x.o.ware | XOkey User’s Manual
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XOkey User’s Manual

1.0 BASIC STUFF

The XOkey works with an XOnet VPEx gateway to create a secure connection to the Internet and your home network, from anywhere in the world. These instructions mostly describe how to use the XOkey, although it will have to reference the XOnet to demonstrate how they are used together.

 

The XOkey should have shipped with a USB adapter to allow it to be plugged into a standard USB2.0 A connector. You will need this, or a cable that performs the same MicroUSB to USB A plug function, to register your XOkey with an XOnet, and to connect the XOkey to a laptop. An adapter that is used to charge mobile phones may not work, as they often only supply power and do not have wires for data connections, so if you use a cable that came with your phone and the XOkey does nothing, check it first.

 

The XOkey and XOnet work together to create a Virtual Private Exonetwork, which we call VPExTM – slightly different than the more common acronym, VPN (Virtual Private Network). When VPNs were first used, they were designed to give secure remote access to local networks in an office. When people started to use open wi-fi hotspots, VPN services were created to provide secure connections over those insecure wireless networks. VPEx performs both of these functions, as networks have evolved into one giant exonetwork.

 

The XOkey creates an encrypted tunnel over the Internet back to an XOnet in your home (or office) so that your laptop appears to be accessing the Internet from your home. Because all data is encrypted by the XOkey before it goes over any network, it looks like digital noise to anyone who captures that data. Data is encrypted using very long numbers, or keys, and these keys are known only to the XOkey and the XOnet. So let’s get started.

2.0 SOFTWARE

Right now, the XOkey will work on laptops running Windows (7.0 or newer) or Mac OS X (10.5 or newer) operating systems. You will need to download software from our website to install on your portable device (we’ll refer to it as a laptop, although it doesn’t have to be a laptop). The software performs two functions: it configures the laptop to route network traffic correctly (instead of data going directly to your wireless or ethernet adapter, it is now first sent to the XOkey to be encrypted), and to open a web browser window to configure and use the XOkey. The XOkey has a built-in web server, so that no user information is ever stored on the laptop. This means you do not have to worry about information from your XOkey being copied to a borrowed laptop, although you should be sure that you know any laptop you use does not have key logging or other software to capture your data).

 

So the first thing you should do, before plugging the XOkey into your laptop, is to download the application for it, at www.xoware.com/software, and then install it on your computer. You may get a warning from the computer that it isn’t approved by Microsoft or Apple, but if you trust us enough to buy the XOkey and XOnet, then you might as well trust this software and install it. Once it installs, you can plug in your XOkey and go to the next step.

 

If you are using a Mac, you will get a message like this when you install the XOkey software:

 

At this point, you must enter your Mac password. Apple wants it to verify that you approve installing software to use the XOkey.

3.0 CHOOSE A PASSWORD

The XOkey takes about 15 seconds to boot up, and you can wait for it to complete, or launch the app by clicking on it. If you start it before the XOkey is ready, you might see a message on a Windows PC showing what it is doing.

 

Once it’s running, if you click on its app on either Windows or Mac OS X, you should see a log in window (the app will open a stand-alone window in your default browser) like this:

 

 

When the XOkey is brand new (or after you have performed a factory reset), any four alphanumeric characters will be accepted as a password. Which is why you need to change it before you do anything else. This password grants access to the XOkey; if you forget it, it cannot be recovered. So after you type in four letters or numbers, you should see this window:

 

 

It may take more time for the status indicator at the top of the page to say “OK”, so now is a good time to change your password, by clicking on Tools and selecting “Change Password”:

 

 

Enter your new password twice, with only letters (upper or lower case, but it is case sensitive) or numerals. This password is only used for accessing the XOkey, by either the UI through a browser, or when registering the XOkey on an XOnet.

 

 

Once the password is saved, it XOkey is ready for use, although it must first be registered with an XOnet.

4.0 REGISTERING AN XOkey

Before using an XOkey, it must be registered (or paired) with an XOnet gateway. This happens when the XOkey is plugged into the USB port on the front panel of the XOnet, and they exchange encryption keys and other information necessary for the XOkey to connect with that XOnet. This only requires a few steps, like providing a name for the XOkey and the XOnet, and a password. Once the two devices are paired, they have a secure relationship, and can securely communicate with each other over any network connections. The instructions for registering an XOkey are provided in the XOnet user’s manual, as this is done through its user interface.

 

You can register the XOkey with as many XOnet gateways as you would like.

5.0 CONNECTING TO A GATEWAY (XONet)

This is why you bought the XOkey and XOnet – to create an encrypted tunnel from wherever you are back to a safe connection at home or office. At this point, you will have registered your XOkey with at least one XOnet, and as many as you like (we don’t set a limit on how many Xonets an XOkey can be registered with, but it is most likely a lot more than you will want to do).

