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Is it possible to set-up a VPN through your router?

russyd20

11 months ago

Hi all,

I've been deliberating over a VPN for a few weeks now, with current favourites being PIA or Tunnelbear (probably going to be PIA). Whilst I understand what they fundamentally do, I don't fully understand some of the basics, for instance...

Once I get a subscription, is it then in operation 24/7? Or do I need to activate it each time I start-up or browse the web? Can it be switched on/off? Why is it limited to just a few connections?

And on the subject of connections, why doesn't it just secure your router and make all connections protected? As I say I don't fully understand, but why can I not set up a VPN through my router, making all traffic automatically encrypted? (Or is that not advisable anyway?)

I hope some of you can enlighten me?! Thanks! :D

Comments

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

So you are asking questions that people go to college for 6+ years to get answered. I am not quite at that level, but I will try to answer them best I can.

First a VPN is a Virtual Private Network. That is important to remember as you go through this.

For your last question as far as putting it on your router, it doesn't really work that way. A VPN is a connected tunnel from device to device. So a paid VPN like this is a secure tunnel from your device to their servers. It is encrypted on your end and decrypted on their end and then encrypted again to get the info and sent back to you.

For a paid VPN access like that (I have IPvanish, but they should all work the same way) you should be able to download the program from their website, once downloaded you can open it and then establish a connection. You can set this to open when the PC boots up which should then auto connect you to the service, but other than that it will run until you disconnect it (barring the circumstances where the VPN will crash or you lose internet connection, in which case you will need to reconnect). I hope that answered the first few questions.

As for the limited connections, 99% of the time it isn't a case of limited resources it is keeping people from sharing. If they had unlimited connections then you could pay for the service and then share the account with all of your friends and families. If you have 15 people all connected under one account instead of them each paying for an account imagine how much money they would lose. Why they don't do it at the router is going back to the first bit where it doesn't really work that way.

Finally setting up your own VPN can be done. Most ISP provided routers won't let you as well as many consumer grade routers. This is because your ISP doesn't want you secretly downloading movies or other illegal stuff. Once you get into the enterprise gear or custom gear (I use PFSense, it is free) they usually have options for VPN. The VPN though here is so that you can access your network resources from outside of your network. It isn't really an encryption for the whole internet thing.

An example might help. Imagine you are at school (don't know how old you are but humor me) about to give a huge presentation. You realize that you forgot your powerpoint on your desktop and it isn't on your flash drive. If you have a VPN you can get onto your home network (with encrypted traffic since it is creating a tunnel from your laptop to your router) and get the file from your desktop.

Hopefully that answered some of your questions and didn't leave you more confused! If you have any more questions I'll take a stab at answering them!

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

Well, you've just saved me from having to go to college for 6+ years then! Fantastic!

I have read various bits about connection speed being affected through a VPN... The numbers don't mean a huge amount to me, but does it translate to a noticeable difference? Or would Joe Average not really see/worry about the effects??

Otherwise, a very comprehensive answer! Thanks very much!! :D

  • 10 months ago
  • 1 point

So let's take that example of taking the power point through a VPN. The two biggest factors are going to be the upload speed of the home network and the download speed of the network you are using the VPN from. Let's say that the PP is 10 MB in size, your home network upload speed is 100mbps, and the network of your school (the network you are using the VPN from) has download of 50mbps.

Keep in mind that I purposely did lower case and upper case m and b. Capital M and B is MegaBytes with m and b being MegaBits. 1 MegaBit is 1,000,000 bits. And there are 8 bits in a byte. So 10 MB is equal to 80,000,000 bits.

The entire network (the VPN tunnel) is only going to move as fast as the slowest point in the chain. So your home network can upload the whole file in .8 seconds. The school network can only download at 50mbps so it will take around 1.6 seconds to download. Of course this is only taking into account the network. You will also need to take into account the read speeds of the drive on you home network, the write speed of the target drive, the time to encrypt/ decrypt, and some other misc. factors. So we can estimate it at maybe 3 seconds.

That sounds very quick, and to a human 3 seconds is, but if you look at the fact that the download is 1/2 the speed of the upload then you can see that it is fairly slow.

To answer your question, yes there will be some skewed speeds when using a VPN. The average Joe will not notice it. This was a very simple example and I didn't take into account all of the other factors, but as a basic explanation I hope it made sense.

If you have any other questions feel free to ask!

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