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Share vpn connection wirelessly windows xp

Tags:
  • Configuration
  • Laptops
  • Connection
  • VPN
  • Windows XP
  • Wireless Networking
Last response: in Wireless Networking
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November 12, 2011 5:33:43 PM

Hello, I'd like to share a VPN connection via a PC laptop's wireless card. The laptop has XP SP2; the VPN connection is established via ethernet cable to DSL router. Essentially, I'd like to create an AD HOC network (using, of course, the laptop--"host"--wireless card) that shares the VPN network. I've seen many instructions on setting up AD HOC networks, but none that detail how to have that network share the internet (VPN, in this case) wirelessly. Any ideas?

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November 12, 2011 7:43:43 PM

eibgrad said:
You share the VPN like any other connection you'd like to share; you enable ICS (Internet Connection Services) on the VPN connection.

http://windows.microsoft.com/en-US/windows-vista/Using-...


I understand how to set up sharing for the VPN connection, but as far as I can tell, the set up procedure doesn't let you choose to share via an ad hoc network. If I set up an ad hoc network for the laptop, it doesn't seem to offer a chance to choose the VPN connection. I'm baffled by how to specify that the ad hoc network should be "broadcasting" the VPN connection. To be clear, the VPN connection in my scenario is established directly via ethernet cable to the DSL modem. There is also a wifi router, but it is not VPN-capable and so is not useful for wirelessly sharing the VPN connection, thus the need to use the laptop's wireless card. [To set up such sharing on a Mac, at the point when you specify sharing for the live VPN connection you can choose the the sharing interface--the computer's Airport (wireless) card--when establishing the ad hoc network.]
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a b D Laptop
November 12, 2011 8:15:19 PM

Maybe you are already, maybe it's just your wording that's confusing me, but let’s confirm; you are attempting to enable ICS on the VPN connection, right? Not the wireless connection. You select the VPN connection, enable sharing, and specify the wireless network that should be allowed to share the VPN connection. And you're saying it doesn't permit the adhoc network to be selected?

The reason I’m suspicious is the following statement by you:

“If I set up an ad hoc network for the laptop, it doesn't seem to offer a chance to choose the VPN connection”

That sounds like you’re doing just the opposite. As if you’re attempting to share the wireless network connection and expecting to “choose the VPN connection”. It’s the opposite!
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November 12, 2011 9:55:50 PM

eibgrad said:
Maybe you are already, maybe it's just your wording that's confusing me, but let’s confirm; you are attempting to enable ICS on the VPN connection, right? Not the wireless connection. You select the VPN connection, enable sharing, and specify the wireless network that should be allowed to share the VPN connection. And you're saying it doesn't permit the adhoc network to be selected?

The reason I’m suspicious is the following statement by you:

“If I set up an ad hoc network for the laptop, it doesn't seem to offer a chance to choose the VPN connection”

That sounds like you’re doing just the opposite. As if you’re attempting to share the wireless network connection and expecting to “choose the VPN connection”. It’s the opposite!


Many thanks for your attention to my issue and patience with my description. I may well have been going about the process in the wrong order, so let me review the steps in the order it appears I should take them:

1. Connect the laptop to the internet via the VPN account that's been set up. (The laptop is connected by ethernet cable to DSL modem.)

2. Create ad hoc network. In following Microsoft's advice in "Ad Hoc Internet Sharing with Microsoft Windows XP", the process of creating an ad hoc network is done by adding an AdHocNetwork to the list of "Preferred networks" under the "Wireless Networks" tab in the "Properties" tab for "the wireless network connection" (presumably, the wireless card of the laptop).

3. Enable internet connection (ICS) for the VPN connection, during which I should be able to specify the ad hoc network as the sharing vehicle.

I'm helping a friend setting this up on his PC, so I can't try this immediately at home (I have only Macs myself), but my recollection is that in enabling ICS for the VPN connection there was no opportunity to choose a wireless connection, ad hoc or otherwise. Does this seem wrong or odd? Am I describing the steps incorrectly? I appreciate your further help!

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a b D Laptop
November 12, 2011 10:45:00 PM

Yes, that's a much more accurate description.

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November 13, 2011 2:10:49 AM

eibgrad said:
Yes, that's a much more accurate description.


Thanks. I'll try again with these steps in mind and report back.
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November 19, 2011 3:32:33 PM

I've tried again, unsuccessfully, to accomplish sharing a VPN connection via an ad hoc wireless network. Here are the steps I took:

1. Connected the VPN internet connection (again, with the laptop connected to the ADSL router via ethernet cable). [I previously set up this VPN network connection per standard Microsoft instructions, and it works fine when used on the laptop.]

