VPN Options for Linux


There is no single standardized VPN tool, although there are moves toward creating VPN standards. In the meantime, organizations that want to configure VPNs need to settle on one of several tools. The three most common tools for Linux are the following:

  • PPTP ” The Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol (PPTP) was developed by a consortium of companies, known collectively as the PPTP Forum. PPTP is commonly used to link telecommuters or travelers to a home office. PPTP support ships with recent versions of Windows, so it's easy to implement on Windows clients . A Linux PPTP server, PoPToP (http:// poptop .lineo.com), is available.

  • FreeS /WAN ” The FreeS/WAN project (http://www.freeswan.org) builds on the Internet Key Exchange (IKE) and IPSec protocols to provide an open source VPN tool for Linux. It's quite popular for Linux-to-Linux VPNs (one or both ends may host non-Linux computers behind the VPN router, of course).

  • SSH ” The Secure Shell (SSH) protocol has the capacity to tunnel other protocols' connections. It's possible to use this capability to tunnel a PPP connection over an SSH link. Properly routed, the PPP interfaces on each end of the connection then provide a VPN between the two sites.

This chapter focuses on the first two approaches. PPTP is a very popular VPN approach, particularly when Windows clients must connect directly to the VPN router at a central location. There are also PPTP implementations for many other OSs, and even in dedicated hardware devices that are frequently referred to as remote access switches. FreeS/WAN is less popular outside of the Linux world, but it can be an excellent way to link together multiple networks using Linux VPN-enabled routers.



Advanced Linux Networking
Advanced Linux Networking
ISBN: 0201774232
EAN: 2147483647
Year: 2002
Pages: 203

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