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  • Feb 11th, 2019 4:41 pm
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[OP]
Newbie
Dec 21, 2016
11 posts
3 upvotes

Setting up VPN?

Hi all, anyone have any experience with setting up a VPN?

My wife uses a specialized software in her office. In order not to stay late in the office, she is able to finish her work on the same software on her home computer. However, in order for the software to work at home, we need a VPN connection to the computer at her office, or else the software at home wont work.

I found a bunch of good videos and websites and followed instructions but it just does not seem to work.

This is different from the VPN services that allow you to browse the internet privately. I just need VPN between my home computer and work computer...pls help!

At this point I've given up, anyone know anyone who could set this up?
24 replies
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 19, 2013
1430 posts
851 upvotes
Ottawa
You can create an openvpn or IPSec (more secure but more complicated) server but depending where she works, her company's IT department will most likely block it because that puts the whole company at risk if it isn't setup properly.

If you think she can still do it, what kind of machine does she have where she wants to set it up? (Microsoft pc, Linux, router?)
[OP]
Newbie
Dec 21, 2016
11 posts
3 upvotes
NoCountry4RFDer wrote:
Feb 9th, 2019 2:40 pm
You can create an openvpn or IPSec (more secure but more complicated) server but depending where she works, her company's IT department will most likely block it because that puts the whole company at risk if it isn't setup properly.

If you think she can still do it, what kind of machine does she have where she wants to set it up? (Microsoft pc, Linux, router?)
Thanks for your reply.

Okay, she owns her own small biz - no IT dept there, I am her IT Department LOOOL at her work theres a windows computer running windows 10 connected to a rogers router/modem/cable internet. This computer acts as the main server for her specialized software. And then in one of the rooms in her office, there is a workstation, again a windows 10 computer, that connects to the main server (via wifi). So essentially Im trying to set up a 2nd workstation which would be her laptop at home. We were told by the vendor of the specialized software to first set up a vpn and then call them back so they can connect the 2nd workstation from our home to her office computer.
Sr. Member
Nov 21, 2014
644 posts
661 upvotes
Atlantic
1cream1sweetner wrote:
Feb 9th, 2019 2:35 pm
Hi all, anyone have any experience with setting up a VPN?

My wife uses a specialized software in her office. In order not to stay late in the office, she is able to finish her work on the same software on her home computer. However, in order for the software to work at home, we need a VPN connection to the computer at her office, or else the software at home wont work.

I found a bunch of good videos and websites and followed instructions but it just does not seem to work.

This is different from the VPN services that allow you to browse the internet privately. I just need VPN between my home computer and work computer...pls help!

At this point I've given up, anyone know anyone who could set this up?
Forget it. You won't be able to set up a corporate VPN on your own; you need your wife's IT department to do it. This isn't trivial by any means.

The IT department will have network and VPN configurations that you would never even know about. I.e. what kind of protocol to use IPSec, L2TP etc. Ports which are open etc. UDP/TCP etc. Certificates/public/private keys.

Edit: Since you mention that there's no IT department.....would Remote Desktop be more feasible/achievable?
Member
Oct 12, 2005
210 posts
28 upvotes
Richmond Hill, ON
Since this is your wife's own small business, how about just set up some sort of remote control software on the Windows 10 workstation at her office? Look into something like RealVNC or TeamViewer. I think both platforms are free for non-commercial use, but require business accounts if you want to use them for commercial purposes.

Once you have set the up, you can just get the viewer version of the software, and your wife can then remote control that Windows 10 workstation at her office and do her work wherever she is... as long as the specialized software is not graphically intensive like AutoCAD or similar.
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
23891 posts
9462 upvotes
EZPZ
Ok, maybe not that EZ, but it's not THAT difficult:

Assuming Windows:
https://community.openvpn.net/openvpn/w ... dows_Guide

You'll need to punch a hole in the firewall to allow access.
It's also nice to have some sort of dynamic DNS just in case the IP address changes.

This is also easier if you have a router that has the option to do this.
Most consumer routers aren't really powerful enough for VPN though.

You do have a router right?
That one bit about your computer connected directly to the modem concerns me. Or maybe not since the default setup is usually an all in one combo unit and not a standalone modem.
[OP]
Newbie
Dec 21, 2016
11 posts
3 upvotes
Thanks for all the replies. right now I am using splashtop to log in to to her work computer from home, but it just laggy enough for her not be able to use the software properly. Its a tad bit laggy and blurry. Otherwise this would have been a sufficient solution.

Is there other serivces similar to splashtop that are better quality in terms of rendering the remote computer in a much higher quality?
Sr. Member
Jan 22, 2017
960 posts
208 upvotes
here is a better question
what kind of business does she run?
what does she need to do for work that requires the vpn from home?
if it is just files then a vpn may not be needed.
but if it is specific apps or a server she needs access too at the physical location then that's a different story.
STEP INTO THE DARK SIDE...
[OP]
Newbie
Dec 21, 2016
11 posts
3 upvotes
techjedi wrote:
Feb 9th, 2019 3:58 pm
here is a better question
what kind of business does she run?
what does she need to do for work that requires the vpn from home?
if it is just files then a vpn may not be needed.
but if it is specific apps or a server she needs access too at the physical location then that's a different story.
It's dental software. She needs to access the program on a computer /laptop from home. In order for the program to function from a home computer/laptop, it must be connected to the main server at her office through VPN. That's all I'm told by the software vendor. She would be writing in long notes and looking at x rays and stuff like that from home instead of sitting at the office for several hours doing all that Stuff.

