Simon’s Backup Weblog


Hamachi isn’t just for Sushi

Posted in Uncategorized by Simon Bisson on September 17, 2007

It’s not easy setting up a new PC when you’re 8 timezones away from your network and servers – especially when your router has decided it doesn’t want to pass VPN packets, and your mail software decides it needs a direct connection to the server as part of its initial set up…

A bit of googling threw up a rather useful piece of software: Hamachi. Now run by the folk at LogMeIn, Hamachi is a cloud-based UDP VPN that needs very little configuration. All you need to do is install the client software (available for Windows, OS X and Linux) on all the machines you want to connect to the network. These build UDP tunnels to the Hamachi servers. You can then define a network name (and password), and your systems can then be connected to each other through your new network. There’s a free version which runs as an application, and a premium paid version that can be run as a service. The free download gives you 30 days of premium service – a good way for LogMeIn to add paying customers!

Sensibly the Hamchi servers issue IP addresses from the 5.x.x.x range, so there’s very little chance of colliding with IP addresses on the local network (something that happens all too often with traditional VPNs which try to map one network’s structure onto another’s…).

It’s not quite the promised zero-configuration VPN – I did find that I needed to open up one set of UDP ports on my home network firewall, but everything else ran smoothly, and I’m back with email at last…

Another tool for the mobile computing toolbox.

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One Response to 'Hamachi isn’t just for Sushi'

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  1. therealdrhyde said,

    No, assigning addresses out of 5.0.0.0/8 is a Bad Idea. That netblock is marked in the IANA list as “reserved”, which simply means that it’s not yet assigned to anyone. They could assign it to one of the RIRs at any time, who could immediately start assigning those addresses to end user networks. “Reserved” blocks frequently change to being assigned. The last time I can remember was March this year, when a couple of previously “reserved” /8 blocks were assigned to RIPE. I have now seen addresses in those blocks in use in the wild.

    There is no easy way of picking workable addresses without asking the user for help. If they are going to offer 5.0.0.0/8 addresses as an option, then they need to at least warn the user that this may cause weird hard-to-debug errors in the future.

    In fact, using 5.0.0.0/8 might cause weird hard-to-debug errors now, as that netblock will be marked as “unrouteable” in many hosts, as a protection against low-lifes simply using it and announcing routes to it illegally.


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