Set up VPN: Safe in the home office, public WiFi, home network

With a virtual private network (VPN) you can connect from your home office to your company’s network and are also secure in public WiFi.

VPN: what is it actually?

The following guide shows you how to set up a VPN. There is no end to the lockdown, and the measures have now been tightened. Working from home is considered one of the most effective weapons to reduce the number of contacts. And so employers are encouraged to enable their employees to work from home wherever this is feasible.

But outside of the familiar office, you often lack the tools you need to work efficiently. A very important factor for the smooth running is a v irtuelles p rivates N etwork ( VPN). Because in the home office, a VPN connection is usually required so that you can even access your company’s network.

And in unsecured WLANs you cannot avoid a VPN connection if you want to protect your data. But how exactly does setting up a VPN work? Below you will find some practical examples and tips on how to proceed. Due to the complexity of the subject, we have outsourced the individual use cases to separate guides.

Normally, the data traffic through the Internet is transmitted unencrypted. When you access the Internet, the data is always first run via the server of your provider or in the case of public WLANs via the server of the hotspot operator. This data could be recorded or information could be specifically filtered out.

In the case of a virtual private network (VPN), all data between the client (e.g. your PC, your smartphone or your tablet) and the server (e.g. your router) is encrypted end-to-end so that nobody can read it. As it were, the data is sent through a special tunnel, which is why the term VPN tunnel is often used in this context.

Setting up a VPN: how does it work?

For example, you can set up the VPN tunnel directly in the router, then all connected devices are automatically protected. This solution is recommended if you have frequent access to your home network for example, to access your photos stored on your PC or to call up important documents when you are out and about.

If, on the other hand, you need access to your employer’s network from your home office and the employer does not provide a corresponding software solution, it is advisable to set up a VPN server in Windows.

You then only have to provide it with the company’s access data to set up the VPN tunnel. There are also free software solutions such as OpenVPN that provide the necessary encryption of data traffic.

With paid VPN services such as NordVPN, Surfshark or ExpressVPN, on the other hand, allow you to surf the Internet anonymously without leaving any traces.

These services are therefore particularly suitable for securing your own privacy. With a VPN bridge, you split the data traffic into encrypted and unencrypted. Only the devices connected to the VPN router pass the data through the VPN tunnel.

Set up VPN: The router as a VPN server

In order to set up a VPN on the router, the function must first be brought with it. This is by no means the case with all models.

You should also consider in advance whether you want to make your main router fit for VPN or switch in a second router that is only responsible for encryption (and for the end devices connected or assigned to it). Both options have advantages and disadvantages.

What is VPN on Mobile?

As soon as the VPN has been activated on the FritzBox, you have access to the home network and thus to all end devices such as PCs, tablets, smart home devices, NAS hard drives, etc. that are in this network as if they were You at home.

The setup on a smartphone or tablet is done with just a few clicks. You are then also protected in public WLANs, since you no longer connect to the hotspot, but to your home network.

Set up VPN: Windows as VPN server

In times of Corona, many find themselves suddenly in the home office for the first time. However, access to the employer’s network is usually only accessible via an encrypted connection. If your company has given you software that is specially tailored to this, you usually only have to install it and then connect to your access data.

But you can also use Windows on-board tools to establish a VPN connection to the company and even set up your own VPN server which in turn can be accessed by others. The latter is useful if, for example, you run a small business and do not want to invest in expensive software solutions.

Free software solution: OpenVPN

If you want to use a free software solution, you should consider OpenVPN . With OpenVPN you can also establish an encrypted VPN connection. The highlight of OpenVPN is that it is also a security protocol that is already part of the gold standard in many applications. The tool is considered to be particularly secure and transparent and is also supported by most commercial VPN services.

Important: OpenVPN is not in itself an anonymization service with which you can surf the Internet undetected! To do this, you have to use the VPN providers mentioned at the beginning to get all the functions in this regard. But to create a tap-proof connection, OpenVPN is great.

VPN clients: surf the Internet anonymously

VPN clients promise security and anonymity when surfing the Internet. Your own IP address is concealed and you cannot be identified by third parties. It can also be used to bypass geoblocking, for example to shop more cheaply on the Internet or to stream foreign Netflix.

The best services also bring useful additional functions, such as an ad blocker or tracking protection. If you want to move anonymously through the Internet, you can’t avoid a VPN client. Some providers also have free versions on offer, but these are often limited in terms of the scope of services. You must also expect that data will be collected for advertising purposes with the free versions.

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