Google Wifi and their newer Nest Wifi routers are an easy way to setup a home mesh network. By increasing the number of access points throughout your home, you get faster, more consistent speeds.
But Google Wifi’s firmware doesn’t support VPN connections, and there’s no 3rd-party firmware available. For native support, you’d need a vpn-enabled router.
But don’t worry, it’s still possible to use Google Wifi routers with a VPN.
It just takes an extra step.
Does Google wifi support VPNs?
Google Wifi doesn’t directly support VPN connections.
What about custom firmware
Most major router brands have some for of 3rd-party router firmware that can be flashed (installed) if you have a little technical know-how. Popular firmwares like DD-WRT and ASUSWRT-Merlin allow you to unlock extra features, including VPN connectivity.
Unfortunately there is no 3rd-party firmware for Google wifi at this time.
How we can still route Google wifi through a VPN
But unfortunately it requires 1 extra router (there’s no easy way around this).
The solution: LAN-To-WAN behind a VPN router
It’s possible to chain two routers together in a parent-child relationship, like we did in our dual-router setup tutorial. All traffic from the secondary router (child) flows through the first router.
In this case, we want to put a VPN-enabled router in front of your Google wifi network.
What you’ll be able to do:
- Route all Nest wifi traffic to the VPN
- Choose specific devices to route outside the VPN (optional)
What you’ll need for this tutorial:
- Google Wifi router (but it works with any router)
- VPN-capable router. We recommend the ASUS AC-68U
- An Ethernet cable
- A VPN subscription. We suggest IPVanish.
Part #1: Dual-router Setup
In this section, we’ll connect the two routers together and make sure everything is functioning correctly before enabling the VPN. Here are the steps to follow:
1. Change Google router’s subnet
We need to make sure that the IP address ranges belonging to each router don’t overlap. By default, most routers (including Google’s) assign IP addresses in the range: 192.168.1.xxx.
Let’s assume your VPN router uses the 192.168.1.xxx subnet, we need put Google Wi-fi on a different subnet. For simplicity, we’ll use 192.168.2.xxx
- In the Google Home app, go to: Wifi > Settings > Advanced Networking
- Tap LAN
- Change LAN Address to 192.168.2.1
Note: Make sure DHCP is enabled, so this router hands out unique IP addresses
2. Connect the two routers together
Plug an ethernet cable into an open LAN port of your VPN router, and plug the other end into the WAN port of the Google wi-fi router.
If you haven’t already done so, connect the WAN port of the VPN router to your Cable modem (or internet source).
3. Test and Troubleshoot
Now, with both routers plugged in and connected to each other, we need to test the setup.
- Connect to google wifi’s network
- Make sure you can access the internet
- Verify your local IP address
Part #2 – Configure the VPN router
Now that you’ve got your Google mesh system working behind your primary router, we need to enable the VPN functionality on the main router.
If you’ve already set it up and got it working, simply turn on the VPN. Once enabled, just test your setup to make sure all your devices are now behind the VPN.
If you haven’t set up the VPN yet, continue on.
1. Install VPN-capable firmware (if necessary)
If you’re using a router that is VPN-capable right out of the box, you can simply configure the VPN according to your manufacturer’s instructions. If you’re using an ASUS router, follow this guide for the stock firmware, or our Merlin VPN instructions for the Merlin firmware.
Other router brands that offer stock VPN support:
Then, simply follow the instructions to flash your chosen firmware on your router.
2. Configure the VPN
Once you’ve got the firmware flashed and working, you’ll need to configure the firmware’s VPN client to work with your chosen VPN service. Most of you will be using the OpenVPN protocol for this, which has near universal support from mainstream VPN services.
Here you’ll find a list of recommended VPN services and their router setup instructions.
Setup guides by VPN service
- Cyberghost: DD-WRT | Tomato | ASUS
- ExpressVPN: DD-WRT | Tomato | ASUS
- IPVanish: DD-WRT | Tomato | ASUS
- NordVPN: DD-WRT | Tomato | ASUS
- Private Internet Access: DD-WRT | Tomato | ASUS
Part #3 – Test it
Now that your VPN is turned on and your Google wifi network is behind your VPN router on it’s own subnet, we need to test everything.
Test your network configuratoin
Turn off the VPN and make sure all your devices have internet connectivity. This includes devices connected to the VPN router as well as devices connected to a Google router.
Test the VPN
Assuming all your devices have internet access, go to a website like whatismyipaddress.com, and note your current IP address and location.
Now turn on the VPN, wait about 30 seconds until it has completed the handshake with the server, then refresh the page. It should now show a different IP address and location.
If that worked, you should be all set! And that’s how use use a VPN with Google’s Nest wifi router.