I use to love Hamachi, it use to simply work and it was very secure. The only problem is it got picked up by log me in and therefore hasn’t been developed in the way I would have liked. The Windows version has been developed but the linux and mac version are lagging behind in the lab. I also would like to see a Android app like how someone created a Windows mobile version.
So I looked into alternatives because to be frank, I still don’t really understand PPTP VPN or IPSEC VPN.
The two I’ve seen which are similar to Hamachi is n2n, Remobo and Wippien.
- N2N – I just don’t quite get. It sounds fantastic but not at a mature enough stage right now. It requires a lot of manual effort to get up and running. And to be fair it didn’t work for me.
- Remobo – Has a Gui but for some reason it won’t auto-loggin on ubuntu in so I have to enter the details each time I reboot. This is not great when you have it running on a server with limited access like no monitor. Once they fix that problem and finish the command line version, I may consider switching.
- Wippien – Seems pretty good it uses xmpp to do the connection but you can’t join the network on the linux version because you can add new users. So unfortunately I wasn’t able to use it or test it. Very frustrating because I had high hopes for this one.
So right now, I’m going to stick with Hamachi but my eyes are certainly looking else where. Wippien and Remobo once mature and add real support for Linux, then Hamachi should be worried, theres some stiff competition coming.
I’ve been playing with the beta version of Boxee and I’m more and more enjoying it. During work, its got the perfect interface for playing back tunes but I also discover I could also connect to my shares at home easily using Hamachi VPN. Simply pop in the ip address of your remote machine and thats it. Because Hamachi uses a 5.x.x.x address, Boxee connects and the locally running Hamachi takes over the connection. Not only that, because Hamachi’s central server is only used to connect the two points, all traffic is routed as directly as possible. Aka the lag time I’m getting is super low due to the 1meg upstream link at home and super fast connection at work. Fast enough to even play some of films if I really wanted to. I also suspect when away off site I can use my 3g/HSDPA connection to do the same with no changes to Hamachi or Boxee.
I know a lot of people don’t like Hamachi but to be fair I run it on almost every machine I own and enjoy how simple it makes VPN and tunneling. I’ve still had no luck with L2L: layer two but yet to try Wippen which I hear is the truly open version of Hamachi.
I could use XBMC to do the same but I actually prefer boxee’s interface for my laptop and xbmc’s for large displays. Also the social features in Boxee means if I quickly hear a tune I like or something, within a few clicks its shared and i’m back to work again. Now if only mix podcasts came with tracks…
What is Hamachi?
Hamachi is a UDP-based virtual private networking system. Its peers utilize the help of a 3rd node called mediation server to locate each other and to boot strap the connection between themselves. The connection itself is direct and once it's established no traffic flows through our servers.
Hamachi is not just truly peer-to-peer, it is verifiably secure peer-to-peer.
Believe it or not, but we are able to successfully mediate p2p connections in roughly 97% of all cases we dealt with so far (few tens of thousands as of early March). This includes peers sitting behind different firewalls and/or broadband routers (aka NAT devices).
Oh my goodness, if you have not tried out Hamachi and want access to your home network from elsewhere. You need to try it out! I heard it about it ages ago but dismissed it because I didnt really see the need. Well that was before I learned about how insecure Wifi can be. So during hearing this week's Security Now podcast
I spent a hour checking out Hamachi. At the moment it runs on Windows and Linux but after verison 1.0 (there currently 0.99) it will be developed for the Mac too. I dont see why you cant run the Linux version on a Mac command line but I'm sure there is a reason. So anyhow once you got it installed you can follow the Wizard which is a little too simple but good for those not deeply into networking, its easy to escape at anytime.
Once your setup its just a matter of making a new network or joining another one. You can easily make one and the the security is then all hanged off your stupidly impossible to crack password. GRC recommends some 63 character password string which can be generated here at the High security password generator. I actually went for a stupid 96 ASCII character password with all types of characters. I'll switch it down to 63 because Hamachi uses a 256bit AES crypto for authentication. After setting the password and name of the network you can go to another machine and do the same but this time hit join and enter the same details.
Before you know it your on a new type of network. Actually a 5.x.x.x IP address. I didnt even know you could actually have one of those for a network, I always thought 10.x.x.x was the lowest things went. Ok so once you got two machines on the same p2p network your away. I was able to tunnel out of my work network and on my own computer at home and launch VNC and access the net and machines attached to the same physical network. Everything is accessable and the speed is amazing. Oh yeah by the way, I only had to open one port on Smoothwall for it to work, most firewalls and NAT environments can be traversed without opening ports and port forwarding according to the Hamachi creators. I did nothing to the work network, like Skype it just worked. Crazy but true. I also tried using Hamachi with some of the sniffing tools out there and glad to say it works perfectly. All traffic is secured and even insecure connections like POP3 retrivial can not be discovered as it all looks like normal web traffic. Honestly I cant wait for version 1.0 of Hamachi. Its solved so many of my problems its untrue.