Download This!: Roll Your Own VPN
There are lots of commercial solutions out there for setting up a Virtual Private Network (VPN), but they’re all on the expensive side for the casual user. Why on earth would someone want to setup a VPN at home, when you have your own real network to play with? Simple. There’s a big old world out there, and not all of them you trust, but for the ones you do – wouldn’t it be nice to be able to play with them like they were on your home network?
A VPN can allow you to play LAN games across the internet, share your iTunes music library, or any number of other things you can do with people physically connected to your network. It can also provide increased security across your physical network. For example, here on the university campus, some of our administrative users deal with sensitive data, so they have their connections encrypted through an SSH tunnel over the VPN that we use.
So how can you do this absolutely free? LogMeIn’s Hamachi is a windows (and somewhat Mac-based) VPN client that makes setting up a VPN fairly point-and-click simple. You install like any other software. It assigns you a private IP address (something like 5.x.x.x) and lets you pick a client name and if you want to build your own network, your network name. It will install a virtual network adapter that will show up in your network connections, and from then on anyone who joins your (possibly password protected) network should be able to play nice with your computers and network devices – even through firewalls.