NordVPN Meshnet: virtual LAN, file sharing and Internet traffic routing
NordVPN launched Meshnet today, a new option baked into the company's NordVPN application. Meshnet allows users to connect directly to other devices, owned by themselves or by family members, friends or colleagues.
NordVPN highlights three main use cases for Meshnet:
- Internet traffic routing -- Internet traffic may be routed through a connected device, e.g., a family member's laptop at home, a work PC that is online all the time, or a friend's device. Traffic routing is available on Linux and Windows machines only at the time of writing.
- Gaming -- Meshnet is a virtual LAN network, which means that all connected devices may play LAN games without the use of LAN cables or being present in the same location.
- File Sharing -- Users may send or receive files using Meshnet.
Many modern computer games require Internet connectivity for multiplayer. Most older games and even some new games support LAN connections for multiplayer, some do support LAN, but no Internet multiplayer. Programs like Hamachi and other virtual LAN applications were used in the past to play LAN games online. Meshnet adds a new option to the list of services that provide the functionality.
The latest version of the NordVPN application includes Meshnet already. It is based on NordLynx, NordVPN's protocol, and linked devices are limited to 60 in total. 10 of the devices may be owned by the NordVPN customer, 50 may be external devices of other NordVPN users.
A click on the Meshnet icon in the desktop version loads introductory pages that explain the feature. Devices are identified by a unique "Nord" name and a custom IP address that is assigned to each device.
NordVPN highlights the dangers of routing traffic through another device, namely, that activity may be monitored and that traffic of others that are routed through the device appear as the user's to the Internet Service Provider.
Meshnet displays all devices, those in control of the customer and external devices, on the screen. Options to link new devices are provided on the. The setup and most of the configuration is handled by the NordVPN application automatically, which simplifies setup significantly.
NordVPN Meshnet adds a new feature to NordVPN, which gives customers new options besides connecting to VPN servers. The service is free and 60 devices is generous and sufficient for many use cases.
File sharing, gaming and Internet access are the three main use cases when it comes to Meshnet. One of the main downsides is, that all users need a NordVPN account and subscription to use the new service. While that is not a problem for devices that a customer owns, it may be a roadblock for gaming or file sharing.
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