By now I own or have owned and reviewed most GL-iNET router products. I started with the little travel MANGO router a few years ago and worked my way up so that now GL-iNET are currently my favourite routers (earlier in my tech life I was a great fan of Draytek but have used routers from dozens of manufacturers).
The FLINT model is new and “offers WiFi 6 and headline figures include: Secure & Powerful Wi-Fi 6 Router. Flint (GL-AX1800) is a dual-band Wi-Fi 6 router with connection speed of up to 600Mbps (2.4GHz) + 1200Mbps (5GHz). It can run VPN encryption speed of up to 667Mbps and host VPN servers. Flint is perfect for heavy-duty data transmission, mass device connectivity or ultra-low latency gaming”.
Max. 600Mbps (2.4GHz) + 1200Mbps(5GHz) Quick Wi-Fi Speeds
Excellent Security with VPN, IPv6 & WPA3
AdGuard Home Supported
Did they mention file sharing? It’s in there somewhere. That out of the way, here is the first of my own screenshots..
If you’ve used GL-iNET before, FLINT won’t take too much introducing. GL-INET specialise in routers based on OpenWrt but with with the standard-across-the-range simple but powerful GL-iNET Graphical Interface. The underlying LUCI interface is also available under “Advanced” in the menu system but I’ve only needed it to set up my own hostnane for the router until now – everything else I do in the main graphical interface – including setting up main and guest WiFi in 2.4G and 5G ehere needed. The GL-iNet web pages have full, easy to use instructions in English with plenty of images for the standard setup but not what I’ve done here with LUCI and the extra access points I need.
First things first, with FLINT plugged into my PC and the WAN connector plugged into my network, I had access to the FLINT control panel and the web – but with the Flint network on a different subnet to my main network. That was NOT what I wanted so I set FLINT (on the control panel home page) to use instead of DHCP for WAN, a fixed IP instead. See above image. I also fixed the address to a known spare address on my network. That involved a few seconds work and temporarily disconnecting then reconnecting the WAN lead from FLINT when instructed. It did not involve any reboots. Now I had FLINT working under the DHCP of my main router and with a fixed address.
The “guest” WiFi can optionally use a graphical intro page but I’ve covered all that in previous GL-iNET reviews in here.
This time around I needed more than just main and guest WiFi SSIDs: I need to replace two ageing Plusnet routers which have been acting as WiFi access points in my office for some time. I also have a Vodafone main router/fibre modem which is quite good within some severe limits and offers both main and guest WiFi throughout the house but won’t go through 200-year old stone walls to my office. It also has no facilities for VPN servers (as against clients) and I like Wireguard so much that I use the latter on a Raspberry Pi 4 which controls my IOT system. Said RPi is under stress with the amount of software I keep piling onto it and wasn’t that fast to start with.
I also use the same two access points for all of my IOT controls and my mobile phone and any experiments I’m doing when I’m in the office – so I thought it would be good to have a third WiFi access point for all except IOT and to make that both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz – the latter makes ALL the difference for streaming video etc but as the phone must sometimes be used to set up IOT units, it then has to be working on a 2.4Ghz network – so that makes a total of three 2.4Ghz acccess points and one 5Ghz access point. Most small IOT devices (smart plugs) want nothing to do with 5Ghz networks so this should be ideal.
Well, it turns out that FLINT (the 4 antenna won’t hurt) can be used for all of this at the same time and without getting into the harsh techicalities that might occur with, say, a MicroTik router like my R8201.
Flint (GL-AX1800), in a slight departure from pervious models, requires the user to set up a password for WiFi (rather than have a default password with the option to change) – which is only a problem if people leave in place the default password). I used the normal main WiFi and enabled it with my own password. In this case I needed the 5Ghz and 2.4Ghz Wifi to have different names so my phone would not “pick the fastest”. I called these “phones” and “phones-5g” respectively.
That left me needing two more 2.4Ghz SSIDs. The Gl-iNET interface, for all it’s benefits won’t let you CREATE more SSIDs but the LUCI interface WILL. That involves installing LUCI which involves the MORE SETTINGS menu selection, then ADVANCED and simply hitting OK to install LUCI (from the web – the user has to do nothing more than agree) and waiting a minute or two. That done, under MORE SETTINGS – ADVANCED in the GL-iNET interface and selecting LUCI which offers a login a ROOT user with the same password used for the control panel. This can be changed later if needed.
Next, under LUCI menu – NETWORK then WIFI, you see the 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz WiFi SSIDs already set up. There is an ADD otion for each, so I ADDED two more SSIDs to the 2.4Ghz section. This appears to only offer the simplest (not very secure) level of password (unless I missed something) but as I discovered later, not a problem. Having added in my two extra SSIDs and passwords I went back out to the GL-iNET normal interface and its WIRELESS menu section to gain options for giving those two new SSIDs decent password protection after seeing a popup warning that the protection I’d given was weak.
One at a time I modified the two SSID security options to have WPA2-PSK protection. That took seconds.
I set my phone to use one of my original 2.4Ghz connections on the “old” Plusnet router ( all tests the same distance away from the phone i.e. just over a metre) – resulting speed 72Mbps. Next my new “phones” 2.4Ghz connection and it reported a connection speed of 200Mbps. Finally I told the phone to connect to my new “phones-5g” connection – reported speed 433Mbps so the differences aren’t trivial. IOT devices typically are happy with much lower speeds. I should point out that the reported speeds were on my Xiaomi Mi 10 Pro. On my Poco X3 NFC phone the 5Ghz reported speed is a MUCH higher 866Mbps. The 2.4Ghz reported speeds were the same on both phones.
And that was that. Of course, I’ve not mentioned the pre-installed applications so I’ll do that now: These include the firewall with port forwarding, OpenVPN server and client, WireGuard VPN server and client, an “Internet Kill Switch”, TOR, Adguard Home (trivial to set up with a choice of general filtering, parental filtering, both or none – complete with pretty graphs. I tend to leave AdGuard Home active on my Spanish installation, I’ve never noticed anything missing from web pages etc but the number of ads blocked, particularly from Microsoft and Facebook is staggering.
And there it is, in place, hiding under a shelf in my office (attached to the house (at the front end), never to be seen. I finished the instal;lation yesterday and when I went to bed last night (bedroom is at tha back, separarated from the office by ancient solid stone walls), I checked my phone – normally “bedroom” is by far my best access point and the ones in my office are only just useable – but NOW, I found that my new “phones-5G” ssid was not only available but almost at full strength – a great improvement. My way of getting to sleep is to watch “Answers with Joe” and the latest Covid update, maybe a couple of “Star Trek” clips – and the videos just ZIPPED along on the new access point – hardly scientific but I’m impressed.
In FLINT as with other GL-iNet routers there is also a huge list of downloadable plugins which are accessed at the click of a button. After I’d finished my setup, I ended up with 52MB spare to add whatever may or may not take my fancy in the future. For now I have all I need. For extra plug-ins you really do need to know what you are looking for as you go through the simple, paged A-Z list. I’ve neither needed nor used any of them.