Streaming over VPN

This guide describes how to setup a Virtual Private Network (VPN) for streaming over Wi-Fi or 3G/4G.
(currently for Windows only)

Advantages:

  • straightforward setup
  • password protected access to your VLC
  • easy switching between home and mobile network
  • rtsp streaming over any port, e.g. 5554 (not restricted by mobile network provider)
  • more reliable streaming

 

VPN on Windows
(one-time setup)

  • Go to
    -> Start
    -> Control Panel
    -> Network and Internet
    -> Network and Sharing Center
    -> Change adapter settings (Windows 7) - OR - Manage network connections (Vista)
     
  • Press [Alt]
    -> File / New Incoming Connection
    -> Add someone (e.g. "vpnuser")
    -> Check "Through the Internet"
    -> Select "Internet Protocol Version 4 (TCP/IPv4)" and open "Properties"
    Check "Allow callers to access my local area network"
    Specify IP addresses
        Pick two IPs in your local network range (e.g. 192.168.0.x) that are not reserved or assigned already.
        From: e.g. 192.168.0.31 [IP to enter in VLC S&C app]
        To: e.g. 192.168.0.32 [IP that will be assigned to your mobile device]
    -> Allow access
     
  • Unfortunately there's a bug on some devices with Android 1.6 - 2.2.
    When using encrypted PPTP VPN over a mobile network after 1-2 minutes (or a certain amount of data?) the 3G connection is blocked completely until you reconnect the VPN but the same will happen again.
    If you experience this problem or to avoid it right from the beginning please use this workaround:

    Open "Incoming Connections Properties"
    -> Users
    -> Uncheck "Require all users to secure their passwords and data"


VPN on Android
(one-time setup, except the external IP adress x.x.x.x which may change)

  • Press Menu button
    -> Settings
    -> Wireless & networks
    -> VPN settings
     
  • Add a PPTP VPN for your home network
    Name: e.g. "Home local"
    VPN server: e.g. 192.168.0.197 [local IP of the computer running VLC]
    Disable encryption to avoid PPTP bug!
     
  • Add a PPTP VPN for your mobile network
    Name: e.g. "Home remote"
    VPN server: e.g. x.x.x.x [external IP assigned by your internet provider]
    Disable encryption to avoid PPTP bug!


Router
(one-time setup, required for streaming over mobile network only)

  • enable PPTP in your router's firewall settings or Application Level Gateway (ALG) if available
    otherwise setup port forwarding for TCP port 1723 to your VLC computer (192.168.0.197 in this example)


Application
(one-time setup)

  • Launch VLC Stream & Convert
    -> Menu
    -> Connect
    Enter IP specified in Windows VPN setup (here 192.168.0.31) or just select ppp0 network and press "Scan".
    (make sure VLC is running)

    You don't have to change these settings in the future.
    Instead just connect to one of your VPNs and launch VLC S&C app!
    (there's a direct link from the app to Android VPN settings since v1.3.1)

    Tip: On your local network you can probably connect to VLC without starting VPN on your device.

 

For security reasons make sure to disallow direct non-VPN connections from outside your home network to VLC.
Deactivate the VLC port (default 8080) in your Windows firewall or block it in your router.

I have done a test run streaming video over VPN to my Nexus One while moving around the city.
Setting brightness to medium and bitrate to 256+64 kbps I was able to continuously stream for at least 3 hours.

When changing network cells there may be a short connection loss. Just wait some seconds for the stream to resume.