Using Windows to VPN from a MBP

Discussion in 'Windows, Linux & Others on the Mac' started by ARK, Jan 28, 2009.

  1. ARK macrumors 6502

    Jul 20, 2008
    Indianapolis, IN
    My wife is going to need the option to "VPN" to the hospital's network to look at her patient's charts occasionally. I have no idea what VPN is and how she is supposed to do it but I understand from one of her coworkers is that she is going to need Windows on our MBP. (Her coworker does it with Boot Camp I believe) I have Parallels 4.0 and of course Boot Camp but we have not setup either of them. So I have some questions.

    1. Can someone explain to me what VPN is?

    2. Does she really need Windows in order to VPN to the hospitals in our area so she can look up patient information or can Mac OSX do that?

    3. If Windows is needed will XP work or do we need Vista?

    4. Will Parallels allow her to VPN into the hospital networks or should we go for Boot Camp?
  2. FX120 macrumors 65816


    May 18, 2007
    VPN stands for Virtual Private Network, basically you can think of it like a tunnel through the internet that allows your computer to act like it is on the private internal network of the hospital, from home. Servers, computers, printers and other networked devices that would not normally be accessable from outside the hospital can be interacted with as if you were there. This works by connecting your computer to a VPN server located inside the hospital that pipes encrypted data from hospitals network, back out over the network to your client computer. This is the easiest way to think of it, but it can be much more complex:

    Mac OS X does have a VPN client, but it might not work with the hospitals VPN servers (which are probably Windows-based), and might not configure correctly with the hospitals servers because of that. You could give it a go, but even if you get it to work, you'll probably just piss off the hospitals IT staff. So go with Windows, and follow the instructions provided by the hospital in setting up the VPN. This way if you have any issues, they'll also be able to support you. Secondly, most of the informatics software hospitals use is a Windows-only client, not something you would be able to run natively on OS X anyways.

    XP will work, so will Vista.

    Parallels should work just fine.

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