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  1.    #1  
    Alright guys and gals I have an involved question. First I'd like to say that I have read alot of post that sort of deal with these issues and to this point none have been very clear to me. I have conquered alot with my Treo up to this point but now I am ready to go to another level. I am ready to tackle connecting to my work PC through VPN. The problem is that I have absolutely no knowledge of how VPN works. Here's the deal.

    I recently switched jobs to a company that is a little less restrictive with access to their servers. In the next few days they will setup my laptop to be able to VPN into my work computer from my DSL at home. At that point I figure I will have a better idea of how this VPN thing works. When my laptop is setup I shouldn't have a problem from my home but one of my questions is how will this work away from home using Pdanet (aka palmnet). Can I just use Pdanet to access the internet and proceed to go through the same VPN connection process I would do from home? I'm hoping it's that simple, but I have seen posts regarding Mergic VPN and similar apps. Are these needed only if you want to connect to your PC using only the Treo as opposed to using the Treo to connect a laptop? if this is the case then that's great because I have half of my problem whipped. The other half is to learn how to setup the Treo to connect directly using one of these programs.

    So to summarize I really only have 2 questions:

    1 - How do I use my Treo equipped with PdaNet to VPN from my laptop to my work computer?

    2 - How do I use some 3rd party application (like Mergic VPN) to VPN from my Treo to my work computer? (Also, which palm VPN prog is the best?)

    Thanks in advance for the help!
  2. #2  
    I asked my tech-guy here a similar question a few days ago and his response was while it just may work, it will be so incredibly slow as to be unusable. The packet information will overwhelm a non-broadband connection. Of course maybe he was just trying to avoid putting VPN on my computer.
  3. #3  
    Originally posted by BigTreo
    Alright guys and gals I have an involved question. First I'd like to say that I have read alot of post that sort of deal with these issues and to this point none have been very clear to me. I have conquered alot with my Treo up to this point but now I am ready to go to another level. I am ready to tackle connecting to my work PC through VPN. The problem is that I have absolutely no knowledge of how VPN works. Here's the deal.

    I recently switched jobs to a company that is a little less restrictive with access to their servers. In the next few days they will setup my laptop to be able to VPN into my work computer from my DSL at home. At that point I figure I will have a better idea of how this VPN thing works. When my laptop is setup I shouldn't have a problem from my home but one of my questions is how will this work away from home using Pdanet (aka palmnet). Can I just use Pdanet to access the internet and proceed to go through the same VPN connection process I would do from home? I'm hoping it's that simple, but I have seen posts regarding Mergic VPN and similar apps. Are these needed only if you want to connect to your PC using only the Treo as opposed to using the Treo to connect a laptop? if this is the case then that's great because I have half of my problem whipped. The other half is to learn how to setup the Treo to connect directly using one of these programs.

    So to summarize I really only have 2 questions:

    1 - How do I use my Treo equipped with PdaNet to VPN from my laptop to my work computer?

    2 - How do I use some 3rd party application (like Mergic VPN) to VPN from my Treo to my work computer? (Also, which palm VPN prog is the best?)

    Thanks in advance for the help!
    To try and answer your questions, let me describe how I use my Treo, PdaNet and VPN to access my corporate information.

    On my laptop, I have Cisco VPN Dialler software which my IT folks have provided. Regardless of whether I am hooked to my cable modem at home, high-speed connection at a hotel or via my Treo, I first establish the Internet connection and then fire up the VPN dialler. The dialler software then connects via the Internet with my corporate server and prompts me for a login ID and password. Once successfully validated, the VPN encrypted tunnel is established and I proceed as if I was sitting on the office LAN.

    I have tried all the third-party apps. such as Mergic VPN and have been unsuccessful at having them connect through my corporate firewall.
  4. #4  
    LAN communication was not designed to be transmitted over a slow small connection. Even a broadband connection cannot compare with 100mbps ethernet.

    Using Vision as your ISP, the bandwidth (cross sectional area of the pipe) is roughly the same as standard dialup. The real problem is the latency (length of the pipe): The time required for your data to travel from one end to the other is so much greater than even standard dialup. This will be painful to use for any period of time. The few extra percent overhead added by the VPN connection is not significant, because it impacts the bandwidth and not latency.

    What type of VPN is your work using? Is it simply installed on your PC or is there other hardware involved?

    I am using Cisco VPN software. I have used it via regular dialup and yes, it is slow, but if you are performing a limited amount of work, it is fine.

    I will try VPN over Vision this weekend.

    -Rob
  5.    #5  
    enagel - your post sounds promising. It sounds pretty painless. I am wondering what is your experience with the speed issue that has been brought up. I don't plan to use this alot but I think it will come in handy at times (as long as it isn't painfully sluggish). I was hoping it would be practical because others have managed to get it working adequately.

    rmacphee - I will find out more info about the type of VPN being used. Also, let me know how your test go using vision. I hope to be setup by Monday evening and I will start my own test. In the meantime I will be checking the web for general information about VPN.
  6. #6  
    I have found the speed to be a bit slower than dial-up and definitely not feasible to use for extended periods of use. I use it in a pinch to be able to see what key emails I have by setting Outlook to only download the first 40kb of each email.
  7. #7  
    I tested my Cisco VPN client. I tried browsing through the file server. It was fairly similar to normal dialup. Therefore, if you are desperate, it can be useful, but not too feasible for regular and/or extended use.
  8. #8  
    Oops, I tried to delete this post, but it is complaining about my permissions. Sorry.
  9. #9  
    I agree that regular VPN access from a PC/laptop is very slow on dialup-class connections. Other solutions that work well with slow links are Citrix servers and using Web Outlook using SSL (few references here to checking email over VPN). I have tried both of these with the trial version of PDA Net over GPRS and, naturally, both worked fine.
  10. #10  
    I do this all the time when I travel. As eariler post say, you can use the Cicso client as long as your corp office is using a Cisco VPN device. Or you can use the VPN built into Windows if your corp is using a Windows VPN (Windows 2000 server). Bottom line is you need to get with the tech folks an see how to setup your laptop. The Treo connecton is transparent. You will use the same VPN configuration on your laptop if you are on a dial-up, DSL, Ethernet or Treo connection.

