GL iNET MT300N V2 Mini Router

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.

router

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.

router

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.

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55 thoughts on “GL iNET MT300N V2 Mini Router

  1. Season 2 of discovery is still coming out Peter. Well at least in Australia. YouTube has the preview of you want to see it.

    1. I stand corrected, season 2 Discovery IS coming out though it looks like not until 2019 - I do hope they quit focusing on Klingons - Star Trek is so much more than that - and I really could do to know MUCH less about player's sexual preferences.

  2. Hi Pete, interisting idea, dedicated minirouter, thanks.
    It’s one of the most frustrating things indeed, being a license- or subscription payer (i’ve had iPlayerGlobal subscr for years until BBC cancelled the service) and not being able to use it while travelling.
    This year finally, dutch public tv, i believe thanks to EUSSR regulations......but not sure about that one, removed the restrictions EU wide.
    Using app and credentials it’s now better then using a dish. WC2018 was being watched overlooking the sea with a nice drink.

    Quick Q, can’t find it in the archives, did you do a blog about IR actived garden Jet Heron repellors? Got one and it is fun piece of kit, only 2 components though, but needs IoTT upgrade..

    1. Well, we were using a dish for some stuff but they moved the sat to give better UK coverage and that meant worse Spanish coverage, rendering everyone's dishes here (and our sparkly new FreeSat box) useless. Of course most of that material was old or re-purposed terrestrial material, all free, mostly garbage.

      Personally I could live without the BBC and the hated license - I think it is anti-competitive having a captive audience supported by law. The BBC needs to stand on it's own feet, Once David Attenborough stops broadcasting the BBC will have little claim to be useful for anything other than cheap soaps. Overall, Netflix seems to be about the best IMHO but sometimes, SKY and Amazon both put on something good.

      Not being a sports fan I think Sky is expensive but the NowTV version isn't bad value. For reasons beyond me their app for Android is crap however but OK on the Roku box.

      Having completely missed it originally, we're busy catching up with Stan Lee's Lucky Man - part way through series 2, watching 2 or 3 episodes at a time.

        1. Respectfully disagree on Handmaids tale. It's too sick. Looking for reasons to be mean to people. Disturbing for no reason except to do so.

    2. The mini-router has been a great success, I have several normal routers which have inferior VPN capability. Just a shame is doesn't have two hardware outputs, that would save running another router just to supply 2 devices.

  3. Hi

    if you are using a paid VPN , then take a look to this Repo which allow you to host and build your own VPN with very easy steps i have it running on scaleway with only 1.99 Euro on france server , or take digitalocean and select any server in Uk to get a UK ip for $5 monthly with 1TB bandwidth

    https://github.com/trailofbits/algo

    regard,

      1. I'm using AC.VPN which has several excellent UK exit points capable of streaming. It also has a number of options that make it fairly stealthy for those services trying to prevent us from using VPN's for security.

  4. about router: i've one of these and it is an excellent mini router... https://www.gearbest.com/networking-communication/pp_270587.html

    the best is that you just need to download latest openwrt firmware and upload the binary file using the stock "update firmware" function (no need of serial connection or strange procedures), so you'll get a completely configurable device (for example, now i'm on vacation and configured mine with same wifi ssid and psk of my home router, so i don't have to reconfigure devices i brought here 😉 ):
    https://openwrt.org/toh/nexx/wt3020

    oh, no previous link you'll find the brand new lede/openwrt firmware, just released less than a week ago:
    https://www.cnx-software.com/2018/08/01/openwrt-18-06-released/

    1. this is an other EXCELLENT mini router... i use them A LOT, in various version, this is the cheaper: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mikrotik-RB941-2ND-RouterBoard-hAP-Lite/dp/B00UR758BM/

      every single port is configurable as you want as lan or wan, it has one of the best configuration tool (WINBOX) which replicates the web gui, and what you see in its menu is quite always a literal conversion of the cli commands if you want to go the hard way... it has various vpn clients and servers embedded, too...

    2. Looks good, I might have missed it but I didn't see vpn client support? the one I blogged about has that built in out of the box. Not interested in hiding but in Spain, seamless UK VPN was essential, the Roku box has no VPN capability. The only thing that would have made it better would have been 2 or more outputs for the lan side but I'm not grumbling. I have several more expensive routers so locked down they are useless for VPN.

  5. I'm using this router as an IoT gateway for power monitoring product that I developed.
    GL-Inet is opensource friendly (OpenWRT and uboot patches that allow lan firmware recovery) and very helpful for questions 🙂
    It also has gpios (we added a temperature sensor) and ttl pins exposed.
    I just wish they made a version with more USB ports!

