Dan Goodin has written an interesting article for theregister.co.uk about the benefits of using a personal VPN for your wireless internet traffic.
There are some downsides to running a VPN server at home. One of these is that all of your data must travel via your home PC/server and most peoples broadband connections will limit the speed that this will work at. The maximum speed of your VPN connection will be limited by the upload speed of your home broadband – which is normally quite slow. Also, dynamic IP addresses, port forwarding and NAT on your broadband router and having to leave your home PC powered on all the time could be a pain.
Another alternative could be to run OpenVPN on your own server (or vps) at a data center or, a cheaper alternative, to buy access to an OpenVPN server that has already been setup and configured.
I’ve been playing with OpenVPN for the past couple of weeks and I’m pretty impressed. OpenVPN allows you to create a private network between 2 computers. These could be 2 servers or a client and a server. A few of the reasons for wanting to do this are –
bypassing your ISPs traffic shaping
making your traffic appear to originate from a different country
encrypting your laptop traffic over an insecure link – such as a coffee shop wifi connection
anonymous web surfing
bypassing a countries web access controls
Setup and configuration of the server component can be fairly complicated depending how you want to manage the certificates and networking on there. It’s possible to install it on Linux or Windows although I’ve only tested it on Linux. Running the server on Linux you also need to configure iptables to translate your private ‘vpn’ ip address to an external ip address on the vpn server.
I’ve used Dell laptops for a while and when I was looking for a new one about a month ago I was interested in a Dell Vostro as I’d read good things. One of the good things I’d read was that you could order it without all the crapware that comes installed on most machines these days.
So I brought a Vostro 1400 and was pretty pleased with it. One of the first things I did was *wipe all the partitions* on the drive and set it up to dual boot between Windows Vista and Ubuntu – with a nice big partition to store my data. This could then be accessed from both Vista and Ubuntu – ideal.
Spent a little while trying to get WinPE2 (Vista) to boot via PXE from a linux server and thought it could be useful to someone. We already had our Red Hat stuff booting from there and it seemed like a good idea to keep it in one place!
Some of the stuff could be useful for booting via PXE from a Windows box too
Windows XP was used for WAIK stuff
Fedora Core 6 was used for PXE Server
Both running on VMWare Server along with a blank VMWare machine as the PXE client
* Note – there’s a bug in RHEL5 that’s stop’s the tftpd.remap file working. Not sure how many versions this affects