Setting up personal VPN in order to map network drive in windows explorer

#1

I’m new to the forum and to networking. So I apologize if my questions are basic.
To start, I wish I found this forum before I bought my ex 2 ultra it. The initial goal of purchasing a mycloud was to have a network storage solution that would allow me to have access to editing video, listen to music, watch movies, and large excel files, I travel for work. While also cutting the cost of paying for google drive.
I did not realize until after I bought the drive that this feature was deactiveted by WD so you can only connect through the brower.

Proposed solution -

Buy a modem that can act as a VPN (linksys has OpenVPN). set up a free vpn to the router and use that to connect to a remote network drive through.

Questions:

This seems like a simple solution. I’m wondering if anyone has had any luck with it or if there is an issue I’m not seeing? Would want to know what I’m in for before I invest the money in a new modem.

When setting up OpenVPN most of the how-tos recommend that you buy a VPN that sits ontop of OpenVPN. I am not sure why though, an extra layer of security or do you actually need a paid domain for everything to work?

any feedback/thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

#2

Your terminology is a a little unclear, so let me explain the VPN setup that I have:

  1. router (not modem) running a VPN server - I use Merlin firmware https://asuswrt.lostrealm.ca/ on an ASUS router since it has OpenVPN built in

  2. Dynamic DNS (DDNS) provider (free) that gives me a external url (such as myddns.duckdns.org) that points to my WAN IP address with updates if my WAN IP changes

  3. VPN client on your phone and/or laptop to connect to your VPN - I use Tunnelblick on my Mac & iPhone

I have my VPN set up to access both my home lan (including MyCloud NAS) and internet so that if I connect up to a wifi at an airport/hotel/coffee shop etc, my internet traffic will be secure through the VPN. I can access all of my devices through the VPN; downloads are great, but movies do not play smoothly. Not sure why not, but not really important for me.
Issues:

It can be a little tricky to set up even with the Merlin ASUS firmware - I tweaked a couple of OpenVPN settings (proto udp4 and tun-mtu 6000)
Using a router to perform the VPN crypto calculations has an impact on performance - in my case I have gigabit internet, so performance is usually limited by the upload speed on the remote connection (not many hotels give you Gb wifi :wink:

#3

This info is great. Yes, a router. I was looking for a router/modem combo. So I said modem, apologise if the terminology is wrong. I was leaning toward a linksys because I keep hearing great things.

Why do you use Tunnelblick and not OpenVpn’s client?

The performance impact should only be seen if someone is connected to the VPN correct? If the connection is not active the modem should operate normally? Or is it anytime the vpn server is running.

Thanks again.

#4

So you want a router with a DSL modem built-in? I always had separate devices that way when I changed ISP technology from DSL to fiber, I didn’t have to replace the router.

On my iPhone I do use the OpenVPN app, however for the MacBook I use Tunnelblick - I think that is the (only?) OpenVPN client.

Correct - there would be a performance impact only when there is a lot of continuous traffic over the VPN tunnel, such as downloading a file. The “tun-mtu 6000” helps reduce that performance hit since OpenVPN encrypts fewer (but larger) packets . The MTU of the underlying networks remains normal (1500).