I know – I wrote about this router model some time ago BUT THERE’S EVEN MORE – READ ON… While I was over in the UK at Christmas (where my first GL-iNET AX1800 Flint router remains, fully operational with firmware v3.2), my Convexa-S here in Spain fell off the wall – and – wait for it, hit the floor and the power lead came out… don’t ask how – but somehow it ended up with the wrong power supply attached – 24v instead of 12v – and not surprisingly, that was the end of that – no internal fuse and when I got back here, dead… warm but no lights… bin.
So that left me with my TP-Link Archer MR600 (which normally just handles incoming 4G (we don’t have “proper” broadband here but with the right 4G router can achieve decent speeds) running the show which it can do, to a point.
Now that’s all very nice but the Archer simply will NOT handle internal hostnames – i.e. I have a house full of IOT gadgets like Tasmota’d plugs and lights etc., lots of them and accessing them by IP address is painful. Also in the event of lightning I’ve always found it useful to have something separating my main router (with IP/MAC settings etc etc) from the outside world…
The TP-Link is a must as it pulls in a very good 4G signal – but other than that it is something of a toy when it comes to advanced control – SO now I was down to having no internal names, no AdGuardHome etc etc., so I thought I’d go and buy another Convexa-S – guess what – nothing at Amazon, nothing at AliExpress – no luck at all. But as I’d just returned from a pleasant experience with the FLINT in the UK (100% reliable) I checked on AliExpress and they had the FLINT at a reasonable 111 Euros all in – so I went for it and it arrived in Spain mid-January from China – ordered on Jan 9th – arrived Jan 16th – can’t be bad.
Now all I had to do was get it running. I plugged it into the mains – waited a few minutes and lo, its default WIFI access points (2.4Ghz and 5Ghz) appeared on my phone.
I picked the first one – GL-AX1800-xxx (which incidentally showed a nice little “6” next to the WiFi indicator on my Samsung S22 Ultra – never seen that before). I selected that and entered the by now standard default Gl-iNET password… “goodlife” – erm, not any more… the somewhat more complex default password was printed on the bottom of the router so seconds later I was in..
At this point I wanted to access the control panel at the GL-iNET default 192.168.8.1 – and after confirming I wanted ENGLISH it asked me to enter a new admin password… simple..
And there I was, back in familiar territory. I changed the FLINT LAN address range to 192.168.1.x and reverted my 4G router to something other than 192.168.1.xxx…. I plugged the output of the 4G router into the FLINT WAN, plugged my PC etc into the FLINT LAN connectors – disabled the WIFI on the TP-LINK and renamed the GL-iNET 2.4Ghz WiFi to my normal IOT WiFi along with password. I WAS BACK IN BUSINESS… and I swear it is faster than the original Convexa S – using ADVANCED IP SCANNER to look at all the devices on my network and their names – I am convinced it picked them up twice as quickly as the older and now dead Convexa-S router. As all the modern GL-iNET routers have the same comprehensive control panel – no new learning curve.
All that remains was to punch in some IP/MAC mappings I use – and to do a firmware upgrade (it’s in the menu) .. oh and install LUCI (the slightly more complicated OpenWrt graphical interface – I like to have that handy. 54MB of RAM so no problem there. Of course you also have access to the really low-level, powerful OpenWrt interface UCI.
One last job – set the time zone – seconds later – done.
I enabled the pre-installed ADGUARD HOME – done. Now there’s a caviat here, I use that all the time to minimise unwanted ADS but I learned a while ago it is best to turn it off when installing sofware on my PC. I recall trying to move MAGIX Video Studio from one machine to another and it simply WOULD NOT HAVE IT… it eventually turned out that ADGUARD HOME was the problem… but once you know that, it isn’t a problem. Why do I use Adguard in the GL-iNet routers? Well, it comes installed as standard and for 4G, I have a VERY high monthly limit but there’s no harm in stopping un-necessary rubbish coming in.
And as if to prove the point – I set up the router early afternoon and turned on AdGuard Home. By mid-evening it had already blocked 4,000 ads and/or cookies without causing me to lose anything noticeable.
Because I’m one of those guys who just can’t leave things alone – I was looking to see if I could fit TailScale VPN to the router, It turns out that the router while not showing any need for firmware updates was running v3.2 like my UK FLINT… WELL, on the GL-iNET site is a reference to V4 so I went for the manual update knowing fine well I’d blow all the settings I’ve just put in – and sure enough it did. I spoent way too much time working on getting Tailscale running on the router and making the router available to my mobile phone. GL-iNET guys in the forums , despite the holidays – were there to help.
Anyway the first thing I noted was a brand new upgrade to the look and feel – and they install LUCI by default as well, instead of having to load it in separately. Anyway I like to keep the option to have my mobile phone provide a signal to the router in case the main 4G in my TP-Link goes down – just for backup – and there’s a REPEATER mode in the GL-iNet routers – in the past I’ve always gone to the LUCI interface to ensure that if there is a mobile hotspot available, the router will prefer that…. NOW that’s part of the main menu – but it gets BETTER:
There’s a new multi-WAN load-sharing option – so I had to give that a go.. and – the best I’ve had out of my normal 4G input is 100Mbps download, more normally 80Mbps to 100Mbps. What happened with the load sharing option turned on and my mobile hotspot turned on?? Best I’ve seen tonight is (I am SO excited) 219Mbps download… I could not BELIEVE my eyes..
See the menu on the left – this is new – you can have multi-WAN in fallover or load balance mode – and decide who gets priority by simply sliding for example Ethernet up or down compared to in my case the repeater (my mobile phone doing tethering).
I can see this is going to be FUN. AH and they’ve upgraded the mobile APP as WELL – this just keeps getting better… Oh and new web interface themes – classic, blue or DARK interface (well, I never noticed them before). LOVE IT.
For more on the GL-iNET controls and their use of OpenWrt, see my other GL-iNET blog entries in here.
But at the end of January – after struggling unsuccessfully to get Tailscale VPN working, once again the GL-iNet guys came to the rescue – it turns out that firmware v4.2 (nightly snapshot as of January 30, 2023) has more updates and now, Tailscale comes pre-installed and available from the GL-iNet admin panel. I simply turned it on and registered this new setup at the Tailscale site. Voila I could now access the GL-iNET admin panel from anywhere.
Why the fascination with Tailscale? Well, other VPNs like Wireguard and openVPN really need a fixed external IP address to work, or at least a DDNS setup such as NOIP. It gets worse as typical 4G connections have “no public address” – ie normal VPNs are a non-starter in my scenario… But TailScale gets around all that and now it’s a default APP on at least the FLINT router.
Juast a quick reminder that this was not a sample for review – I simply bought this from Amazon and should the need arise – will do so again – excellent.