Is that a VPN in your pocket?

I’ve been doing some VPN work again these days. Some time ago I considered updating my home VPN from PPTP to OpenVPN which is an open source SSL VPN package. I eventually decided to hold off for a few reasons. First, there is a built-in PPTP client in Windows which means I can login from just about any computer without having to download anything. Second, my PPTP solution allowed for a simple Ethernet bridge between the remote system and my home network. Finally, I could log in to the PPTP VPN from my PocketPC device.

As I mentioned I recently setup a VPN system for a client and chose to go with OpenVPN because it was going to be used from only a few specific clients, it was going on a Linux router anyway and did not need to support PocketPC clients. In this case I’m using the OpenVPN GUI for Windows client. It’s not as simple as the built-in PPTP client, but it’s still at least as easy to use as other third party VPN clients I’ve worked with in the past from vendors such as Checkpoint, Watchguard and Cisco. Interestingly enough, as I researched this installation I ran across an alpha port of OpenVPN to PocketPC just recently completed by David G. Lemley, III. At least one of my issues with OpenVPN has been resolved so it may be time to again re-evaluate my use of the aging PPTP protocol for my home VPN.

For those wondering why I made no mention of IPSEC…In my experience IPSEC is both problematic and overkill for a “road-warrior” style system where single clients are going to use LAN resources.

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