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How to set up a VPN between 2 machines connected to seperate wireless LAN's

Posted on 2006-05-21
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Hope you can help..

I need to have a secure connection to access and transfer files between 2 XP machines.

One end is my home network, at the other i am logged in through work and i have a dynamically assigned IP.  Is there a way to do this?
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Question by:danny79gmailcom
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Rob Williams earned 2000 total points
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You can use the built in Windows VPN software to create a client server relationship, in conjunction with a DDNS (Dynamic Domain Name Service) where you do not have static IP addresses.
Choose one 'end' to be the VPN server. I will assume you are running Windows XP. Instructions on creating the server end can be found here:
http://www.onecomputerguy.com/networking/xp_vpn_server.htm
The client end can be configured with the following:
http://www.onecomputerguy.com/networking/xp_vpn.htm

You will also have to forward port 1723 on the router at the 'server' end to the computer acting as a VPN server. Finally on the same router you need to enable PPTP pass-through. This could be called GRE, PPTP or VPN pass-through depending on the router. You can find specific information as to how to configure port forwarding for your router at:
http://www.portforward.com/english/routers/port_forwarding/routerindex.htm
Click on the link for your router and on the resulting page click on the link for "Point to Point Tunneling Protocol"

Once set up rather than pointing to an IP address you will use a domain name like myip.dyndns.org provided by the DDNS service which will track the IP if it changes. Below are instructions for setting up a DDNS service I made up a while ago.

The other option is to set up the VPN with 2 VPN routers using the hardware devices rather than software. If you are prepared to purchase these, such as the Linksys RV042, the connection will always be open and available and likely more stable.

Hopefully this will put you on the right track.

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In case you are not familiar with DDNS (Dynamic Domain Name Service), they are free services that give you a name like myname.dnsalias.org and they track your dynamic IP. You either have to configure the router for the service, or download a little piece of software for your computer, and it advises the DDNS service of any changes to your dynamic IP. The recommended method is using the router, otherwise the computer with the installed software has to be left on. Now whenever you enter myname.dnsalias.com, the FQDN (Fully Qualified Domain Name), it directs you to your WAN IP or the router. There are numerous free services available; www.dyndns.com, www.dns2go.com, and www.no-ip.com, to name a few. I prefer www.dyndns.com. You need to contact the service provider such as http://www.dyndns.com and set up a free account, and a host name/Dynamic DNS service for your IP. You can have 5 IP's with a free account. Once done you will have a host name like myname.dnsalias.com, a user name, and a password. Enter these in the router's DDNS page.

Note: There is a catch with the free www.dyndns.com service and possibly some of the others. If the IP doesn't change for 35 days, it needs to be manually updated, otherwise your account is considered dormant and the Host name, not your account, will be dropped. They usually send you a warning a few days in advance. If the service works for you, I would recommend paying the $9.95 a year that overrides the 35 day limit. It also allows you to list 20 IP's with a paid account.

Specific instructions for www.dyndns.com;
After you create an new user account with www.dyndns.com ,  log in and at the top of the page click on 'Account' and then middle of the page choose 'My services'. Near the bottom of the page you will see Host Level Services. If you haven't done so you will need to set up a domain name. I would recommend starting with a fresh one regardless. Do so by clicking "Add host service", then "Add Dynamic DNS Host". Now fill in a Host name of your choosing like "myname" and choose a suffix like "dnsalias.org" (any one in the list will do). Your current IP, if you are connecting from the site where you will be using this, will be displayed in the next box. If not, change it to the current IP.  If you don't know it you can find by going to  http://www.whatismyip.com  Now click "Add Host". Leave Wildcards and Mail fields empty.

Now in your router set up (my recommendation), or in your DDNS software application enter your hostname myname.dnsalias.org, or what ever you choose, your password and choose the service, dyndns if asked and you are done. Make sure you only use one, the router or the application, not a good idea to use both.

Now to test. You know how to find your IP by going to http://www.whatismyip.com so verify that. Now at a command prompt (DOS window) enter nslookup  myname.dnsalias.org  (substitute your domain name) and it should resolve/return the proper WAN IP you located above.
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