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SmoothWall Develops Low-Cost SSL VPN Alternative.

SmoothWall Ltd, a small Internet security company specializing in Linux-based firewalls, virtual private networking and content filtering, will next month release what it is claiming to be a low-cost alternative to the so-called clientless Secure Socket Layer-based VPN.

A new Linux-based VPN module of the company's Corporate Server firewall extends the system with support for Layer Two Tunneling Protocol or L2TP, one of the key building blocks for VPNs in the dial access space. SmoothTunnel 3.1 is an upgrade of a product first released in 2002 as an Internet Protocol security, or IPSec, gateway for site-to-site VPN and client-based secure mobile access. The new L2TP version will require no expensive client software.

The SmoothWall L2TP VPN system relies on a specially written utility that installs certificates and configures a connection using a standard component of the Windows 2000 or XP operating systems. For Windows 98, Windows Millennium Edition, or Windows NT Workstation 4.0 the necessary Microsoft L2TP/IPSec VPN client is available as a free download and allows computers running it to use L2TP connections with IPSec. That combination of L2TP and IPSec is a highly secure technology for making remote access VPN connections across public networks such as the Internet.

SmoothWall L2TP VPN is very simply configured as a standard Windows network connection and requires only the IP address of the VPN gateway and the user name and password to secure a connection. "Everything that you can do with IPSec, you can do with L2TP," said George Lungley, managing director of SmoothWall. It combines the best of Cisco's Layer 2 Forwarding protocol and Microsoft's Point-to-Point Tunneling Protocol.

The SmoothTunnel system is protocol independent and runs directly on top of IPSec and IP so is able to carry all the normal traffic, as well as more complex data streams like video, VoIP, Fash or Java. Lungley said the gateway is much simpler than IPSec and does not call for any expensive SSL VPN appliance.

There are real cost benefits using this route to secure "clientless" connections, Lungley suggested. "A typical SSL VPN appliance will cost in the region of $7,500 and calls for a high level of expertise to install and configure," he said. With SmoothTunnel an organization can have an affordable, easy-to-configure and secure VPN solution for about $2,000, including a high-performance Intel PC, the Corporate Server firewall and a SmoothTunnel license for five users.
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Title Annotation:secure sockets layer virtual private network; SmoothWall Ltd, Internet security company based in UK
Publication:Computergram International
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Mar 5, 2004
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