InvizBox has a mission to significantly enhance online privacy. Its first products are the InvizBox 2/Pro and the portable InvizBox Go.
InvizBox is an Irish company (please, no Irish jokes – well maybe one later) that has won the National Enterprise Award for Innovation, Fingal Dublin Chamber Award for Innovation, Fingal Enterprise Award, and Jumpstart 2016. Overall reviews have been very favourable.
What is InvizBox Go? (website here)
It is a small, battery operated, Wi-Fi hotspot with a built-in VPN (virtual private network). The 2/Pro is for households and connects to the router via Ethernet – otherwise, they are functionally equivalent.
It connects to your broadband. A VPN protects any Wi-Fi device you then connect to its SSID. InvizBox uses IP Vanish a well-known ‘no-log’ VPN provider with over 61 servers in 18 countries. Or you can add your own VPN server if you have one.
Technically it is a quad-core 880Mhz MediaTek MT7621 ARM processor, RAM, an open source router operating system, and 300Mb/s Wi-Fi N 2.4GHz. InvizBox Go has a 5,000 mAh 5hr battery that can also act as a 5V/1.5A power bank.
Why do I need a VPN?
Simply put it encrypts your traffic before it leaves your device. That data stays encrypted while it goes through your ISP’s network. Once it reaches the VPN’s server, it then decrypts the data and sends it off to the internet and vice versa.
That means no one can read your web traffic data – not Facebook, your ISP or any man-in-the-middle attackers on public Wi-Fi spots. It also disguises your IP address, so no one knows it is you.
For example, if I surf the net using Telstra my IP address is 110.150.68.XXX and reverse lookup can find my address. If I use InvizBox the IP address is 81.171.74.XXX and the only thing an ISP (or FBI/CIA/Homeland etc.) is the address where my traffic left the IP Vanish server.
International VPN servers can also be used to overcome things like Geo-blocking (where say Netflix USA only wants its traffic in the USA). Or where ‘pirate’ downloading torrent sites are blocked (like Australia blocks many known torrent sites).
A good VPN provider keeps no logs that could incriminate you. A bad VPN provider like Facebook’s Onavo Protect is simply a way for it to keep track of everywhere you go on the internet. Do not us it!
Now even if you do nothing wrong online, don’t look at adult sites etc., it is most useful for banking transactions and stopping eavesdroppers getting your data in the clear (unencrypted).
The downside of VPNs – all of them
My Telstra NBN FTTN connection is 100/40Mb/s, and for the most part, I get speeds very close to that. The mid-tier is 50/20, and two lower tiers are 25/5 and 12/1.
When I first tested the InvizBox Go, it was slow. That was because by default the VPN server in Europe. Ping time (latency) was 333ms and download/upload speeds 12.13/6.7Mb/s.
I tuned the InvizBox Go VPN settings to use an Australian VPN server. It had a 60ms ping and 15.88/8.94MB/s speed. I then tried a California VPN that has a 169ms ping and 16.54/4.1Mb/s.