[CentOS] Optimal VPN

Thu Nov 25 13:12:16 UTC 2010
J.Witvliet at mindef.nl <J.Witvliet at mindef.nl>


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My sense is that openvpn is the easiest to configure, the most robust and fault tolerant, as far as keeping connections up and reestablishing failed connections.  The downside of openvpn is incompatibility with most mobile devices, not relevant if you are able to install openvpn clients.  You can configure fixed IP addresses using either the ccd files or the client-connect script.

Based on other discussussions on the list my recollection is that IPSEC provides better performance if you need GigE or better data rates on your VPNs.  My sense is that IPSEC may be more difficult to configure and less robust at keeping connections up, but this has probably improved in recent years.

The main advantage to pptp that I see is compatibility with mobile devices.  A disadvantage of PPTP, as far as I know it cannot easily be tunneled through something like a linux firewall because it uses non-standard protocol packets (not TCP/UDP).

Both OPENVPN and IPSEC can easily be tunneled through most firewalls.

Though I have not researched this extensively, just based on watching list of security updates that get released for Centos, Fedora etc, It seems that OPENVPN has had very few security issues.  I have definely seen a few for strongswan and openswan (both are IPSEC implementations).  Again this is just gut feeling, not the result of any investigation.  I do note though that OPENVPN runs easily in a chroot 
environment, just by enabling options in the config file.   I'm not sure 
if openswan or strongswan can do this.




If you don't use any fancy features, OpenVPN is rather easy to set up.
Additional effort is needed with:

Exactly _the same troubles_ you will encounter with ipsec (though i have only used with strongswan)

If it is only master/slave configuration, openvpn will do, for a more complex topology (meshed) consider ipsec
Will you be confronted with IPv6 in the (not so) near future? Forget OpenVPN, it is still beta there, while it has been implemented in strongswan for ages, and part of there standard test plan.
Furthermore, openvpn is only compatible with openvpn, while using ipsec you might be able to connect to other boxes.
If you can install software on both ends, openvpn is available  for many platforms.


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