Personal VPN for abroad

Discussion in 'Mac OS X Server, Xserve, and Networking' started by rmn1644, Jul 19, 2014.

  1. rmn1644 macrumors newbie

    Dec 7, 2011

    Anyone know how to setup a router to act as a VPN? I'm going abroad and would like to be able to access my Amazon streaming. Seems like it'd be easy enough to somehow tunnel through my router at home and use the internet that way.

    Except I can't find any way to do it!

    I have an Airport Extreme but would be happy to buy a different router to get this working instead of paying $10/mo for VPN access.
  2. pianojoe macrumors 6502


    Jul 5, 2001
    N 49.50121 E008.54558
    Most home internet connections are asynchronous, i.e. download is much faster than upload. If I get you right, you want the video stream that is sent to your home IP to be forwarded abroad. I'd assume your upload speed restrictions will throttle the video bitrate to an unusable level.

    What's more, could be :) that this is not in line with Amazon's policy.
  3. mvmanolov macrumors 6502a

    Aug 27, 2013
    it would be much easier and better (performance wise) to spend the few $$$ and purchase a vpn service. something like TorGuard would work quite well.. it is well reviewed (speed wise) and not too expensive ($40 for the year)

    Good luck
  4. satcomer, Jul 20, 2014
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2014

    satcomer macrumors 603


    Feb 19, 2008
    The Finger Lakes Region
    If you set up the VPN service on an OS X Server it will auto set it up on modern Airport Extremes/Time Capsules
  5. dukebound85 macrumors P6


    Jul 17, 2005
    5045 feet above sea level
  6. BrianBaughn macrumors 603


    Feb 13, 2011
    Baltimore, Maryland
    Depends on the router model, of course. Check into Cisco routers or any router running a version of DD-WRT (such as some Buffalo models). Be sure to research whether or not the particular model (download the manual) will create a VPN and how easy it will be to do (check forums).
  7. awair macrumors regular

    Sep 6, 2011
    You've asked several different questions here, some of the answers are mutually exclusive!

    The question also presumes a particular solution which is probably not optimal for most users. My answer provides some generic answers, some of which may suit your situation:

    Solution: Home Router as VPN Server
    1. It is possible to setup some home routers to use as VPN Servers, however, inter-operation with other brands of router/client may mean that the connection is not reliable or possible.

    Solution: Travel Router as VPN Client
    2. To access your home VPN server, a client is required, either software on your viewing device, or integrated into a (travel) router. Any router that supports DD-WRT or Tomato (open-source firmware) should be capable.
    Since you plan to connect to a 3rd-party media provider, it would be better to connect to their site directly - any viewing experience would be compromised by routing through a home connection from an external location.

    Solution: SSH Tunnel via Home Server
    3. The solution you appear to be hinting at is more feasible (bur complicated), using a home server (rather than a router), which redirects traffic without the use of a VPN service.

    There are many VPN services that claim to offer free termination - if cost is the issue, accept any limitations and stream directly overseas from the provider.

    Witopia & StrongVPN are both paid providers that I would recommend, around $40-70 per year. StrongVPN supports installation on a router.

    Since you are prepared to buy a new router, cost may not be the issue: I have successfully used Asus model routers (previous generations tend to be better supported), with Tomato firmware (easier to use than DD-WRT).

    You haven't said whether you will be static (deployed to one location) or on the move. The smaller travel routers don't all support VPN functions, but if you can manage to take a 'home' router for travel purposes, then you have more choice.

    I mainly use an Asus WL-330gE (discontinued) with Tomato & VPN, but the new model is not compatible (due to the chipset) with the Tomato firmware (which adds OpenVPN capability).

    I also have a Cradlepoint CBR400 (discontinued), which connects to private server via iPsec VPN - however a firmware update broke compatibility with my Linksys RV-series VPN router.

    Some countries/locations or telecoms providers block certain VPN protocols. Using a commercial provider may give you different connection options (e.g. China). OpenVPN is generally considered the best option, PPTP the worst. [The same protocol needs to be used at both ends of the tunnel.]

    Depending on where/how you are connecting overseas, the streaming experience may not be that good, even with a direct connection to the server. Some hotels cannot support the bandwidth desired or fluctuate significantly. An intermediate hop via your home router would make this worse.

    For the average user (who's advanced enough to read & ask in a forum), the Asus RT-N16 ($80 on Amazon) is a useful household router that is reliably supported by many versions of Tomato.
    Another $70 for Witopia (per year), and you can use two concurrent VPN connections to their servers, with unlimited change of access point.

    Good luck!
  8. unplugme71 macrumors 68030

    May 20, 2011
    DO NOT USE the VPN from Mac OS X Server. Please!

    Use an alternative hardware or software VPN if anything that supports a better protocol. I'm hoping Yosemite Server fixes the poor VPN on OS X.
  9. awair macrumors regular

    Sep 6, 2011
    Would you care to expand on this? Are you referring to 10.9 only, or all versions of Server since 10.6?

    I have recently acquired (from Apple) both 10.6 & 10.8 Server, because I had heard of issues with 10.9. Still not deployed, and don't care for 10.7.
  10. unplugme71 macrumors 68030

    May 20, 2011
    You want a more secure VPN than what Apple offers. Don't use PPTP or L2TP for VPN. You want a certificate based VPN only. Something like what OpenVPN offers.

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