Enabling an Ultra-Fast and Secure VPN for IoT devices using WireGuard

Posted by
March 8, 2024

IoT networks are a tough nut to crack. Secure, fast, and scalable IoT networks are even harder to crack. As the Internet of Things (IoT) ecosystem continues to grow, the need for secure networking solutions becomes increasingly important. And yet VPNs tailored for IoT devices are very rare. There are not many solutions that enable full tunnel encryptions for IoT devices. Why? IoT devices tend to be low on resources and largely autonomous, meaning most available options don’t work in these scenarios.

That’s where WireGuard comes in, a cutting-edge VPN protocol that has gained widespread to acclaim for its simplicity, security, and remarkable performance. Its efficiency makes it ideal for IoT devices. In this era where the speed of data transmission is key, the integration of WireGuard into IoT devices offers a breakthrough solution—a robust and ultra-fast VPN tailored specifically for the unique demands of IoT applications. This article explores different ways of creating ultra-fast, scalable VPN for IoT devices using the power and efficiency of WireGuard.

How to setup a WireGuard VPN for IoT devices using Netmaker

The world of IoT is populated with different types of devices from different manufacturers and running on different systems. This creates a need for a networking solution that can take into consideration the diversity of systems across different IoT devices. That solution is Netmaker. Netmaker is an open-source networking solution that is built on WireGuard. Netmaker can be simply described as a solution used for managing and automating WireGuard connections. Netmaker introduces functionalities like the creation of networks, adding hosts to the networks, access control lists, and more.

Netmaker’s Netclient, the IoT Client Gateway, Remote Access Gateway with Client Configs, and the Egress Gateway, are solutions that can be used to connect a ton of different types of IoT devices from microcontrollers to drones to robots.


The Netmaker Netclient manages WireGuard on client devices (nodes). With the Netclient, you can seamlessly add and manage WireGuard connections across different supported devices. The Netclient is primarily designed for Linux-based devices, making it ideal for larger IoT devices like drones and robots utilizing a full-fledged linux operating system. It is supported on both AMD and ARM CPU’s, and functions across a wide range of distributions like:

  1. Debian
  2. RedHat
  3. Arch
  4. OpenWRT
  5. OpenSUSE

Before adding the device to a network, the netclient must be installed. A successful installation sets up netclient on the machine and adds it as a system daemon. An IoT device with the Netclient can directly join a network as a node using an access token.

Here is the documentation on how to install the Netclient into different linux distros.

IoT Client Gateway

For all monitoring devices, sensors, robot systems, drone systems and other IoT devices that use the ESP32 microcontroller, you can use Netmaker’s Netclient for IoT to add the IoT devices directly to the network.

This solution involves selecting one of your hosts within the network to act as an IoT client Gateway. The IoT devices then connect to the network through the gateway as shown below.

In this setup, all ESP32-based IoT devices that support WireGuard can connect to the IoT client.

Remote Access Gateway with Client Config

What about non-Linux and non-ESP32 devices? There is a wide range of device types and operating systems out there. Luckily, most of them nowadays support WireGuard. Netmaker’s Remote Access Gateway allows you to generate WireGuard config files which can be deployed on any device that supports WireGuard. Here is a guide on how to install WireGuard on different devices. 

It works very similarly to the IoT Client Gateway, in that you select a device to act as the gateway, and then devices communicate with the network over the gateway. But now, any device that supports WireGuard can be integrated. Additionally, with advanced configuration, you can add devices such as routers to gain full access to and from local networks.

Connecting IoT devices behind routers using an egress gateway

In the case that you simply want remote access to a local network full of IoT devices, you may just want a gateway to the local network. As noted above, you can use the Remote Access Gateway with a customized Client Config file to integrate a router into the network and provide access to the full local network. Alternatively, you can use the Egress Gateway.

How it works is, that a single device in the local network running the Netclient can be configured as an Egress Gateway, and it will forward traffic to the specified local network from the VPN. It will then proxy traffic to the connected IoT devices.

Advantages of using Netmaker to enable WireGuard VPN for IoT devices

1. Security, speed, and performance

Netmaker is built on WireGuard. That means that your connections will inherit all those extraordinary features that have made it the success it is. Speeds that have toppled other protocols like OpenVPN and IPsec, fast encryption algorithms, and excellent reliability just to mention a few.

2. Scalability

Netmaker allows for both vertical and horizontal scaling of your network. Creating a new network or adding a new host to a network is as easy as a few clicks. Netmaker is also built with the cloud environment in mind and that means you can leverage cloud solutions to scale your environment to handle the required performance.

3. Access controls

The Netmaker ACL allows you to control which devices have connections to which devices. This feature is not only important for security but also allows you to create custom connections unique to your network needs.  Again, this can be achieved with just a few clicks.

iot device access control

4. Visibility into performance and availability of IoT devices

The Netmaker dashboard allows you to have full visibility over your networks and hosts. You can see the real time connection status of the devices in your network. Additionally, there is a graphical representation of the connections that can give you a visual overview on what your network looks like.

iot devices visibility

5. Customization and flexibility

Netmaker network configurations can be customized to accommodate different IoT network architectures. As mentioned in the previous section, you can also add a very wide range of IoT device types. You can also use the ACL to create connections between different hosts and networks. The limit of the applications of Netmaker when it comes to IoT devices is your imagination.

6. Low costs

The Netmaker Community Edition is completely free. Use it with a “pay for what you use” cloud server and you can create your IoT VPN solution with zero upfront costs. Netmaker Pro is offered at a competitive price versus alternative solutions.

7. Compliance

The Netmaker on-prem selection gives you full control of your VPN infrastructure. You can customize it to meet the necessary regulations and standards for data protection, privacy, security, and interoperability, without worrying about any traffic being routed through a third party provider.

If you want to create fast and scalable VPNs for IoT devices the right way, then Netmaker is worth consideration. The purpose of this article is to give insights into the different ways to implement WireGuard VPN for IoT devices and Netmaker has proven to be a worthy solution in making that happen. The four options discussed, the netclient, the IoT client gateway, the Remote Access Gateway, and the egress gateway will cover almost all types of IoT devices. You can always do your own independent assessment and give us feedback, it’s free to try after all.


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