    Now to thow some info in for you tech folks. You can also do a VPN direct from your Treo if you use the MovianVPN client for Palm with a supported VPN device on the other end. MovianVPN supports DES, 3DES or now maybe even AES encryption for Palm. I use 3DES to connect to a client all the time.

    As for the speed on a VPN, it is processed at the client and end device (corp) not the Treo. There is some additional transmission overhead with a VPN but if you can get to the newer AES, you will see a performance increase over 3DES.

    If you don't mind transfering files over a dial-up connection from your laptop, then you won't mind it over a Treo. Most people hate it if the files are too big. I recommend you use a Windows Terminal Server or Citrix server. Much more plesant experience. However, I use OWA all the time with this and sometimes even VPN to corp and use Outlook.

    Wow, I kinda got long winded there.
  11. #11  
    I am not a computer expert so I need some help from members of this forum.

    I am about to buy the Treo 300 but wanted to insure I can access my Outlook email which I use on a company-issued laptop. I work from my home and have DSL which goes through a company-issued router. On my laptop, to get to Outlook email, I have to enter a username and password for a Nortel Networks Contivity VPN. Some upper mgt use RIM Blackberry's for email but our IT dept will not help me yet with this.

    While on the road, I can access my Outlook email through any dial-up by going to a webpage and entering the same password and username. (I guess this is OWA?)

    Will my Treo 300 be able to access email by either of the above methods and if so, which will be easier? and which will be faster? Any insight will be appreciated.
  12. #12  
    Regarding ahurst's request regarding using OWA on the Treo. We are currently using the OWA for PDA add-in from Lee Derbyshire http://www.leederbyshire.com/ . This server side program lets OWA work acceptably on the Blazer browser found on the Treo. Relatively inexpensive software and a little bit of a hassle to install on a Exchange 2K server, but works totally as advertised.
  13. #13  
    I also use my Treo 300 and pdaNet to connect my laptop to the Internet. Once there, I use either the Nortel Contivity Client to connect to my corporate LAN and check e-mail, etc.

    As an alternative, I can also use the Cisco VPN Client to connect to my home LAN which runs a Cisco PIX firewall. I setup the firewall myself which was a little tricky and a long project because I had to learn PIX OS, IPSec, IKE, RADIUS, DNS and a whole bunch of other related technologies. Since the PIX is now configured correctly, I can access my Windows XP Pro (does not work with Home Edition) computer via the MS Remote Desktop Client which is a revised Terminal Services Client. The speed when using this is much better than when using any other SMB or NetBIOS applications.

    The next step for me is to figure out how to obtain and configure the MovianVPN client for the Palm. That way, I could connect to my home and enterprise LANs without having to use my laptop. As far as I know, one must buy at least 25 licenses (total costs over $1000) to obtain the MovianVPN client. I was able to obtain a trial copy but that expires 30 days later. I will have to leave this to my company (no personal budget would allow). Also, I am not even sure that my company would allow the use of this client to access their systems. If anyone has similar goals and/or figured something out, let me know.
  14. #14  
    Originally posted by plemieux
    I also use my Treo 300 and pdaNet to connect my laptop to the Internet. (....)

    As an alternative, I can also use the Cisco VPN Client to connect (...) I had to learn PIX OS, IPSec, IKE, RADIUS, DNS and a whole bunch of other related technologies
    I am trying to get PdaNet to work with IPSec using a Cisco VPN client configured for my company's VPN server, without much success. With PdaNet running, the internet connection is clearly okay, but the VPN won't connect.

    Did you run into any problems with your configuration? Any settings I should pay special attention to?

    Thanks in advance.
  15. #15  
    Originally posted by BigTreo
    (Also, which palm VPN prog is the best?)

    Thanks in advance for the help!
    Mergic VPN....open up port 1743 on your router or firewall and BAM network hotsyncs, remote control, the only down is that you cannot do wireless transfers....
    Treo 300, Treo 600 - Sprint

    I dream in code and TCP/IP sequence numbers.
  16. #16  
    You did not say what error you are getting, however, yes, I did run into lots of config issues on the VPN termination point (in my case a PIX firewall). On the laptop itself, it was pretty straight forward because I configured the PIX for pre-shared keys which is easier than having to deal with setting up a PKI (public key infrastructure) like most companies would setup.

    Most of my problems were due to inexperience in configuring the PIX device, not the Cisco VPN client on the PdaNet laptop.

    Also, the settings in your Cisco client have to match the config of your company's VPN device. You might check with your VPN administrator to see if you have the correct settings.

    Check the Cisco web site's discussion boards on VPN and also the VPN documentation for the appropriate Cisco device providing the VPN tunnel termination (either a Router, VPN Concentrator or a PIX).

    Good luck

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