 

So when your laptop is connected to a local network (like a coffee shop hotspot, you can plug the XOkey into a USB port on your laptop and get connected. After waiting for the XOkey to start up, and clicking on the XOkey icon, you should get to the log-in page. Log in, using your saved password, and if you have already registered your XOkey with an XOnet, the default page should show the gateway (if you haven’t registered your XOkey, go back and do that):

 

When you registered your XOkey with an XOnet, it asked you for the “Real Name”. That will show up in the “Nickname or Notes” column. The XOnet address is typically the random name assigned to that XOnet, unless you changed it to a fixed address or name that you are managing. For this example, the XOkey is only registered to one XOnet, which we called XOwares-xonet. Whatever you called your XOnet, click on the “Connect” button, and the UI will ask you for a password.

 

 

This is the password that you created just for this XOnet-XOkey pair. It can be the same as your log-in password for the XOkey, but we allow it to be different, in case someone else owns the XOnet, and they assigned a password.

 

The XOkey will then connect to your XOnet. This process can take up to a minute, but once it is completed, all of your Internet connections will be encrypted and routed to the XOnet that you selected. You can verify the connection is valid by going to whatsmyip.org (or a similar website) on a browser on your laptop. The Internet Protocol (IP) address that it displays should match the IP address of your home network (you can find this out my accessing that website from your home). On a Mac, the XOkey UI will be reduced and put in the dock. You will need to select it if you want to see the connection status or utilize one of the tools, like accessing the home network directory.

 

How Does the XOkey Connect to the XOnet?

It first looks up the Internet (IP) address of the XOnet, using a DDNS server (x.o.ware operates a DDNS service for free, but you are able to configure your XOnet to use a different DDNS service). Once it obtains the IP address of your XOnet, it will send messages to other servers that help the XOkey connect through the Network Address Translation (NAT) service that most home and small office routers use, to the XOnet. These servers run protocols called STUN and Rendezvous, so that the port number used by the XOnet is dynamically assigned for each connection (unless you have configured your router to always use port 4500).

6.0 MANAGING GATEWAYS

You typically will not need to use this for more than choosing an XOnet to connect to, although you can delete an XOnet from the list of gateways the XOkey is registered to. If you do a factory reset on your XOnet, it will no longer recognize the XOkey, so you will have to re-register your XOkey with that XOnet. If you do this, you should first delete the restored XOnet from the list of gateways, so you don’t accidentally try to connect to it and waste your time waiting for a connection that will never happen.

7.0 REMOTELY ACCESSING YOUR HOME NETWORK

Almost any device that connects to a local area network (LAN) can have the capability to create a directory of all of the devices that are on the network. Most manufacturers choose not to implement this function, except for some routers. The XOnet has this ability, to make it easier for XOkey users to remotely and securely access devices on your home network. When it is powered up and connected to a network at home, it generates a list of all other devices on the network (at least the ones that respond to its queries).

 

Once your XOkey has connected to an XOnet, move the cursor over Tools, and select Network Directory. The XOkey will open a browser window (using the default browser for your laptop), and display a list of devices connected to the same network as your XOnet. You can remotely access any of those devices listed in the directory, but only if the sub-net that your laptop is locally connected to is different than the subnet of your home network. The subnet consists of the first three segments of your IP address, so if the IP address of your laptop’s internet connection is 192.168.1.50, and the local IP address of the router at home is 192.168.1.1, they have the same sub-net. This can confuse your laptop and the router, and prevent you from connecting to a device at your home. If you don’t have control of the IP address assigned to your laptop (which is common), and you want to regularly connect to your home network, you will need to select a subnet on your router that is not common.

 

If your home network does have a different subnet, you can access any device that you would normally access at home, either by opening a browser window and typing the local IP address, or by clicking on the web icon in the directory listing.

8.0 UPDATING FIRMWARE

When the XOkey is plugged into a laptop with an Internet connection, it will check x.o.ware servers to see if a firmware update is available. If new software is available, the status indicator at the top of the XOkey’s UI will indicate Update Available. You can click on Update at the top of the page, and then continue from there, or manually update the firmware, by downloading a file from x.o.ware.com, and using the Software Update function in the Tools tab.

9.0 UPDATING LAPTOP SOFTWARE

The host software (Windows or Mac OS) does not change very often, but when it does, you can easily update it by first uninstalling the existing application, and then downloading the newer version. We currently do not offer auto-update for this software (but plan to in the future).

10.0 FACTORY RESET

There are two ways to perform a factory reset, which erases all user information and restores the XOkey to its original state. If you know the password, you can perform the reset from the UI, by selecting Factory Reset from the Tools tab at the top of the page. You will be asked to enter your password, and if you remember it, it will take about a minute or so to complete (do not unplug the XOkey during this process).

 

If you do not remember the password, you can plug the XOkey into any USB power source, an insert a paper clip into the small hole on the back of the device, pressing an internal pushbutton switch. Hold that in for about 15 seconds. After a minute or so, it will reboot, and you will be able to access the UI, and create a new password. It will no loner be registered to any XOnet gateways that it was previously registered with.

11.0 FUTURE APPLICATIONS

You will probably notice a tab at the top of the UI called “P2P Apps”. Currently, this has no function. However, in the future, we plan to offer new features that encrypted provide peer-to-peer functions like voice calls, chats, and video calls. For now, these do nothing.
For support, check out www.xoware.com, or email at help@xoware.com

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