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GL.iNet Beryl travel router review: Pocket-sized secure router with VPN and Tor

Written by Eileen Brown, Contributor
Beryl travel router review pocket sized secure router with VPN and Tor for up to 40 devices zdnet

GL.iNet Beryl travel router

8.2 / 5

pros and cons

  • Small light and compact
  • VPN and Tor
  • Dual Band Wi-Fi
  • Some technical knowledge needed to set up securely

The GL.iNet Beryl (GL-MT1300) pocket-sized travel router has some great security features in its ultra-portable form factor.

This router is small at 118 x 85 x 30mm and weighs 184g. However inside, there are a lot of useful features that you might need when you are out and about.

Inside the router, a MediaTek MT621A dual-core processor is running at 880MHz. It has 256MB of DDR3L memory and 32MB flash memory.

It is powered by a USB Type-C power supply, has a USB 3.0 port and three gigabit Ethernet ports on the front of the router. Two side antennas fold down for ease of transportation.

The Beryl comes with dual-band Wi-Fi delivering up to 867mbps for 5GHz, and 400MBps for 2.4GHz Wi-Fi bands. It also supports Ipv6.

The router uses OpenWrt (19.07.4), which is an open-sourced operating system based on Linux. The root access allows users to customize and optimize devices and can install different applications within Beryl.

It has four ways of connecting to the internet: WAN cable; by using the Beryl router as a repeater; by plugging a USB modem into its USB 3.0 port; or by using the port and cable to tether it to your mobile phone.

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If you use the repeater option, you can connect the router to an existing wireless network. For example, using free Wi-Fi in a hotel or cafe The router then creates its own subnet and acts as a firewall to protect you when you work on a public network.

If you have a USB Modem, insert your data SIM into the USB port of the router. it will then work as a USB 3G/4G modem. Alternatively, simply tether your mobile phone to the USB port.

Beryl travel router review pocket sized secure router with VPN and Tor for up to 40 devices zdnet
Eileen Brown

The admin panel is simple to use and allows you to configure internet connection types, configure the Wi-Fi name and change the password from the default, manage and block clients, configure your firewall and applications, and use a VPN.

You can set up an OpenVPN client to connect to an OpenVPN server, add a certificate for an OpenVPN server, subscribe to a WireGuard server, or set up your own server.

Beryl supports 30+ OpenVPN and WireGuard VPN services with speeds up to 91Mbps on WireGuard and 21Mbps on OpenVPN.

The internet kill switch means that all connected clients can only access the internet through the client VPN on the router.

Users' online identity and browsing data could be concealed from surveillance and traffic analysis by using the Tor service. Tor (derived from "The Onion Router") software helps you to explore the internet anonymously.

Additionally, Cloudflare, helps to prevent eavesdropping and manipulation of DNS data via man-in-the-middle attacks. The router also supports WPA3 encryption which is the next generation of Wi-Fi security.

There is a mode switch on the side of the router that does not seem to do anything initially. However, this switch is fully configurable in the admin panel to toggle VPN or Tor on or off.

I found the configuration of the GL.iNet Beryl far easier than any of my router repeaters at home, and I was quickly up and running using the router as a repeater. The GL.iNet documentation is comprehensive and easy to follow.

It took me slightly longer to tether my mobile device to the router -- entirely because one of the cables I was using did not enable USB tethering on the phone.

A quick rummage in my cable boxes meant I found a cable that did work for data transfer and the USB tether became enabled.

For $69.99, the Beryl travel router is simple to configure and use, it is compact and light, and, once configured, will cope with a lot of simultaneously connected devices.

If you are out and about and need a secure or anonymous connection, the GL.iNet Beryl could be exactly the router you are looking for.