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I've got a NAS at home and want to access the files, pictures etc remotely. The NAS has VPN Server (L2TP/IPSec and OpenVPN) functionality and I was planing on using this and enabling port forwarding on the router.

I wanted to check if there is any value in having a separate device as a VPN server, maybe RaspberryPI? or if I should get a Router with VPN server capability? It's a QNAP NAS if that makes any difference.

thanks.

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Summary:

  1. Best option would be a router with VPN capability (but $$)
  2. Next get the QNAS to act as VPN (because its free)
  3. Getting a PI or similar would be least beneficial. (because its complex and not going to perform much better then option 2, and worse then option 1 if its a decent router)

Long version:

Getting a router with VPN server capability is the best way to go from a technical POV because it simplifies routing, offers the VPN service at the point where its most beneficial - the edge of the network - and allows additional functionality to access other parts of your LAN securely. This is the way I would do it. It can also offload the VPN task from the QNAS VPN, but this is not likely to significantly impact performance.

Probably not worth getting a PI (as opposed to having the NAS do the heavy lifting). Having a VPN device like a PI is going to make the routing significantly more complex, and the only benefit would be to reduce the CPU load. Assuming you are using the NAS box primarily as a NAS (ie not focused on other bells and whistles functions it may have), it should not be an issue because a NAS is typically IO bound, and VPN's would be utilise processor.

I also note that most modern CPU's (including those in many QNAP devices) have AES instructions - if your NAS does have a processor with support for AES, and OpenVPN uses it - which it probably will - then it would not even use that much processor.

  • About AES: It might be noteworthy that OpenVPN by default does not use AES. Instead, it must be configured to do so, using the cipher option. – Daniel B May 1 '17 at 8:49
  • @DanielB Interesting. My out-the-box OpenVPN (2.3.10 for Ubuntu) prefers AES ciphers first (at least when I run openvpn --show-tls). The same is true on my OpenVPN 2.3.12 client running on OpenVPN. Am I missing something ? – davidgo May 1 '17 at 8:57
  • The data channel does not use TLS. By default, it results in this configuration: “Data Channel Encrypt: Cipher 'BF-CBC' initialized with 128 bit key” – Daniel B May 1 '17 at 9:18
  • @Danielb - Thank you - I just learn something new. – davidgo May 1 '17 at 9:29
  • thank you all! i will look into the router options, but will stick with the QNAP for now. – Steve May 10 '17 at 19:19

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