When I write posts I usually have an audience in mind, for this post its really just a collection of things which I’ve done in order to get myself a portable Wifi system which I can use on the move (the irony of being on the move in 2020 doesn’t escape me)
This might help someone, it may not.. its here if needed
I am not a professional blogger, there will be spelling and grammar errors on this content. If you want to be my unpaid copy editor please reach out. The opinions here are my own, not my employer, not the product owner and I write about the experiences I have had, not your experience.
The original issue I was trying to solve was based around using CloudReady and its lack of Wireguard VPN Support. This could also be the case with Linux distros like Ubuntu (Usually Gnome based) that don’t have a GUI for Wireguard.
I wanted to take the concept of a Mifi device which phones home back to a self hosted Wireguard VPN and provides all access to the internet through my home Lan
I wanted this to be something I powered on, connected to my phones hotspot and i’m done setup wise.
This is how I got on..
The Hardware for this ask is the GL-USB150 Microrouter. An interesting little device which looks very much like a 3G USB Dongle. This device however doesn’t have a SIMM socket.
If you plug this into the USB socket of a PC or Macbook it will come up as an Ethernet port.
IF you plug this into a powerbrick then the device acts as a router (once setup)
While its acting as an ethernet port it has an IP which when accessed provides a webpage which can be used to setup the Microrouter.
Stage one is to connect the GL-USB150 to a wifi connection. In my case i wanted this to be the Mobile hotsport on my phone, however this could just as easily be the Hotel Wifi (seems to work through captive portals) or Office Wifi..
Once you’ve got an internet connection out the GL-USB150 has the next trick up its sleeve as it supports connections to OpenVPN or Wireguard VPN’s. Both are easy to setup and once done so the router is setup.
Next time you plug the GL-USB150 into a powerbrick for example, and the Hotspot is on on my mobile. the Microrouter will connect to the hotspot and then to the Wireguard VPN and provide Wifi..
I don’t have to setup Wireguard on multiple devices just the one connecting to the internet and I’ve got a nice secure internet connection.
The setting up of the VPN itself was an interesting journey as there are a myriad of methods for setting up a Wireguard VPN out there. I’ve even blogged this myself
However this time round I didn’t use the full OS based install I went for an OpnSense Appliance. The main driver for this was to see how it worked, however i’m a fan of the OpnSense/pfSense setups generally.
There is quite a good writeup of installing OpnSense here
If you’ve come from installing pfSense its worth a read because the installer method is very different to pfSense.
Setting up a roadwarrior VPN and there are several sets of instructions out there, some of which go into great details about setting up the firewall etc. For simple, quick ease of use the set of instructions I followed were the ones on the OpnSense site
With these links and my own blog post (above) I got quickly a Wireguard VPN setup and my Microrouter talking to it.
Having the Microrouter and the Wireguard VPN setup it seemed the next logical thing to do was get the DNS sorted out. I’ve historically used Bind9 on my internal LAN for local DNS however a quick move to the more usable Pi-Hole seemed in order.
While originally for the Raspberry Pi, setting this up on Ubuntu is a very quick and easy process outlined here.
With the Adblocking DNS now installed the final piece of the puzzle is the OS i’d use..
The Laptop OS
My recommendation here is CloudReady, based on ChromiumOS this is a secure, fully functional solution i’ve recently written about.
If however you’re a little more adventure ready take a look at Brunch, a framework which gets ChromeOS Recovery images onto the same PC hardware.
However this setup is also fully usable on Windows, Mac, Linux, IOS or Android
As i said at the start. This probably isn’t for everyone, it might help someone. Its helped me and these Microrouters are pretty cool.
I’ve run the update process on the device, its quick and smooth. All the settings were saved.