3Gstore Tech Corner #5: VPN Issues with Sprint Aircards on Mac OS X

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Tuesday, 20 April 2010

tech corner


One of the many benefits to shopping at is the unrivaled technical support our tech team offers. The mobile broadband experts at 3Gstore have helped countless customers solve a wide variety of issues, and in our Tech Corner series we'll be featuring interesting problems our customers have called us for help with, the solutions our team provided, and some simple advice for you to avoid the same problem!


VPN Issues with Sprint Aircards on Mac OS X

The Problem: One of our customers who is a Mac user was having problems resolving private naming conventions while connected to his Cisco VPN via several Sprint devices he had purchased from 3Gstore, including the U301, 598U, and MiFi 2200. While using the Sprint SmartView software on his Mac computers, the customer was able to connect to his Cisco VPN, but was unable to resolve any names on his private network.

3Gstore's Solution: Tech support had the customer attempt to connect using both the U301 & 598U on two separate Mac computers, one running Mac OS X 10.5.8 & the other running Mac OS X 10.6.3. Tech support initially suspected that it might have been an issue caused by the Sprint SmartView software, so they had the customer connect using the built-in Mac support for 3G devices instead of using Sprint SmartView. The issues still continued to occur even when connecting using OS X WWAN support. After seeing these results and confirming that the problem wasn't just a software problem with SmartView, tech support turned their attention to the way OS X handles the creation of new ports (either USB or ExpressCard). As a last resort, they had the customer connect via WiFi to his MiFi 2200 to see if the issue would still occur when using a WiFi connection. After connecting via WiFi to the Sprint MiFi 2200, he was able to make contact with shared resources not only by private IP but private naming conventions as well.

3Gstore's tech team has since confirmed that there is a bug in Mac OS X that prevents 3G connections from being able to resolve names on VPN networks. The issue doesn't occur when connecting to the MiFi because OS X doesn't see it as a USB or ExpressCard along with the creation of new ports - it connects to the MiFi as it would to any WiFi network.

cisco VPN with mac os x
Even if all of your "network settings" are set up properly, you will not be able to connect to Cisco VPN while using a Sprint aircard directly in your Mac.

Our Advice: If you plan on using Sprint 3G or 4G service with Mac OS X and will need to connect to a Cisco VPN, you will need to connect via WiFi instead of plugging an aircard directly into your computer. This can be accomplished by using an all-in-one hotspot like the MiFi 2200 (3G) or Overdrive (3G/4G) or simply by using your 3G or 3G/4G aircard with a mobile broadband router to provide a WiFi network for your Mac to connect to.

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Last Updated ( Wednesday, 21 April 2010 )
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