Netgear SSL VPN Concentrator

By Rob Scovell, in , posted: 10-Jul-2007 20:51

My past experiences with VPN have been mixed. Some solutions have been very good, but these were serious corporate VPNs with serious investment and admin behind them.

SMB VPNs have not been so good. The standard IPSec and PPTP implementations on Windows XP have, in my experience, been rather unreliable.

I have used OpenVPN, an SSL-based VPN solution, and found it to be excellent. However, the big minus for this is that configuring clients on users' PCs is overly involved. It's not something the average user can do without help.

Into this SMB SSL VPN hole comes a Linux-based appliance from Netgear. I installed one today for a client and had a decent, robust VPN up and running in about 2 hours. Actually, the VPN was going within an hour of unpacking it, but there were a number of tweaks to make it work appropriately simply for my client's users.

The box looks robust -- I hope it's not deceptive. It has the feel of being a serious professional network component, like the Infrant ReadyNAS. The box style is the same as my trusty 10-year old Netgear switch that is still working away in the corner of my office.

Inside the box is a Linux computer with a 200 MHz processor, 16M flash memory, 128M RAM. It can use a number of authentication methods, e.g. LDAP or Microsoft Active Directory.

Users simply type an https URL into their browser, login to the device, and click on an icon to establish a VPN tunnel. They are then joined to their office subnet and can browse shares etc.

ActiveX objects make client installation automatic and easy, although users may have to add the VPN site to their "Trusted Sites" and change some security settings before IE will let them install the ActiveX objects.

Mac users are not left out. They get an installer package to download and install when they first log in. Connections are then managed by a Java applet.

All in all, this is a very nice device.

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Comment by freitasm, on 10-Jul-2007 22:12

Want a really simple to use VPN? Try Hamachi.

Author's note by robscovell, on 10-Jul-2007 22:20

Hmmm ... Hamachi looks more like a remote administration tool. As far as I can tell, it doesn't join the client's PC to the internal subnet?

Comment by amir, on 9-Mar-2009 10:54

you can try this vpn it's easy to use

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