  6. I bought a GL-AR150, which is a lower specs model, a couple of years ago and I love it. I found it looking for a cheap VPN router. It was quite easy to configure an OpenVPN network and stable. As Joao said, it's an openwrt device with a customized user interface (better option for newbies). I have used it as wifi repeater without any issue
    Firmware updates worked like a charm. Good quality materials and hardware specs.

    As I said, I love it

    1. I also bought the GL-AR150 but I found them unusable for my product as there's a bug in the SoC when handling USB 1.1 devices, which are exactly the type of devices I need to connect to :S
      I'm using a customized openwrt image (config, init, packages, etc) and having support from GL-iNet for their devices is great!

      I just briefly used their original firmware but from what I could test it seemed easy to use and feature packed.

  7. No one mentions Smart DNS Proxy services. Most devices allow you to get at the DNS settings and using a Smart DNS service that is all you need to change!!?? Price is generally cheaper than VPN and there is no VPN overhead because the proxy just handles the geofencing of the initial challenges and then it's a direct link! The worst device I've found is the Humax box that you have to connect to an ethernet switch and disable the uplink so that the box lets you access the DNS server setting for the LAN.

      1. Pete,

        It has always AND still works jusr fine for me? What do you base your info on? I do read that Netflix (US) is difficult but there are plenty of people giving the service thumbs up today and I couldn't find any failures at present?

        1. I assume you are talking about SmartdNS? In which case using one of the more popular (paid) smartDNS services for years then having them admit that Netflix is all over this now when I could not get American Netflix at the time as UK Netflix used to be rubbish. I then checked with other providers who said the same thing. This year I'm in Spain for the summer and happy with UK versions of everything.

  8. So this looks like an replacement to the TL-WR703N we use to hack with OpenWRT a few years back ? I used to got those for less than $20 too.
    I see it has 2 ethernet port (WR703N only has 1) but does it have Wifi ? Not clear.

    Do you need to change the firmware too to use VPN on this one or is there a VN feature included ?
    What VPN protocol are supported ?

    And by the way, since March, as per EU regulation, all EU media services do provide EU roaming for their subscribers which includes the BBC iPlayer and Netflix.
    So you should have access to your UK content anywhere in Europe by logging in with your UK account. Logging in mandatory in order to be identified as a UK customer.
    Which means that your Netflux UK accuont should give you access to the UK catalog when you are in Spain. You shouldn't be able to acces Spanish catalog (this is how it was working before March).
    I can confirm that it works fine for Netflix as well as other streaming services like Molotov or french channels.
    ... at least until March 2019 when UK will leave EU... 😉

  9. Hi Barbudor,

    You are right. Similar device but with much better specs, specially in memory. Yes, it has wifi. Take a look to the web site because they have different models with ext antenna, poe, etc.
    VPN is available with original firmware (OpenVPN at least). I can't remember right now if any other VPN protocol is supported, but remember that behind the curtain is openwrt running...

  10. If your going to have multiple router on your network why not enable something like RIP/BGP/OSPF then all routers will sync the routing tables. This was you only need to set the gateway via dhcp (eg dnsmasq) based on MAC address.

  11. Peter, as your device has openwrt as backend, you can install mosquitto on it, for example: https://mosquitto.org/blog/2011/08/mosquitto-on-openwrt/

    and you can use your router to detect device presence and send details via mqtt 🙂
    https://github.com/dersimn/owrtwifi2mqtt

    or we can use this script to port it to raspberry... have to look at it to see if it only detects devices connected to it or just looks for new mac addresses on network via ARP requests...

  12. Hi Pete
    just wondering if you had carried out a speed test ?
    Interested if it could support more than one video
    streaming device. at the same time.

  13. Hello Pete, this is Jesus

    Sorry for my english

    If you have a raspberry pi, you can install the SoftEther VPN server and stay them in U.K. It’s very easy to configure. As client I use another raspberry with Softether Bridge software to share the VPN with few devices and I’m very happy. When I travel to another country I can watch the spanish TV in my iPad.

    https://www.softether.org

    You only need a decent xDSL line (^_^)

    Best regards

    1. Hi

      I'm interested but this is not my best subject. I cannnot get that box to connect reliably. Are you saying that this software on a pi will act as a replacement and let me access my UK VPN here in Spain (for access to the likes of the BBC iPlayer, impossible without a VPN even though I am a BBC licence payer? I need it to put part of my Spanish network on a VPN to the UK (specifically the router in my Spanish network that is connected to the TV and varioud media boxes inc ROKU (which does not have its own VPN client, sadly) and an Android box.

