Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Replacement for Cisco VPN Client on 64-bit Windows

If you are a GP consultant, you likely need to connect to client networks and servers remotely, often using a VPN connection.

By far the most popular VPN that I have used with my clients is Cisco, which requires the Cisco VPN Client software.

It's worked great for me for many years, up until I tried to use it on 64-bit Windows. The latest version refuses to install on a 64-bit OS, and Cisco's web site states that they will not be creating a 64-bit version, pointing you to a different version of their VPN software (not free) that will work on 64-bit Windows.

After some searching, I found the Shrew Soft VPN client. This is a free VPN client that is fully compatible with Cisco VPN connections, and even supports importing the Cisco .pcf configuration files.

It seems to work great. The only minor issue I've had is that DNS resolution for the client's network requires the use of a fully qualified domain name (FQDN), such as server.domain.local, instead of just "server", which is a common problem I've had with other VPN clients other than Cisco. But it's easy enough to workaround, or you can always just use an IP address.

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