OpenVPN Bridges


  • We are very exited about a new feature (actually old feature as of 2023 but still very handy) which is now part of MESHdesk as well as APdesk.
  • With this feature you can bridge one or more of the entry points (or SSIDs) with a OpenVPN tunnel that can sit any place on the Internet.
  • I can now for instance connect to a SSID in South Africa while it will appear that I am browsing from an IP Address that is located somewhere in Europe or North America.
  • We are sure by now you are in a dire need to check out this feature. Unfortunately the initial setup can be quite involved, but once everything is in place it should run like a Swiss watch.
  • We will follow a divide and conquer rule and break the tasks up into categories in order to accomplish our goal.

Our Setup

For this document we will configure the following setup.

The Hardware

  • One Ubuntu 22.04 server with one Ethernet card and one public IP Address.
    • Eth0 will have the Public IP Address (
    • Eth1 is a virtual interface and will be segmented using VLANs.
    • We will not need any VLAN capable switches.
  • Another server (can be the same) running the latest RADIUSdesk Git code.
  • An Access Point with Internet access, running the latest Git of the MESHdesk firmware.

Only one Ethernet port?

  • If your server has only one Ethernet port it is not a train smash!
  • We offer an alternative which will use the dummy module to mimick a real Ethernet port.

Segmenting Using VLANs

  • We will use VLANs configured on Eth0 as follows:
    • VLAN 101 will have Address range
    • VLAN 102 will have Address range
    • VLAN 103 will have Address range
  • These VLANs will each be bridged on the one side with a VLAN on eth0.
    • br0.101 are bridged with eth1.101.
    • br0.102 are bridged with eth1.102.
    • br0.103 are bridged with eth1.103.

The VPNs

  • The other side of the bridge is a VPN tunnel.
    • We will create three instances of OpenVPN in server mode.
    • Each of these instances will be bound to a common IP Address ( but it will have a unique port to ensure uniqueness.

The Captive Portals

  • Each of the bridges will have a CoovaChilli captive portal running.
    • The IP Address range of each of these Coova Chilli instances will be such that it can provide enough IP Addresses but also in such a manner that the OpenVPN server will be able to provide up to 100 Clients with IP Addresses and the RADIUSdesk server should provide another 100 Clients with IP Addresses without a conflict.
    • The IP Address range should also reflect that which was assigned to the VLAN.

Next steps

  • Be sure to visit the pages that will help setting up each of the above.