DIY router firmware installing, configuring and re-configuring is not for everyone. If any possible solutions are available at big box stores they are not really solutions since they work with very few internet server providers. Sabai Technology of Simpsonville, SC has come to the rescue of those looking for an easy way into a VPN enabled router with their pre-configured offerings.
I decided to test their WNR3500L offering. It is a solid mid to high end Netgear router with 4 gigabit ethernet ports, USB in and 802.11n 300 Mbps WiFi. The Sabai firmwire is based on Tomato 1.28.0000 K26 USB VPN modified to make setting up a VPN and managing how it operates much easier. For my review I used Astrill as my VPN provider. Sabai offers routers entirely pre-configured for Astrill, but for my test unit I got a “generic” router meaning I had to use the Astrill applet or configure via configuration file.
I choose the “hard way” to see how improved the Sabai firmware is and was quite impressed. Following the first few steps of the Astrill Tomato instructions I generated a bunch of ovpn files and downloaded them to many computer. Then I simply went to Network > OpenVPN > Choose File > Ok > Start and I was up and running. Once the VPN is active the header in the upper right hand corner changes to let you know you’re all set. If you want to switch servers or service providers just click erase and select another ovpn file.
Exploring the Gateways tab there are extensive options to control which device and/or which traffic goes to the VPN or via the standard “local” network. This is great to separate devices that don’t need VPN protection or traffic that can go in the clear.
Applying the applicable ratings Sabai OS fairs wells regardless of VPN provider. It gets 3 to 5 stars in Ease of Installation and Ease of Use depending on which configuration is ordered and which VPN providers is used.
Look for the next part of our review when we pit the Sabai against DD-WRT and stand alone VPNs.