I almost know nothing about network connection. I only need to connect to my office server.

I just install Shrew 2.1.5 and try to create connection to my office, I entered the IP address of my office server but I got error message asking me to enter valid server certificate - can anybody help explain to me what is "server certificate"? I cannot find the field to enter it.

Is there any configuration in the office server side that must be changed first?

  • Here is a prerequisite for any vpn. Identification Type FQDN string & Preshared key And some time certificate is required for an connection of vpn. – user273534 Feb 26 '15 at 22:08

Yes, there's a whole range of configuration that needs to be done on the server side (or more likely on your office router) before you can establish a connection. The details will vary widely depending on what sort of setup your office has.

The Shrew.Net support area has instructions for server setup for some systems and routers, but based on your question I'm going to strongly recommend that you get assistance from someone more familiar with VPN setup. If you have a regular IT support person that you call they may be able to help you with this; if you're using Geek Squad or the like they probably won't. If you don't have someone local and qualified to assist you there are options for remote support as well such as Crossloop.com (I don't have any specific recommendations) or you can check with other people you do business with for advice.

What you can do to make that assistance quicker and cheaper is to document the information the person assisting you will need that's not trivial for them to gather. Items you can gather for them are:

  • Manufacturer and model for your network firewall/router. Many low-end devices won't work for this, so this is very important to know up front. If your equipment doesn't support VPNs, you'll need to replace it before going further.
  • Login information for your network firewall/router. If you run ipconfig /all the address for it will be the "Default Gateway" value; you should be able to go to that address in a web browser and get past the username/password prompt. Do not change anything here unless you know what you're doing.
  • Whether you have a static IP address at the office. If you're on a T1 line, you do. If you're on DSL or cable modem you might, but you're being charged extra for it by your carrier. Most DSL/Cable providers will be providing "dynamic" IP addresses; there are ways to work around this but they may not be as reliable. Changing your connection to have a static IP will involve a call to the provider's support line and will probably cost an extra $5-15/month.
  • How your PC or laptop will be connecting in - home DSL/cable, from other offices, from coffeeshops with WiFi, wireless data card from a phone company (Verizon, Sprint, etc.)

Expect remote setup of this to take 30 minutes to an hour if everything goes smoothly, possibly less if you have everything already organized. If things don't go smoothly, you may spend an extra hour or two. This will possibly require more than one session since the VPN connection can't be tested from within the office network, and will definitely require at least two sessions if you're talking about a home PC (one to configure the office side, one for the PC). The basic steps will be:

  1. Get access to both the router at the office and the PC that you're going to be using to connect to the VPN. If the PC is a laptop at the office, this may be a single step. This may be remote access.
  2. Log into the router at the office and set it up to receive VPN connections.
  3. Configure the ShrewSoft VPN Client on the PC for connections to your office.
  4. Have you take the laptop home or to some other location outside the office (including a coffeeshop with WiFi access).
  5. Test the connection to the office. This test cannot be done from within the office network, for the same reason that if you call your own phone number the phone doesn't ring.
  6. Track down & resolve any failures.
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  • +1 Nice and comprehensive answer. – sleske Dec 13 '09 at 1:30

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