VPN’s are being used more and more to replace fibre connections. Certainly, for any non critical infrastructure (say, connection to testing environments), VPNs are more than good enough. In some projects, our partners have decided that redundant VPNs are sufficiently reliable enough for connecting to production environments.

The main VPN used to connect sites is IPSec. IPSec was developed in the 1990s and is now included in most routers and firewalls. To connect 2 different organisations via VPN network, they first agree on the VPN parameters, then both parties enter the parameters into their respective firewalls/routers. The VPN should then become operational and the sites connected.

However sometimes it doesn’t work immediately. There are a lot of settings involved when setting up IPSec VPN connections. Also, there are different versions of the protocol. Normally when the connection initially does not work, the problem can be resolved by engineers from both organisations reviewing the settings and either fixing discrepancies or choosing alternatives which work with firewalls at both ends.

On a few occasions the above was not sufficient in projects we have worked on. Either firewalls’ IPSec implementations were not compatible or engineers were not available at the other party. When these situations arose, Motif Markets engineers had to use their knowledge of VPN protocols to analyse the VPN messaging traffic, determine the technical reasons for the VPN failure and then develop alternative VPN/network implementations which work around these technical issues.

IPsec issues can be hard to resolve. While better and easier to use VPN protocols may become available in the near future, IPSec will still be around for a long time.

Motif Markets has the engineering skills that not only allow VPNs to be set up in an optimal manner, but also the skills to trouble-shoot VPN issues should they arise.