What Is Open VPN Connectivity in a Router?

The OpenVPN Connectivity option in a router allows you to connect various devices to the Internet through the same device, even if they’re on separate networks. This feature provides you with the freedom to access the Internet from anywhere, as long as you have a wireless connection. You don’t have to rely on only one computer to access the Internet, which makes it more convenient to use your devices wherever you go. In case you’re curious, read on for more details about this intriguing feature.

What Is OpenVPN?

OpenVPN is an open source project that provides a way for private networks to connect to the Internet through a public network (usually referred to as a VPN or virtual private network). Essentially, OpenVPN is built on top of IP infrastructure and virtual private network (IP Tunneling) protocols to provide a secure and private connection to any device on a local network. If you’re looking for a quick primer, you can check out this tutorial from Advantech that’ll get you up and running with OpenVPN in no time—and if you have a little more time, you should read this informative guide from Netgear.

How Can OpenVPN Benefit Me As A Consumer?

If you’re reading this, I assume you’re either a business or a home user who’s interested in securing their Internet connection with a VPN. Let’s take a look at how you can benefit from OpenVPN as a consumer.

  • Encryption: All your online communications, whether you’re using a website or an app, are encrypted via OpenVPN. This protection ensures that your personal data and communications are secure and private
  • Privacy: As a consumer, you have a right to privacy protection, and that’s exactly what OpenVPN provides. The service encrypts your personal data while you’re online, so no one, not even the service provider, knows what you’re doing or about to do on the Internet
  • Convenience: Thanks to OpenVPN, you don’t need to have a VPN server installed on your local device to protect your network. You can connect to the Internet the moment you log in with your login credentials, and continue from wherever you left off on your mobile device. This convenience makes it much easier to use public WiFis or hotspots, which would otherwise require you to install and configure a VPN client on each device you use

Why Do I Need OpenVPN On My Router?

Once you have an Internet connection, you can use various programs, known as VPN clients, to connect to a VPN server and gain access to the Internet through a secured network. The most common VPN clients are given below.

  • PPTP VPN (Point to Point Tunneling Protocol): Older and simpler than other VPN protocols, PPTP VPN is still widely used due to its ease of use. When setting up a PPTP VPN connection, all you need to do is connect two devices—usually a laptop or desktop computer and a mobile device (e.g., smartphone, tablet)—via Ethernet cables and enter the password to connect to the VPN. A VPN connection established this way allows you to access the Internet via a secured network, just as if you were on a private network. However, bear in mind that PPTP VPN is inherently less secure than other protocols, such as L2TP/IPsec or OpenVPN. As a result, you may want to consider other VPN protocols when protecting your online privacy.
  • L2TP/IPsec VPN (Layer Two Tunneling Protocol with IP Security): This protocol implements security mechanisms such as IP authentication, packet encryption, and packet integrity to provide a secure connection to your network. Similar to PPTP VPN, setting up an L2TP/IPsec VPN connection between two devices (e.g., computer and mobile) is fairly straightforward. Once you have an L2TP/IPsec VPN connection, you can use the IPsec tunnel to gain access to the Internet through a secured network. You’ll find L2TP/IPsec VPN clients on most operating systems (e.g., macOS, Windows, Android).
  • OpenVPN: As the name suggests, OpenVPN is a very sophisticated and versatile VPN client, which provides better security than many other VPN clients, such as PPTP and L2TP/IPsec. OpenVPN’s main strength is its open source software, which means it can be updated to provide better security and features to its users. To set up an OpenVPN connection on your computer or mobile device, you first need to download and install the client on your system. The next step is to configure the VPN connection with your login credentials and the desired network settings. Finally, you need to ensure that your firmware is updated to the latest version, which could result in improved VPN connectivity and security. Once you have an OpenVPN client installed, you can use the VPN to gain access to the Internet through a secured network. You’ll find OpenVPN clients for all major operating systems (e.g., macOS, Windows, and Android).

As you can see, OpenVPN is a great choice for anyone who needs a VPN, due to its versatility and robustness. Now that you know the basics about OpenVPN, let’s discuss how to get it working on your router.

Setting Up OpenVPN On Your Router

Just like with any other new technology, there are several ways to set up and use OpenVPN on your router. The three most common methods are discussed below.

  • Via the Web Interface: You can configure OpenVPN to work with your router through its built-in Web interface. Simply visit http://www.your-ip-address.com, and you should see the OpenVPN icon in the browser’s address bar. If you don’t have a Web browser on your system, you can click the icon and download the OpenVPN Chrome plugin to get started.
  • Via Command Line: For those who prefer to configure their routers using the Terminal (command line), you can use the OpenVPN Configurator app to generate a configuration file for your router. The app is open source, so you can find the code on GitHub. Once you have the configuration file, you can use a text editor (e.g., Mac OSX’s TextEdit) to configure the VPN connection’s settings. You’ll find plenty of support in the forums if you have any trouble configuring the VPN connection.
  • Via GUI: If you’re a fan of GUI (Graphical User Interface) interfaces, you can use the OpenVPN Connector app for macOS to establish a VPN connection and gain access to the Internet through a secured network. The app is currently in beta testing, but you can request an invite from the developer by sending an e-mail to connector@openvpn.net. Once the app is released to the general public, you can download it from the App Store.

No matter which method you choose, the most important thing to remember is that once you have an Internet connection on your system (e.g., mobile device, laptop, or desktop), you can use a VPN client to gain access to the Internet through a secured network. Therefore, setting up a VPN connection on your router is pretty straightforward, and it provides you with greater freedom when browsing the web or using other online applications. As long as you have a working Internet connection and a valid login, you can use the VPN to browse the web or gain access to other networks, such as corporate networks or public WiFis.

Now that you know the basics about OpenVPN and how to set it up on your router, it’s time to explore some of its more advanced features. If you’re looking for more information, you can check out these related resources:

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