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News

The advantages of IPSec tunnelling for VPN over SSL

NCP Engineering : 21 July, 2009  (Special Report)
Simon Ford, the Internationals Sales Director at NCP Engineering gives an overview of VPN tunnelling technology and the advantages of IPSec over SSL
Teleworking is firmly part of the modern business communication mix as the trend towards mobile computing continues. The established technology protecting a company's network against internet-based attacks is tunnelling using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Two tunnelling procedures, IPSec and SSL are on the market, and have become the subject of controversial discussions as to which is more effective in different situations.

This article will discuss and demonstrate how practical applications of VPN technology work in real world situations.

IPSec is the tunnelling protocol of the 'first hour' for safely transferring data through public networks. Originally exclusively selected for data transfer between two VPN Gateways, site-to-site communication, revealed deficits with remote access connections because a VPN Client is needed on every terminal equipment to connect teleworkers to the network, which must be configured, installed and administrated for each user. The expenditure for rollout and management turns out consequently high and increases exorbitantly with growing numbers of mobile equipment that need to be managed.

That was the birth of SSL-VPN. Providers promised a universally applicable 'clientless' technology - i.e. remote access without client software. The only requirement on the terminal equipment was a browser. In practice however, the limits of SSL VPNs regarding communication needs and safety requirements were shown. A piece of client software (so-called Thin Client or Fat Client) was still needed on the terminal equipment for meaningful operation of the originally planned 'clientless' remote access technology. The implementation of real clientless technology is limited to only a few applications.

'New IPSec' technology is optimised for remote access and distinguishes itself through universal application, simple operation, high performance and safety as well as transparency. New IPSec eliminates the complexity and protocol deficits of traditional IPSec. As an integrative component of a holistic VPN-solution, a high measure of universality, user-friendliness and a central management is now available. The VPN Client can be used remotely and has an intuitive graphical user interface. Following the end-to-end safety principle, all the safety mechanisms needed for a confidential data transfer and the protection of the company's network and terminal equipment are available, for example: integrated dynamic personal firewall, own dialler, automatic hotspot registration, Friendly Net Detection (FND), parameter barrier against faulty operation and endpoint security.

The user accesses the company's network with only one click and central management ensures transparency. Integrated automation make mass rollouts, certification and licence management and administration easier, as users can benefit from being able to streamline accurate information and processes, whilst also reducing the number of man hours being spent doing so. Other integrative components are a comfortable Change-Management and Network Access Control (NAC). Interfaces to already existing IT-components like databases, RADIUS-/LDAP-Server, Identity and Access Management Systems (IAM) round up the complete solution.

IPSec VPNs are the preferred technology in corporate networks, when stationary and mobile employees must be connected with high security. Their complete integration in the Intranet stands at the centre of IPSec VPN focus. The SSL-technology can also be applied for occasional remote access for the connection of customers and business partners.


Experts have agreed that new IPSec is the favoured tunnelling protocol for external communications, that is, the connection of branches and teleworkers via the internet to the intranet. The deficits and complexity of classical IPSec in the areas of remote access are something of the past. New IPSec offers all the required safety and communication technical features and is a part of a holistic VPN-solution with integrated SSL-technology of the newest generation and central management.
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