Currently she can use Splash top (simiapt to remote desktop) to remote access the server computer computer at her work but it's a bit laggy/blurry, so much so that she's unable to do what she needs in an efficient manner as she has to keep opening different windows and make notes about patients etc but the lag/blurriness is frustrating.
Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
23891 posts
9462 upvotes
How is this interaction handled?

Is the program installed locally on the notebook and the data alone is accessed over VPN or are you interacting with the whole desktop?
By the sounds of it it's the latter which means a bunch of unnecessary data being sent over (plus laggy interactions).

RDP itself might be better. It's pretty smooth most days.

But optimally I would see if I can interact with the server directly instead of via GUI.
But this is dependent on the software more than anything.

Here's an analogy:

If I'm going to type a note, I'm going to edit a file directly on the server instead of opening up notepad. There's no reason to send a whole screen refresh if I'm inputting text.
But I can't draw a picture like that.
I'd either have to remote in and use the desktop to draw complete with screen refreshes (the bad option) or install paint locally and save the picture directly to the server (good option)

Without knowing what your software is capable of, it's harder to make a recommendation.
Deal Expert
User avatar
Dec 12, 2009
18688 posts
6709 upvotes
Toronto
I am confused here. It doesn't seem to make sense that the party trying to do the remote access is tasked with setting up the secured access. It should be the company that owns the computer system allowing people to login remotely that determines the level of security and what portal to use for remote access. If the remote user is the one making up the specs, it would all over the map with each user choosing their own thing. That can't make sense. My workplace uses citrix and I am issued a key fob with rolling codes that change every 60 seconds. Clunky or otherwise, that is what I have to use. I don't have a say in the matter.
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Deal Expert
Aug 22, 2006
23891 posts
9462 upvotes
will888 wrote:
Feb 9th, 2019 5:15 pm
It should be the company that owns the computer system allowing people to login remotely that determines the level of security and what portal to use for remote access
OP mentioned this.
He (or rather his wife) is the company.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Oct 14, 2010
1159 posts
606 upvotes
Barrie ON
The main purpose of a VPN is to encrypt data between a source and destination, so that any other computers cannot read the data while in transit. If you were just sending photos between two locations, you probably wouldn't be terribly concerned about privacy. In this situation you are viewing personal health records, and because of this you need to comply with PHIPA or the Personal Health Information Protection Act. LINK

Without reading all the details of the act, I was able to see that PHIPA specifies encryption for the remote connection to the office, as well as disk encryption on the laptop. Before proceeding further with your plan, make yourself familiar with the PHIPA rules before you get yourself into trouble.

Setting up the VPN is fairly simple if you have a router at the office which is capable of running a VPN server. Here is the link to the procedure on an Asus router. LINK

Since you are operating a business, you may already have a NAS operating as a backup location. The Synology family of NAS's have free VPN server apps available. Synology also offers a free DDNS service which will be required to access the office if it has a dynamic IP address.

Once the server is running at the office, you can install a VPN client software on the laptop. There are many of these available as a download.
Deal Addict
Jan 10, 2017
1191 posts
512 upvotes
GTA
1cream1sweetner wrote:
Feb 9th, 2019 2:35 pm
Hi all, anyone have any experience with setting up a VPN?

My wife uses a specialized software in her office. In order not to stay late in the office, she is able to finish her work on the same software on her home computer. However, in order for the software to work at home, we need a VPN connection to the computer at her office, or else the software at home wont work.

I found a bunch of good videos and websites and followed instructions but it just does not seem to work.

This is different from the VPN services that allow you to browse the internet privately. I just need VPN between my home computer and work computer...pls help!

At this point I've given up, anyone know anyone who could set this up?
The fool proof hassle-free low technical way is to set up zero-tier vpn.
http://zerotier.com/

This is a p2p vpn, or if you are tech smart, you can set it up to be site-to-site.
Setting up the two points on her work desktop and a laptop/desktop at home will allow her to rdp into her work desktop to continue from home.
You only need to set up client software on both devices, zero-tier free central only controls the phonebook of your devices, it will connect your devices together directly and fully encrypted.

Technically anyone in this forum can use this in an enterprise environment because it makes a reverse connection instead of requiring IT to touch the firewall.
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Jr. Member
Apr 30, 2014
154 posts
45 upvotes
GTA
1cream1sweetner wrote:
Feb 9th, 2019 2:35 pm
Hi all, anyone have any experience with setting up a VPN?

My wife uses a specialized software in her office. In order not to stay late in the office, she is able to finish her work on the same software on her home computer. However, in order for the software to work at home, we need a VPN connection to the computer at her office, or else the software at home wont work.

I found a bunch of good videos and websites and followed instructions but it just does not seem to work.

This is different from the VPN services that allow you to browse the internet privately. I just need VPN between my home computer and work computer...pls help!

At this point I've given up, anyone know anyone who could set this up?
Have you taken a look at OpenVPN on pfSense? It is what I have for free.

The OpenVPN Client (Windscribe in this case) allows all my local network devices to bypass the limitations imposed on the blacklisted IP address that is assigned to me by Carrytel.

The OpenVPN Server on the other hand allows me to connect from anywhere (outside my local area network, including insecure public WiFi) to my local area network. This is what you need.

What you will need:
- A working OpenVPN Server on pfSense device in your wife's office from which you will generate the required credentials for your OpenVPN Client (your home computer) in order to connect to the office OpenVPN Server.
- A working OpenVPN Client installed on your wife's home computer that has the valid credentials from your office OpenVPN Server.

Then call the vendor of your specialized software to allow your wife's home computer to access the specialized software if you can not do it yourself.

OpenVPN Server (free up to 2 clients -- enough for your requirement) and pfSense are both free, as in nothing to pay, like free.

There! Nothing to it.

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