Setting Up AirPort Extreme VPN

Airport Extreme VPN

Unfortunately, Airport Extreme VPN is not possible directly through the router itself, as it does not support VPN client. The only way around this problem, is to install third party software that will run as the VPN host on one of the computers inside the network. The AirPort Extreme unit will have to be configured, for forwarding ports that are required by the particular computer for the VPN connection. One such free application is VPN Activator from Neptuning. In fact, this application will only provide you with a GUI for the VPN server hidden in the client OS of Mac OSX. With this, you will be able to configure and control PPTP and L2TP types of VPN on your Mac.

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Configuring Airport Utility

If you are connecting with PPTP, you have to configure Airport Extreme for forwarding TCP 1723 port to your computer. For this, open the page for Airport Utility and click on the “Advanced” button, and choose Port Mapping. Now click on the “+” icon, which will bring up the Port Mapping Setup Assistant. In the “Public TCP Port(s)” and “Private TCP Port(s)” fields, fill in 1723. In the “Private IP Address” field, fill in your Mac’s IP address. Click on Continue, and in the next page fill in PPTP in the Description field, and click “Done”.


When you want to connect with L2TP, you need to configure Airport Utility for forwarding Ports UDP 4500, 1701 and 500 to the Mac. Access the Port Mapping Setup Assistant page as before, and in the fields “Public UDP Port(s)” and “Private UDP Port(s)” fill in 4500, 1701, 500. Press Continue, and in the Description field fill in L2TP, and press “Done”.

Activating Airport Extreme VPN

Download “VPN Activator” and run the application. In the “IP Address Range”, you will have to fill in the range of subnet addresses connected with your Mac’s IP address. For example if the IP address of your Mac is subnet, then you can have a range of to Next, fill in the address of your preferred DNS server. Fill in your User Name, Password, and VPN Shared Secret. Clicking on the “ON” button will save this configuration, and your designated Mac is now ready as a VPN server.

Airport Extreme VPN has to be a roundabout method, as the base station can only act as a pass through device for VPN. It is neither an end-point solution nor a VPN server. Airport Extreme is also known to block attempts of accessing private networks. In such cases, first check for problems in modem configuration, and see if there are any blocks by the ISP. If everything is fine, you will have to configure Airport Extreme and open up certain ports. If you are using L2TP IPSec then open UDP 500 port for allowing IKE (Internet Key Exchange). For allowing traffic through only L2TP, open up UDP 1701 port. The procedure will be similar to what was shown, using Airport Utility.

Get Around With DD-WRT Router

You can get around to make your Airport Extreme to work with vpn by using dd-wrt vpn router or vpn router and make the internet access through it. This will make the process looks like this

Apple Airport Extreme -> VPN router -> AppleTV, IPad, Iphone, Laptop

You can choose what your devices should connect to when you need vpn or not. If you need vpn connection then let your devices connect to vpn router. If you don’t need vpn, then connect to Airport Extreme directly.