I recently bought this low-cost Mini-router without having a clear idea of how to use it, other than to somehow get past the RIDICULOUS GEO-restrictions that providers such as the BBC and others put on their TV content. My MT300N (Mango) is yellow incidentally, like the photo. Only today after very carefully reading the instructions and comparing to other routers did I realise what a winner it really is, or could be if I could get it to vpn connect reliably.
But first, the point. I’m in Spain right now and on the one hand I can see why the BBC may not wish the Spanish or any other Europeans who don’t pay the BBC tax we call a license, to watch UK content. On the other hand I am a UK license paying citizen with the necessary username and password to use the iPlayer. Why then am I prevented from using it when I’m in Spain? They should offer instant refunds to those who can’t access the content plus extra for the inconvenience.
As it happens NowTV and Amazon have the same ridiculous restrictions, despite protecting their content behind username and password systems. For far too long these powerful organisations have had it their way and to hell with convenience for the paying customers.
Even the Roku 2 Box has no VPN capability (I didn’t know that when I bought it) though my little Android box does. Traditional Android options make Android box VPN very inconvenient for this purpose as you have to use PIN protection when using VPNs (not much fun with only a mouse), however by putting the VPN into the router and using that to feed a traditional 5-output TP-link router which ONLY feeds these two boxes, I hope soon to forget about the hassle while NOT slowing down the rest of my network. Right now it seems to work sometimes showing the VPN IP rang, other times reverts to it’s 192.168.8.x internal range. I don’t know why it is doing this. At best I’ve had 2 days solid connection to the UK VPN, then lost it. There is nothing wrong with the VPN as I can put it on the Android box if need be but that does not help the other boxes.
Finally we have Netflix. That in my case needs the Roku box as Netflix won’t stream to a TV from Android for reasons beyond me. As it happens there are shows on the Spanish version that do not appear on the UK version but I’ll happily lose that for the convenience of always-on VPN.
Remember I’m not suggesting here that anyone attempts to use what you see here to get free TV and movies. As someone who pays for all of these services I object HIGHLY to being told I can’t use them when away from home –especially as a somewhat unwilling BBC license payer.
There was a time when a simple trick with DNS got around these restrictions, not any more. Nor do block-purchased, shared VPNs work any more, especially on Netflix and the last thing I want is my entire network slowed down with a VPN.
Combining my little sub-£20 Mango router (sitting inside my network here in Spain) with a streaming, dedicated VPN I can, without inconvenience, now watch all of these services just as I would in the UK (but as noted above, not reliably. Ultimately I’ll set up a VPN server of my own in the UK as I’ll soon be putting in a new ADSL high speed always-on solution over there. For now I’m paying for the VPN monthly. The box has a wired input, wired output and takes USB power (optionally you can add and use POE).
For those who panic about power use, this little toy uses 2.75w. I’m using wired connectivity, it also has wireless facilities. The router is $18 from Amazon.com, £17 from AliExpress and no doubt £20+ from Amazon.co.uk. If anyone understands this well enough to know why it reverts back to the internal IP range do write in. For 2 days I thought I had it cracked.
You may be interested to know that CBS are bringing back Patrick Steward as Jean Luc Picard in a new as yet un-dated Star Trek series. Can’t be any worse than the last short-lived Star Trek series Discovery which wasn’t (IMHO) a patch on Orville (the latter is returning in December 2018, the former isn’t). I’m guessing these will both appear on Netflix.
Also, Amazon has a 3rd series of Man in the High Castle lined up for Autumn 2018 – magic – this will appear on Amazon Prime.
I wonder how long it will be before USA-based services get taxed to death in Europe in retaliation for the somewhat childish taxes Trump is imposing on foreign imports – but that’s a whole other conversation and this is a technology blog.