Notes from the family IT department

Creating 2nd WiFi network for geo-blocked content

A pet peeve of living abroad is that content from my home country, the Netherlands, is often restricted by geo-blocks. I have a VPN installed on all my devices to bypass this issue but regularly forget to turn it on or am connected to the wrong country as I try to optimize for speed. I also want to be able to cast my phone or tablet to my TV but with VPN enabled my Chromecast does not recognize the casting device. To overcome these challenges I decided to set up a second WiFi network that routes all traffic via the Netherlands.

I started with some research on blogs, youtube, and subreddits and quickly got lost in the world of home networking. Routers, access points, managed switches, VLAN's; there is so much to learn on networking and so many great use cases. To my wife's great relief I resisted the urge to splurge on a full enterprise setup (the server rack will have to wait for another day) and decided my use case is relatively light and a second router could do the trick. After comparing multiple options I found the simplest solution was to get a small pocket-size travel router from GL.iNet that allows easy installation of a VPN client.

My new mini-router arrived a few days later and was incredibly easy to setup. I connected the router with an ethernet cable to the gateway provided by my internet service provider. I used my computer to log-in to the router's Admin Panel via WiFi and navigated to the VPN section. Since I use Mullvad VPN I was able to select Wireguard Client (faster) and the integrated setup tool helped to quickly connect to a server in the Netherlands.

I now have two WiFi networks in my house, one regular (& faster) network and one that uses a VPN to route traffic via the Netherlands. The devices I regularly use to access geo-blocked content are connected to the VPN WiFi network. I also had two Chromecasts lying around and connected both to my TV each on the seperate WiFI networks so I can now easily cast from any device. Having easy access to content from my home country has definitely been worth the purchase of a travel router with the added benefit, as the name implies, that I now have a mini secure router we can take on trips.

#network #hardware