RT-AC3200 As a Travel Router?

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gentisle

New Around Here
Hi all,
I have the RT-AC3200 and have wondered if I could make it into a travel router. I have been an OTR trucker, and I am in a different place each night. It would be nice to have my router connect to truckstop/hotel wifi, and then all my devices could partake of the Internet.

I have found several pages on the net about WDS, and other pages I have read seem to say that I need a repeater. Of course, there is no repeater mode for this router, just wireless, AP, and bridge to another of the same router. Though supposedly, WDS is tantamount to repeater mode. I have played around with the settings, and each time, I end up having to do a hard reset, and start again because I lose access to my router's webGUI. One page describing how to setup WDS had me disabling DHCP, which killed my ability to connect to the router at all. I am wanting wireless access through my AC3200 to truck stop or hotel wifi. So for those of you who know and understand, is it even possible for me to use the router to connect to truck stop or hotel wifi as an extender? Or do the differences in how truck stops/hotels setup their network preclude this without spending hours re-configuring my router at each stop? I'm trying to avoid buying a new one because this one seems fine otherwise. Thanks.
 

Tech9

Part of the Furniture
This router doesn't have Wireless ISP mode, or WISP. Travel routers can do it, including VPN encryption of your traffic when connected to public Wi-Fi hotspots. This one works well, enough Wi-Fi for single room, not expensive, can be powered from 5V power bank, fits in your pocket. Much better option and does exactly what you need, plus extras. RT-AC3200 is an old model home router with limited support.
 

eibgrad

Very Senior Member
As @Tech9 has alluded to, it's best to have a router that supports client mode (aka WISP (wireless ISP) router). This connects wirelessly to the remote AP like a repeater, BUT it also virtualizes the WAN over that wireless connection, and creates a firewall between the remote network and your own local network. For all intents and purposes, you end up configured the same as your home router, where your own local network is routed through the WAN to the internet, except the wired connection from the WAN to the ISP (remote AP in this case) has been replaced w/ wireless.

That's the essential difference from using a bridged configuration, such as a repeater or WDS, where all your devices are part of the remote network. That makes you more vulnerable to hacking (e.g., ARP poisoning).

While the travel router suggested by @Tech9 is a good choice, truth be told, *any* standard router w/ a wired WAN port, including your AC3200, can be converted into a WISP router by patching a WEB (wireless ethernet bridge) to its WAN.

[remote AP]<- wireless ->[wireless ethernet bridge](lan)<- wire ->(wan)[ac3200]

The AC3200 is oblivious to the fact it's remotely connected over wireless and NOT wire. Therefore it doesn't require any special reconfiguration of its own. Whatever benefits and features it offers are retained.

I'm only mentioning this because despite the benefits of dedicated travel routers that support client mode/WISP, sometimes ppl still prefer a traditional router. Particularly one they're already familiar with and like for a variety of other reasons. Using a WEB, it is possible.

Of course, anytime you're traveling, you're going to run into captive portals, and dedicated travel routers and WEBs are going to suffer from the same problem of getting connected to the remote AP and through the portal. Whether you use a dedicated travel router or your own router + WEB, you'll have to preconfigure the wireless connection from a laptop, then clone its MAC address to your WAN. So it's *always* going to be a hassle in that respect. There's just no way around it. And why *sometimes* you're better off using a cellular modem (despite the expense) since you configure it once and you're done.
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
Years ago I made a travel router from a WRT54G using DD-WRT. It would connect to the closest open WIFI. Loaned it to a coworker and never got it back!
 

gentisle

New Around Here
@Tech9
Thanks for the link on the Slate routers, looks very interesting. I was hoping to not have to buy another router, but maybe that's better because of security. Thanks again.

@eibgrad
Thanks for expounding on what Tech9 said. Guess, I'll go shopping.

@bbunge
Bummer, man.
 

