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5 VPN Clients for Linux
January 18, 2011
Administering heterogenous networks means making Mac and Windows play nice with Linux, and each other, even when they don't want to. Here are five Linux VPN clients for Cisco, Juniper, and other VPN servers, with some compatibility tips and getting connected.
Cisco's official VPN client is compatible with Cisco VPN servers. In addition to Linux (Intel), it's available for Windows, Mac OS X, and Solaris UltraSPARC. It currently supports some 64-bit platforms, in addition to 32-bit.
The Cisco VPN Client can be preconfigured for large deployments and requires minimal effort by end-users. It supports Cisco Easy VPN capabilities, which helps simplify the configuration of network security policies at the remote location.
The Cisco VPN Client is included with Cisco ASA 5500 Series Adaptive Security Appliances, except ASA 5505. If you don't already have a copy of the client, you can download it if you have a SMARTnet support contract and encryption entitlement. Otherwise, you can get the client on CD from a reseller. You may also consider using a third-party client, such as VPNC, which is discussed next.
The Cisco VPN Client works with the following products:
This is a third-party VPN client, licensed under the GNU General Public License (GPL), for connecting to Cisco and Juniper/Netscreen products. It runs on Linux and Unix-like operating systems. This client was especially useful for users on 64-bit platforms since Cisco's official client only supported 32-bit for some time. It's supposed to work with the following VPN products:
To start a connection, you simply run vpnc as root at the command-line. To stop the connection, you'd enter vpnc-disconnect as root. It will look for the configuration file /etc/vpnc.conf or /etc/vpnc/default.conf. To use multiple configuration files, you'd enter the name of the config file as an argument. If no config files are found, it will use interactive mode and ask for configuration settings at the command-line.
Remember, all config files should be place in /etc/vpnc/, have a .conf extension, and use the following syntax:
If you prefer configuration via a GUI, here are a few to check out:
If you're looking for Nortel Contivity support, consider VPNN, a fork of VPNC-0.3.2.