VPN Question

Knowing there are some extremely competent IT black belts around this place i have a quick question. I recently could have done with being able to connect to our router in the UK (from Germany) i use an app, but its only a basic info thing.

So went looking at the router specs and it mentions these below:

The router offers three ways to setup VPN connection: OpenVPN, PPTP (Point to Point Tunneling Protocol) VPN and IPSec (Internet Protocol Security) VPN.

OpenVPN is somewhat complex but with greater security and more stability. It is suitable for restricted environment, such as campus network and company intranet.

PPTP VPN is easier to use and its speed is faster. It’s compatible with most operating systems and also supports mobile devices. However, its security is poor and packets may be cracked easily. PPTP VPN may be blocked by some ISPs.

IPSec (IP Security) is a set of services and protocols defined by IETF (Internet Engineering Task Force) to provide high security for IP packets and prevent attacks.

Is there a no brainer choice, or another IT minefield!

Thanks in advance, BTW iMacs at both ends if that matters



Hi M!

Keep away from the PPTP stuff. (Reason is already given in the text you quote.)

OpenVPN is in wide use for a long time; there should be apps/clients for all platforms. You may need to register devices, copy some keys between router/client… but if you feel comfortable with that, it should be fine to use.

IPSec is also there for a long time, also widely in use (especially on enterprise level). It’s said to be “complex”; mostly because it offers a hell lot of options as a protocol. And there’s different version/generations. (Roughly speaking.)
Then again, many operating systems have an “IKEv2” client built in. So, when the router handles most of the complexity (by choosing many options for you, and telling you, how to configure the client), this may be even more seamless than OpenVPN.
If the router uses an older variant (IKEv1), then maybe go to OpenVPN instead.

I admit, I haven’t used these privately yet; this is more a theory overview.

What’s your use case? Do you only want to access the router, e.g. for checking settings, …?
Do you want to connect your iMac to the UK-network (e.g. the other iMac or other equipment there)?
Or do you ponder connecting both homes like “permanently” (like a router-to-router permanent VPN; you can to this e.g. between Fritz Boxes; other routers may or may not support this)?

I have a raspberry pi set up here running as a vpn.

Hi Philip

Firstly many thanks. Been having some wifi issues for a few days then completely failed, just the wifi. Been on the phone to our son for hours this week to no avail. Tried everything. Ordered a new router and a local IT small company i have used will go and set it up.

However, wanted to get to the device directly to do more in depth testing, maybe firmware update, reconfiguration, settings etc. And in the user guide says this is possible via a VPN.

Cheers again


Hi Martin,

yes, with VPN you can connect to the routers network, “as if you were local”. (Well, except for bandwidth and latency, obviously.)
So, for remote administration/trouble shooting, it a good (and rather secured) choice.
I hope the router firmware/instructions are straight forward - a consumer device should be.

I theory, you could even join/merge the home networks (like access between computers, sharing a NAS, replicate backups - whatever makes sense with the available bandwidth and delay) … but this needs some consideration and planning.

As for using an additional device (like the Pi):
If it’s inbuilt in the router, and works to your need, I’d use that one.
Adding extra devices makes things more flexible or could add features, the router does not offer. But this extra HW, installation, care/maintenance - unless it’s a hobby to add gadgets to the home network or a clear need, I’d skip that.


Brilliant Philip, ill do some homework


I have installed Wireguard/PiVpn on a Raspberry Pi and can highly recommend this as a cost effective way to secure access to your LAN when away from home.

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Cheers S

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