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Virgin Mobile Broadband and VPN

Posted on 2009-07-07
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I just got a Virgin Mobile Broadband usb device.  When I use my Blackberry through sprint as a data device, I'm able to connect via PPTP vpn.  when I try to use the exact same connection on the same computer with Virgin Mobile Broadband, it get's stuck on "verifying username and password", then just times out.  I know this thing is new, but thought I'd see if anyone has any ideas.
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Question by:andersjj_IL
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by:Rob Williams
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Are you getting an error number when it times out such as 800, 691, 721?
It is possible there are multiple NAT connections or policies in place that do not properly support the GRE protocol with the Virgin network.
Does the Virgin network assign a private IP in one of these subnets 192.168.x.x, 10.x.x.x, or 172.16-31.x.x or is it a public IP?
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by:andersjj_IL
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All I get in terms of error messages is from the VPN connection, which gives some standard potential causes, but nothing very specific.  When I did an IP config, it was giving me a 10.xx.xx.xx ip, but the DNS servers were pointing to a public IP.  Works like a champ with my tethered sprint phone, maybe I'll just look for a Sprint mobile broadband USB.  But, I did like the pay as you go from Virgin, as I don't necessarily have a huge need for this and the idea of paying $10 or $20 a month for fast access when I need it was great.
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by:Rob Williams
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If it is a 10.x.x.x device you are behind at least 1 NAT device. If more than one, you definitely cannot use the VPN, but it may also be a firewall of sorts, with some services blocked.

Are you sure there is no error number? The description is usually very vague, but the error number helps to isolate the problem.
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by:andersjj_IL
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The error was 721.  Funny thing is that when I do this from my iPhone, it looks like it's getting an internal ip address (10.xx.xx.xx) also, and it connects fine, so I'm thinking that Virgin must be blocking the ports required to make it work...looks like I'll be returning what could be a really nice broadband device if this won't work...  :(
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by:Rob Williams
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A 721 error indicates GRE is blocked somewhere. Since it works from the iPhone it is likely not your PC, any local security software, or the remote end, causing the problem. Pretty much puts the blame on the Virgin device.

The fact that you are getting a private IP doesn't mean it wont work. A single NAT device  is fine, but if you are behind a NAT device there could be more in the chain. PPTP will not work with more than one at one end, which could be the case with Virgin. Also Virgin may just block GRE several providers do.
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by:Rob Williams
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Did some Googling and it seems a lot of people are having problems with Virgin and VPN's, however some say it works fine. It is possible IPSec VPN's work and PPTP do not. It might also be a DNS issue as suggested by some folk. When you are connecting the VPN are you connecting to a domain name (FQDN) or using the IP? Try the latter as a first step to rule out DNS issues.
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by:andersjj_IL
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Get the same results using IP address or domain name...I also Google'd a bit and seems that Virgin's website says to use a VPN to protect your information, yet it doesn't work...
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Rob Williams earned 500 total points
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Might support an IPSec VPN, but not PPTP.
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by:andersjj_IL
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IPSec did the trick, set it up and it works fine.
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by:Rob Williams
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Excellent. Good to hear.
Thanks andersjj_IL.
Cheers!
--Rob
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