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Multiple VPN clients on one machine (not simultaneous connection)

Posted on 2006-04-09
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Hi There.  I'm a wandering IT consultant and I frequently need to access up to four different VPN's for different clients from the same laptop.  The VPN's are Nortel Contivity, Sonicwall, SecureRemote and ATT&T Global network.

Some of these definitely DO NOT want to install concurrently on my machine. For example, the Sonicwall install blows up the SecureRemote so that it's service won't run and it carshes with an "internal error".  Does anyone have any suggestions for a single VPN client that work with all, or at least two or more of these VPN gateways.

If not, would it be possible to have some kind of selective boot process (without completely virtual machines) to load one or the other?

Many thanks,

Ken
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Question by:Firebladeboy1993
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by:Zentoo
ID: 16413156
I guess you might need something like this
http://www.avignonsolutions.com/db/tip2.php

Regards,
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by:Firebladeboy1993
ID: 16413193
Hmm...interesting but seems to require "second" PC. Be no good for me as I need a portable solution i.e. one that would work from a single travelling laptop. Nice try though! Thanks :-)
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by:Rob Williams
ID: 16413492
I agree some will not play well together. The two I find that cause the problems are Secure Remote and Linksys QuickVPN. Only way I have found around it is by using Virtual Server (which is free as of this month, by the way) with virtual machines, or a dual boot machine. I have sometimes out of desperation logged on to a remote machine using only remote desktop and used the VPN client installed there to bounce to the other remote site. Rather crude and not as secure, but works. Curious if someone else has a good solution.
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by:billwharton
ID: 16413554
There's no method you can accomplish what you require. The reason is that most of the VPN clients would use IPsec VPN and hence your computer will know to accept ports on the particular IPsec protocols in use. Once the computer accepts these, the packets get passed onto the software client's VPN drivers for decryption. Hence, what you require is two clients listening on the same port and that's not possible.

You may be able to get away if the software clients used differnet protocols. For eg: IPsec & PPTP and another using SSL VPN
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by:Firebladeboy1993
ID: 16413597
Bill, it sounds like you are assuming a simultaneous connection to diff VPN's is required at the same time, but that's not it. I want them to run one at time but I need them to all be installed  on the same computer.
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by:samb39
ID: 16413672
Here are a few sleazy ideas to try:

You could set Restore Points with each VPN client loaded, and run System REstore to reach those configurations as needed.  

http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/tutorials/tutorial56.html

Hardware profiles?  I'm not sure if they would make any change in installed software, probably not:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/225810/
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samb39 earned 672 total points
ID: 16413797
You could possibly use U3 USB drives, if you can install the correct VPN software on them.  U3 drives hold both applications and data, but there is only a limited variety of applications available at the moment.  You could have seeral of them and plug in the one you want to use.

http://www.everythingusb.com/u3.html

http://www.u3.com/

You could also just install Windows XP on a USB drive and boot from it:

http://www.tomshardware.com/2005/09/09/windows_in_your_pocket/

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by:billwharton
ID: 16414100
Well, it boils down to the same thing - Windows allows only one driver to reside at the network layer and hence, VPN clients don't install when they see another one installed already

You didn't like the previous idea of using multiple PC's but maybe you can use virtualization (vmware) to simulate multiple PC's and then route between these like the previous link recommended
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by:Rob Williams
Rob Williams earned 664 total points
ID: 16414132
I agree some VPN clients will not install, or not work properly, if installed on the same machine, but I currently have the Cisco, WatchGuard, Netgear and GreenBow Clients on 1 machine. (WatchGuard and Netgear are actually the same SafeNet client). However I know if I add the Linksys a few, if not all, stop functioning. I agree if you do freelance tech support it is necessary to have configurations like this.

I have a colleague who uses the CheckPoint client wherever possible. However, for his own access where CheckPoint is not an option he uses Hamachi which will operate quite well with most clients, is free, and requires no special router configuration or forwarding. I am still not convinced it is as secure, but it has received good reviews.
http://www.hamachi.cc
running as a service:
http://www.itsatechworld.com/2006/01/17/hamachi-vpn-solution/
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by:billwharton
billwharton earned 664 total points
ID: 16414150
Another alternative would be to set up the head-end VPN servers for PPTP and simply use Windows PPTP client to VPN into all these networks. That way, you don't have to install a single 3rd party client. Most of the VPN concentrators in the market support IPSec as well as PPTP
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by:mianni
ID: 16418227
Why not install vmware, then install the vpn clients on differnet virtual machines.
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by:mianni
ID: 16418255
sorry "VMware" has already been mentioned....disregard my previous comment, howver I think would be the only solution to your problem.
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by:Firebladeboy1993
ID: 16418294
The problem with multiple virtual machines is the amount of software I would have to install on each.  (similarly for bootable USB drives). As I understand it, I would need to install my complete software payload onto each.  The VPN client is just to access the network, once I'm connected I need to use some pretty hefty software development tools plus the normal MS Office suite etc. etc.

I guess Bill's VPN concentrator idea would work but it sounds pretty "intense"! :-)  
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