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Eero VPN Passthrough

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I. Introduction

Eero routers have become increasingly popular options for home and office wireless networks thanks to their modern design, easy setup, robust connectivity, and reliable performance. A key advantage of Eero’s mesh system is the ability to blanket large areas with strong Wi-Fi coverage by linking multiple Eero access points. With everything from smart home devices to mobile phones and computers connecting through Eero routers, properly configuring security and privacy is crucial.

One way to enhance protection and anonymity is to use a virtual private network (VPN). VPNs route traffic through an encrypted tunnel, hiding your IP address and online activity. Enabling VPN passthrough allows VPN connections to function smoothly even with the router’s firewall and other security features active. Getting VPN passthrough correctly set up involves understanding Eero router capabilities related to VPN usage and troubleshooting any issues that arise.

II. Eero Routers and VPNs

VPN passthrough is a critical feature that permits VPN-encrypted tunnels to be established uninhibited through a router to an endpoint device like a computer or mobile device. Without passthrough functionality, routers may block or throttle VPN connections since they cannot examine the encrypted packets to determine if they are legitimate.

VPNs provide numerous advantages when deployed on a network utilizing Eero routers:

  • Enhanced security – Encrypted VPN tunnels protect transmitted data from prying eyes on public Wi-Fi networks. No usernames, passwords, messages, emails, searches or downloads can be intercepted.
  • Increased privacy – VPN services assign virtual IP addresses to obscure your actual IP and location. This prevents websites, advertisers and ISPs from profiling your online activities and physical whereabouts.
  • Accessibility expansion – VPNs allow you to bypass geographic content filters and censorship to view restricted sites and services. Certain streaming platforms also have larger libraries available internationally.
  • Public Wi-Fi protection – Free public networks in cafés, airports and other venues are highly insecure. VPN encryption safeguards these connections.
  • Network expansion – Some VPN services provide access to additional Wi-Fi hotspots around the world through partner networks. These can serve as backup connections if your primary network is unavailable.

With a VPN set up through an Eero network, all devices connected to the Eero routers will route their traffic through the encrypted VPN tunnel. This negates the need to manually configure VPN clients on each device.

III. Setting Up a VPN with Eero Routers

Choosing a reliable VPN provider is the first step toward enjoying the benefits outlined above. Top options like ExpressVPN, NordVPN and Surfshark offer excellent blend of security, speeds and ease of use.

Once you’ve selected a VPN service, you’ll need to set it up directly through the Eero router web interface. Here are step-by-step instructions to get connected:

  1. Log into your Eero router admin dashboard by visiting eero.com or opening the Eero app and selecting ‘Settings’ and then ‘Network Settings’. Enter your account password if prompted.
  2. Navigate to ‘Connected Devices’ and click on your Eero gateway router (this will be the router connected directly to your modem).
  3. Click ‘Add Client’ under the ‘Connected Devices’ heading.
  4. For ‘Name’ enter your VPN provider (e.g. ExpressVPN). Enable both the ‘Reserve IP address’ and ‘UPnP’ options.
  5. Click ‘Add’ and the VPN will now appear as a connected device, though without an IP address yet. Leave this browser tab open.
  6. On a computer or mobile device already connected to the Eero Wi-Fi, log into your VPN account and download their router configuration files. ExpressVPN calls this an ‘.ovpn’ file while NordVPN provides ‘.tcp’ or ‘.udp’ files.
  7. Return to the Eero browser tab and refresh if needed to show your VPN as an connected device with an assigned internal IP address.
  8. Click on the VPN name in the ‘Connected Devices’ list and select ‘Configure port forwarding’.
  9. Enter the port number indicated in your VPN setup guide based on the protocol type. Common ones include TCP port 443, 1194 or 8080 and UDP ports 1194 or 53.
  10. Ensure the internal and external port values match then click ‘Save changes’.

You can now go back to your VPN software client and input the necessary login details and connection credentials or import the configuration file downloaded earlier. Connect to the VPN server through your usual computer or mobile device to start routing traffic securely through the Eero router mesh.

IV. Eero Router Features Related to VPNs

In addition to Wi-Fi connectivity and range, Eero routers have under-the-hood capabilities that relate to setting up and managing VPN usage on your home or office network environment:

VPN Passthrough

As detailed above, this allows VPN traffic to flow undisrupted through the router. Passthrough is enabled by default on Eero routers so VPN encryption protocols like OpenVPN, L2TP and IKEv2 will work normally.

