Trying to help others with a VPN solution

16 posts in this topic

Posted

Hi Toytown...been here in Deutschland (Stuttgart) for a few months now and finally got things working in our house when it comes to streaming US tv/content to multiple devices (Apple TV, Ipad, Android Phone etc). Getting a VPN was easy enough, and I am sure most of you have subscribed to one service or another. The more challenging part was broadcasting a VPN signal (via wifi) throughout our house.

After a bit of trial and error, I now have two wifi signals in my house:

1) Wifi - If I connect to this signal, its regular Deutschland internet

2) WifiVPN - If I connect to this signal, its as if I am in the US (VPN connected).

Getting to the point...

I was thinking of supplying the hardware and software solution to interested expats/locals. Not looking to make money, just cover the costs of the hardware (a new router with software), and some time. I'm thinking the solution would cost somewhere between 50-70 euros, and it would essentially be plug and play with your existing internet connection.

I wanted to see what level of interest existed in this...if there is enough interest, I would start creating and supplying the boxes in the coming weeks...

obviously, ask away with any questions!

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I think a better solution is a DNS redirector such as Overplay or unblock-us These both cost less than 4€ a month and simply redirect relevant DNS requests through a geographically correct server to fool media providers that you are in their country. All other DNS requests are processed normally. There's very little to change, and no additional hardware, and changes can be made on a per-device basis or across the entire network.

While I see your solution could be useful, it may be overkill, and of course costs more money.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

http://www.strongvpn...pnrouters.shtml

Instructions are there for anyone that needs. Just buy the Buffalo router basically. Then you can connect via cable or wireless as you wish.

(so same as the OP....you get two different WIFI signals to connect to....Germany or "Country B")

Unblock-Us.com was also my previous solution that still works with US Netflix, BBC and is very very simple to get working. 1 week free to test as well. Its a good solution for the Apple TV, iPads etc....although the Buffalo is a bit more solid and flexible once set up.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Not having a go at the OP, but you don't need to pay €50-€70 to achieve this. A router with DD-WRT software on it can be had for less than €20 on eBay. The rest takes about 10 minutes with even very limited technical skills due to automatic programs offered by the main VPN providers.

I also went down the two-router route for a while, but have ended up ditching DD-WRT and going back to smartDNS. The amount of restricted media available on smartDNS is expanding all the time. If all you need is media streaming and not IP anonymity or specialist needs, as YL6 says, smartDNS is better. DD-WRT VPN is also heavy on bandwith, so you may have a slower connnection than you are used to.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Love all the feedback, but this is exactly the problem. There are a ton of solutions out there, none of which are so simple. Technically you don't even need an apple TV, just stream from countless free sites. The benefit is ease. If you have a solution like unblock.us or know how to use dd-wrt, great. I am trying to see if there are people out there who aren't so inclined.

I am sure that the three of you have it easy, but when I speak to other foreigners on it, they hate the headache...

-1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I've tried different setups as well and I like the one I have at the moment. I have Overplay's smartdns for all streaming needs and I run a VPN on a virtual system in my main server for torrenting Linux ISOs. I as well run Squid (proxy server) on the VPNed system so if I want to access a website and hide my IP, all I have to do is changing the proxy server in the browser and point it to the VPNed box.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

There are a ton of solutions out there, none of which are so simple.

Overplay or unblock-us require a simple change to the router setup or the network settings on an individual device that takes a minute or so and cost no more than around 3.80€/month with no set-up, hardware fees or long term commitment. From then on you use the provider site or application to stream media. It doesn't get simpler (or cheaper) than that. At this cost I can watch TV for 15-20 months before I come even close to your one-time cost (PLUS VPN charges)

when I speak to other foreigners on it, they hate the headache...

Speaking as a foreigner, I don't even need paracetamol.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Love all the feedback, but this is exactly the problem. There are a ton of solutions out there, none of which are so simple. Technically you don't even need an apple TV, just stream from countless free sites. The benefit is ease. If you have a solution like unblock.us or know how to use dd-wrt, great. I am trying to see if there are people out there who aren't so inclined.

I am sure that the three of you have it easy, but when I speak to other foreigners on it, they hate the headache...

The problem is that one size does not fit all. As you have highlighted yourself some people want to watch via Apple TV, some via streaming on the PC, probably some via Smart TV, and some via their SKYBOX....all potentially connected either wireless or wired.

Also even with your "simple" solution they need a paying VPN account which needs maintaining. Furthermore you probably haven't seen it when Apple TV spits its dummy and blocks stuff...then you may need to switch the address...tricky when the punter has no idea what they are doing.

I do see your point - but not 100% convinced there is a flog-it-and-forget-it solution. You will probably end up doing 24/7 telephone support basically.

p.s. Actually your solution isn't quite a solution. Great if you want USA TV and German....not so clever when you want UK TV & USA TV. That is where Unblockus wins. Gets you into Netflix USA or UK or Canada and also BBC UK and others.

1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

The problem is that one size does not fit all. As you have highlighted yourself some people want to watch via Apple TV, some via streaming on the PC, probably some via Smart TV, and some via their SKYBOX....all potentially connected either wireless or wired.

Also even with your "simple" solution they need a paying VPN account which needs maintaining. Furthermore you probably haven't seen it when Apple TV spits its dummy and blocks stuff...then you may need to switch the address...tricky when the punter has no idea what they are doing.

I do see your point - but not 100% convinced there is a flog-it-and-forget-it solution. You will probably end up doing 24/7 telephone support basically.

p.s. Actually your solution isn't quite a solution. Great if you want USA TV and German....not so clever when you want UK TV & USA TV. That is where Unblockus wins. Gets you into Netflix USA or UK or Canada and also BBC UK and others.

