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SSL VPN server runs Linux

Aug 7, 2006 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 4 views

Netgear used Linux and a MIPS32-based Cavium SoC with integrated security processing to build an SSL VPN server aimed at small- and mid-sized businesses. The ProSafe SSL VPN Concentrator uses SSL tunnels, rather than IPsec, to offer secure, browser-based access for up to 25 concurrent users, Netgear… says.

(Click for slightly larger view of Netgear ProSafe SSL VPN Concentrator)

Netgear says VPNs (virtual private networks) based on SSL tunnels (secure sockets layer tunnels) are easier to use and maintain than VPNs based on IPSec (Internet Protocol security). Whereas IPsec VPNs require remote users to install device drivers and manage security tokens, SSL VPNs appear to download the requisite encryption and authentication software and tokens to supported browsers as web applications. The ProSafe device currently supports Microsoft's Internet Explorer and Apple's Safari browser, according to Netgear.

Cavium claims that SSL VPNs are the fastest-growing segment of the remote access equipment market, with an annual average growth rate above 40 percent. It says its Nitrox Soho chips and SSL toolkit offer low-cost, high-performance SSL processing, and that Netgear's ProSafe is among the first SSL VPNs available to small- and mid-sized companies.

The ProSafe SSL device is based on an unspecified chip in Cavium's “CN22x” line of MIPS32-based Nitrox Soho processors. The VPN Concentrator device also uses Cavium's SSL Application Toolkit, a portable function library available for Linux. The toolkit allows developers to exploit cryptographic and authentication acceleration engines within the Nitrox Soho chips, according to Cavium.


Netgear's ProSafe SSL VPN Concentrator appears to be available now, at street prices around $350.

SSL VPNs for the SMB market (small and medium-size businesses) are also available from OpenGear, a startup founded last year by SnapGear founder Bob Waldie. OpenGear's low-end CM4001 model costs about $300, and in addition to an SSL VPN server, integrates a serial device server and RDP-based Windows desktop server.

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