Hands On – GL.iNET GL-AR750S “SLATE” Travel VPN Router

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought the travel industry to a grand halt, which significantly affects the demand for a travel router like the AR750S SLATE we’re checking out today. Despite so, we are pretty sure this trend will not carry on for long as the experts are working hard on a solution to overcome the challenges. Shifting our focus back to the travel router, the GL.iNET AR750S SLATE is a unique product that will pique the interest of security-savvy travellers as it has a VPN function built into it.

In this hands-on article, I will show you the router features and lots of screenshots of the router management interface to help you decide if this is the right travel router for your use case. Quick disclaimer, while GL.iNET did send us the router for testing purposes, they have no directives in the content as they’re reading this article at the time we publish it.

Why Travel Router

In most cases, people don’t really need a dedicated travel router. However, there are plenty of benefits if you decide to own one – for instance multi-device connectivity and security. It is especially useful if the hotel restricts the number of devices that can access the network. In this case, the AR750S will connect to the hotel’s network and act as a repeater or access point for all your other devices. The user of the OpenWRT operating system and security-focused features makes it more attractive.

What’s in the box?

  • GL.iNET AR-750S SLATE Travel Router
  • 5V2A USB adapter
  • USB-A to micro-USB cable
  • Ethernet cable
  • User manual and paper documentation

Design

As a travel router, the AR750S has a compact design. At the front is three LED indicator lights for power, 2GHz WiFi and 5GHz WiFi.

It is just about the size of a adult palm.

The two antennas rotate up.

Interface:

  • 3x WAN/LAN Ports (10/100/1000 Ethernet)
  • 1x USB2.0
  • 1x Micro USB (power input)

The AR750S has been around for quite a few years. That’s why it is still rocking a micro-USB port for power. They actually have another model – GL-MT1300 (Beryl) that has all the updated features.

On the right side is a microSD card slot that supports up to 128GB capacity.

On the left side is a Mode toggle switch to enable/disable a preset function such as VPN or Tor. Beside the Mode switch is the reset button.

The Mode toggle switch settings can be configured in the admin panel.

Setup

First Boot

If this is the first time you boot up the router, you will have to go through these simple setup processes. The router management interface can be accessed through http://192.168.8.1 if you happen to lost the quick start user guide.

After choosing the language, you will have to set the admin password.

Connect to a Network

Once configured the admin password, you will gain access to the admin panel. There are a couple of ways for you to connect to the internet –

  • Ethernet Cable to the WAN port
  • WiFi Repeater
  • USB Tethering via phone
  • 3G/4G USB modem

In our case, we selected the Repeater mode and connected it to our desired WiFi network.

Upgrade Firmware

Within minutes, we were prompted with the firmware upgrade notification.

VPN & Tor

The key feature of this AR750S travel router is its built-in security features. You can also enforce the kill switch to only allow connection to the internet with VPN configured.

The VPN policy allows a custom set of rules to allow a certain device to access the VPN.

Tor is also available for easy privacy protection.

For instance, we can use Tor to mask our exit node to Australia.

Other Notable Features

This client management interface is easily one of the most powerful and useful features. You can even enable real-time traffic statistics by sacrificing the CPU load.

The MAC Clone function is extremely useful if you’re connecting to a network that restricts access via MAC address. This way you can clone your phone MAC address to the router and then the router is able to access the network.

Conclusion

For a travel router, the AR750S is genuinely an excellent device. The use of OpenWRT OS/firmware makes it one of the most flexible and feature-packed routers. I am saying this without the experience of testing out GL.iNET’s other router, namely the GL-MT1300 (Beryl) which looks almost like an upgraded model of the AR750S. That being said, for security-conscious travellers, this is a must-have gadget in your luggage not just for privacy protection but also for ease of networking setup during travel. For the price of $69 or RM290, it is pretty reasonable for all the functions and features you’ll be getting.

Where to Buy

Webstore – https://bit.ly/3pBgUbt

Shopify – https://bit.ly/3mGfASt

Affiliate links

Amazon US – https://amzn.to/3yAgJQw

Lazada – https://invol.co/cl7ysd2

Shopee – https://invol.co/cl7ysdd

GL-AR750SGL.iNETRouter