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VPN from public wifi hotspots to my home internet connection for secur

Last response: in Networking
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February 3, 2010 1:27:09 PM



I don't trust public hotspots. I'd like to sit in a public wifi hotspot like coffee shop, connect via VPN to my local network at home and use my home internet connection (cable modem) to access the outside world. Does anyone have any experices in any Linksys/Cisco products like Cisco WRVS4400N Wireless-N Gigabit Security Router, Cisco RV042 that supposedly lets me to do this.

I know I'd be getting a huge bandwidth hit by surfing via this method but I don't do that much heavy lifting while in coffee shops anyway,
I just want to be protected.

For what it's worth I'm using a Windows 7 laptop, but I haven't even configured the router enough yet to have to worry about the client
end of things...

Thanks & Regards
Raju K R
February 26, 2010 12:14:44 AM

I would also like to know how well that router does. I have been looking at it off and on, it never got that grate of reviews :( . But it looks cool for that low of price.

Anyways an alternative to this would be Hamachi + remote desktop. Set up Hamachi on your laptop and remote desktop to a home computer over Hamachi.
I think there is a way to set up Hamachi to send internet to you, but it looked way to complicated for me.

The downside to this is that your would need to leave a computer running to access it remotely.
February 26, 2010 12:54:19 AM

Many ways to approach this problem. I’ve been through most of them.

1. LogMeIn Free

It’s just so much easier than dealing w/ VPNs. But of course it a remote desktop solution, so if you really need to use your laptop’s applications, it’s not ideal. No ports to open or manage, no DDNS to deal with, secured w/ SSL, works well. Only issue that can be a bit annoying is the lack of file transfer (need the paid version). But there are ways around it (e.g., email).

2. LogMeIn Hamachi

Latest release seems particularly interesting. Using a Gateway configuration (new), you can gain access to ANY resource on your LAN (including the router!) from one Hamachi client. Too complicated to discuss the details here, but very interesting solution.

3. Free Public VPN service

http://anchorfree.com/

I’ve tried it, it works, but it’s just for browsing. Ad sponsored iirc. Big advantage is NO bandwidth hit! Of course, it assumes you trust that VPN provider.

4. Paid Public VPN Service

http://hotspotvpn.com

Depending on how much you need VPN, it may be cheaper and easier to simply pay a small fee. There are others w/ different pay plans (daily, monthly, 90 days, etc.). Again, like any public service, big advantage is NO bandwidth hit, and assumes you trust the VPN provider.

5. Your own VPN server

http://bitvise.com

Most “experts” go the SSH route and Linux. But I’ve found BitVise’s SSH server and SSH client to work quite well if you want to remain Windows-centric. As always w/ SSH, a bit of a hassle to setup the first time. May even be incomprehensible to many. But manageable for ppl w/ some modest networking skills AND motivation.

6. Your own VPN router

Biggest problem I’ve found here is that there are a lot of gotchas when you need to use a VPN router as a gateway back to the Internet. I strongly urge you to listen to several Security Now podcasts where the topic of VPN was discussed extensively. They’re a bit dated (you’ll notice the discussion of Hamachi is BEFORE LogMeIn bought the product from the original developer), and so things could certainly have changed. But you’ll have a MUCH better appreciation of how many gotchas there are w/ this stuff no matter which approach you take. Some you may not have even considered.

http://www.grc.com/securitynow.htm

Episodes 14-19 specifically.

It’s so hard to say which is the best route because situations vary so much and each solution offers some good things and some less than good things. Some are easy but limited. Others are progressively harder to configure and manage. And then there’s cost. Truth is, I find I need a mix of these, jumping from one to other according to what works best at the moment. But as much as possible, I try to stick w/ LogMeIn Free.



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