users – 67 percent – live in countries where criticism of the government, military, or ruling family are subject to censorship.
  • Governments are increasingly going after messaging apps like WhatsApp and Telegram, which can spread information quickly and securely.

VPNs allow you to escape the purview of unusually invasive governments and their surveillance laws. Your time online is yours, and not data to be eventually passed off to the first investigative agency that comes knocking. Secure your Internet and roam it in peace.

FlashRouters VPN Integration Experts

Can I pick and choose which websites use VPN? FAQ

FlashRouters and VPN Service Providers

Like we said up top, FlashRouters partners with a great deal of the best VPN service providers around. If you’d like to purchase one of our supremely powerful DD-WRT or Tomato routers with VPN service pre-installed, then it better be featured on our supported provider list.

The benefits of combining VPNs and FlashRouters also go beyond getting your router with VPN pre-installed. FlashRouters offers all kinds of alternative VPN setups, which simplify your VPN experience and make it considerably more effective.

If you’re wondering where you should start in your VPN search, here’s a sample of some of our current customer favorites:

  1. ExpressVPN  Now offering the easiest to use custom plug and play VPN router solutions. Top performance in Asia and Australia.
  2. IPVanish  Level 1 server speeds worldwide & popular in countries like Saudi Arabia & the UAE.
  3. NordVPN – Top service for users in the EU.
  4. PrivateInternetAccess  Always a VPN service budget favorite.

These are all terrific choices. However, should none of these appeal to you, there’s a whole supported provider list waiting to assist you.

Again, VPN service is a must in this day and age. Therefore, the time has come to act. Protect your wireless network. Protect your sensitive data with a VPN.

How To Secure Any Internet of Things Devices By Default

iot-internet-of-things

Take a quick look around your apartment or house. How many things are running on WiFi or are connected to something running on WiFi?

The answer is “a lot”, isn’t it? The days of just running your computer off of your wireless network are long over. Now your smartphone, your sound bar, your waterproof shower radio, that Fitbit on your wrist, and everything on your entertainment center and more require some wireless communication to work properly.

This phenomenon commonly referred to as “The Internet of Things” or “IoT” has inarguably made some things much easier. But with any major technological improvement, there are always drawbacks. Namely, the security of your data.

Internet of Things Hacking & Privacy Issues

One IoT or smart device after another has been hacked in recent years. Smart cars, smart guns, even smart baby monitors… all of these things and more have been shown to be easily compromised.

In addition to these examples, the terrifying Ransomware trend finds Internet-capable devices held hostage by hackers. Hospitals, police departments, and in some cases, small towns have paid out large sums of Bitcoins in order to regain access to their files and IoT devices. Over one billion dollars in Ransomware has been paid out this year alone, according to ZDNet. Moreover, Ransomware delivery vehicles are found in nearly half of all cloud-based malware, per CSO Online.

Even seemingly mundane IoT devices are susceptible to hacks that can create major problems for users. You’d be reasonable to think a “smart fridge” can’t give up too much pertinent data, even if it’s hacked. You’d be wrong, as this Samsung smart fridge that accidentally gave up users’ Gmail credentials evinces.

In conclusion, if it needs the Internet to function, it’s hackable. If it’s hackable, it’s a danger to the security of your private information. So the real question is are these these IoT or smart gadgets really smart enough? Maybe they need a little more help then they thought in being fully secured for now and into the future.

How To Secure Internet of Things Devices By Default

The Internet of Things will always be dangerous, according to some. There are those in powerful positions losing sleep over the issue. And it’s certainly easy to see their point. Hacked cars and rifles are no one’s idea of safe, and you’re making your home more hackable by increasing the amount of hackable items in it.

But you’re not about to swear off Internet-capable devices. Therefore, we must learn to live with the safety issues raised by the IoT or smart devices. And for that, you’re going to need VPN encryption on all devices as a default.

For those who are already familiar with VPN service providers, this simply means making VPN your default wired of wireless network. For the unfamiliar, it’s past time to get to know VPNs.

VPN, or Virtual Private Networks, are subscription-based services that provide an additional layer of cybersecurity protection. Connect a device through a VPN and all of your online data is tunneled through encrypted servers set up around the world. This process makes your data untraceable, and therefore effectively secures it from hackers eyes.

That’s why you need VPN encryption by default on your entire network. If you’re going to run an increasing number of devices off your WiFi, it better be secure WiFi. It better be a VPN.

VPNRecommendation
ExpressVPNPopular premium VPN provider with top performance in Asia and Australia.
NordVPNAn increasingly popular service for users in the EU.
IPVanishOffers some of the fastest Level 1 server speeds worldwide & popular in countries like Saudi Arabia & the UAE.

Support Your VPN and IoT Devices With a FlashRouter

Meet the Netgear R7000 Nighthawk DD-WRT FlashRouter

Netgear R7000 AC1900 Nighthawk DD-WRT FlashRouter

Your VPN supports your online security, just as one of our FlashRouters will provide the support your VPN requires.

VPNs encrypt and decrypt a lot of data in real time, which is what it takes to keep you safe. Due to this constant flood of activity, VPNs require a lot of bandwidth to work properly. As a result, you need a powerful router to process all of that bandwidth, and therefore you need a FlashRouter.

FlashRouters revolutionize wireless networks. Routers typically come burdened with stock firmware that are loaded with inadequacies and flaws. At FlashRouters, we ditch the stock firmware in favor of third party replacements like DD-WRT and Tomato. DD-WRT and Tomato are open source, which consequently means the open source community are continuously updating them.

What’s more, FlashRouters designs our devices to be VPN-friendly. We’ve partnered with some of the best VPNs around the world to ensure our devices are as secure as possible. Furthermore, subscribe to any VPN on our supported provider list, and we’ll send your router with your VPN subscription fully installed.

Check out our alternative VPN setups, and find out some of the ways you can create a unique and simple to set up to make your VPN usage that much more effective.

How to Choose the Right FlashRouter

FlashRouters create devices like the Netgear R7000 Nighthawk Tomato to handle more online activity than any 10 people can produce. These routers guarantee power, speed, and versatility. Here is the R7000 alongside some other recommended devices…

Linksys
Linksys WRT3200ACM AC3200 R7000 NighthawkLinksys WRT1900ACS/AC v2 AC1900
Wireless-AC3200 Mbps
1.8 GHz Marvell Processor
4 Ext Antennas
Top Gaming Router
Wireless-AC1900 Mbps
1 Ghz Broadcom Processor
3 Ext Antennas
One of our Most-Popular Routers
Wireless-AC1900 Mbps
1.6 GHz Marvell Processor
4 Ext Antennas
Use in Small-Medium Homes
$349.99$299.99$299.99