Charles, at a basic level you are correct. Properly configured, a VPN could allow each repeater node to communicate on a private network, with their own Private static IP address. There are additional complexities in getting this working end to end, and several design issues to plan out.Charles L. Cotton wrote: ↑Fri Jul 31, 2020 7:11 pmI understand VPNs from a high level. It's a server/client configuration that creates a tunnel with encryption and allows computers from anywhere to connect to a LAN. The example often given is a company with offices throughout the U.S. and even foreign countries. (I know that individuals use VPN subscriptions both for security and anonymity when surfing the web.) That's the extent of my knowledge. (As I noted, the repeater software will only accept numerical IP addresses,)seph wrote: ↑Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:42 pmPhysical location does not matter for the VPN, so the sites could be anywhere in the world. As to needing a computer at each location, there are better options. A single board computer like a Raspberry PI or a router with VPN client capibilities built in could be used instead of a computer.Charles L. Cotton wrote: ↑Fri Jul 31, 2020 12:33 pmThat would require a computer at the repeater site and that would be problematic due to the heat. Also, can repeaters in different cities be part of the same VPN?
Here is an example of the ham radio linking system I need. Let's say we have a repeater in Houston, Dallas, San Antonio and Austin. I'll call our VPN the Texas Repeater System. I presume that once every repeater logs into the same VPN account (Microsoft, Cisco, OpenVPN, etc.), each repeater could be accessed using a LAN IP address something like 192.168.10.15. If I am correct, this will work. So the big question is, am I correct about?
If I may put on my consultants hat for a minute, we may be starting with the wrong questions first. We are addressing technical issues, without addressing how this will be used.
This is for your youth ham organization, so you will provide guidance and coordination among the sites.
You will not control all of the repeater sites.
Other sites may be added and or removed in the future.
No network resource to manage/monitor the system.
If all of that is correct, I would think you want a system that is already working. One that you do not have to administer or help troubleshoot since you may not always have a networking resource available.
Given this, I would strongly recommend looking at AMPRnet first, before trying to setup your own VPN system that you have to maintain, expand, and troubleshoot.
Functionally, there is not much difference in using AMPRnet, or your own VPN. Both provide point to point tunnels, and routing between networks. AMPRnet has already worked out high availability, and pushing route table updates (adding/removing sites) so you don’t have to design or invest in equipment or services to get these.