2. Created an ad hoc network for the laptop. This adds the created "on demand" ad hoc network (e.g., "PC-AdHoc") to the list of "Wireless Networks" that the laptop will try to connect to. [This is a bit confusing to me since it seems to imply that this is a network "out there" to which the laptop can connect rather than a network originating from the laptop itself.]

3. Tried to enable internet connection sharing (ICS) for the VPN connection by going to the Properties>Advanced tab of the VPN connection and enabling sharing. However, when doing this, there was no opportunity that I could see for selecting the ad hoc wireless network as the vehicle for sharing the connection.

If you have the patience, can you describe what I should be doing step by step? Or point me to such instructions? I find it remarkable that so far I've been unable to find such advice on the internet. There's plenty of advice about setting up VPN, setting up an ad hoc network, enabling ICS, etc., but nowhere is it all put together. The ultimate goal, again, is to be able to stream various video or iTunes content from either the internet (via the VPN connection) or the laptop's iTunes library to an Apple TV (2G) device. [In either case, sharing the VPN connection is critical.] I've successfully tested the Apple TV device by creating an ad hoc network with my MacBook Pro but continue to be frustrated in getting all this to work on a PC (with XP). Thanks for any further thoughts.
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November 25, 2011 5:31:03 PM

Quote:
Thanks for that very detailed explanation hullray! :wahoo: 
__________________________________________
Because what you do in the internet is nobody else business :cool:


I found another step-by-step set of instructions online at http://www.conniq.com/WinXPNetworking_wifi_direct_conne... to follow when setting up ad hoc network and internet sharing, so I gave it a try. To make a long story short, I succeeded once in getting the laptop's ad hoc network to share the VPN connection to the internet via its wireless adapter. I was able to select this ad hoc network on my iPod Touch. Despite many attempts, the Apple TV (2G) device was never able to recognize the ad hoc network (as it does at my own home with my Mac's ad hoc network), so ultimately the "victory" was hollow. I also could not for the life of me replicate my partial success at will. The ad hoc network would be visible to my iPod but the internet connection would fail even though all seemed to be in order as for set up.

A couple of observations in case they might help others.

1. As you've pointed out, the precise order one does the set-up in XP seems crucial. And at several points in the process, the steps are (to me, not a PC aficionado) not intuitive. For example:

2. When enabling internet connection sharing (ICS) on the VPN connection after setting up the ad hoc network: at the point you go to the Properties>Advanced tab to select the ICS mode, I found I had to FIRST select something like "wireless connection" in the "Home networking connection" choices and only then click on the "Allow other network users to connect through this computer's internet connection" check-box. If I checked on the check box first, I couldn't choose the "Home networking connection" option to be wireless.

3. I then went to the "View available wireless networks" window and disconnected the independent wi-fi router that was also connected to the DSL modem before "connecting" the ad hoc network which also appears in that space.

4. Most interesting/puzzling is what happens when "connecting" the host computer to the ad hoc network. It seems that the ad hoc network will only be established if another computer or device connects to the ad hoc network broadcast from the host computer. If nothing connects to the broadcast, no "connection" is made, i.e., there is no ad hoc network. In my case, I used my iPod Touch's wi-fi connection settings to connect to the ad hoc network as soon as it appeared as an option. Almost simultaneously on the "host" laptop the ad hoc network changed from "connecting" to "connected" and began to function. If I turned off my iPod Touch, the ad hoc network ceased to exist. In other words, it doesn't seem possible to have the host computer's ad hoc network just broadcasting (as do most wi-fi routers). If nothing connects to the broadcast, the host's attempt to "connect" to the ad hoc network eventually fails (after a few minutes, I think). I find this strange and not very helpful!

5. My final conclusion after all this (for the goal of sharing a VPN connection wirelessly on a PC) is to throw in the towel and get a VPN-enabled wifi router, available, for example at http://strongvpn.com/routers.shtml. And most of the advice on this subject that I've found on the internet implicitly comes to the same conclusion: buy a VPN-enabled router. (And it may be instructive that StrongVPN, one of the better VPN providers, has the same advice and declines to offer advice on ad hoc networks. Admittedly, it sells VPN-enabled routers as part of its business, but StrongVPN is very good at providing tech advice about set-up, so I suspect the frustrations of advising about ad hoc networks led them to that position.)

Thanks for your help and attention.

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a b D Laptop
November 26, 2011 2:21:49 AM

Let's step back a second, because it's a rare circumstance when I use adhoc networks, which can be a bit quirky.

