Cisco has released a collection of upgrades to its VPN capabilities that span a number of its hardware and software platforms with the aim of making them faster and easier to manage.While no single element is earth shaking, they add up to signs of continuous fine tuning of the company's broad VPN offerings.On the software side, Security Device Manager is a configuration tool being added to Cisco 830 and 3700 access routers to make VPN and firewall set up easier. The software can also assess the configurations and recommend ways to tighten security on the boxes.Also in software, the new Cisco IP Solution Center Security Technology Module manages tens of thousands of VPN endpoints and firewalls for the largest enterprises and service providers.The company is releasing a new version of CiscoWorks VPN\/Security Management Solutions so it now manages Cisco Catalyst 6500 firewall and VPN hardware modules. It can also monitor Cisco IDS intrusion detection software Version 4.0 as well as new Cisco Security Agent software that was acquired when Cisco bought Okena in January.Cisco is issuing a new version of its VPN client that can handle multimedia applications and peer-to-peer applications as they pass through network-address-translating firewalls. These applications are troublesome because they use random or uncommon firewall ports that can break VPN connections.On the hardware side, Cisco is announcing acceleration cards for VPN encryption on the Cisco 2600 and 7200 routers and Cisco VPN 3000 concentrators. The cards support both Triple-DES and advanced encryption standard.Cisco IP Solution Center Security Technology Module starts at $6,000. CiscoWorks VPN\/Security Management Solutions starts at $8,000. The new VPN acceleration cards range from $1,750 to $35,000.