Home user questions re: OpenVPN and paying for firmware/security updates

After reading countless stories of poor SOHO router security, I went looking for a router that got regular firmware updates and came across the site routersecurity.org. The site author recommends the Peplink Surf SOHO as the best bet for a regular home user interested in security.

His write-up mentions “expect to pay for firmware”, though, and I’m new to that way of thinking. (i’m just wanting to purchase a single router for home and make it secure indefinitely with routine security updates, but I get that Peplink largely serves corporate clients or businesses, and it might make sense for fleets of routers.) anyway, i decided to post my question here rather than bother Peplink sales staff.

So, a couple of n00b questions:

  1. if i purchase a single Surf SOHO router for home use, can i still get firmware / security updates if i download these manually from peplink’s support page? Or do I need to pay for any update? If it is free, for how long? Life of the router? If not, how would i go about making payments, and how much will they cost for a lone router?

  2. I typically connect to a commercial VPN service through client software or a terminal on my pc (i.e., i don’t try to set the VPN connection in the router itself to cover all my devices). i read elsewhere that peplink routers aren’t compatible with OpenVPN (which my client software is based on). does this mean only that i couldn’t install openVPN software in a peplink router directly (which i’m fine with), or does it mean that i couldn’t even expect to connect to VPN servers elsewhere with a peplink router between my pc and those servers?

As you can see, when i say “n00b” i mean it! :blush:

You can continue to run your VPN device-to-OpenVPN connections through the SOHO (I use that functionality occasionally through my B380, when I have to connect to Corporate)


Having to pay for firmware updates is something of the past when it comes to Peplink.
The information you have read about having to pay for firmware updates is quite old.

All Peplink/Pepwave devices come with a 1 year warranty, which you can extend 1 or 2 years by buying an extended warranty license.
Firmware updates used to be only available for in-warranty devices, so indirectly you had to pay for firmware updates if your device was out of warranty.

Now all firmwares can be downloaded for free from the Peplink website at all times.
Of course I do not know what Peplink’s plan will be for the future regarding this, but I don’t expect we will be paying for firmware updates again.

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Fantastic! Thanks to you both for the clear, quick replies. Cheers :smiley:

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I am the guy behind RouterSecurity.org. Nowhere does it say “expect to pay for firmware”. Could you be more specific about where you saw this? Thanks.

You’re right. I went looking for what I thought I remembered reading–the phrase ‘expect to pay for firmware’ as a general caution to readers that paying was necessary to afford a decent class of router–and I could not find it. I have to conclude I was irresponsible, particularly in using quotation marks.

One link I bookmarked from the site for my future reference did mention this, which is my best guess at where I got the idea having to pay was a thing:

At one point, I had to pay to upgrade the Balance 20 router mentioned above from firmware version 5 to version 6, but I believe that policy has since changed.

However, reading more carefully today, I see your immediate, prior sentence to the one above reads:

And, unlike higher end UTMs, there is no yearly fee to use their software/firmware.

You made it pretty clear you do not think paying for firmware is a requirement (at least, not anymore).

Now, by my lights, there’s enough hedging in the phrase “I believe that policy has since changed” to prompt my coming here to the forum to request a firm answer on that either way; I absolutely want to know before committing to a $200 router just to avoid the consumer router market. Nevertheless, I should not have misquoted you–I read too quickly, and I acted irresponsibly–but rather should have said only that I was confused on the matter. So I retract that statement and do apologize for misrepresenting you.

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Glad this is cleared up. $200 for a Surf SOHO strikes me as quite a bargain just considering the expected long life span of the firmware - sooooooo drastically different from consumer routers. Good luck with yours.

To be honest, I wouldn’t mind paying a very small fee (like 3% of the retail price a router a year or something) for consistently and aggressively updated firmware for a router along with improved tutorial support for new home users. Leased routers offer zero protections. Comcast didn’t even address the zero-day that destroyed my leased router (and a lot more) and I’ve thought about suing them for it. I’m sure that will make a whole lot of difference. I’m fine and very happy with the firmware support that Peplink has offered.