There is no way I could survive in China without VPN access.  I need access to unfiltered/blocked/censored Internet content, plus I am definetly not comfortable viewing financial info or even getting my email in the clear through a Chinese ISP.  Up until this last year I used the Cisco PIX 501 with the Cisco client to create the tunnel between Beijing and Chicago.  The 501 was ultra cool back in the day and I paid what now seems like a ridiculous amount of money for it.  It is still my firewall in Chicago but its time is coming to an end.  You can't access the admin interface if you are running a version of java newer then the Stone Age.  So for the last couple of years I would have to uninstall my Interactive Brokers TWS and java, then install a old version of java, make changes to the firewall, and then reinstall everything (plus my settings) to get back to square one.  It was ridiculous.  And its mostly CLI and I am definetly not a Cisco guy, so it was always a combination of brute force and swearing that even allowed me to use the thing effectively.  I think it was the phallic symbolism of having a PIX in my house that made me use it anyway.  Though it is damn cool.

So I had to switch to StrongVPN which is a service from Reliable Hosting.  I use it both on the laptop and the iPhone and its ok.  Not great, it has some performance issues, but it works.  I really want a hardware solution on both ends but I just can't justify the expense.  It sucks because with the PIX I had full access to both servers in the US home.  All my files, source control, test instances - everything.  But there is neither the budget nor the time before I leave to change.