How to Make a Data-Only Phone and Your Own Mobile VPN
In today's episode, Iyaz shows you how to create a data-only phone, Padre explains mobile VPN solutions and more!
Iyaz hates using cell phones (in particular, the high cost of cell phone plans). For years, he used a combination of a hotspot and an iPod touch with Google Voice. With the Apple iPad, a super-cheap data plan popped up. Verizon only charged $20 for 1GB of data on its LTE network. So, Iyaz had the bright idea of popping an iPad SIM into a regular Verizon LTE phone. This will likely violate Verizon's Terms of Service, so use this tutorial at your own risk.
SIM SIM Revolution
The theoretical execution for Iyaz is an iPhone 5S with a Verizon iPad SIM. If you're using an iPad 4 or lower, it uses a Micro SIM while iPhone 5S uses nano SIM. Surprisingly, you can cut your larger SIM into a smaller one. Iyaz took his Micro SIM from his iPad 4 and used a SIM cutter tool from Noosy. That SIM was placed into an iPhone 5S.
If you cut your SIM, how do you put it back in your iPad? Iyaz picked up a SIM adapter kit for a couple of bucks. If you don't want to cut your SIM, you can always buy a second SIM from somewhere like Amazon. Activate that SIM on an iPad, then chop that card up!
If you try to activate a nano SIM in an iPad 4 with the hopes of using that in your iPhone, you'll run into an issue. Activation of a nano SIM in an iPad that uses a Micro SIM will lead to an activation error that tells you to contact Verizon. When you contact Verizon, they'll tell you that the nano SIM you're using is incompatible with your device.
iPad Air and iPad mini use nano SIM cards, which streamlines this process.
Did it work?
Placing an already activated Verizon iPad SIM into another Verizon LTE phone worked great on a Windows Phone (HTC 8X), an Android phone (Samsung Galaxy SIII), and the iPhone 5S. The device could receive data on the phone using Verizon's network. Phone calls won't work using the regular phone apps on the devices. You'll have to do a workaround for voice calling like Google Hangouts or Skype. Google Voice is a great tool to receive texts.
If you don't care about voice calling, data ought to be enough. Take pictures and upload them over the Verizon network!
VPN on your Mobile Devices!
VPN Service – ProXPN
- Easy to install. Easy to Use.
- If you know how to download an App and enter a Username/Password, you can use a VPN service like ProXPN.
- On the downside: There’s a monthly service fee, it doesn’t help you get back into your own network.
Dedicated Security Appliance
- Intermediate difficulty to install and configure. Easy to use.
- If you can download an app and enter username/password, you can use a dedicated Security Appliance.
- This solution can put you behind the firewall of your own network. (You can securely access all the network-attached devices of your network.
- On the downside: EXPENSIVE! – You’re still going through your own ISP, so...
Building your own CHEAP VPN with DD-WRT!
Step 1: Get DD-WRT!
- See Episode 3 of KH – Learn how to flash your router with DD-WRT
- You need a DD-WRT compatible router with a version of DD-WRT that has the VPN tab under services.
- If you don’t have the VPN tab, update your installation.
- You need some power! If your router is struggling under its standard load, this will most likely put it over the tipping point.
- PLEASE don’t do this to your production router. You don’t want your connection to the Internet to die when you’re doing this project, as you may need to access the Internet to troubleshoot the installation.
Step 2: Document your Installation
Too often our installations go bad because we don’t take the time to document your settings. DON'T BE THAT GUY!
- You need your Username/Password
- You need to know the EXTERNAL IP of your Router (192.168.1.201 in our example)
- You need to know the INTERNAL IP of your Router (192.168.200.1 in our example)
- You need to know the INTERNAL DHCP range of your Router
Step 3: Enable the VPN Server
Please Note! – The DD-WRT VPN Server has been deprecated because of a security flaw, but that flaw takes quite a bit of work to exploit. It’s still a good STARTER VPN server, though eventually you’ll want to move to OpenVPN.
- Go to the "Services" tab
- Go to the "VPN" subtab
- There are two boxes, "PPTP Server" and "PPTP Client" – You want to enable "PPTP Server"
- In the "Server IP" box, you want to type the EXERNAL IP of your router
- In the "Client IP(s)" box you want to enter a range of IPs that connecting computer will use. For example, 192.168.200.200-210 – You need use the INTERNAL range of the router.
