Question

Computers can no longer see each other since installing VPN, plus laptop won't connect

  • 22 January 2019
  • 5 replies
  • 212 views

Badge +3
My laptop is a back-up for my desktop so it is essential that I be able to use my w-fi to back up my desktop to my laptop. Since installing Webroot's VPN on both, my laptop can no longer "see" my desktop via my wi-fi, even after disconnecting the vpn. This is a big deal for me.

On a seemingly unrelated note, the VPN on my laptop won't connect anyway since I restarted my laptop the first time after the install..

I jumped through hoops to install this, as it sounded GREAT. After a decade with Webroot this is the first time I'm tempted to chuck a bit of software.

Help, please?

5 replies

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Update: I seem to be able to get my two computers to communicate via the links I previously see up in my Windows 10 Start Menu, but the still don.t show up in the network listing.

Laptop VPN still won't connect.
Userlevel 6
Badge +14
@Mark-OH This sounds like a case for our excellent Support Team (they are free and in-house). I'm not surprised that your computers cannot see each other whilst connected to the VPN as that effectively removes them from your local network and directs traffic out via the connected VPN endpoint.

I don't believe it should have any effect whilst not connected though.

I do know I had to repair certain corrupted network components on a personal Windows 10 Professional laptop before I could connect, and it is possible you might need to do the same. Reach out to our Support and I'm sure they'll be able to help you.
Badge +5
Thank-you for your reply. However, I thought this program also protected my wifi? If not, it is less appealing than ever. As to the tech support people, I bothered them enough just getting this software set-up. I'm really not seeing enough of an upside at this point to make the hassles of using it worthwhile. I feel like a beta tester...

...Don't mind me, I'm just frustrated. I do see the value of the vpn out on the web. I'll contact support.
Userlevel 6
Badge +14
Webroot WiFi Security is designed primarily for when roaming on untrusted hotspots such as those in airports, coffee shops, hospitals, shopping centres etc. Note untrusted hotspots do not necessarily have to have been set up by an untrusted party (it isn't a matter of whether you trust the coffee shop or not) but can simply be open hotspots without individual per-device encryption - which is true of most public hotspots.

In order for a hotspot to be untrusted it simply needs to have one or more untrusted parties connected to it - in essence all of the people on their smartphones and laptops as you sip your latte.

There is a video explanation of VPNs at https://youtu.be/ydciaPEZ7qU

Whilst you are connected to a public hotspot you can be potentially be misdirected to fake sites (such as ones designed to impersonate your bank), malware could potentially you injected into the pages you browse and traffic that isn't to HTTPS services and websites can be intercepted. This could either be done by the party who control the hotspot or simply by an attacker who is connected to the hotspot at the same time.

WiFi Security sends your traffic out through a protected encrypted tunnel so that a malicious hotspot or attacker cannot redirect, modify pages or intercept data. It also prevents that hotspot or the internet service provider from logging the websites you are visiting so VPNs are often used by privacy minded individuals, both at home and when using public networks.

Usage of VPN means that your internet connection on each of your VPN connected devices will independently be routing to websites through the VPN endpoint instead of directly using your home connection - you will see this if you connect to a country other than your own and use a service like What Is My IP. Websites will see the IP address of the VPN endpoint rather than your home IP address and your ISP won't have knowledge of the websites you are visiting. The VPN connection itself requires your home connection of course, and your ISP (or that of the hotspot) will be able to tell that you are connected to one and roughly how much data you are sending and receiving - but not where this is being sent from and to.

There is absolutely nothing stopping you using WiFi Security at home instead of only when you are roaming (we offer unlimited usage) but because your devices are connected to the VPN endpoint they will not be able to connect to each other whilst connected. This is intrinsic to how the product works.

If computers were able to communicate directly whilst connected to Webroot WiFi Security then this might leave them vulnerable when connected to public networks.

There are some third party routers that you could purchase from companies like Billion and Netgear where the router itself is connected to a VPN, which means that all connections to the internet from any device connected to the network are protected - giving you the same benefits of privacy and anonymity for all of your internet traffic. In this scenario all of the devices on your network would still be able to see each other, and all traffic from each of them to and from the internet would be within the encrypted tunnel. There would be no change to traffic within your home network.

This would usually involve purchasing a third party router in place of the one provided by your Internet Service Provider and a subscription to a VPN provider who support this mode of operation. Webroot WiFi Security does not at this point in time.

When you leave the home network with any of your devices you would then need to use a VPN client on the individual device, either Webroot WiFi Security or that provided by the same provider you used with your router connection.

Personally I only use Webroot WiFi Security at home when I know I need extra privacy or security for the sites I am visiting at the time. I know several of our customers have the product connected all the time from discussions in the Community and that is what works for them.

I hope that this has answered some questions about how VPNs work and helped you make a decision about when you do and don't need to use WiFi Security and the pros and cons of a VPN connection.
Badge +5
I understand it better now, thank-you. (Really, thanks for your all efforts there!) I did understand the how it worked when out on the web, but my glaring misunderstanding was how it no longer allowed my devices on my home network to communicate on my private home network, which I guess is not so private. I will have to educate myself further on home network communication and privacy, as this not only interests me but is necessary to how my family uses our home network, sharing devices, etc.

Best regards,

Mark

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