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VPN Activator

VPN Activator

What is it?

The free application is a GUI for the hidden VPN server in Mac OSX client OS.  The application will configure and start/stop the L2TP & PPTP VPN server hiding in your Mac.  All files necessary to do this are already part of the OS… so no Apple files are needed nor distributed by this application. This application is not intended for large scale enterprise use.  It is rather intended for common folks that wish to establish a VPN connection to their home network via their personal Mac.

At the moment you can only create a single user/password/secret combination.  This user/password is not one of the existing user defined on your Mac but rather a dedicated user/password dedicated for the VPN use.

Given that you properly configure you internet router to allow L2TP and/or PPTP across to your Mac you should be able to connect to your home network via your Mac running “VPN Activator”.

If you expect to see your Bonjour shared resources to magically appear on the VPN connected device you will be disappointed.  Apple’s implementation of Bonjour does not work across a VPN.  There are some ways of working around the limitation but none that can cleanly be packaged.  So for now you will have to manually map network and printers shared on your home network.

This is not a limitation of VPN Activator but rather an Apple’s implementation limitation of the Bonjour protocol.

Download:

Download the latest version: VPN Activator v0.4.7

Support:

Get support in the forum.

System Requirements:

  • OSX Snow Leopard 10.6.8+

HOW TO activate the VPN feature:

Here is a short step by step on how to get the application to work if you have a Mac running Snow Leopard and an Airport Extreme internet access gateway.

1. Run “VPN Activator”

2. Configure the desired IP address range that you want to assign to your VPN clients.  In the example above, since I use the 10.0.1.0/24 subnet in my home, I am assigning a range of 2 IP address as 10.0.1.122 – 10.0.1.123

3. C0nfigure the desired DNS servers.  I personally use Google DNS at 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4

4. Configure the desired User name and Password

5. Configure the desired VPN Shared Secret.  Pick something hard to guess.

6. Click on the ON switch to save the config and start the VPN server.  If all goes well the server should start.  For now my status check routine if really dumb and does not actually check if the server is running… so don’t rely too much on it yet.  Once the server is started the configuration fields go inactive until the server is stopped and changes can be made.

7. To be able to connect with L2TP VPN you will need to configure your Airport Extreme to forward ports UDP500, 1701 & 4500 to your Mac. Open Airport Utility, Click Advanced and select Port Mapping:

Click the “+” sign and fill in the blanks as shown below. Make sure to put the IP address of your Mac (and not mine) in the Private IP Address field:

Click Continue and fill in the next screen as:

Click Done.

8. To be able to connect with PPTP VPN you will need to configure your Airport Extreme to forward ports TCP 2173 to your Mac. Open Airport Utility, Click Advanced and select Port Mapping:

Click the “+” sign and fill in the blanks as shown below. Make sure to put the IP address of your Mac (and not mine) in the Private IP Address field:

Click Continue and fill in the next screen as:

Click Done.

9. Configure your iPad or iPhone to use your Mac as a VPN.  I will eventually write a full guide for this… but for now take note that your will need to find out what is your external IP address on the internet… you can use http://whatismyipaddress.com/ to help you find it out.

10. Configure the VPN and activate.  You should now be connected to your home network.

Software Revisions:

v0.4.7 (April 13, 2013):

  • Fix for crash upon opening config file modified via OSX Server
  • Compile under 10.8.3

v0.4.4:

  • Tried to implement a fix for application crash on startup for previous users of iVPN.  Let me know if this fix the issue.

v0.4.3:

  • Now create a PPTP VPN as requested by some users.
  • Add the future check box that someday may be used to enable support for Wide Area Bonjour across the VPN tunnel.

v0.4.2:

  • Added the ability to configure a search domain for the clients.  This might become handy if I can figure how to make use of Wide Area Bonjour for VPN Activator.
  • Added a new Advanced configuration section for advanced options.
  • Added the ability to manually save configuration and to revert to the last saved configuration in case you want to undo a config change before saving or activating the VPN.

v0.4.1:

  • Minor change to the command execution routing.  Now faster to stop/start service.

v0.4:

  • Changed how the vpnd process is started.  I was having problem stoping the process with the previous method.  Hopefully all is good now.

v0.3:

  • Changed most of the internal execution of OS level commands.
  • Added more checks for failure scenarios.

v0.2:

  • Changed the way the application execute some terminal commands behind the scene.
  • Integrated an IP address validator to make sure you don’t type garbage in the fields.

v0.1:

  • 1st Alpha release

Legal Mumbo Jumbo:

USE AT YOUR OWN RISK. NO TECHNICAL SUPPORT IS PROVIDED FOR THIS PRODUCT. THIS SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED “AS IS” AND ANY EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED WARRANTIES, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE ARE DISCLAIMED. IN NO EVENT SHALL BERNARD MALTAIS, OR HIS HEIRS, OR ASSIGNS BE LIABLE FOR ANY DIRECT, INDIRECT, INCIDENTAL, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY, OR CONSEQUENTIAL DAMAGES (INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, PROCUREMENT OF SUBSTITUTE GOODS OR SERVICES; LOSS OF USE, DATA, OR PROFITS; OR BUSINESS INTERRUPTION) HOWEVER CAUSED AND ON ANY THEORY OF LIABILITY, WHETHER IN CONTRACT, STRICT LIABILITY, OR TORT (INCLUDING NEGLIGENCE OR OTHERWISE) ARISING IN ANY WAY OUT OF THE USE OF THIS SOFTWARE, EVEN IF ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGE.