Hamachi Virtual Private Network
Hamachi is a small freeware application that you can use to create virtual private networks (vpn) on the fly without configuration - well almost. You can download the application from the hamachi homepage. Once downloaded, install and run the software. Versions for Windows, Linux and Macintosh OS X exist so that you can use it on virtually all systems you may be using.
Note that the Linux and Mac versions are console only at this time while the Windows version ships with a shiny graphical user interface. BeforeÂ we dive into setting up the application I'd like to take a moment to describe why you'd want to use it in first place: it provides you with access to a virtual LAN over the Internet.
Lan over the Internet has many uses but it was especially designed for gamers in mind. Now you can play games in lan modus over the Internet, no need to carry your computers to your friends anymore. Can't join a lan party because you have work to do at home some of the time? No problem, just fire up Hamachi and join the fun in your spare time. Hamachi works great with most games with no configuration whatsoever. It is also ideal for games that only come with a LAN multiplayer modus. With Hamachi, you can play those games with your friends who connect from their locations remotely so that the game believes everyone is connecting from the same local area network.
Let us take a look at this in detail:
Hamachi adds a new network adapter at installation; if you are using firewalls you may have to adjust your firewall rules. (By default Hamachi uses the port 12975) You have to enter a nickname at first start and will receive a unique IP in the range of 5.x.x.x. Enter the preferences before you start a network, you have to adjust some settings in there (click on the button configure hamachi and select preferences).
You should setup a master password for security reasons. You have the option to run Hamachi at Windows startup which I do not recommend unless you and your friend(s) are always online and want to use the service. You should Block Vulnerable Microsoft Services in the Security tab and probably block new network members by defaultÂ (you may want to wait until all your friends are known in the network)
It is time to create your first virtual network, to do so click on Power on (if you have not done so already) and select Create or Join Networks. One person has to create the network while all others join the network. Choose create a network and give it a name and a password. Voila, your vpn is active and you see the name of it in the main window.
Once a friend connects to it you see the IP of that friend and the nickname beneath the channel name. The light should be green which indicates that everything is running fine. Right-Clicking a name allows you to ping the computer or chat with that friend. I recommend a voice application software like Skype or Teamspeak for troubleshooting purposes, you are probably going to use one of those anyway when playing games. You should be able to ping the other connections (right-click, select ping) which indicates that everything should be fine and ready to go.
You can also do other things with Hamachi, here is a personal selection:
- Run an Internet (LAN) Radio Station with Hamachi
- How to setup and connect a proxy over Hamachi
- User Management and Advanced Shares
- Yellow Status
- Configure Outpost Firewall, Zone Alarm, Sygate and Norton Internet Security 2005
Hamachi Troubleshooting Guide. (Taken from Hamachi forum):
- Ensure that everyone can ping everyone, use peer's right-click menu for that. If ping times out, you will need to check personal firewall settings and make sure it is not blocking pings and game traffic on Hamachi connection. Guides for configuring some popular firewalls are available in HowTo section.
- Launch game and select LAN mode. Make someone host a game. With majority of games everyone else should see hosted game on the list and be able to join it right away.
- If the above does not work, try connecting to the hosting server by its 5.x.x.x IP
- If again it does not work and you are positive that personal firewall is configured correctly, then the game might not be coping well with the presence of two network connections (physical and Hamachi) or generally unhappy about 5.x.x.x addresses. Example of the game of the first kind is AOE series, of the second kind - CS
Update: Note that Hamachi is no longer available as a free product. While you can download and use a free trial version, it is now offered as a subscription based service that costs you $29 per year for a standard network with up to 32 members, or $119 per year for a premium network with up to 256 members.Advertisement