Hamachi is a really cool little application that allows you to build a secure encrypted vpn accross the internet. What makes Hamachi special is that you don’t need fixed IP’s or anything like that, this means you can create a network between machines even if you don’t know there current ip’s or if they’re behind a router/firewall/nat.
According to their site one of the big uses for it is to create a LAN across the internet to play games across instead of just playing the games using the online servers. Of course another cool use for it is accessing your home machine from the office or even accessing friends machines easily.
On windows the application is very simple to setup and get working it literally took less than 5 minutes. On linux it took slightly longer because it’s a commandline application so I actually had to read the help & readme files.
I’ve set it up between my laptop and my home linux machine and when I get some time I’ll install it on my Mac Mini too. This means I can have them all on the same network as long as they’re connected to the internet. Combine this with VNC, SSH and Remote Desktop and you can access the machines from anyware and because it’s a normal IP based network between the machines you can use all the normal stuff like FTP and even windows file sharing between the machines.
If I get time I’m going to see what it’s like between the office and my home.
Of course you could do all this without using Hamachi, it’s do-able using OpenVPN and DynDNS (similiar service) but it will take awhile to setup. It doesn’t appear that you can bridge two networks using Hamachi which is perhaps a bit of an “advanced” requirement, but you can do that using OpenVPN.
How did I discover this application? Well I got invited to My Uncle & Aunt’s business last weekend to “play” with their new CCTV camera system that records everything to computer. One of the reasons for getting this particular system is that they can watch the camera’s from home across the internet, The guys who installed the camera’s used Hamachi to build a VPN between the machine that records and runs the camera’s at the office and my Aunt and Uncle’s laptop at there house. Of course being the inquisitive guy I am I had to work out how they did it… and the rest as they say is history.