Connecting to the Hotspot VPN an Asus Eee PC (Linux)

For information regarding the Hotspot service visit http://go.warwick.ac.uk/hotspots.

These instructions are for using the version of Linux which ships with an Asus Eee PC. If you have already worked out how to connect to the VPN but have found the resulting connection isn't usable, then skip to here.

Remember that your Hotspot VPN password is different to the normal password you use to log into work area systems and other ITS provided services and must be set up prior to connecting the VPN.

Click on the Internet tab and then the Network icon. You'll see a window like this: If you can't see the hotspot network listed then you need to move to somewhere with coverage.

Click the create button select Virtual Private Network - PPTP VPN and click Next.

Specify to use the hotspot connection

enter vpn.warwick.ac.uk as the hostname

Leave the WINS server field empty

Enter your IT Services username in the User name field. If you want the client to remember your password then enter that too otherwise un-check the Remember password field. You should bear in mind that if you use the remember password option then your password will be stored in plain text in the files /etc/ppp/pap-secrets and /etc/ppp/srp-secrets and that due to the (lack of) security implementation on the default Linux install anyone with physical access to your machine can easily read these. Also I've encountered countless cases of people not knowing their password when they need it because at some point in the past they've told some piece of software to remember it for them and then forgotton it.

Enter a suitable name of the connection

Untick the box for 'Start this connection when finished' (it is pointless to do so because the connection will not be usable) and unless you plan on only ever using your Eee PC whilst you're somewhere on campus with Hotspot coverage, untick the 'Connect automatically' box too. Click Finish.

At this point you've set up the VPN connection and you will be able to connect to the VPN. However the connection will not be usable. 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 so you have 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. If you don't know how to edit that file, then press Ctrl-Alt-T to bring up an xterm window and in that type:

then add the line to the end of the file and save it.

Now go back to the Network Connections window and select Connet from the Connection menu. Enter your VPN password when prompted and you're done.