These days, many of us own multiple devices for different purposes. We may have a work laptop in the office, a desktop PC at home, a few tablets for family members, and a smartphone always on us. Juggling between these devices can get complicated, which is when Meshnet comes in handy.
Meshnet is a unique feature from NordVPN that sets up a virtual network between all of your devices, acting like a personal local area network (LAN). It’s fast, secure, and completely free to use.
But what is Meshnet, and how can it be used? This guide will explain everything you need to know about NordVPN’s Meshnet feature and its advantages of connecting all your devices from anywhere around the globe.
What is Meshnet?
Meshnet is a type of virtual network that works like a LAN. It allows you to connect to devices directly instead of relying on an internet connection or cables. These devices can communicate with each other without any restrictions, no matter where they are in the world.
With Meshnet, you can create private networks between your personal and work devices and share an Internet Protocol (IP) address. This opens up a lot of use cases, including file sharing, remote device access, gaming over a LAN connection with friends, and even bypassing geo-restricted content online, similar to a VPN (albeit with limitations).
Because of its direct connection between devices, there’s no need to set up port forwarding on a router or configure a firewall to only allow specific traffic. Furthermore, it allows you to get past devices behind carrier-grade NAT (CGNAT) networks, which Internet Service Providers (ISPs) use to provide internet access with a single IP address to devices in a household or office space.
The feature is also handy for professionals, as it can access connected work PCs with an encrypted connection without the need to use a VPN provided by the company.
Meshnet is a feature from NordVPN and requires you to install the NordVPN app on each device you want to connect, but it’s entirely free to use. You can connect up to 10 of your own devices and up to 50 external devices from other users.
Why should I use Meshnet?
Using Meshnet comes with a host of advantages, especially if you have multiple devices in different locations, need to change your device’s IP address, or want to play multiplayer games via a LAN party.
Not only can you quickly and securely share files between devices with Meshnet enabled, but you can also access features available on both devices. As an example, let’s say you need to access a file that’s on your laptop at home, but you’re on vacation or in a different location. Using Remote Desktop on Windows or Screen Sharing on macOS, you can quickly get this file on a device that’s on you.
Another advantage is using software on a device you don’t have at hand. If you have a smart home setup and can only control apps through devices at home, you can use them remotely on another connected device. This means you can control the temperature through a smart home thermostat, turn on lights, and more.
The feature is also a valuable tool for gamers. Since it acts as a LAN but on a much broader scale, you can play multiplayer games that support LAN with others using the same internet connection no matter where they are in the world.
Much like a VPN, Meshnet can swap IP addresses and access geo-blocked websites or streaming libraries by essentially making your devices VPN servers. For example, with your smartphone, you can use the same IP address as your laptop at home in New Zealand while on holiday in the UK. This means websites and streaming services like Netflix will think you’re accessing the web in New Zealand instead. However, since this is still an IP address dedicated to you, this won’t make you anonymous online.
For those who travel and have multiple devices, Meshnet is a great tool to have.
Can you use Meshnet for free?
While Meshnet is part of NordVPN and needs the app installed on each device, you don’t need a NordVPN subscription in order to use it.
Meshnet is a free feature that can be used by up to 10 personal devices and up to 50 external devices from other trusted users. It’s available on multiple platforms, including Windows, macOS, Linux, Android, and iOS.
Once you have a NordVPN account, you can turn on the feature and start connecting your devices at no charge.
How to use Meshnet
Getting started using Meshnet is easy; you only need to install the NordVPN app on your device and activate the feature.
Go to the NordVPN website
Download and install the NordVPN app
Create a NordVPN account or sign in
Select the Meshnet icon on the sidebar
Turn on Meshnet
There you have it. Do the same to up to 10 of your own devices and connect more from friends or family to start growing your personal network.