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I have a HUAWEI data stick (unlocked) that I use to connect my laptop to a mobile EU internet provider. Because I believe it will be more secure I intend to use a VPN

So, I set up a VPN that I normally use on my laptop only to find out that it's not working. It tries to open the port, but then hangs and fails. Do I need a special VPN for this setup?

What do you suggest how to protect yourself when using a mobile broadband connection? Is a VPN even required?

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Does the internet provider block incoming connections? Some ISPs do. –  Dennis Apr 27 '12 at 12:33
    
Not that I am aware of, how can I verify that the ISP doesn't? –  mashup Apr 27 '12 at 12:35
    
There is a variety of online tools for that. Try ShieldsUp! –  Dennis Apr 27 '12 at 12:40

2 Answers 2

up vote 4 down vote accepted

If you are using a PPTP VPN it's entirely possible your mobile broadband provider is blocking the standard PPTP port 1723, and it wouldn't be too far fetched to assume they would block the IPSec VPN ports as well.

Sometimes such providers offer a more expensive "business class" service that allows such traffic.

Some solutions:

  • Find a VPN provider that offers service on alternate ports
  • Is your phone an Android phone that can accept a custom ROM? Many custom ROMs have OpenVPN support built-in and you might try an OpenVPN provider.
  • If your phone is an Android phone, you might try installing OrBot and OrWeb - these will enable use of Tor on your phone and may provide similar protection.
  • If you have a Linux system at home you can set up your own PPTP/IPSec/OpenVPN server listening on a nonstandard port and VPN traffic through your home broadband connection. It's even possible to then have that Linux system use another VPN service as it's "outgoing" Internet connection (but this is not a simple setup).
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Some great suggestions, I have a Ubuntu server that I may use and will then unblock any ports. But first I will try some free VPN's –  mashup Apr 27 '12 at 12:46
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It's more likely that PPTP simply doesn't work over the ISP's NAT (and mobile ISPs love NAT). PPTP only uses TCP/1723 for the initial negotiation, but actual traffic is sent using GRE, which runs directly on top of IP. –  grawity Apr 27 '12 at 14:21

I suggest you use OpenVPN instead of PPTP.

It's more powerful and when using its own VPN protocol also has NAT traversal feature, so you can use it behind the provider NAT.

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This answer doesn't make sense. OpenVPN is a piece of software, PPTP is a protocol. You can't use one "instead of" the other. This is like saying you should use Windows instead of TCP/IP. –  Michael Kjörling Feb 3 at 9:41
    
@MichaelKjörling OpenVPN is a protocol, too, so this answer is just fine. It’s also valid, because OpenVPN connections are indistinguishable from HTTPS connections (w/o behavioral analysis anyway), making it an ideal choice with transparent proxies and overzealous firewalls. –  Daniel B Feb 3 at 9:46
    
@DanielB That's what I get for reading too little on Wikipedia. Edited the answer both to clarify that as well as to be able to remove my downvote. –  Michael Kjörling Feb 3 at 9:49

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