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Security How To

Introduction

The first article in this series stepped through configuring the OpenVPN server on ASUS routers and presented performance test results. This time, we'll be doing the same thing for the OpenVPN implementation on NETGEAR routers.

Setup

The test setup used Win 7 and Win 8.1 computers.

  • Windows 7: Lenovo X220i (Intel Core i3-2310M @ 2.1 GHz, 2 GB RAM) running Win 7 Home Premium SP1 64 bit
  • Windows 8.1: Acer AspireS7 (Intel Core i5-4200U @ 2.3 GHz, 8 GB RAM) running Win 8.1 64 bit

To eliminate internet connection variation, I used the test setup shown below. Note that the two computers are on different private subnets.

OpenVPN test setup

OpenVPN test setup

Steps

1) Check your shares
Before you start messing with VPN, you first need to check that your OS sharing permissions are properly set so that shares can be reached among LAN machines on both networks. This sometimes is tricky when mixing Win 7 and 8 devices.

I don't use Windows Homegroups, don't use password protected sharing and don't use Guest accounts. So in Win 8, disabling password protected sharing (Network and Sharing Center > Advanced Sharing Settings > All Networks) and adding access for Everyone in the share's security properties usually does the trick.

2) Configure your firewall
OS and anti-virus suite application firewalls are another thing that can mess you up. If you run one, you've probably already figured out the settings to not block file sharing traffic. Buf if you have any problems pinging a share across the VPN tunnel, temporarily disable the firewall to see if that's the problem.

3) Enable the VPN Service
Navigate to Advanced Setup > VPN Service page. You'll first check the Enable VPN Service box on and apply the settings. You'll then get the popup window below.

NETGEAR VPN warning

NETGEAR VPN warning

This message is a reminder that if you don't use a dynamic DNS (DDNS) service, you won't be able to connect to your router if the WAN IP address changes. If you're going to use DDNS, go to Advanced Setup > Dynamic DNS and set it up before you go on.

4) Install the OpenVPN client
NETGEAR routers provide only a single link to the OpenVPN community download area that has only Windows clients. But the ASUS version of this article provides links for MacOS, Android and iOS apps, which you should be able to get working if you copy settings from the Windows .opvn config file.

ASUS VPN Service tab

NETGEAR VPN Service tab

This OpenVPN FAQ provides a pretty accurate description of the Windows installation process. Don't bother to launch the app after you install it. It won't do much until you install an OpenVPN config file.

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