I teach an after-school program where we're using MIT App Inventor, which requires a connection between the mobile device and laptop. The network at the facility uses isolation, which prevents devices from communicating with each other.

My idea was to set up a basic VPN server that the devices could connect to and then communicate on virtual LAN. I thought I might just spin up a cloud Linux server, but obviously I can't allow connected VPN clients to access anything outside of the server.

Is there a way to create a "virtual LAN" on the server with its own set of 192.168.0.* addresses, but are "jailed" to the sever (and of course still be able to access the internet)?

  • 1
    Introducing any addition complexity here is going to provide vey quickly diminishing returns. I'd recommend working with the network team to land on a mutually-agreeable solution that can be officially supported and understood by all involved.
    – EEAA
    Mar 16 '16 at 16:43
  • I've already tried working with IT at the location. They said they can't disable isolation.
    – Ben Davis
    Mar 16 '16 at 17:02
  • They're lying to you. They may not want to disable it, but I've not ever seen network gear on which you can't disable isolation.
    – EEAA
    Mar 16 '16 at 17:25
  • To clarify, by "can't" they meant they can't do it without compromising their security. It's more of a policy thing, I guess.
    – Ben Davis
    Mar 19 '16 at 20:32

You can create a private network that only your VPN server has access to. OpenVPN will create a TUN or TAP interface, and you can configure whatever address range you'd like for that interface to use. There is also a setting in OpenVPN that allows clients to communicate with one another.

However, I agree with EEAA that this is likely to become very messy very quickly, and I'd recommend trying to overcome the issues on the local network first.

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