Connecting to a VPN network is easy. All you have to do is install the software provided by the VPN provider and run it. In less than a minute, you will be connected to the VPN. However, if you are planning to share the VPN connection with multiple devices, or watch Internet TV on your smart TV, the typical VPN connection is just not up for the job. You will need a VPN router.
What is a VPN router?
The VPN router is just like any router, except that it is connected to a VPN service (or have the ability to connect to VPN) internally. When you connect to the router, either via ethernet or WiFi, you are automatically connected to a VPN network. There is no software to install or configuration to be done on your machine. Everything just work. This is great if you need to access to a VPN connection on multiple devices at your home (or workplace).
And this is what the BlackVPN router is about. You just have to connect to the BlackVPN WiFI network and you are automatically connected to their VPN service. As easy as that!
BlackVPN Router is based on the Cisco Linksys E1550 router and is running on the DD-WRT firmware. It is preconfigured with the BlackVPN service, so the moment it detects an Internet connection, it will internally connect to the BlackVPN service.
Setting up BlackVPN
The setting up of BlackVPN Router is very easy. All you need to do is to power up the device and connect a LAN cable from your existing router’s LAN port, or the direct Internet source, to the “Internet” port of the BlackVPN router. In less than a minute, you should see a new “BlackVPN” WiFi network appear in your network manager (the alternative method is to plug an ethernet cable from the LAN port of the BlackVPN router to your computer’s ethernet port). Once you are connected to the network, you are on the VPN network.
A quick IP check show that my IP is now 184.108.40.206, which is an IP from US, Florida. Note that I am residing in Singapore, so this shows that the VPN connection is working.
Putting it to the test
Accessing blocked content
Other than online privacy, a VPN connection is most useful for accessing content that are not available in your country, such as Pandora, Netflix, Spotify etc. BlackVPN provides a list of blocked content that you can access with the router. I tried Spotify, Netflix and Hulu, and they all worked. I am also able to run the Spotify app on my desktop, which I previously couldn’t.
In fact, when used together with the Roku Streaming Player, the BlackVPN router allows you to access to more than 700+ channels of online TV, movies, sports, music and etc, which you would not be able to access otherwise. This is simply amazing for someone who is not residing in USA
I did a quick speed test on how fast the VPN connection is and whether it is able to support media streaming from the Web. I did find the speed on the slower side, but that is highly subjective as I am always on a fast 100Mbps broadband service. The result below shows that while the speed is not blazingly fast, it is still within the acceptable range for online streaming and file downloading.
As I mentioned earlier, the router is tied to the BlackVPN service. The bad news is, the BlackVPN connection is not free forever. As for the good news, you get to enjoy a full whole of year of unlimited VPN connection. At the end of the year, you can choose to renew the VPN service (at €49 per year) or simply reset the router and use it as a normal router.
In addition, this specific TV router only comes with a USA, or UK connection. If you are looking for VPN connection to another location, this router is not for you.
If you are one of those who need to connect to VPN on multiple devices all the time, this VPN router will be a great choice for you. It is also great for those who are not residing in US, but love to watch Internet movies (and access blocked content) on your smart TV.
BlackVPN TV Router is currently selling at €99.00 and comes with free Worldwide shipping and a year of unlimited connection to BlackVPN service.
Thanks to BlackVPN for sending us a review unit.