A wide variety of Cisco products actively support VPN connections throughout the network. Cisco’s Unified Client Framework strategy enables all adhering VPN client technologies to connect to any Cisco central-site VPN concentrators, including the Cisco 3000 series VPN concentrators, PIX Firewalls, and Cisco IOS-based routers.
The Cisco VPN software client is typically provided at no charge with central site concentrators, so the software client is inexpensive to deploy and scale to large numbers. These VPN clients have specific limited operating system (OS) support and might require some level of support. These software clients could be impractical in those extranet environments where the organization doesn’t own or control the remote PC, such as in a franchise or customer location. The organization might not want to absorb the expense associated with maintaining and supporting non-company workstations.
Cisco small router and firewall devices can be an inexpensive way to provide security features like stateful firewall and VPN capabilities to remote sites. Unfortunately, these devices don’t scale beyond a few hundred devices. Deployment, monitoring, and ongoing support can be inconvenient, time-consuming, and expensive because of the variety of features and options that must often be manually configured at both ends of the connection.
The Cisco VPN 3000 Series Concentrator, combined with the Cisco VPN 3002 Hardware Client device, scales to support customers with 100 or fewer remote access users to large organizations with up to 10,000 simultaneous connections. The Cisco VPN 3000 Series Concentrator is available in both nonredundant and redundant configurations, providing the customer with multiple options to design and build robust, reliable, and cost-effective networks.
The latest Cisco VPN 3000 Series Concentrator OS, release 3.6, is the most recent version at press time. This release includes simplified VPN Software Client—Easy VPN— which allows minimal client configuration and “push” technology to download the configuration from the concentrator. Additional release 3.6 features include AES support, expanded support for Microsoft’s Integrated VPN Client in Windows 2000/XP, and security for wireless environments.
The new Cisco VPN 3002 Hardware Client, covered in the next section, combines easy implementation and rollout, plus high scalability, with the performance, reliability, and stability of a hardware device.
The Cisco VPN 3000 Series Concentrator Wireless Client Support for Elliptic Curve Cryptography (ECC) provides faster information processing by personal digital assistants (PDAs) and smart phones.
The Cisco VPN 3000 Series Concentrator, Cisco VPN 3002 Hardware Client, and the Cisco VPN Client work together with the Cisco Internet Mobile Office to provide mobile professionals with secure, high-speed broadband connectivity to their networks in airports, convention centers, hotels, and a growing number of other public spaces.