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Connecting Through a VPN

Virtual private networking (abbreviated to VPN) enables you to create a secure connection to a server across an insecure network. You’d typically use a virtual private network (also abbreviated to VPN) for connecting across the Internet to a work network.

Setting Up a VPN Connection

To set up a VPN connection on your computer, you’ll need to know the following:

  • VPN type. This can be PPTP, L2TP/IPSec, SSTP, or IKEv2.
  • Server address. This can be a server name (such as vpnserv.surrealpcs.com) or an IP address (such as 209.14.241.1).
  • L2TP secret. This is a text string used for securing some L2TP connections.
  • IPSec identifier. This is a text string used for some IPSec connections.
  • IPSec preshared key. This is a text string used for some IPSec connections.

Ask the VPN’s administrator for this information. Ask also for your user name and password for the VPN connection. You don’t need these for setting up the connection, but you’ll need them when you connect.

When you’ve gathered this information, follow these steps to set up the VPN on your computer:

  1. Choose Start, Settings to open a Settings window.
  2. Choose Network & Internet to display the Network & Internet screen.
  3. Choose VPN in the left pane to display the VPN pane.
  4. Choose Add a VPN Connection to display the Add a VPN Connection pane (shown in Figure 3.14 with settings chosen).

    FIGURE 3.14

    FIGURE 3.14 In the Add a VPN Connection pane, enter the details for the VPN connection and click Save.

  5. Open the VPN Provider drop-down menu and choose the provider. If you’re not sure what the provider is, choose Windows (Built-In).
  6. Type a descriptive name for the connection in the Connection Name box. This name is to help you identify the VPN—for example, Work VPN.
  7. Type the server’s hostname (such as vpn1.surrealpcs.com) or IP address (such as 205.14.152.18) in the Server Name or Address box.
  8. Open the VPN Type drop-down menu and choose the VPN type, such as Layer 2 Tunneling Protocol with IPsec (L2TP/IPsec).
  9. Open the Type of Sign-In Info drop-down menu and then choose User Name and Password, Smart Card, or One-Time Password, as appropriate.
  10. For a VPN that uses a user name for signing in, type the user name in the User Name box.

  11. For a VPN that uses a password for signing in, type the password in the Password box.
  12. Check the Remember My Sign-In Info check box if you want Windows to store your sign-in information.
  13. Click Save.

Connecting via the VPN

After you’ve set up a VPN connection, you can connect via the VPN like this:

  1. Choose Start, Settings to open a Settings window.
  2. Choose Network & Internet to display the Network & Internet screen.
  3. Choose VPN in the left pane to display the VPN pane.
  4. Click the VPN in the VPN list to display control buttons for it (see Figure 3.15).

    FIGURE 3.15

    FIGURE 3.15 In the VPN pane in the Settings app, click the VPN to display its control buttons, and then click Connect.

  5. Click Connect. Windows establishes the connection, and then displays the Connected readout and the Disconnect button.

After connecting, you can work across the VPN connection in much the same way as a local network connection. Normally, the speeds will be much slower across the VPN, so you may need to be patient while transferring data.

When you’re ready to stop using the VPN, click the Disconnect button in the VPN pane. If you’ve left the VPN pane open, you can go straight there; if you’ve closed it, click the Network icon in the notification area, click the VPN’s name at the top of the network fly-out, click the VPN’s name in the VPN pane, and then click Disconnect.

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