So, long story short, I will no longer be an AT&T employee as of Dec 31. On Jan 1, I begin the next chapter in my career, working for a small company based out of North Carolina. They usually are a contractor shop, but due to the nature of the support required by my client, my whole team has been on-boarded. We represent an increase of 10% to the company’s total employee count. It is a very small company. Because they are so small, the benefits are terrible. That will be a post for a different day. Let’s leave it at “I love ObamaCare, as flawed as it is.”
Anyway, I will be losing my AT&T laptop, its VPN tunnel and AT&T’s fairly relaxed and understanding view of life on the Internet in the modern age. The client’s policies are bordering on paranoid. So, in order to maintain a link with the world while trapped in the salt mines, I needed to set up a VPN back to home from work. I will be landing my personal laptop on my desk in the space formerly occupied by the AT&T laptop.
At first, I figured I would just install and set up OpenVPN on my PC. Nope. OpenVPN seems to be a Linux-only product. Then I started looking at solutions on my router, a Netgear WNDR4300. DD-WRT and Tomato do not support this box, so they were out. Then I looked at OpenWRT. This firmware does support my router so that is a good thing. Then I realized that I live in a house where someone is always streaming something and finding the free time to actually configure this untested solution on the heart of my network was going to be very difficult. That brought me back to looking at setting up something on the PC.
I found a package that looked interesting and claimed to be nearly turn-key ready. SoftEther VPN. It took a couple of days fiddling with it, but I finally found a post in their forums that sounded a lot like the issue I was having. AH! Forward the undocumented ports from the router to the PC! Of course! Why would I expect that the tutorials would include this info? Silly me! Anyway, this is the forum post, and if it ever goes away, this is the secret magic:
port forwarding on my router is set to tcp:443,992,1194,5555 and udp:500,4500,1194
I had those first four, but the last three are not documented. At least, I have not found them, and I have looked.
Anyway, once I had those set up, I enabled the VPN on my iPhone, as a test, and it actually connected! I went to whatismyip.com on my PC and my iPhone (with WiFi off) and the same IP address was showing on both. Success!