When establishing a VPN connection using a hotspot, can the VPN provider identify the location from which you established the VPN connection?

  • 2
    Please expand your question with some more detail. Are you talking about IP address location or something specific to your VPN? What exactly do you mean by the VPN knowing where you are - like office network vs home network or physical location like GPS coordinates?
    – Eric G
    Apr 2, 2013 at 3:22
  • Seems to be cross-posted to SU: superuser.com/questions/576629/vpn-location-with-smartphone Apr 2, 2013 at 3:27

3 Answers 3


I think the answer to that is 'it depends' - I was looking at something similar recently, for example the IPs issued to the AT&T phones we tested all resolved to an Atlanta, GA address - even though none of the devices were within a few hundred miles of Atlanta.

Different carriers are likely to yield different results though - some may yield more accurate results than others.

Trying to tie an IP to a physical location is often unreliable, it depends on the service provider to provide more detailed information about smaller IP blocks than they typically do. It's that much more management overhead.

I never assume that the location mapped to an IP address is correct.


The VPN provider can get your IP address. He can also assign your IP address to a specific location, like city or district. But this is done using databases that group IP ranges into locations. This doesn't mean that the IP address has to be at this location, but it's most-likely. And it is not the actual coordinates, but just the area.

But your VPN provider may already know your IP while you create your account. So this is something I wouldn't worry about.

You are worried about the VPN provider being able to connect the incoming traffic to your IP address, I guess. This is generally possible, but if you use the VPN with other users simultaneous, it's unlikely to be able to track your data to your IP. (Except you build in an extra functionality to log which packet was delivered to which user.)


I am going to assume that the question deals exclusively with the IP side of things. If your company decided to install spyware on your phone, you really don't have much defense (on the otherhand, that could be quite illegal).

When establishing a VPN connection. A two way connection needs to be established between your computer, and you company. An exchange of IP address must take place, so that the VPN server knows how to forward data to your computer.

It is possible, but difficult to convert this IP address that your company received into a geographical address.

One solution to this problem, would be to appear to connect to VPN server from home. In order to do that, you need to bounce the VPN connection off your home router (TV/Movie hackers always bounce their connection off a server in China...). What that means, is that you need to tunnel all your internet traffic to your home router.

The tool to do that is called a VPN. The process, want is called, Double Hop VPN.

Most phones do not support Double Hop VPN.

The easiest way to achieve this, would be to create a "VPN Hotspot". This is a device (you likely build) that takes a regular WiFi hotspot, wraps it up with a VPN connection and rebroadcasts out a "secured" WiFi hotspot connection.

I would recommend building one using a Raspberry Pi as the base; you would also need to setup a VPN server on your Home Router, for the Raspberry Pi to tunnel back to...

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