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Executive Editor

Cisco adds upgrade feature to IPSec VPN software client

Sep 14, 20042 mins
Cisco SystemsNetwork SecurityNetworking

* Cisco updates IPSec VPN gear to make it easier to distribute future upgrades

Cisco is updating the software client for its IPSec VPN gear, adding features that make it easier to distribute future upgrades and to tie the clients to other applications.

The major addition to the client is the ability to force the client to download any upgrades that come along later. The software, which runs on remote PCs connecting to Cisco VPN gateways, can be configured to check a designated Web server for updates and to download them if there are any.

If the gateways – which include Cisco VPN 3000 concentrators, PIX security appliances and Cisco IOS routers with VPN support – have new enough software revisions, they can divert the client to the Web server without preconfiguring the clients.

If it’s a minor update, the software is deployed without requiring a reboot of the remote computer. If it’s a major update, the user gets the option to reboot before or after making the VPN connection. The downloads can be throttled to limit how much bandwidth they chew up on the connection in case there is other important traffic going across the same wire.

Another major addition is an API that lets other vendors write software that controls the client. For instance, a vendor selling dialer software might want the dialer to automatically launch the VPN client, and this would give that vendor the hook to do so. It would also let a security token vendor tie its authentication gear in to the VPN client so authentication would trigger set up of the VPN session.

The client upgrade supports enabling software to initiate VPN sessions. So, for instance, if a chain of stores wanted to upload inventory information daily at 2 a.m., the software could initiate a VPN connection for the upload to travel through.

The new release, which current customers can download from Cisco’s Web site, will ship with new gear starting next month.