Update:The previous RouterSource service by Sabai has now been cancelled. However, you can still by SabaiOS and DD-WRT routers directly at Sabai.
Do not get confused as Sabai Technology does not provide a VPN service but instead provides you with a way of getting the best VPN speeds through your router. We are big fans of custom router firmware as it allows you to get the most out of it. Sabai provides a fantastic alternative to DD-WRT and Tomato (especially with relation to support) so if this sounds like your cup of tea then keep reading.
Pricing & Plans
Sabai has two kinds of products for sale. Firstly they have 5 different routers for sale that range from basic to full fledged hardware systems – all of which are flashed with their innovative firmware. Their prices for these are in the same league as for other flashed routers you can purchase online. Secondly their most innovative and original product – the VPN Accelerator. This comes with a hefty price tag of $350 but as we will discuss below it could be a very useful device to you. They also have a number of accessories on sale – of which the power adapter is a must as they ship the routers with a US (dual-voltage) plug. The rest of the accessories can be found cheaper elsewhere but you do save hassle on customs and cost on shipping. All the packages also come with a superb 1 year hardware guarantee and premium (Sabai Freedom) support. There is also free shipping to US Army -, Diplomatic- and Fleet Post Offices.
Update 20/08/2014: They have discontinued the Tenda for the moment due to hardware concerns.
Check out Sabai’s personal video below to find out a bit more about their service in their words:
In most scenarios the Sabai OS is no different to your average DD-WRT, Tomato and stock firmware but their firmware is optimised for VPN speeds and set-up – both of which they deliver on. Not only this but their exclusive ‘Gateways’ technology allows you to use your router in such a way that one device is using the VPN while the other isn’t – a feature you can’t get on any other router.
Security & Privacy
The security you receive with Sabai Technology depends entirely on the VPN provider you use so you will have to look through our website to decide which one is best for you or you can use one that you already have. Their OS is based on a number of Tomato builds that they have modified to a large extent but it is still fully open source (Github here) which just makes this company that much more fantastic. They are also working on a full x86 home networking system that is also open source and they describe it as a “beefed up DD-WRT on steroids” – their JaiRo project has some good indications towards it.
Sabai understands that routers and their settings can be complex so they provide each customer with Sabai Freedom for a whole year which provides you with phone, chat, remote log-in, ticket and email support – the latter two of which you can get forever. They also have a Knowledge Base but this will only help solve most basic issues. We have found that all of their support service and types are very efficient and user friendly and will help you solve any problems. Unfortunately, the remote support has to be booked in advance and the ticket support takes a few hours for a reply but their phone support is always available for near instantaneous help. These latter 3 support mechanisms though aren’t 24/7, but the quality of it definitely makes up for this. Clearly, a prominent feature with Sabai is the amazing pre- and post-sales support you receive helping you solve most issues you may have!
Signing Up/ Ordering
When you sign up with Sabai you will need to provide a bit of information, nothing extensive, but they need it for shipping your products – but as mentioned above you can easily delete your details. From there you can process your orders and view past transactions. Their average delivery time is 3.5 days (maximum 7 days) and we received our Asus N66U in just 2.5 days!
The Sabai Client
Before you start using your router you will be required to Activate it but this is just inputting your email and clicking Activate. The client itself is like with any standard router firmware. The basics are easily accessed and changed and the navigation is straight forward. It is also possible to change Advanced Settings for simple things such as Enabling USB to more complicated areas such as Scripts. Further to this it is also possible to install your own packages just like with the standard DD-WRT and Tomato Firmware.
Performance (Speed, DNS and IP Test)
These results -especially the DNS and IP Test – will vary depending on what VPN provider you use. We carried out our testing using VyprVPN as it has some of the best speeds on the market. The images below show the speeds we were able to achieve with different set-ups – our pure speed is 30/3Mbps. Remember these speeds will not only depend on your VPN provider but also the CPU speed of your router so get the fastest that you are able to afford.
The router speeds were all measured through a wired connection. With wireless, the results were slightly lower but the difference was the same for both OS’s. We also had a look at whether the Gateway setup with some devices running VPN and other on normal made any difference and we didn’t notice any substantial speed changes.
The VPN Accelerator works with any router but it is optimised to be used with Sabai routers. It is essentially a bare bones x86 computer that does all the VPN processing instead of your computer or router and since there isn’t anything else running on it, it is able to do this very efficiently. Unfortunately, we couldn’t get our hands on one but the reviews are very promising for it. Since, in most cases, the VPN speed cap through routers is due to the processor power, we can believe them.
This is their custom support package as described under support. It’s fantastic and you get it free for a whole year which is absolutely amazing.
Overall Sabai Technology (their products and especially service) is great. They deliver on all that is important and we would fully recommend them if you’re looking for a router to use with VPN and don’t like the DD-WRT and Tomato alternatives or you’d like to know that dedicated support is available any time. We will soon be carrying out a full in-depth review of all custom router firmwares to build upon our brief one so make sure you sign up to our mailing list to find out how each one performs.
- Great customer service
- Fantastic VPN Speeds
- ‘Gateways’ Technology
- Amazing pre- and post-sales service!
- Open source
We weren’t so sure about
- Not 24/7 support (quality of it more than makes up for this though)