How to create Ethernet VLANs using a TP-Link AC2100 (Archer VR2100) router.

At the time of writing this router is under £80 at Amazon UK and includes a 3-year warranty if you register it.

As well as GUEST 2.4 & 5.8 Wi-Fi it all supports assignable private Ethernet LAN ports, ideal for a landlord say with Student Lets needing to provide isolated individual private internet-enabled networks.

Tucked under the Network section is a feature labeled ‘Interface grouping’ where each Ethernet LAN port can be assigned to different IP ranges isolated from each other and the host LAN whilst preserving upstream internet connectivity.

For the money, I was quite impressed with this router as it also includes a built-in Open VPN server, handy if you want to watch BBC iPlayer when you are on your holidays overseas. I also saw about a 15% increase in my VDSL connection speed compared to the stock router Plusnet provided, it even has Ookla Speedtest built-in so results are likely to be more accurate.


VOIP socket unavailable on Three 4G router

(16th September 2021)

Just in case anybody has taken Three up on their  excellent value £14 a month unlimited 4G Broadband offer which includes the ZTE 286D home router there is a snag if you wish to use the built-in VOIP phone socket(s),  Three has removed the VOIP settings option and replace it with a diagnostic option instead.

When you delve in to the advance settings to add you VOIP details (usually just a server address, username password) Three has removed the VOIP settings panel and replaced with a diagnostic settings option instead.

When I asked Three why they had removed this setting they said they didn’t want to get involved with supporting VOIP, but, to be honest most VOIP companies provide set-up instructions or point you in the right direction such as a forum or Social Media group.

There are work arounds including plugging in an external VOIP handset or adaptor such the popular CISCO & Linksys device, about £25 on Amazon but this seems rather pants that you can’t make use of the phone sockets on the router itself and have to rely on third party hardware (another potential point of failure and something requiring support)

Not tested but I suspect you can plug a convention phone to the RJ11 sockets (with a suitable RJ11 to BT system adaptor) as you can with Huawei 4G routers on Three with SIMS that have included minutes.

One solution would be to buy an unbranded new unlocked ZTE 286D on eBay (circa £100) and subscribe to SMARTY who ironically are owned by Three and even use Three’s 4G Network infrastructure. Slight more expensive (£18 a month + the cost the router) but a 30 day rolling contract and you can often get the price down to £15 a month on Black Friday. They also have a referral system where you also get £15 every time you refer someone so 8 referrals would pay for the router anyhow.

With the demise of the UK PSTN by 2025 I’d have thought VOIP is going to fast become a hot potato, especially as you can port BT & Virgin numbers over to VOIP and scrap the landline all together.

Just though I’d put this out there for anyone who is scratching their head, perhaps Three are trying discourage VOIP so they can sell their own calls?

A home-made VPN server for £20

An inexpensive LEGAL method to access BBC iPlayer and other British streaming  TV services from outside the UK


  • You home Internet connection needs to support upload speeds of  3Gbps or greater
  • The Internet connection you are using overseas needs  support download speeds of at least 3Gbps 
  • A GL.Inet Travel router about £20 on Amazon, ie


What it does

When you are using an internet connection outside this will channels traffic through to your home internet connection. This means you should be able use  iPlayer, ITV Hub etc, even though you are outside the UK legally so long as you have a TV Licence

Setting up (at home before you go)

1) On any device on your home network log into a browser and type ” What is My IP“, make a note of the address,  this is you “public address” that sites like BBC iPlayer use to determine what country you are in.  If you were in Spain you’d have a Spanish IP address so iPlayer would reject you, ditto ITV Hub, All 4 etc.

2) Use an ethernet cable to  make a connection between the of the WAN connection of GL router and one of the LAN sockets of your home router

3) The GL INET router comes with a preconfigured WiFi network, the network name (SSID) address and WiFi password will be on the sticker on the underside (you’ll want to change these later!)

router 2.jpg

Log on to your travel router, the default will probably be http://192:168.8.1

username – admin

password – goodlife

 Click the INTERNET icon on the left-hand side and make a note of the IP address, this is it’s PRIVATE IP address, write this down, you’ll need it later.

router IP address.png

4) Click the VPN icon on the left to reveal the VPN options, then click OpenVPN Server

1 choose VPN server.png

Unless you want to be able to access your local computers at home there is no need to click modify

5) Click Start to enable the VPN server, the screen should look like this.  If you want to access shares on your home computers and devices click the slider shown on arrow 1

2 export config.png

6) Click “Export config” (the red arrow 2) to save the xxxx.ovpn file (call it whatever you like)

3 save VPN.png

7) email the  xxxxx.opvn your devices or transfer it to a USB stick, keep it yourself!

8) You’ll need to download the OpenVPN client software to your remote or mobile device

Windows –


iPhone –

Mac –

Linux –

9) Run the client software and import the  xxxxx.opvn  , give the profile any name you like.

10) Finally, you’ll need to open a port on your router, Sounds a bit geeky with if you google the same of you router and include the phrase port forwarding you should find YouTube videos and\or  help guide from your ISP if they supplied to the router. Assuming you are using the default settings You’ll need to forward port 1194 to the private address of your travel router

11) To test:

If your phone has 4G disable your home WiFi and enable  4G, alternatively log on to a network elsewhere (work, friend’s house etc.)

Again Log into a web browser and type ” What is My IP“, make a note of the address, it will be different to the public IP address you wrote down from step1, make a note of it.

12) One your remote\client device click the profile, yes should fly up the screen and after a few seconds, it should say connected.

13)  Again Log into a web browser and type ” What is My IP“, it should be the same address as you wrote down from step 1, i.e your home public address.

Even if you are on the other side of the world you should be able to access BBC iPlayer, ITV Hub, More 4 etc.  Optionally, you could also see any other shares on other devices if you ticked the box in step 4.  As far as I am aware this is legal so long as you have a current TV licence and only apply it for personal use.

The GL.Inet routers have lots of clever features including allowing  you to create a WISP network, a way to share a public wireless network to your own private WiFi and ethernet network, ideal if you want to share a  single Wifi or Lan network many times over in a secure fashion.

This a draft I’ve written for a friend that may need tweaking so feedback welcome.


Windows 10 1809 fail – a workaround

install fail.jpeg


The problem

You’ve just bought mini PC with a small solid state main drive (say 32GB) or you’re trying to run Windows update on an older version of Windows 10 but the later 1809 update fails.

The problem is often because there isn’t enough space on the drive, it needs at least 20GB free.

Phil’s fix Summary:

Step 1 – Relocate the folder where Windows installs updates to a USB stick or external drive that has 20GB free

Step 2 – Temporarily disable Windows update

Step 3  – Use the Window update assistant tool to do the patches for you


1) Move the Windows update folder on your PC – instructions

2) Optional but if you can Right click on the existing c:\Windows\SoftwareDistribution folder, if it’s over 1GB you can safely delete the files. You may find you’ll need to again Temporarily disable Windows update to delete some of the larger files.

3) Download the Windows update assistant  – download link

About 1/3 of the way down page look for
How to install the Windows 10 October 2018 Update with Update Assistant

As far as I know, past patches are bundled in the 1809 update.
When I get time I’ll update this with step by step instructions & screenshots.