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Two VPN clients on one machine?

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Last Modified: 2008-02-01
I read somewhere that two VPN clients could not be installed on a single machine. We have clients using the SonicWall GVC and they need to connect to a site using the Cisco VPN client. Is there such thing as a universal vpn client?
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Windows has a built in VPN client, however it works with some VPNs and not others, I believe that cisco requires their vpn client and will not use another.

I have never heard of only being able to install only 1 vpn client.  However base on the security model of vpn, it is likely that you cannot be CONNECTED to both vpn's simultaniously.  Often times when you use a vpn client, it locks the connection so that all communicaion occurs across the vpn connection.

Have you tried installing both clients?
Also, are they PPTP vpns or IPSEC.  I assume both are IPSEC, you might check both to see if they are compatible with Windows standard implimentation of IPSEC.  Some VPNs require the client software to check AntiVirus signature stats, AntiSpyware stats and a plethora of other security concerns and might not be compatible with the Windows implimentation.



I have not tried installing both clients. Didn't want to take risk and cause some kind of BSOD. Yes both clients are IPSEC. Contacted SonicWall support and they recommend to turn off the sonicwall service before kicking off the other vendor client. This would be too cumbersome for the end user. ANy other thoughts?
would it be possible to create a vpn between the two firewalls, and setup routing, so when the client connects to either of the vpns they have access to both networks?

I don't know what kind of budget you have for this, but maybe you could get a small firewall that has a vpn client on it, and use that when connecting to one vpn, and the software to connect to the other vpn...

Aside from that, possibly you could setup a couple of scripts that the end user could just double click, one for each vpn.  You could have those scripts start and stop the necessary services on the machine.

Aside from those options, I don't know and cleaner ways to provide the necessary service.

Possibly Remote Desktop or citrix could be used at one of the sites to eliminate the end user's need to use both vpns?

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for cisco you dont need their client, but the device terminating the tunnel has to be configured to let PPTP clients.  Not Recommended to do.  One question, do these machines need to have both vpn clients connected simultaneously?
Top Expert 2013

I have successfully set up Cisco Client and WatchGuard's Safenet Client on the same machine with no problem. I believe SonicWall also uses the SafeNet client. However, as suggested earlier you can only run one or the other clients at a given time. On the other hand some clients such as the Linksys cannot be installed on the same machine as the SafeNet. I don't think you would get a  BSOD, but you may have to uninstall the clients and re-install if you had an issue.

Even if you can configure with the same client, there are security, routing, and multiple users of IPSec service that limit the use of two simultaneous connection.

When this is necessary it is usually best to set up your VPN using hardware, VPN routers. The routers can establish and maintain tunnels to multiple locations and for multiple users.
If you wanted to test and the machine is XP you   could always use the system restore feature.

Installing more than one vpn client is sort of hit and miss, some will sit together on a single machine just fine others prefer to be installed in a specific order the only way to tell if both clients will work is to install them both on a test machine and connect one at a time to test functionality.After that you could test running both at the same time and yes you can have multiple clients running at the same time but it would depend on the setups at the endpoint of the tunnels and if the clients will work together.I have had issues where cisco and the sonicwall client could not be installed on the same pc and others where they worked just fine.


so sorry for the late repy. The client does not need to connect to the two different sites at the same time. But typically the user will not disconnect one connection before connecting with the other. I will go ahead and try to install both clients on one machine and see what happens. I would like to stick with IPSEC instead of using PPTP. I would rather not RDP or Citrix into my site, Or is there a safer method  of using these technologies.
I agree I would test them both first to get a better idea, another option is what Robwill stated if you could set up dedicated site to site tunnels and eliminate the clients all together.
Top Expert 2013
I think you will be OK with those 2 Clients. Cisco plays quite well with the others, however you will have to disconnect the one before the other will work , one will not force the other disconnect, at least not properly. I think the problem exists with some client that maintain 'hooks' to the IPSec service even when disconnected.
Top Expert 2013

mrlucio79, how did you make out when you installed the 2 clients?
As with any question there are multiple solutions available to meet the need...  The initial quesiton asked about the use of the multiple vpn clients.  When the fact was discussed about the not being able to use multiple clients simultaniously, he asked for another solution.  I was the first to make suggestions about running both clients, and also the first to suggest using hardware between sites to eliminate the need for multiple connections.  Robwill then went into further detail about using the hardware and gave further suggestions.  My suggestion for closing the question would be to accept My two answers to the Authors questions for 2/3rds pts, and give RobWill an assist for his further enlightening suggestions about the hardware solutions for the vpn and 1/3rd pts.

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