NordVPN now offers a feature called Meshnet . This feature is pretty cool. You can use it to create a virtual private LAN and securely access other devices on the same meshnet . You can not only connect ten of your own devices in this virtual network , but also up to 50 third-party devices. NordVPN * makes it super easy to create a virtual private LAN or vLAN with any device that has a client. Just try it yourself because there is a 30-day money-back guarantee .
A virtual private LAN? You can compare it as if all devices are on the same WLAN, except that the network is virtual and not, for example, your home network. However, NordVPN ‘s meshnet is inside the secure tunnel and nobody outside can access it. So your devices are protected.
NordVPN’s Mesh offers another pretty cool feature. You can route your traffic through any other desktop device on this virtual LAN with just one click. Then you use the IP address of this device – which does not necessarily have to be connected to the VPN, but can.
NordVPN Meshnet briefly explained
This may sound complicated, but it isn’t. Let’s take a practical example – (All devices have NordVPN client installed)
- Device A : A Windows machine located in Germany
- Device B : This is a Raspberry Pi located in Austria
- Device C : Your Android smartphone that is always with you
If Meshnet is activated on these three devices , then they can already see each other. They are in a private, virtual network and can communicate with each other (bi-directionally) as long as they have some kind of connection to the Internet.
Access to the other devices is possible via the IP address assigned to them or via special hostnames assigned to your Windows, Linux, Android and so on.
In summary: If Meshnet is activated on the three devices described here , they can communicate with each other as if they were connected to the same access point – a special subnet is created in which the devices are located.
This means I can access a Windows share from the Raspberry Pi or the Android smartphone via the shared subnet. Of course, this also works with several Windows computers and a Linux server running the NordVPN app.
Own and external devices
You can connect up to 10 of your own devices in the manner described above. All you have to do is install the NordVPN app and enable Meshnet. Your devices appear automatically.
However, you also have the option of connecting up to 50 external devices . These connections are by invitation. You must know the email address of the other party and then you can send an invitation. Every external connection is isolated – again, these are private networks.
In order to use NordVPN’s mesh, you must first activate it. However, every current app from the VPN provider offers this option. This applies to Windows, Android, macOS and iOS as well as the command line client for Linux. Below are a few instructions on how to activate the function.
Note: If you are not using NordLynx (WireGuard), the app will switch to meshnet when you activate it. The WireGuard VPN protocol is a prerequisite for the function.
Route all traffic through a peer
If you activate the function to route all data traffic through one of the peers, you use the device as a router , so to speak . As a router , however, you can use the desktop apps and not the mobile ones.
In order for you to be able to use a client as a router, however, you must allow routing through the respective device. However, when you activate the function, the app will ask you whether you want to allow this.
Route Windows via meshnet through another client
Assuming on device B described above (the Raspberry Pi) the meshnet is active and routing is allowed. Now click on the button on your Windows app to activate your VPN connections. There you will find a new point Devices in the Meshnet and there again the Raspberry Pi , which accepts traffic routing.
Now you just have to click on the device and you are already using the other device as a router. Incidentally, it doesn’t matter whether the other device is connected to a VPN server or not . If device B is not connected to a VPN server, you simply use the IP address of the ISP assigned to it. If Device B is connected to Switzerland, all other clients redirecting traffic through it are also connected to Switzerland. If you change the country of the server on your device B , this affects all devices that use it as a router – just like with a real VPN router.
It works similarly with Android and other apps. The use case for routing through a device not connected to the VPN? In my case, you would surf the Internet with an IP address from an Austrian ISP, no matter where you are. Such an IP address can hardly be blocked geographically – it is an IP address for private users.