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I'm looking for a solution similar to the one in this question, except that I don't have a linux computer. I have windows computers that could be set up to accept VPN connections. Preferably I want to set this up on either Windows Server 2003 or Windows XP.

I'd like to connect different devices (e.g. iPhone, iPad, laptops, etc.) that are on open unsecure wireless networks (e.g. the one's you see at places like Starbucks) to this VPN to ensure that all my data is secure.

I found an article that shows that you can enable VPN connections on Windows XP. After following those steps, though, I'm not sure what to do. Which ports do I open on my firewall? Which VPN settings do I use on my devices such as the iPhone? Do I use L2TP, PPTP, or IPSec? What's the difference between these? Are there any other steps missing in that tutorial?

I'm hoping that since Windows has this built in feature, that it will be much simpler to set up rather than having to deal with setting up something such as OpenVPN.


If I follow those settings and enable port forwarding on port 1723, and then use the following settings on the iPhone:

  • PPTP
  • (IP Address)
  • RSA SecurID: Off
  • Encryption Level: Auto
  • Send All Traffic: On
  • Proxy: Off

It shows "Connecting..." then "Disconnecting..." and the following error message:

VPN Configuration
A connection could not be established to the PPP server. Try reconnecting. If the problem continues, verify your settings and contact your Administrator.

I'm using a user account that I enabled privileges to in the VPN settings on the Windows machine.

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Please keep in mind that even if your traffic is encrypted in your local network, your traffic will still be in the clear on the Internet and any router in between will still be able to see your traffic. –  wag2639 Jan 31 '11 at 3:11
    
@wag: from what I understand, after the data is transferred to the VPN server, it's transmitted unencrypted to the website that my iPad requested. I'm fine with that. My main concern is having my data transmitted insecurely from my iPad to the unsecured wireless router, where someone can easily intercept this communication as long as they are also connected to the same router. –  Senseful Jan 31 '11 at 3:15
    
    
Have you tried to setup OpenVPN? They have a windows version, though I have not tried it. I run the VM on ESXi - it's good. openvpn.net/index.php/open-source/downloads.html –  skub Jan 23 '12 at 4:55
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3 Answers 3

Your home cable / DSL modem may be crippled by your provider to only allow TCP/UDP incoming port forwarding, and not have the option to forward the GRE protocol. In this case only ssh based tunneling will work, and this is not supported by the built-in VPN facility on any of your devices.

However, there are solutions, such as iSSH on the iPad/iPhone, or tunnelier (PuTTY related) on a windows laptop, that will do vpn style tunneling for you. I use a mac for my server at home so I have sshd built-in, but I am sure there are Windows equivalents too. I use this solution with good results for iPad, Windows, and Mac laptop clients.

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To my knowledge, you have to install the VPN as an adminstrator, a user account won't work. Changes in the routing table need to implemented in order for the VPN to work and you have to have an administrator account in Windows to do so.

Hope that helps,

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I was on an Administrator account when I set up the VPN connection. Any other ideas? –  Senseful Jan 31 '11 at 19:29
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  1. For windows PPTP, you need to ensure your firewall forwards protocol 23 (GRE).
  2. Try to test from another Windows machine first, then when you get it to work, try the iPhone
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