Time was a toothbrush was indispensable when going on a trip. Now it’s Wi-Fi. Only problem is relying on a “hot spot” or hotel to provide this service puts you at their mercy — especially if where you are the local powers-that-be want you to enjoy restrictions on where you can go and what you can see. You can acquiesce or you can use the Butterfly VPN Traveler Mini Router instead.
The Traveler is a VPN — virtual private network — basically it hides you as you surf the ‘Net anonymously and without being hit by local restrictions, for example not being able to view YouTube when in China. But it’s also a router so let us understand how to use it first. Because it’s simple.
Looking like an overly large USB drive, making it eminently transportable, the Name plugs into USB: use a laptop port if you want, but since it’s not about connecting for data, any USB port is fine for power. What goes on now is that you’ll first connect from your Wi-Fi enabled device (example: a laptop) directly because the Traveler has its own Wi-Fi transmitter. Then you use a web browser to connect to the local Wi-Fi network (example: the “hot spot” or hotel Wi-Fi). That’s it, no need to pick a “country” or turn on encryption or deal with any exotic settings because the hardware is handling all that’s required on its own (except you might now want to check out the settings and change the defaults for security).
The Traveler is now functioning as a wireless router, with up to 10 devices able to connect and work through it to the Internet. So what happens now is that you browse the ‘Net and go where you want without being “known.” In fact you’ve three modes for doing this: Intelligent Mode which automatically chooses the IP address; Full Mode where all traffic is transferred to the VPN region chosen; Tor Mode (the Onion Router) which masks the IP address to avoid online activities and locations being tracked. In addition, there is a setting to activate an “ad blocker” and we all know what that’s about. And about the only thing you might want to study up on is how the embedded LED colors indicate status and functioning. That and a quick glance will keep you calm when using it.
Of course the overall speed of service is being affected, as is the case when using any VPN and will vary depending on many things, from mode chosen to Wi-Fi network to the internet infrastructure at the time used. It’s the price of doing business.
The Butterfly VPN Traveler Mini Router is a secure “plug ‘n play” travel router and retails for $99.00. It’s easy to use and even notes instructional videos on its packaging (let’s face it, seeing often is easier than reading). Included is 3 years of free service, with a subscription cost of $1.99 a month thereafter.