As a wireless engineer who spends a good amount of time on the road for work and family trips, I’m often unhappy with the quality of the Wi-Fi in hotels, Airbnb’s, and shared workspaces I find myself in. In many of those places, deploying my own AP is a good solution when I can do so without disrupting the existing network. I also like plugging in my own AP and knowing all my devices and those of the people traveling with me will have secure connectivity as soon as its up and running. And I can plug a Chromecast into a nearby TV and it will just work too.
So for a couple years, I’ve carried a small wireless travel router from tp-link with me, the TL-WR902AC. While the tp-link router gets the job done, it doesn’t have the more advanced features I’d prefer.
Enter the GL.iNet Slate AX (GL-AXT1800), which I purchased myself and have been using for the past few weeks (no, this not a sponsored post). This new travel router is bigger than the tp-link router, but it has an impressive list of useful features that have made my life on the road easier since I’ve owned it.
Some standout features…
- 802.11ax 2×2:2 2.4 GHz radio
- 802.11ax 2×2:2 5 GHz radio
- Static channel, channel width, and Tx power assignment
- 5 GHz DFS channels (this is great!)
- 802.11k/v/r/w/p support (Do you even know what 802.11p is?)
- Supported/basic data rate management
- Enable/disable MU-MIMO
- Static BSS Color assignment
- Router/AP/repeater modes
- IPv6 support including RA and DHCPv6 client/server/prefix delegation
- AdGuard Home built-in for encrypted and filtered DNS
- Support for 30+ VPN services
- USB-C powered
- USB-A port (perfect for powering a Chromecast)
Some of those more advanced Wi-Fi things, like 802.11k, MU-MIMO, data rate configuration, and BSS Color assignment can only be managed in the OpenWRT CLI, but its a pretty straightforward config if you don’t mind tinkering. You probably don’t if anything on that list looks appealing!
Once I had everything just right, it became fairly plug-n-pay when I’m on the road. The options that normally need changed I can manage quickly with the glinet smartphone app. That includes selecting an appropriate channel, channel width, and Tx power, or changing the AP/router/repeater mode if necessary.
If you find yourself interested in a travel router with a lot of wireless nerd knobs, check out what GL.iNet has to offer.
3 thoughts on “A Review of the GL.iNet Slate AX Travel Router”
Nice write-up, Jim. I got wind if these GL.iNet wireless routers a few years ago when I was tracking down a rogue. The price, at least then, was beyond hard to believe for what you got feature-wise. And… they actually work, reliably. Looks like you found a gem, and if my past luck is any indication, it’s worth looking into.
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Jim, I have been using and struggling for 3 years with the GL-AR750S-EXT. Connecting to Caoptive Portals (think of Hilton web page sign in) is most often a challenge. Is this easier with the new GL-AXT1800?
Hi Dan, good question. Captive portals will always be a headache, but there are some things I’ve found that help. At Hilton’s in particular, find the DNS servers the router was assigned and manually set them on your laptop/smartphone. That usually is enough to trigger the portal to load when browsing to http://neverssl.com.
GL-iNET has some more general tips too: https://docs.gl-inet.com/en/3/tutorials/connect_to_a_hotspot_with_captive_portal/