Travel router with wireless to wireless bridge capability


I want to buy a travel router that will allow me to VPN to my home network.
I would love to have one device that will do a wireless-to-wireless bridge so I can use it on hotel networks. GL-iNet has device like this (Slate AX), but there are many controversial opinions on this company and there is no OpenWRT firmware yet, so I was thinking about buying a different device and just install OpenWRT myself.

Any recommendations?
Thank you!

something with two radios, which most devices have.

So it will ie. connect as a client on 2.4GHz and be a access point on 5Ghz?
it would be cool to have 2x 5GHz. Maybe I should build a router on a Raspberry Pi 4 + a USB WiFi dongle?

1 Like

(FYI, the two wireless will not "bridge" - that was a proprietary Broadcom functionality.)

You can relayd or connect downstream like a WWAN.

Yep. You can also make a second SSID and offer a LAN on the 2.4 GHz.

I am usually uploading big video files as backup so I'm concerned that 2.4GHz will limit the transmission. What do you think about Raspberry Pi 4 + Alfa AWUS036ACM WiFi USB Adapter ?

sure, but I've never stayed at a hotel, where the internet access would saturate a 802.1n link.



I have the TP-Link TL-WR902AC which as 2 radios (2.4G + 5G), and it is well supported by OpenWrt. There are a large number of GL-iNet devices that are also supported (even if the specific one you're looking at is not).

Many of these devices do support simultaneous AP + sta mode operation, so even if you've got just a single radio, it is still possible to do what you want (with two caveats, below). But it's best if you can use a dual radio device.

You'll assign one radio to operate as sta mode and that will be linked with a wan (often setup as "wwan") interface. The new wwan interface will be, in turn, associated with the wan firewall zone.

The other radio will be configured against your lan interface (and lan firewall zone) for all of your local devices. Install a VPN (such as WireGuard) and have it tunnel home... you'll be all set.

Single radio caveats (applies to dual radio devices when using one radio as sta+AP):

  1. This negatively affects throughput. But that may not be a huge issue if you're using hotel/public wifi where the bandwidth may not be that great to begin with.
  2. AP+sta mode setups require that the channel be dictated by the sta mode connection. The consequence of this is that the AP mode will not start (at all) if the connection to the upstream SSID cannot be made (such as a stale entry in the wireless file). There is a solution for this: Travelmate

What is the best throughput you've seen between the two radios?

I've tried using the internal radio of a N300 travel router with a USB WiFi dongle and the throughput has been much slower than with just the internal radio and simultaneous AP+sta mode. Not sure why.

I haven’t tested it, honestly, so no numbers to share. I can tell you it isn’t great, but it is fine for streaming and video calls, even when using a road-warrior vpn.

Thanks for the quick reply. The GL-AR300M when placed near one of my Ruckus APs at home does 50+ Mbps between its LAN port and WiFi-as-WAN but only 15Mbps between WiFi as LAN and WAN. And only 10Mbps if I use a N300 USB WiFi dongle.

The only way to get faster WiFi to WiFi throughput that I've found is to use two travel routers connected over Ethernet.

I guess the bandwidth issue comes down to what you actually need/expect . In many travel scenarios, your bandwidth will be quite limited by the upstream connection anyway (hotels, cafes, etc often use per-client bandwidth limits to facilitate sharing/fairness). So you may not get substantially more than that in many practical scenarios.

Beyond that, the question about what you actually need applies -- for streaming and video calling and the like, 15Mbps is usually more than sufficient during travel (you're probably not traveling with a 75" 4K TV, after all).

But yes, if you need more bandwidth, two travel routers, or better yet a non-travel router with multiple radios and a higher performance SoC would be the way to achieve it.

A new use case has emerged where my wife would like to leave an IP camera in our hotel room when it is unoccupied

I'm not going to comment on the principle of the IP camera in the hotel room, but on the technical level...

Most cameras don't require very much bandwidth to stream... 15Mbps should be more than sufficient.

Thanks, and we are still discussing it before actually doing it for the first time on our next trip