I appreciate your feedback JE. I just believe that there could be a much simpler solution to offer to our community than anything that exists out there. All in one, easy to use, no configuration. I know that is not yet what I am offering, but that would be the greater plan, to really simplify and offer something that doesn't require adjusting DNS settings on multiple devices, trying to configure a German DSL router with L2TP VPN settings, etc...I think looking at the problem from our perspective would really help develop a product that could be a solution.

Would love to talk in detail with some of you more technically inclined folks to determine if there is a solution that could be built, that we could offer...would be happy to meet up for a coffee or a beer

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

offer something that doesn't require adjusting DNS settings on multiple devices,

To get SmartDNS to work in ALL devices in your home you only have to change the DNS server in your router to the SmartDNS address they give you and that's all. It takes literally one minute, maybe 10 minutes if you are really really technology-handicapped. But that's the magic, once it is configured all devices can use it.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Both Unblockus & StrongVPN have sections for the great unwashed:

http://www.unblock-u.../how-to-set-up/

http://www.strongvpn.com/setup.shtml

Sure these things can hit hitches with some devices, but the above covers 99% of stuff.

Oh and of course the #1 advantage of using Unblockus or similar on your iPad, or laptop....is that the solution works when you are in a hotel room, or at another house, or over a phone data connection....which your fixed WIFI solution does not.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

cant see the point of spending any more money.

all my Wireless products that need a VPN can connect to one at the touch of a button.

seems like a waste of money.

I can see what you have done but i can not see any reason for it.

-1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I can see what you have done but i can not see any reason for it.

Some devices such as a SKY TV box will not allow access to any settings...and in that case you need this type of fixed solution.

Some devices like an Apple TV will only permit very limited changes (DNS only) so you cannot use a direct VPN connection.

This is the problem with a "fits all" solution. Everybody needs something a little different for example:

1. Do you have devices that do not allow any software changes?

2. Do they need to connect ONLY by cable or ONLY by Wifi?

3. Do you need to switch between USA and DE?

4. Do you need to switch between USA, DE and UK?

5. Do you want access when overseas, in a hotel, another house?

The OP has a specific setup for his usage....but it would be useless for me.

I need to be "mainly" UK with a sprinkling of "USA" and some "DE" sometimes...

Obviously if you wanted to run an expat advice service, we could probably put together a page detailing the current different choices, the limitations and the possible working solutions. I'm just not that charitable myself, especially as there will be different opinions and everybody wants to pay nothing.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

I can see what you have done but i can not see any reason for it.

Also, there are many cases where a DNS approach will not work, especially when separate applications are involved. I believe DNS systems also have to manually add services on their side. I am sure most relevant items are covered (Netflix, BBC, etc), but other approaches (especially verification based systems) may not yet be active.

Not against the DNS system, I honestly think it is the most simple way to get things done, I guess I am just stubborn in believing that finding the solution and implementing the solution (especially across devices) is not as easy as people would like to believe. Again, I am trying to see if there is interest in continuing to simplify. For the folks that have responded so far, it is a clear no:) But not yet discouraged from believing the others are out there...

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

With Overplay the SmartDNS service costs $5 a month and you can get VPN+SmartDNS for $10 a month. You get discount if you buy a whole year.

We (I and many other users here) have been finding solutions for these issues for years and we all know there is no solution that fit all needs. So just accept that what is good for you is not good for everyone.

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Posted

Also, there are many cases where a DNS approach will not work, especially when separate applications are involved. I believe DNS systems also have to manually add services on their side. I am sure most relevant items are covered (Netflix, BBC, etc), but other approaches (especially verification based systems) may not yet be active.

Not against the DNS system, I honestly think it is the most simple way to get things done, I guess I am just stubborn in believing that finding the solution and implementing the solution (especially across devices) is not as easy as people would like to believe. Again, I am trying to see if there is interest in continuing to simplify. For the folks that have responded so far, it is a clear no:) But not yet discouraged from believing the others are out there...

You do have a point. SmartDNS solutions do have to be configured by the company for each specific platform as well as the service. But there are a couple of points to consider with this:

1) That is their problem - and if they don't support a particular service or platform, you can always request it.

2) That said, they support a very wide range of services and platforms. (Seriously wide range of services)

I personally use Overplay and been using them for what must be about a year now, and I'm quite a happy customer.

I think your idea is very good, and I definitely know where you are heading here. I also think it's a great idea that you offer help and advise to others. To be honest, your set up would work really well for a general service that is dedicated to one country - but, as you point out, it will work for most services in that country.

I've gone down the SmartDNS route for the following reasons.

1) It works on an enormous range of equipment. I have it set up in my router so everything in my apartment goes through it.

2) I can access multiple countries (all at the same time if I like)

3) Bandwidth is better for far off lands - sure, not such a big deal with the likes of the UK and US, but good VPN services to Australia & New Zealand are not as easy.

4) Doesn't affect normal traffic. This way I can access say UK or NZ TV on my computer, but all other normal internet usage is without speed problems.

5) And this is a BIG one, it gives all the international libraries for Netflix - this can't be done unless you have 10 different VPN servers.

It technically is cheaper, but although I never use it for day to day stuff, I also have a VPN server which I need for testing.

All that said, I can't criticize your design, because it does do as the tin suggests and I am guessing it would do it well.

And again, don't hesitate to offer your expertise to others - there are a lot of expats out there who are desperate to watch TV from their home country, and right now, most think it is impossible or too complicated.

If you are interested, you can have a read on my blog which is all about this: Eye On-Demand

0

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!


Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.


Sign In Now