In this day and age, it’s important to understand the options you have to keep yourself private, secure, and anonymous online. One of the easiest ways to do that is by getting a VPN. Having access to a VPN’s service is a great way to make sure that you’re always safe when online, but you can super-charge that functionality by having a VPN setup on your router. In this guide, I’ll be discussing how to install a VPN on a Buffalo Router.
What is a VPN and Why Install it on a Buffalo Router?
To understand why you should install a VPN client on your router, you need to know what a VPN is.
VPN is short for Virtual Private Network, and the name itself should hint at what the main functionality of this cyber-security tool is. A VPN will re-route your traffic through a private tunnel using one of its own servers. This allows the VPN to hide all of your traffic from spying third-parties, encrypt your data, and spoof your public IP address.
What this means is that a VPN will be able to protect all of your information and data while letting you bypass any geo-restrictions you encounter.
When you install a VPN client on a router, you extend those functionalities to any device you connect to your internet. This way, you can bypass the device limits imposed by most VPN providers and cover your smartphones, computers, tablets, Smart TVs, and gaming consoles.
What You Should Know about Your Buffalo Router
Buffalo is unique in the sense that their firmware is always encrypted. This used to make flashing processes incredible difficult, as the routers will only accept encrypted firmware as their main OS. However, it turns out that you can easily flash your router by using the same method you’d use to de-brick a router with defunct or corrupt firmware.
This method uses a TFTP utility to sneak pass the router’s encryptions. The one thing you’d need to pay attention to here is the time that you upload the router’s new firmware. If you’re using a TFTP utility, you need to make sure that you’ve uploaded the new firmware at the exact time your router enters a special configurable mode. This is usually done in the first few seconds that power is applied to your router.
Best VPN for Buffalo Routers
Our VPN experts suggest using ExpressVPN on your Buffalo router. ExpressVPN supports L2TP/IPsec protocols (which work the protocol you should be using to flash any router made by Buffalo). To add to that, ExpressVPN is chalk-full of impeccably delivered features and functionalities, all of which contribute to it’s current rank as the best VPN of 2018.
I’ll be using ExpressVPN to illustrate the installation process below. If you’re not using ExpressVPN, don’t worry. This guide will still help you install a VPN client as the steps are applicable to most all Top-Tier VPNs.
How to Install VPN on Your Buffalo Router – Step by Step Guide
To install a VPN on your Buffalo router, you’re going to have to go through two distinct steps. First, you’ll need to change the firmware of your router (also known as flashing your router). You can either use DD-WRT firmware, which is detailed in this guide, or choose to flash your router with Tomato firmware.
Make sure that the model of your Buffalo router works with either one of the firmware options you chose before proceeding with the installation guides. If your router is not supported and you try to use these steps to install a VPN, you will end up bricking your router.
Step One – Flash the Router with DD-WRT
If you’ve found your Buffalo router in the list of supported devices I mentioned above, you can proceed with this installation.
Because Buffalo routers use encrypted firmware, flashing your router with DD-WRT is a little trickier than flashing a non-Buffalo router. Instead of using OpenVPN, you need to use TFTP protocols to proceed with the flashing process. This is usually known as the de-briking process for broken (bricked) routers.
WARNING: This is a highly technical step. Be sure to follow the instructions detailed in this wiki page to properly flash your Buffalo router. Notice that there are different installation guides per router model, so please follow the guide that is aimed at the model you have.
Step Two – Install VPN Client on Your Buffalo Router
After flashing your Buffalo router with DD-WRT using TFTP, you can now install a VPN client onto it. I will be using ExpressVPN to illustrate the installation process, but any top-tier VPN will follow similar steps as the ones below:
Log into ExpressVPN. Go to Setup ExpressVPN.
Click Manual Config. Select OpenVPN.
Download the .ovpn file.
Access your Buffalo Router’s configuration page by typing in the router’s IP into a web browser’s address bar.
Go to Services. Click on VPN.
Enable Start OpenVPN. Notice that you’ll have to manually fill in some of the fields.
Open the .ovpn file with a text editor, like Notepad.
Locate the word Remote. You’ll find the address line followed by 4 numbers (xxxxxx.copythisaddress.com XXXX)
Copy the address and paste it in the ServerIP/Name field.
Copy the 4 numbers and paste them into the Port field.
In Notepad, search for the <tls-auth> and </tls-auth> tags. Copy the text in between. Start from “Begin OpenVPN Static Key” and end after “End OpenVPN Static Key”.
Paste the text in the TLS Auth Key Field.
Repeate the process in step 11 for the <cert> and </cert> tags.
Paste the text into the Public Client Cert field.
Repeat the process in step 11 for the <key> and </key> tags.
Paste the text into the Private Client Key field.
repreat the process in step 11 for the <ca> and </ca> tags.
Paste the text into the Ca Cert field.
Click Save. Click Apply Settings.
Go to the Status tab. You should see “Client: CONNECTED STATUS” if the installation worked properly.
And there you have it! You’ve just installed a VPN on your Buffalo Router.
A reader, writer, and avid internet user. Hiba has spent the better part of her adult life looking for ways to have a safer and more user-friendly online experience, all while praising the uses of VPN connections to anyone who would listen.