RMerlin

Asuswrt-Merlin dev
The RT-AC3200 would be monstruous to carry around on travel. Find something more compact that has support for DD-WRT or OpenWRT. Or wait for the next Tomato release, which should fix support for Wireless Client mode, and get a router compact enough that supports it, like an Asus RT-AC66U_B1, or even an older RT-N66U (you don't need AC or AX to access Internet in an hotel...)
 

gentisle

New Around Here
@Tech9
Yes, I saw that, and liked the fact that it also has IPV6.
@RMerlin
I looked at Tomato, DD-WRT, and OpenWRT,even AsusMerlin, but that is a bit too much for me to handle. Too many ifs, ands, and buts, to flash a router and keep from bricking it. I've never been a good reader, so that seems too dangerous to me. Yes, the AC3200 is a big to carry around especially with 6 antennas to screw in/out each time I setup/take down.
 

bbunge

Part of the Furniture
Nah. Shortly after that I was moved to another job which did not require travel. Only flew across the country once for a meeting and drove to another with my wife in the last years before retirement. I had had it with TSA! I was a government employee with a higher clearance than any of them and they still gave me crap.
 

gentisle

New Around Here
@bbunge That is crazy! It makes me wish I had my own airplane and could fly whenever/wherever without all that hassle. So a blessing in disguise. Good!
 

gentisle

New Around Here
I don’t know what do you like so much in IPv6. I run 4 networks and I disable IPv6 intentionally. No advantages, just more headaches.
Well, that shows my ignorance of IPV6. I just thought it might be nice to have just in case. I admit I do not understand networking. Tried to learn it years ago, but couldn't seem to catch on to that or coding. :(
 

Adooni

Senior Member
it is to big router to travel with - you can sell used one for good price as it is the best router for tomato and people looking for it about $100 even where for example used AC68U is about $50

if you need LTE I would go with used Asus RT-N10U with tomato and LTE dongle e3372s-153 - RT-N10U is the only Asus router that will work correctly with e3372s-153 as hi-link or no-hilink. For different Asus router you would need to have tomato and e3372s-153 as non hi-link. In summer home I have Asus WL-500W router with e3372s-153 non hi-link and it working very good for more than 5y now.

yes tomato looks a bit different than RMerlin but all depend how much time you work with each soft - I can setup tomato router faster than RMerlin one :)
 

gentisle

New Around Here
@Adooni
Yes, the AC3200 is quite large. And I looked at using tomato, but decided it was too difficult for my level. Nice to know I could get $100 for the router. That would cover the cost of a new one. :)
 

gentisle

New Around Here
The replies to this thread have allowed me to solve the issue. Thanks to all who replied. This case is closed.
 

L&LD

Part of the Furniture
Share your solution so others may benefit also.
 

gentisle

New Around Here
Whoops! Sorry. I got the GL-MT1300 by Beryl, and it's amazing. At least at the hotel I'm currently staying at, it connects to their wifi, and I'm able to connect all my devices. Have to wait until I go to some other places to see if a different connection scheme allows it to connect correctly and easily. Only the iPhone complains that I should be using WPA3 security. Don't know if all devices handle that, but things are working correctly now. Thanks again to all.
 

RangerZ

Regular Contributor
All the GLi products are great! I have a small fleet of these that I used when I traveled a few years back. My favorite was the MiFi, which is now replaced with the battery powered Puli. It's a 2.4G model, but for all practical purposes, faster than most hot spots you will connect to. They also have a new dual band Mudi with more battery power. Both of these are capable of running on cellular with internal hardware. The Beryl can work with a USB dongle or your phone's hot spot (my preference, one plan).

Please also be aware that you may experience issues with hot spots loosing connections or even being able to get authenticated. This was a big problem a few years ago, but I know GLi made improvements to their firmware, but basically you are using a laptop to get another device authenticated and sometimes the hot spot does not like this.

As noted by @Tech9 this device supports VPN on the device, if you use a hot spot, please use a VPN service. Using cellular\4G\5G is safer and generally faster than most hot spots.

With a good battery or 12V=>5v you can use this right in the truck.

Actually it's a good device for a small apartment.

If you want some geek factor, these are all based on Open-Wrt, with a custom GUI and added "Packages". You can get to the Open-WRT gui from the Advanced link.
 

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