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Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Old 09-27-2013, 03:30 PM   #1
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Virtual Private Network (VPN)

I want a home VPN because I think it would be fun and cool to use. I have no real reason. Are there some advantages or disadvantages that I should know about? How much should I expect to pay for one that works well and doesn't interfere with my wife's using of the Internet? If my cool toy annoys her I don't think that would be so much fun any more.

I want it so that when I am somewhere else on my computer/laptop/phone/tablet I can see the other stuff on my WiFi network at home. Is that how VPNs work? From the ads for the VPN services brought up by a Google search, people seem to use them for purposes other than being cool in their own mind, such as security.

Are they hard to set up? I have difficulty learning new things and may have some trouble if implementing a VPN means modifying my router's settings with generic instructions. By generic instructions I mean I am not good at following directions like "Mark a port on your router as available for connection." I just have no idea where to start on stuff like that. If the directions are more like "Go to the list of ports and check the box for port 8080 on the router" I probably can do it OK.

Thank you for all advice,
Mike D.

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Old 09-27-2013, 04:09 PM   #2
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Why don't you just use something simple like logmein free. It allows you to access your PCs from other PCs and mobile devices over an encrypted channel (which is what a VPN is). Free, easy to set up. Another alternative if you want to avoid using a middleman server like logmein's is to use the open source VNC which has numerous variants like tightvnc,

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Old 09-27-2013, 04:41 PM   #3
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You don't need a VPN "service", just the hardware/software to support. The main purpose of a VPN is security for remote connections, you can connect to home PC by allowing non secure connections ( not recommended ).

They are not trivial to setup, but not really difficult. The Logmein free product works very well for a remote desktop connection and is fairly easy to install. Also their Hamachi product works well for setting a virtual VPN network with minimal setup and no hardware.
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Old 09-27-2013, 04:58 PM   #4
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VPNs are mostly used by businesses to secure access to their network by employees.

For consumers, it's a good idea to use VPN if you're at a public Wifi hotspot, so that your activities aren't snooped at by hackers.

There are some ISPs which offer that option.

There are also apps. for smart phones and tablets as well as services that let you get VPN for a price per month. One common use is if you're out of the country and you want to stream Netflix or other commercial services which generally block access from outside the US.

VPN hides or makes it appear like you're physically within the US and allow you to use Netflix, HBO Go, iTunes from overseas.
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Old 09-27-2013, 09:27 PM   #5
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You can buy a router that includes a VPN server, but most are a little expensive. I bought a relatively cheap one, but it hung a few times a day just as a router. Not good for your main internet connection.

There are also software VPN apps, but all the ones I've found so far require registration through a third party server to start the connection. Doesn't seem that secure, though probably OK.
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