      1. Hi Pete,

        Roughly, what Jesus is suggesting is:
        - Install VPN SERVER on a Raspi in UK.
        - From Spain connect to that server using a compatible client. EtherSoft supports OpenVPN clients, so you can use your MT300N. (Jesus uses another Raspi instead)
        - Configure the devices (tv, ROKU, etc) which are going to use VPN setting the GATEWAY IP pointing to the VPN Client (i.e. MT300N)

        The way it goes is:
        - When MT300N (spain) detects traffic pointing to an IP outside local network, it is routed through the VPN to the VPN SERVER (uk).
        - Again, the server detects that the traffic destination is outside it's local network and pass it through your router (uk) to the external site (i.e. BBC, ...)
        - The external site see this traffic as coming from your uk router, so location constrain avoided.

        Hope this helps.

            1. Hello 🙂

              As Pascual told you, you can use SoftEther to create your own VPN. In my case I use a Raspberry v2B+. I have at home 50Mbps/5Mbps (download/upload) and I can watch on my smartphone SD-TV channels and media from TVE.

              You can install SoftEther in your PC (Linux/Windows) and try some test. A long time ago I used this tutorial https://tomearp.blogspot.com/2013/11/setting-up-l2tpipsec-vpn-with-softether.html

              Best regards

              P.D. Muchas gracias Pascual

  14. Hi there Pete,

    I remember coming here last year while seeking for info about the ESP8266 and just stumbled upon here again while seeking info for the NanoPi DUO.

    It might be that this little router is just not reliable enough to establish an stable VPN connection (VPN makes a lot of higher-end consumer routers break out in sweat as well, especially if they're using VPN-Solutions like OpenVPN that don't properly utilize the hardware itself).

    OpenVPN for example is only utilizing a single core - something powered by IPSec like strongSwan or openSwan will porperly utilize all cores - and might help you with an possible big bottleneck on an small device like this.

    Not only that is an bottleneck but also chosing the right encryption and parameters might make it break and fall further (or rather said hopefully the opposite).

    I'm personally using an ESPRESSOBin as my own router ... since it's a lot more powerful (tought you have to build the case yourself - and a proper heatsink ... it's getting official PFSense support quite soon) but maybe that's just me (I live in the EU as well and ordered from Amazon.com despite them saying it currently out of stock it took like 2 weeks to get here).

    Another idea might be using an NanoPi NEO or NEO2 since they use an H3/H5 which have some crypto-engine support that speeds up VPN-Speed and reliability and reduces load:

    http://sunxi.montjoie.ovh/

    I'm pretty sure there were some more on the armbian forum for other SBCs like the ESPRESSOBin as well ... I just can't seem to find the link anymore right now.

    ----

    Bottomline of my post: See if you're able to use IPSec driven VPN solutions.

    Sorry my thinking / writing style is pretty jumpy. I hope it helps a bit!

    Cheers

  15. Hi Pete,
    I live in the Philippines, when I was in UK earlier this year I installed a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ VPN at my mum's house. It just works. Everytime. From my phone or laptop here in the Philippines, I can watch BBC iplayer / ITV hub / channel 4/ etc. anytime I like just by switching on my OpenVPN client, then opening the iplayer. No issues with buffering, and when I tested the speed whilst setting it up it was using about 1-2 mbps of approx. 30mpbs available bandwidth. When I'm not watching I just simply switch off the client s/w. The RPi just sits quietly on the network (in the back of a cupboard) waiting for a connection and has not failed since I installed it in March. Simply install the VPN using http://www.pivpn.io/ - easy to setup. No messing about with config files. I would recommend you try this as it gives me exactly what you say you're looking for.

    1. Thanks Andy - that is to say the least, bloody marvellous. Installed, client package generated, tested. I will leave this running here when I go to the UK and set one up in the UK when I get there for next year at which point I can ditch Torguard. I have a pi 3 running the house control so it's just one more job for it.

      1. you can let you gl-inet-mt300n to be the client, so you can have your network setup untouched and just change the default gateway of the devices you want to go out from the vpn, pointing them to the one of your yellow router 🙂

            1. It worked, with it's own subnet.. My network here is 192.168.1.x - I gsve it 192.168.8.x and the Uk VPN details. It connected and made the VPN address available. I fasted a cheap TPLINK to it , so that 2 TV boxes (android and the ROKU would be on the VPN address and not my internal addressing. The boxes were hardwired to the TPLINK.

              That way the rest of the network remains at full speed. Lovely, all was well for a couple of days, then no matter what I did, the router kept returning the 192.168.8.x address and not the VPN address.

              I soon realised the VPN was fine as I could use the Torguard client on my PC with that VPN and connect to the UK, so something had gone wrong at the GL-INET end I could not get the VPN to work on it from that point.

              1. i've the other device of which i talked about in other comments, the wt3020... have to test it, as the firmware is pretty the same... but i've no endpoints right now to point it to, have to wait i'm back from vacation...

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