TP-Link TL-MR3020 Portable OpenVPN Router Part 1

I’ve had a TP-Link TL-MR3020 mini router sitting around in my draw for sometime waiting for an idea for a project for it.

Motherboard

Finally decided that I would configure it as a portable OpenVPN hot spot based on this article from Logan Marchione to allow secure internet access, bypass geo-blocking and also to get around browsing restrictions on both the uni network and other public networks.

I had issues with the standard firmware download from the OpenWRT website as there was not enough room left on the flash to install kmod-fs-ext4 for ExtRoot.

I came across another firmware that had been repackaged with all the required USB packaged installed and can be downloaded here.

After that the rest of the instructions worked fine, I use Usenetserver as my VPN provider as I also use Usenet and configured two different profiles one with several Australian servers just for bypassing restrictions and for security. The second profile is several US servers for getting around geo-blocking.

A copy of the OpenVPN config file I created can be downloaded here.

After configuring and testing the VPN a DNS leak was being shown allowing traffic to still be monitored by my ISP, etc. So I edited the dns servers here to the FreeDNS servers.

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And changed the DNS resolve file to a custom one here:

With the lines:

nameserver 37.235.1.174

nameserver 37.235.1.177

With both of these changes the DNS leak was fixed and now showed the correct information when checked on IP Leak.

I’ve only really tested with a single client so far but throughput appears to be between 500-600kb/s the limit appears to be CPU power in the unit but is more than enough for browsing and the odd download.

After that was solved it was onto the hardware.

I removed the USB port and soldered the USB stick internally to tidy the whole package up.

 

The next step is this project is to move the router and USB stick into a USB charger/power bank such as this DIY kit below with an additional switch to allow toggling of the router functions.

Allowing for true portablility as well as the convenience of charging phones and other USB devices on the go.

Solar USB charger
Solar USB charger stock picture