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.
The downside is speed loss and increased latency which is an issue for gamers and voice over IP speech.
When downloading 10GB of files from my corporate server in Sydney
- NBN connection (no VPN) did it in 14 minutes.
- Private Internet Access (PIA is a paid VPN service) took 32 minutes
- InvizBox Go took nearly 60 minutes
I tested 10GB of ‘media’ content from an international Torrent site. Telstra NBN could not access it.
- Private Internet Access (Sydney VPN server) took 45 minutes
- InvizBox Go took nearly 80 minutes
My best guess is that the InvizBox Go can achieve about 20-25Mb/s throughput.
And there is more. InvizBox Go
- Block ads without installing anything.
- Recharge your portable devices (reduces battery life).
- Extend your Wi-Fi network (act as an access point).
- Easy setup.
- Enhanced Tor experience for premium subscribers.
- Elevates insecure HTTP to secure HTTPS where possible.
- Optional Windows10 “tracking domain” blocking.
- Secure auto updates.
Before you say, InvizBox is slow realise that you can tune it for the fastest local VPN server and it supports multiple devices (300Mb/s should support up to four active devices).
- Small and light 125x70x12.5mm x 140g
- Two years premium VPN and then paid after that
- DNSleaktest.com and whatismyIPaddress.com confirmed that the VPN was secure.
- Max download 20-254Mb/s
- Can’t log into public sites that require both User Name and password
- IP Vanish is goo but US-based so subject to US disclosure law (but does not keep logs)
- No Wi-Fi AC
- VPN or Tor – not both
GadgetGuy’s take – InvizBox Go privacy made easier
This is foolproof – even a novice could use it. It is not cheap and will require ongoing subscriptions after the two-year premium VPN service runs out.
The prime advantage is that it is a portable device that provides VPN service to whatever you connect to it. That could be very handy if you are using a guest computer or smartphone.
I already use Private Internet Access – a paid-for software-based VPN. Being software, it can be installed on up to five devices at the cost of US$69.95 for two years.
The advantage of this is that it will get higher VPN speeds if your router supports it, e.g. it could connect at 866MB/s using Wi-Fi AC and even faster using MU-MIMO. It also has 3041 servers in 28 countries. I really don’t notice any speed reduction when using the NBN connection, and it encrypts Wi-Fi between the client device and the router.
Oh, and my favourite Irish Joke (apart from me)
Did you hear about the Irishman that went to London to blow up a bus? He burnt his lips on the exhaust pipe!
What would I buy? I am not sure.
The concept of InvizBox Go is great – its foolproof setup and portability. I like that protection is device agnostic – if it connects by Wi-Fi.
Let’s just say you need a VPN – if it is not a free one like Facebook Onavo. It is over to you.
Whatever you do VPN is the buzzword of 2018 with companies like Norton et al. releasing hardware VP routers.
Its recommended price is €119 including worldwide shipping. The website says it includes two years premium updates for IP Vanish but later an option for two years takes this to $199.
It appears that after the included Premium service expires you can renew for €4 per month or go back to a limited bandwidth service.
I won’t formally rate it as I don’t have established paradigms for hardware VPNs. It does everything it states. Its definitely at least four out of five.