UPnP Support

UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) assists devices newly connecting to the network like a VPN client to automatically request the Eero router to open certain ports and configure port forwarding rules needed to operate correctly behind the firewall. This simplifies setup.

Port Forwarding

While UPnP can automatically open and direct ports for many VPN providers, you may need to manually specify port forwarding mappings in some cases for the VPN tunnel to be established successfully through your Eero network.

Static Internal IP Addresses

By reserving an internal IP address for your VPN client on the Eero router, you ensure the VPN installation maintains a consistent IP even as other devices on the network may get dynamically assigned addresses that change periodically.

Properly leveraging these functionalities is key for smooth VPN performance when deployed on an Eero mesh system. Paying attention to the specific VPN provider’s setup guidelines regarding ports and protocols allows you to take advantage of the router features listed above.

V. Troubleshooting and Issues

Like with any complex networking configuration, there can be finicky behavior or obstacles when first installing a VPN service through an Eero router mesh. Based on user reports in Eero support forums and subreddits, here are some of the most common issues and solutions:

  1. VPN connection failing or unstable

    The most widespread problem is difficulty establishing or maintaining a steady VPN link through Eero routers despite following setup instructions. There are a few aspects to check in this scenario:

    • Ensure UPnP is enabled on both the Eero access point that your device connects through as well as the main gateway Eero router.
    • Confirm no conflicting port forwarding rules exist for the VPN ports and protocol specified. Delete old rules if unsure.
    • Change the encryption protocol in your VPN app or router .ovpn file from AES-128 to AES-256 or vice versa.
    • Toggle OFF and ON the setting in your VPN software binding it exclusively to the router-assigned internal IP address rather than allowing connections over “any IP”.
  2. High or slow VPN speeds

    Where security is the priority, slower speeds through a VPN are often unavoidable. But for video streaming or gaming, lag and buffering can ruin the experience. Try these troubleshooting tips if your Eero mesh VPN seems consistently sluggish:

    • Connect directly via Ethernet to the main Eero gateway router when running a speed test to eliminate variability of Wi-Fi signal strength.
    • Temporarily disable Eero Labs “Band Steering”. This feature can sometimes interfere with steady throughput on a single radio band required for a VPN.
    • Change the VPN connection protocol away from OpenVPN (TCP or UDP) to IKEv2 or WireGuard which are designed more for speed.
    • Switch to using different DNS servers on your Eero network like Cloudflare (1.1.1.1) or Google (8.8.8.8) instead of the ISP’s servers. Slow DNS lookups can bottleneck traffic.
  3. Reverse path filtering

    This error message in VPN logs indicates the VPN client device is unable to communicate back through the Eero router from behind the VPN tunnel to close the loop. Adjusting some Eero Labs experiments settings may resolve this:

    • Under “Client Isolation”, toggle OFF both the ​LAN & Guest sections.
    • Go to “NAT Loopback” and switch from Default to Enable or Visibility modes.
    • Try rebooting the Eero router after applying above changes.

Getting VPN setup on an Eero system to a point of flawless performance sometimes requires tweaking configurations around the VPN application used, Fritzsbox router settings, or troubleshooting against ISP restrictions. Thankfully the Eero community and VPN provider support teams are extremely helpful resources to resolving the trickiest of issues enabling your traffic to stay safe and anonymous.

VI. Conclusion

Adding a VPN connection into your Eero home or business Wi-Fi network provides tremendous privacy and security advantages. All data transmission is securely encrypted while benefiting from the robust mesh coverage Eero routers offer.

Once basic port forwarding rules are defined and protocols aligned to leverage Eero OS passthrough abilities, most leading VPN services like ExpressVPN and NordVPN work fluidly to protect all traffic leaving your network. Tackling performance problems or cryptic errors becomes manageable by adjusting experiments features or VPN protocols until seamless speeds are restored.

Getting to grips with core network configurations around VPN usage sets you up securely for the future. Connecting additional Eero Beacons or points to scale up your mesh network won’t disrupt the underlying VPN tunnel or require reconfiguring multiple devices. As smart home gadgets, mobiles and computers increasingly handle sensitive data, the importance of a fast, reliable VPN routed via Eero routers will only intensify.

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