Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Windows XP as a VPN server

Oddly enough, Windows XP (professional and home) can provide VPN access to a home LAN.  I ran across this feature while in a hospital which provided free WiFi access but only allowed outbound web and VPN traffic.  So to do anything other than browse the web (e.g., listen to the soon to be defunct Yahoo Music Jukebox) I needed to VPN to my home LAN then use its network connectivity to run other apps.

 

XP's VPN Server can be configured via the "add new connection" wizard in Network Connections.  Choose "Advanced" then "Accept Incoming Connections".  Don't worry about selecting a physical port for connections (e.g., printer, USB, etc...).  Once the new connection is created change the properties to specify the range of IP addresses (I choose a range near the top of my subnet so that I'd know when someone was using a VPN connection).

 

If you're behind a NAT enabled router you will probably have to put the XP VPN server in the DMZ.  Apparently the more common tunneling protocol (PPTP) uses GRE which sits at the same layer as TCP and UDP in the network stack.  So there's no port to forward for GRE connections.  I'm fine with this as long as Windows Firewall is also running....

 

 

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