You mentioned your confusion about the terminology “on demand” and the fact the description seems to be describing something “out there” rather than the network originating from the laptop.

The reason that language is used is because an adhoc network is a P2P (peer to peer) relationship, so in fact, a network does NOT exist until at least two peers are in communications! That’s different from your wireless router running in INFRASTRUCTURE mode, which always has a network established and available, by definition, even if no clients are connected. There’s no such notion of the network “originating from your laptop” when it comes to adhoc networks. You have to sweep that notion from your mind completely. Adhoc is P2P, and no station in the P2P can claim ownership of the network.

It’s entirely possible ICS has trouble using adhoc networks precisely because they come and go. It *might* require either infrastructure mode, or perhaps require a permanent, working adhoc connection at the time the ICS configuration is established. As I said, I rarely use adhoc networks and originally assumed it would work identically to wireless networks based on infrastructure mode, but perhaps I was mistaken.

So let me ask you, is it really necessary to use adhoc mode? I suspect you’re doing so because you assume you have no other choice. But that’s not necessarily the case. If you’re running Windows 7, you could run Connectify to convert your wireless adapter into a wifi hotspot (i.e., infrastructure network) and thus solve that problem. Or if that’s not feasible (perhaps you’re running XP), there are some wireless adapters that support infrastructure mode, not just client or adhoc modes. And in the worst case, just get a wireless router and patch it to an available ethernet port. If your laptop doesn’t have a second ethernet port (since obviously the first is connected to the modem), you could use an USB ethernet adapter.

[modem]<--wire -->(eth1)[laptop](eth2)<-- wire -->[wireless router]

…where eth2 is established w/ the USB ethernet adapter. Yeah, a bit hokey, but the idea is to get you off adhoc. In fact, if you did it this way, you wouldn’t need ICS at all. What you would now do is simply BRIDGE the eth1 and eth2 connections, and patch eth2 to the WAN port of the wireless router. The router is now doing the work of ICS (which gives you all the power of the router, such as its DHCP server, firewall, access restrictions, QoS, whatever features it offers). All your clients just connect to the wireless router like they always have on any other network. But beyond the WAN you’ve taken the additional step to take all that traffic out the WAN and tunnel it through a VPN before it reaches the modem.

At least that’s what I would do. It gets past all this adhoc nonsense and ends up w/ a better overall solution imo.

In fact, you can take it one step further. Notice that now your laptop wireless is not being used. You just have two ethernet connections, one for the VPN, the other running to the WAN of the wireless router, and they’re bridged. Instead of having the laptop use the VPN connection directly, you could configure its wireless adapter to use the wireless router as well. Then give that network connection higher priority so that the laptop and all the devices behind share the same network, and access the internet through the wireless router. What’s nice about this configuration is that the laptop becomes part of the same network as every other wireless client behind the router, rather than standing alone, and effectively out of communications w/ everyone else (then again, maybe that’s what you want, but at least you have the option).

Of course, you could also just get a wireless router w/ VPN client support rather than using the laptop. I suppose that’s the ultimate solution. Instead, we’re sort of kludging a solution based on a laptop, which might be necessary if the particular VPN you need isn’t supported by any known routers, or perhaps it is but it’s too expensive. If it’s just a Microsoft PPTP VPN, heck, you could pick up a dd-wrt capable router and configure it as a VPN client and force everyone through it. I’ve done that before myself.
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November 26, 2011 10:55:49 AM

You've exposed my novice networking skills! Many thanks for the explanations of why ad hoc works the way it does (on XP, at least), P2P vs. Infrastructure modes, and your suggestions as to how to avoid ad hoc network in this context, all of which seem superior to the way XP handles ad hoc/P2P. (I had wondered if using two ethernet cables would get around all this, but since my friend's laptop has just the one eth port, rejected that route. Interesting to find out that there are such things as USB>eth adapters!)

If it were my computer system, I'd definitely try out your USB adapter idea. (A wireless router is available for use.) But for my friend, I can tell that the wireless router with VPN support is the way to go and will simplify his tech life considerably when it eventually comes to using his Apple TV.

Again, many thanks for your help!
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November 28, 2011 12:59:18 PM

Still if you want to have other good options for other good VPN service providers out there then I would just like to suggest this one as well. This China VPN is not exclusive to China but internationally as well. You can just simply surf the Chinese websites smoothly. That's how strong it is.
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December 8, 2011 1:15:35 AM

Best answer selected by hullray.
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a b D Laptop
December 8, 2011 1:18:06 AM

This topic has been closed by Area51reopened
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