- The CHAP-Secrets section is where you put Usernames and Passwords
- The Format is ("Username" * "password" *)
- ut each entry on a new line.
Step 4: Enable the Client
This will be SLIGHTLY different for each mobile client. I'm going to show off Android and iDevices
Android (4.1 and above)
- Go into Configuration
- "More Networks"
- "+" Add VPN
- Give it a Name
- Type in the Server Address
- Click "Save"
- Click the Connection
- Enter your Username
- Enter your Password
- Click "Connect" – When you see the key in the upper left, you're connected
- "Add VPN Configuration"
- Choose "PPTP"
- Give it a name
- Add the Server address
- Add your account
- Add your password
- Enable "Send All Traffic"
- Turn on VPN
Upgrading to SSD!
Step 1: Choose your SSD
Look for Capacity and your Price Point
- Typically you'll see price price linearity between 64-256GB, then jumps between 512GB and 1TB.
- Up to 256GB you’ll typically see prices in the $0.50-$1.00 per Gigabyte range, depending on performance.
- After 256GB you can see prices in the $0.75-$2.00 per Gigabyte Range.
- This is more important for laptops than desktops since there is USUALLY only a single slot for HDD/SDD in a laptop. In a Desktop you could run multiple SSDs or SSD/HD combos.
- Padre’s "Sweet Spot" is at 256GB
Look for Format:
- MOST SSDs come in the 2.5" format – though the thickness may vary. (Typically 7mm and 9.5mm)
- There are also SSDs in mSATA and PCIe formats, and their performance can be INCREDIBLE, but they’re not usually in the realm of the casual upgrade.
- Make sure to CHECK YOUR COMPUTER to see if it's thickness limited.
Look for Speed
- You want SATA 3, which tops out at 6Gbps.
- Speed is important, but not the ONLY thing you should consider.
- You want a SSD with above 450MB/s sustained read/write.
- MAKE SURE TO CHECK THE WRITE SPEEDS!
Look for Reliability
- 1 Million MTBF is the norm.
- You want something with wear-leveling.
- The reliability of a SSD isn't determined by the number of hours it can run, but by the number of times it can write to the flash cells in the memory. (The P/E or "Program/Erase" cycle)
- A 3-year warranty is the minimum.
Look for Speed over Time
- This is the big one: All SSDs get slower as their flash cells start to "wear out" – You want a drive that properly "over provisions" their drive, setting aside 7% or more of their total capacity to replace bad and worn cells.
- Look for a drive that tells you its TBW or "Total Bytes Written"
- The Kingston KC300 can do 188TB TBW (Total Bytes Written) before it fails
- Even if you were to write 100GB a day, it would take you roughly 8 years to wear out the drive
Step 2: Clone or Fresh Install?
Both Iyaz and Padre suggest that you do a fresh installation to take full advantage of the speed increase of your new SSD
If you plan on doing a fresh installation
- Finding your original disks or Make Backups from your in-OS Recovery Management software
- Backup data files (not program files)
- If your computer uses WiFi/Ethernet device drivers that are NOT automatically installed with the new OS, make sure to download them ahead of time and have them available on a device that a fresh OS can read. (i.e. USB Flash Drive)
- If you’re installing the SSD in a laptop/desktop without an optical drive, either get an external Optical Drive or burn the ISOs into a bootable format on an external hard drive/USB Flash Drive.
- DO IT!
If you plan on cloning your installation
- Make sure you buy the “kit” version of whatever SSD you choose. (i.e. The Kingston KC300) – The Kit should include mounting gear, cables, a USB transfer device and software to clone your drive.
- If the total amount of data on the HDD is more than the total storage available on the SSD, you need to remove files from the HDD until you get below the total storage available on the SSD.
- Follow the Instructions on your Kit
Step 3: How much Performance did we get?
Standard Config: 4222
SSD Config: 6729
59% Increase in Performance Scores!
Standard Config: 1:45
SSD Config: 1:04
If you want to reuse the HDD you just took out of your laptop/desktop, it’s a simple matter to put it into an enclosure and use it as an external hard drive.
- Enclosures with any interface can be had for $10-$200 depending on features
- The VMultra from Velocity Micro offers an USB 3.0 Optical Drive/USB Hub/Card Reader/SATA Enclosure from $99 and up.
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