Sunday, 1 February 2015

Using OpenVPN to access your home from the outside

I have become a big fan of OpenVPN recently and it is a much safer way of having access to your home equipment than exposing your entire home network directly to the internet.

Also, it means you can run any number of IP based services without being limited by your single public IP given by your ISP, and we all know IPv4 addresses are running out.

I bought a TP-Link ethernet router (TL-WR1043NDv2) after watching a video on OpenWRT / Gargoyle and finding out that the custom Linux router OS was officially supported. It was a very quick task to flash the device and I had OpenWRT / Gargoyle running, but I am happy to have done so.

First of all, Gargoyle proved to be much more stable than the stock firmware.

Then I discovered the OpenVPN integration. A few button clicks and it was all configured. There was some other things I needed to do:
  • Use a dynamic DNS provider: I chose for this as it was free, but more importantly I could update my public IP address directly from wget / curl / linux command line.
  • Configure my stock ADSL router to DMZ and route all traffic to the Gargoyle router.
Once this was all done I jumped on my Android phone and tested it using the OpenVPN Client. Success!

Why did I do this? To access my Raspberry Pi security camera of course!

I love open software and recommend everyone else checks if open source software is supported before buying your next hardware device. I don't mind paying for good software, but there's something liberating about the freedom open source provides. More open source developers need to have great big Donate buttons always available!

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