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Using WiTopia VPN to free you from the shackles of your Operator


Guest PaulOBrien
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Guest Paul (MVP)

In this new world of always on mobile internet, there's one thing that bugs me a bit, and that's the way that operators 'tweak' your traffic.

As a T-Mobile web'n'walk user, this affects me primarily in two ways. Firstly there's the image compression that i'm sure many of us have experienced, which a number of operators carry out even on fast HSDPA connections. Crisp, sharp internet images become artefacted blurry messes due to the transparent proxy compression employed by the networks. Secondly is the port blocking. I'm on T-Mobile web and walk standard, and I can't use FTP, even though T-Mobile tell me I should be able to. Argh!

So what's the solution?

Well, a while ago I came across a service called WiTopia [aff]. WiTopia is a $39.99 per year (with 30 day money back guarantee) VPN service that offers connectivity for both your PC (Windows or Mac) and at the moment, connectivity for your mobile device.

Here's how I use it...

I've signed up for the service and I have their 'TunnelBlick' client installed on my Mac. If I want to be ultra secure, want my traffic to be originating in the US or basically want to cloak myself from the network that i'm on, then I connect to WiTopia. It means I can go to client sites and be totally segregated from their systems, it means I can be on holiday on a public wifi connection and be secure, it means I can test geotargeting code by masquerading in the US, and if I wanted to, I could even use this masquerading to access US only services (like hulu for example).

As well as having my Mac set up, I have configured my free PPTP VPN on my Touch HD. Now, as I mentioned above I have had this service a while, and I was never able to get it working. I was however told that PPTP VPN connectivity had a bit of an overhaul in Windows Mobile 6.1.4 (which i'm running on my HD) and sure enough, it works GREAT! I get the same benefits as above, on my mobile device. And that means total segregation from the T-Mobile network, which means no port blocking and no image compression!

NOTE NOTE NOTE: This may not work for you if you're not on 6.1.4! Any other WiTopia users care to confirm?

Is it worth $39.99 a year?

In my opinion, for my purposes, yes. I like the functionality it gives me for my laptop, and now that I have it working on my HD that's an added bonus!

Where do I go to find out more / signup?

Click this link [aff] to get started, and order either the Windows or Mac package, both of which come with a free PPTP connection.

How do I configure my mobile then?

I'll be posting that here shortly! :rolleyes:

Hope this is useful for somebody out there!

P

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Guest NuShrike

Doesn't this just mean you're paying the unknown WiTopia to be your network middle-man, and they can sniff your traffic and masquerade sites as much as they want?

The only really safe traffic is encrypted end-to-end from you to your destination with no middle-man.

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Guest Paul (MVP)

This is true, and another option is setting up a router at home or a server somewhere to be a VPN end point.

For me tho this works well, and I can get uncompressed images and FTP. That makes me happy... :rolleyes:

That said, the dead screen on my Touch HD just now makes me sad, and unable to post the config screenshots right now...

P

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Guest Damiantmc

Not to fussy about this on my phone as I use Wifi and home and work so copressed images while out I can handle, but for sitting in the morning at work and being able to watch hulu and FoxOD will be great (btw FOXOD has quite a few good programs on before we brits get to see them, like 24, prison break etc)

DTMc

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Guest UndeadDevil

Paul, Thank you! Several weeks without any news posts then two decent posts in the same day. (This and the SSH Client)

However as you said, VPN is broken in almost every build of WM so it seems like only a few handsets can actually use this at the moment. :rolleyes:

Not to fussy about this on my phone as I use Wifi and home and work so copressed images while out I can handle

Really? I can't cope with T-Mobiles, its to the extreame, any GIF image is reduced to 16-colours/JPEG's are re-compressed to 40% Quality *PNG's are left alone however*

This destroys my experience of browsing the web on my PDA (And T-Mobile's Image Re-compression System is over-congested, much faster on HSDPA with it bypassed via the Header Method)

Edited by UndeadDevil
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Guest Paul (MVP)

Yeah, in the past when i've tried it I just got a connection but no traffic flowed. Pleasantly surprised that it's working now! :rolleyes:

P

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Yeah, in the past when i've tried it I just got a connection but no traffic flowed. Pleasantly surprised that it's working now! :rolleyes:

P

One way of getting round some of the filtering and ftp blocking is to disable the network proxy (start->settings->connections->connections->edit proxy->settings uncheck the this network uses a proxy server checkbox).

Apologies for any weird spelling, I'm on my phone right now...

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Guest UndeadDevil

I bought WiTopia today (Used Modaco Affiliate link). Pretty happy so far on the PC side, other than the extra 140ms Latency which I'm told by WiTopia will no longer be the case in a matter of days when the UK servers come online.

Paul, can you confirm this is how you set up the VPN on Windows Mobile? http://wiki.witopia.net/wiki/Installing_pe..._Windows_Mobile

Edit: That appears to use a 3rd party VPN App, so could you please post your instructions Paul? Although the above is a good link for those who have issues with the built-in WM VPN Client.

For anyone considering WiTopia and worried that you'll lose speed on your PC + PDA, well i'm able to get my full broadband line rate.

Edited by UndeadDevil
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