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How to configure and what is the use of a VPN on Android

22 mayo, 2021

What is a virtual private network (VPN)? Basically it is that a device connects to a local network through the Internet in an encrypted way. This allows several things. The first is that all the information transmitted from the device to the network in question is encrypted. The second is that the actual Internet exit of the device occurs through the destination network. And the third is that the device is virtually connected to the destination network.

Why do we want to have our Android connected to a VPN? The three things discussed above have their usefulness. The first is very clear, we can connect to an open Wi-Fi network and nobody can inspect the data we transmit, as it is encrypted. The second allows our device to be virtually in another place and for example we let’s skip the restrictions imposed by some servers (for example, watch Netflix in Spain having a VPN with the US). And the third would allow us, for example, to print on our local network while being anywhere in the world or to access internal servers.

VPNs are widely used in the corporate world

In companies, VPNs are the order of the day. The reason is clear, we can have people displaced from the office and can access internal servers without the information traveling clearly through the Internet.

For this reason Android has, for quite some time, the possibility of creating standard VPN from the device itself. The configuration is very simple and we will explain it below. Android also allows us to use applications that create VPNs different from those that come standard, although these applications are responsible for encrypting the device’s traffic later, if they are not reliable, they pose a problem.

What can a VPN do for us outside of the corporate world?

As we have already seen for companies, the advantages of a VPN are clear. Not so much for a particular user, since we don’t usually have an infrastructure at home to support a VPN or some servers that we want to access. Therefore we have to focus on the other two advantages that VPNs provide us: security and virtual location.

If we have contracted a VPN service that exists over the Internet, we know that the connection between our Android and said server will be encrypted and therefore we can be connected through open or insecure Wifis without fear that they can detect what we are doing (although they are not infallible). Of course, the VPN server can see it, and if the Internet output of this server is monitored, they will also be able to see what we do.

The second advantage is having a virtual location. Our device goes to the Internet through the VPN server. If this is in the US, for example, our Android will be for all purposes in the US. And that allows us to bypass all the restrictions of some services that only allow us to be used in certain countries. A great application to do this is Hello on Android, very simple to use and that allows you to select the exit point by application.

How to set up a VPN on Android?

Setting up a VPN on Android is very simple, you just have to see the complete guide published by Xataka On. To summarize, just go to Settings, within the network part, click on more, and click on VPN. The process may be a bit different depending on the Android version and customizations but this has been around for quite a few years.

Once there, you have to click on the add network button and choose the type of VPN that we want to configure. Depending on the type of VPN, it will ask us for some data or others, the VPN provider should have given us all. Once we have it, just click on our VPN to connect. The first time it will ask us for login and password, and if we want it will also save this information.

As we have commented previously, if the VPN we use is not among the standard types that come by default in Android, surely there is an application in Google Play that makes use of the Android VPN capacity but managed by software. The only downside is that it must be a trusted application because all our data will be encrypted by it and therefore it has access to them.

In Genbeta | How to get around the geographical limitations on the Internet In Engadget On | How to set up an IPSec VPN on Android
Image | eleZeta