How to Add VPN to a ComTrend Router

As the title of this article suggests, the purpose of this write-up is to educate
you on how to add a VPN (Virtual Private Network) service to a ComTrend router.
In case you’re wondering, the ComTrend series of routers are made by
Comcast Labs and can be found at the
official website
for more information about the products they make. We’ll be using the
model as an example; however, this instruction set will apply to all
ComTrend routers.

Selecting The Right Hardware

Before we begin, let’s first discuss the hardware that we’ll need to
accomplish this task. To that end, we’ll be using a
Raspberry Pi 3 Model B
for US
and UK
orders) together with a
ComTrend XS.
The combination of these items will allow us to set up a VPN server that’ll
enable us to utilize the strong encryption provided by the
Raspberry Pi’s crypto chip along with the advanced security features of
the ComTrend XS. Plus, we get to use the incredibly popular
Raspberry Pi‘s
most outstanding feature, USB port, to connect our devices to the
server. This will remove the need to run a separate hard drive or
SSD. It’s also equipped with four built-in antennas that’ll give it
superior range to most other similar devices.

ComTrend also makes a
version of this device that we could use instead. The main difference
between the two is that the Surveyor lacks a display, which means
we’ll have to use a keyboard and monitor for input and output.
Although this might not seem like a major drawback, it does give us
less room to work with, as the device is essentially a small
mini-computer. This, in turn, could limit the number of compatible
network devices that we can use with it.

Choosing A VPN Software Application

Now that we have our hardware selected, it’s time to move onto the
matter at hand, which is selecting a VPN software application. For
our needs, we will be using the
software package, as it happens to be the most popular and most
securely encrypted VPN software available. While there are other
options out there, OpenVPN is definitely the pick of the crowd.

There is a reason why OpenVPN is so popular; it’s not because of
unethical marketing ploys or because it’s the cheapest option
available. The developers of OpenVPN are to be commended for
creating a program that is highly secure and also very, very
easy to use. Plus, the interface is quite intuitive, so even
non-technical people will be able to set it up without much

Installing Raspbian On The Pi

Once we have our VPN software installed on our Raspberry Pi, it’s time
to move onto the final stage of this process, which is installing
the operating system on our Pi. As with all things related to
technology, the choice of which OS to use depends on our needs and
what we’re planning to use the device for. For our needs, we will be
using the
Raspbian OS
(based on
This is the community-supported operating system that the
Raspberry Pi Foundation
created, so it comes pre-loaded with a bunch of free and open
source software that we can use and play around with. Raspbian is, in
fact, suitable for use even as a mobile device, as it supports
multi-touch and is very light-weight. This makes it one of the
choices we have for use on a limited resource device.

Before we begin the process of installing Raspbian on the Pi, it’s
important to make sure that our microSD card is formatted properly.
To do this, we will need to use a device known as a
USB pen drive,
not a hard drive or optical disc. This is because when we insert the
SD card into the Raspberry Pi, it will automatically be recognized
by the device and formatted for use, which we don’t want to
do. So, make sure that you have a USB pen drive plugged into a
port on your PC before you begin the installation process. If you
haven’t got a USB pen drive lying around, you can always get one
from the
or Amazon
websites. Just make sure that you’re getting something that’s
suitable for use with PC computers. If you’ve ever used a
keyboard from Apple, you’ll know what we mean by this
particular requirement.

Once we have a USB pen drive formatted, it’s time to move onto the
installation process itself. To that end, we will need to make a
folder named raspi
on the drive and then move the downloaded Raspbian image file into
it. Then, we will need to write down the IP address of the
Raspberry Pi that we’ve just installed and save it somewhere
safe. It is very important to note that this IP address will be
different from the IP addresses of our devices or computers, as the
Raspbian image file will replace the stock operating system with
its own custom version. Finally, we will need to change the
of the Raspberry Pi to something more user-friendly, as we’ll be
using it to access the internet via a VPN connection.

Once we have all of this taken care of, it’s time to power up the
Raspberry Pi and begin the process of connecting it to the internet.
To do this, we will need to insert the microSD card into the device
and then connect the GPIO (General Purpose Input/Output) pins on the
RasPi to the appropriate devices via a USB cable. Once this is
done, we will need to issue the command sudo apt-get update
to make sure that the Raspberry Pi is fully up to date with the
latest security patches. Then, we will need to issue the command
sudo apt-get install openssh-server
to install the OpenSSH server, which is a secure alternative to
traditional FTP (File Transfer Protocol) servers. Finally, we will
need to issue the command sudo nano /etc/ssh/sshd_config
to open the file for editing. In this file, we will need to comment
out the lines that begin with a hash mark (‘#’), as these are
certain features of the SSH (Secure Shell) protocol that the
Raspberry Pi doesn’t need for our purposes. When we’re done editing,
we will need to issue the command sudo service ssh restart
to have the changes take effect. At this point, we should be able to
log into our Raspberry Pi via the internet, with a user name of
and a password of raspberry. (If you’ve saved the password
somewhere safe, you can use it for this step as well.)

Configuring The Raspberry Pi For VPN Service

Once we’ve logged into our Raspberry Pi, it’s time to move onto the
configuration process itself. To that end, we will need to issue the
command sudo apt-get install network-manager-openvpn
to install the openVPN network manager, which will allow us to
easily connect our Pi to a VPN service. Then, we will need to
configure the VPN service itself by creating a VPN tunnel between
our device and a remote server.

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