Setting Up VPN access to a Windows XP Computer

If you are running your GPS tracking system using RavTrack PC on a Windows XP computer, you may want remote users to be able to access the tracked objects database from a remote computer that is not on your local netwrok.  You may be able to do this using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) connection.

This article describes how to setup VPN access to a Windows XP computer.   VPN access will allows you to network two computers together, even if they are not on the same local network.  It will work across the Internet, while still maintaining security and privacy.

You will need Windows XP Professional with SP2 or SP3 installed.

How to Configure VPN host on a Windows XP computer

  1. From the Start menu, open the Windows Control Panel.
  2. Double-click the Network Connections item in Control Panel. A list of existing network connections will appear.
  3. Choose the ‘Create a new connection‘ item from the left-hand side of the window. The Windows XP New Connection Wizard will appear on the screen.
  4. First click Next to begin the new connection wizard.
  5. Select Setup Advanced Connection‘ item from the list and click Next.
  6. Choose the ‘Accept Incoming Connections‘ option and click Next.
  7. On the ‘Devices for Incoming Connections’, click Next.
  8. Choose an option on the “Allow Incoming Connections“and click Next.
  9. On the ‘Users Permissions’page, select all of the users you would like to allow VPN access to this computer.  Important: Every user that you wish to give VPN access, must have a Windows Login on both computers with the SAME login name and password.
  10. Click on the Next button.
  11. On the Network Software page, select TCP/IP and click on Properties.
  12. On the Incoming TCP/IP Properties page, select Allow Callers to Access my Local Area if you want remote users to also access the LAN.
  13. Click on the option that determines how the remote computer will get its IP address for this VPN connection.   Make sure the IP scheme is the same as on your server.
  14. Click OK.
  15. If the VPN server is behind a router, Port Mapping will need to be done on the router. Standard port usage is port number 1723 for PPTP.  You might also have to configure your router for ‘PPTP Passthrough’.  Port usage for IPSec is 500, 50-51.  These ports will have to be forwarded to the VPN server’s IP.

Microsoft has excellent technical articles about setting up VPN networks <here> and <here>.

Once you have VPN access configured to your RavTrack PC, you will need to connect to it from the remote client computer.  The remote client computer will need to have a VPN connection created on it.  Follow the steps below to create an VPN connection on the client computer.

Configure a VPN connection from a client computer

To set up a VPN connection on the client computer, follow these steps:

  1. On the computer that is running Windows XP, confirm that the connection to the Internet is correctly configured.
  2. Click Start, and then click Control Panel.
  3. In Control Panel, double-click on the Network Connections.
  4. Click Create a new connection.
  5. On the Network Connection Wizard, click Next.
  6. Click Connect to the network at my workplace, and then click Next.
  7. Click Virtual Private Network connection, and then click Next.
  8. If you are prompted to, do one of the following:
    • If you use a dial-up connection to connect to the Internet, click Automatically dial this initial connection, and then click your dial-up Internet connection from the list.
    • If you use a full-time connection such as a cable modem, click Do not dial the initial connection.
  9. Click Next.
  10. Give the connection a descriptive name, and then click Next.
  11. Enter the host name or the Internet Protocol (IP) address of the computer that you wish to connect to, then click Next.
  12. Click Anyone’s use if you want the connection to be available to anyone who logs on to the computer, or click My use only to make it available only when you log on to the computer, and then click Next.
  13. Click Finish.
  14. If you are prompted to ‘connect’, click No.
  15. In the Network Connections window, right-click the new connection you created.
  16. Click Properties, and then configure more options for the connection:
    • If you are connecting to a Windows domain, click the Options tab, and click to select the Include Windows logon domain check box to specify whether to request Windows logon domain information before trying to connect.

To use the new connection, follow these steps:

  1. Use one of the following two methods:
    • Click Start, point to Connect To, and then click the new connection.
    • If you added a network connection shortcut to the desktop, double-click the shortcut on the desktop.
  2. If you are not currently connected to the Internet, Windows offers to connect to the Internet.
  3. After your computer connects to the Internet, the VPN server prompts you for your user name and password. Type your user name and password, and then click Connect.
  4. Your network resources should be available to you in just like they are when you connect directly to the network.
  5. To disconnect from the VPN, right-click on the icon for the connection, and click Disconnect.