Securing your vacation WiFi with a Mango

For a while now, I’ve been using WireGuard to connect to my home and work networks from other places. Using a VPN allows you access to devices on the remote network, and can be used to use an untrusted connection safely.

When I DuckDuckGo‘d for routers with built-in WireGuard support, I came across GL.iNet. This Hong Kong company offers a range of travel routers that support WireGuard. One of their cheaper models is the “Mango” (GL-MT300N-V2). It’s also their most colorful.

Hardware

At 58 * 58 * 25mm and a mere 40g, the Mango is nowhere near as large or heavy as it’s namesake fruit. It’s positively tiny. But it still packs a lot of features. Especially considering you can get one for around €22 on Amazon. They found room on the little box for the following connectors/buttons.

  • Power (Micro-USB, so you may be able to use your phone’s charger)
  • A LAN port (to connect the Mango to your PC)
  • A WAN port (to connect the Mango to a router or hotel LAN)
  • A USB port (for phone tethering or file sharing)
  • A hardware switch (you can set what this does, I use it to switch WireGuard on/off)
  • A reset button

Administrative interface

I’ll keep this short. The admin UI is very slick and easy to use. It’s probably my favorite consumer router administration interface. Asus and other router manufacturers should take note.

A typical vacation WiFi setup

The basic idea is that you position the Mango between your holiday home, camping or hotel’s WiFi and your devices. It can connect to the internet in four ways:

  • A wired LAN connection (this is of course best if available)
  • WiFi (this is called “repeater” mode)
  • USB tethering (allows you to use your phone’s 3G/4G/5G connection if no WiFi is available)
  • A USB 3G/4G/5G modem (could be a good option if you can get a good deal on a pre-paid SIM card)

Once the Mango is connected to the internet, you can share that connection over LAN (there’s a single port) and WiFi. With that set up, you and your family then use the Mango’s WiFi, not the hotel’s.

Pssst… You didn’t hear it from me, but if your hotel or holiday home allows only a few devices to be connected to the WiFi, the Mango would let you get around that limitation.

WireGuard

The GL-MT300N-V2 can act as a WireGuard client or as a server. In the vacation scenario, you’d use the client option, and connect the Mango to a network you own and/or trust. This can be a commercial VPN solution or – like I do – your own VPN server. The Mango also supports OpenVPN.

Once your VPN connection is up and running, all traffic from clients connected to the Mango will go through the VPN tunnel. All that’s left to do is enjoy the sun while watching movies from your home server or from the USB stick plugged into this little yellow marvel.

Conclusion

There are many of features on the Mango I haven’t even looked into yet. There’s a ton of plugins available for it, and quite a few advanced features. But for what I’d use it for (setting up a secure connection when traveling), the Mango is an excellent little device.

Roy Tanck
I'm a freelance WordPress developer, designer, consultant, meetup organizer and speaker. In my spare time I love to go out and take pictures of things.

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