This tutorial will guide you through the steps required to set up everything in Windows XP to allow you to connect to an office (or other) VPN server.
The very concept behind a Virtual Private Network is to allow a remote user network access just as if it were local to the private network. This means a VPN does not only consist of being able to connect to the network, however being able to connect securely plays a vital role as well. A VPN is the current standard for providing access as well as security. In order to accomplish its purpose, a VPN must emulate a direct network connection. This means it must provide both the same level of access and the same level of security. Basically I like to think of a VPN as a way to “piggy back” over the Internet to create secure connections.
Currently Windows XP provides a certain level of security by using Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) or Layer Two Tunneling Protocol (L2TP). They are both considered tunneling protocols –because they create a “virtual tunnel” by applying much needed encryption.
If you wish to create a VPN with windows XP, then you’ve come to the right place.
Here are some steps to follow on how to set one up:
1) On the computer that is running Windows XP, confirm that the connection to the Internet is configured correctly and is active. You can simply do this by trying to browse the internet.
2) Click Start, then click Control Panel, locate and double click on the Network Connections Icon
3) Then Click on New Connection Wizard.
4) Once in the New Connection Wizard, Click Next.
5) Click Connect to the network at my workplace.
6) Then Click Next, and choose the Virtual Private Network connection.
7) Click Next, Type a host name, IP or any other description you would like to appear in the Network Connections area. You can change this later if you want.
8 ) Click Next, and select Do Not Dial Initial Connection.
9) Click Next and type a host name, IP or any other description you would like to appear in the Network Connections area. You can change this later if you want.
10) Click Next and choose whether you want your VPN connection only available to you or to anyone who logs onto the computer.
11) Click Next. You are just about done, if there are any, the rest of the screens just verify your connection. Click to select the Add a shortcut to this connection to my desktop check box if you want one, if not, then leave it unchecked and click finish.
12) You are now done making your connection, but by default, it may try to connect. You can either try the connection now if you know its valid, if not, then just close it down for now.
13) Now that you have your XP VPN client all set up and ready, the next step is to attempt a connection to the Remote Access or VPN server set up at the corporate office. To use the connection follow these simple steps. To open the client again, go back to the Network Connections dialog box.
I. Once you are in the Network Connection dialog box, double-click, or right click and select ‘Connect’ from the menu – this will initiate the connection to the corporate office.
II. Type your user name and password, and then click Connect. Properties bring you back to what we just discussed in this article, all the global settings for the VPN client you are using.
III. To disconnect from a VPN connection, right-click the icon for the connection, and then click Disconnect”
In this article we covered the basics and uses of building a Virtual Private Network connection using Windows XP. This is very handy when you have a VPN device but don’t have the ‘client’ that may come with it. If the VPN Server doesn’t use highly proprietary protocols, then you can use the XP client to connect with. In a future article I will get into the nuts and bolts of both IPSec and more detail on how to configure the advanced options in the Security tab of this client.