January 20, 2009

Hotspot VPN vs Asus Eee PC

Writing about web page http://go.warwick.ac.uk/wireless

I've recently got my hands on an Asus Eee PC 901. I got the version which ships with Linux (Xandros heavily modified by Asus) on it since I'm that way inclined. I found that whilst it is possible to use the pre-loaded software to connect to the University's Hotspot VPN, doing so doesn't result in connection that is actually usable.

The reason for this turns out to be because the default behaviour of the included VPN client is to re-use the IP address that the Hotspot network has assigned to the machine's wireless connection for the VPN connection. The VPN server doesn't like that.

The solution is to tweak the configuration file for the VPN connection so that it uses the IP address assigned by the VPN server. Assuming there's only one VPN connection set up on the machine then the config file is /etc/ppp/peers/vpn1 and the option noipdefault needs to be added as an extra line at the end.

There's various ways to edit the file, arguable the fastest being to tap Ctrl-Alt-T which brings up an xterm window in which you can run

$ sudo kwrite /etc/ppp/peers/vpn1

After which the last few lines of the file should look like:

/home/user> tail -5 /etc/ppp/peers/vpn1

Full connection guide with screenshots and such like can be found here.

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