The corporate presents the same old vary of software program shoppers, together with a preconfigured router, each of which provide you with entry to the identical small community of eight areas: UK, US, Eire, Germany, Canada, Spain, France and Switzerland.
The Liberty Defend web site makes massive claims about efficiency, claiming to supply “superfast Tier 2 community velocity with subtle routing to assist guarantee zero buffering with video streaming.”
The web site additionally suggests Liberty Defend can unblock Netflix amongst many different companies that may be geo-blocked as a result of their location.
We’re within the router, a custom-made model of the favored MikroTik Hap ac lite field. This comes with 5 10/100Mbps Ethernet ports, dual-chain 802.11b/g/n 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, single-chain 802.11ac 5GHz Wi-Fi, and a USB port for 3G/4G modems. There’s extra element on the MicroTik site if you happen to want it.
The beginning worth is engaging at simply £29.99 ($37.50) which incorporates your selection of energy provide kind (UK, EU, US), free UK transport for the router and one month of VPN entry.
Subscription costs are comparatively excessive, although, starting from £6.99 ($eight.75) monthly to an equal £5.83 ($7.30) for the annual plan. Liberty Defend’s VPN Router nonetheless appears moderately low cost for the primary yr, however after that it begins to look comparatively pricey.
There’s some compensation in Liberty Defend’s complete UK-based buyer help. That is open from 9am to 9pm, 7 days per week, and contains dwell chat, electronic mail and help tickets, and even an choice to schedule a call-back.
We examined the chat service and obtained a useful and pleasant response in lower than a minute. It is smart to be skeptical of net opinions, however studies on Trustpilot constantly reward Liberty Defend for its buyer help.
Help actually issues, too, particularly with a VPN router the place you would possibly add new gadgets at any time. In case you’re not the technical kind, then spending £20 ($27) extra a yr to assist clear up these issues might look like a very good deal.
The Liberty Defend web site makes some apparently definitive statements about privateness, together with: “We by no means share your knowledge with anybody and don’t log your web site utilization by means of our servers in any kind.”
There’s some scope for session logging, because the official privateness coverage goes on to elucidate:
“…we might gather the next data: instances when related to our service, selection of server location, and the whole quantity of information transferred per day…”
It is a little obscure, and never superb, but it surely’s additionally common; many VPN suppliers do one thing comparable.
We browsed the remainder of the small print, too, however did not discover something uncommon. It’s the same old stuff: do not do something unlawful, do not breach copyright, do not be a spammer – you recognize the deal. The contracts all appeared comparatively simple, with no sneaky clauses to catch you out.
The Liberty Defend VPN Router arrives in a surprisingly small field, but it nonetheless accommodates every part you want: router, energy provide, a really brief Ethernet cable (round zero.25m), together with a tiny Fast Begin information and a card with an allotted login title and password.
The set up information began off nicely. Plug one finish of the router cable into the VPN field, the opposite into your common router, plug within the energy cable and await it to connect with the web. Simple.
Sadly, the information did not inform us what to do subsequent. Ought to we search for an SSID and attempt to join? Entry the router from a browser? Do one thing else? There have been no apparent clues.
After spending a couple of minutes exploring our choices, we checked the online model of the help information and noticed the issue. We weren’t lacking something, it was the fault of the printed setup information, which in some way not noted essentially the most essential line of all:
“To start the activation course of please go to https://www.libertyshield.com/activate and enter the SSID and Code from the entrance web page of your booklet.”
That is clumsy, however at the very least we solved the problem rapidly. And even when we hadn’t, Liberty Defend’s wonderful help is available to supply speedy options.
We headed off to the activation web page, the place a kind requested us to enter the login credentials supplied with the router. We additionally had to offer our title and electronic mail tackle to create a Liberty Defend account, and enter the small print of the cardboard that may be used for cost. (The primary month is free, and if you happen to cancel your subscription earlier than the month is up, you will not be charged something in any respect.)
Moments after submitting the shape, an electronic mail arrived reporting that our router was now activated and prepared to be used.
Positive sufficient, the SSID title of the Liberty Defend field was now seen, and we had been in a position to connect with it from a laptop computer, pill, cellphone and TV by coming into our allotted wi-fi password.
By default, our router related us to a UK VPN server. You possibly can change this, but it surely takes a bit work. There is not any native router console, so as a substitute you will need to go to the Liberty Defend web site, log in, select your most popular location and connection methodology (VPN or Proxy), save the outcomes, flip your router off, wait a few minutes, flip it on and await it to reconnect.
The net console presents a couple of different connection settings – protocol (PPTP by default, L2TP as an choice), Wi-Fi SSID and password – however nothing like the ability or configurability you’d get with a standalone router.
We began our efficiency assessments* through the use of a wired connection, hopefully giving us a good suggestion of the absolute best service speeds. Our router was initially set to make use of our nearest UK server, and this delivered strong outcomes, with obtain speeds sometimes starting from 52-58Mbps on a 75Mbps broadband connection. That is not unhealthy in any respect, particularly as the web site suggests the router has a most obtain velocity of 30-40Mbps.
Switching to wi-fi connections confirmed no actual distinction on our Windows 10 laptop computer, which managed to max out its wi-fi adapter at round 44Mbps.
Our cellular noticed a comparatively dramatic drop in efficiency from round 50Mbps when connecting to our common router, to extra like 25Mbps when utilizing Liberty Defend. That was surprising, however as we could not see why, and this is not a difficulty that affected different gadgets, we did not depend it as a big black mark in opposition to the product.
Switching our location to Germany noticed speeds fall to round 20-30Mbps on a wired connection, round what we’d count on from a daily VPN. UK-US connections had been inconsistent and comparatively disappointing, ranging wherever from 6 to 20Mbps.
VPN routers haven’t got the identical knowledge leak points as software program VPN shoppers as a result of they are not operating on prime of one other system with its personal community adapters and settings. We ran our common privateness assessments anyway, and certain sufficient they did not reveal something to be involved about.
We rounded off our checks by making an attempt to go to a couple of geo-blocked websites, and located Liberty Defend accessed them with out problem. There is not any assure that this example will final, and websites like Netflix block new VPNs on a regular basis, however on the time of writing, at the very least, the service works very nicely.
Liberty Defend VPN Router might work nicely for novice UK customers who simply wish to plug in and go, but additionally want high quality help to assist them rapidly repair any issues. This is not the best selection for consultants, although, who could also be delay by the small server community, lack of options and configurability, and above common subscription worth.
*Our testing included evaluating normal efficiency (searching, streaming video). We additionally used speedtest.web to measure latency, add and obtain speeds, after which examined instantly once more with the VPN turned off, to verify for any distinction (over a number of rounds of testing). We then in contrast these outcomes to different VPN companies we have reviewed. In fact, do be aware that VPN efficiency is tough to measure as there are such a lot of variables.