Blog Post

How-To: Connect to a Cisco VPN Using Snow Leopard or the iPhone OS

Stay on Top of Enterprise Technology Trends

Get updates impacting your industry from our GigaOm Research Community
Join the Community!

Snow Leopard has more than its fair share of improvements. If you work in the corporate world then Cisco (s csco) IPsec VPN is a great addition.

Before Apple added this feature, you had to use Cisco’s client to connect up to its VPN. With Snow Leopard and the iPhone OS, this support is built in. You may need to get together with your Network Admin to get all the correct passwords, group name and such but anything that can be done in the OS versus a third-party app is good by me.

  1. Open up Network in System Preferences.
  2. Click the + sign to create a new connection. Select VPN as the interface, Cisco IPSec as the VPN Type and name it what you want.
  3. The VPN connection will now be in your list. Fill in your Server Address and Account Name. Our VPN checks authentication against Active Directory so my Account name is domainusername. Also be sure to check the Show VPN Status box so you can easily start and stop your VPN connection.
  4. Click Authentication Settings and enter your Shared Secret and Group Name. Once again, your Network Admin should have this information for you.
  5. Go ahead and apply your settings and close System Preferences. You should see a new VPN status icon in the menu bar that when you click, gives a drop-down menu to start your VPN connection.
  6. Click Connect and you should receive a Password prompt.
  7. After you are connected, notice the menu bar icon indicates how long you have been connected. This can be a nice reminder to disconnect if you aren’t using the VPN anymore.

Setting up your iPhone or iPod touch is just as easy.

  1. Launch Settings and then click on General.
  2. Click Network.
  3. Click VPN.
  4. Click Add VPN Configuration.
  5. Click on the IPSec button and fill in all your information just as you did in Snow Leopard. Click Save when you are done.
  6. Try it out by flipping the VPN switch to On.
  7. If all is good, you’ll see you are now connected.

Things to remember when accessing shares over a VPN are that you may need to use fully qualified domain names or IP addresses. Every network is different so get friendly with your Network Admin and he/she will hopefully help you out. It’s nice to see Apple developing things like this on the business side of the market. It does it so simple and to the point, that it puts everyone else to shame.

Related GigaOM Pro Research: Cisco’s Big Bet on Consumer Telepresence

11 Responses to “How-To: Connect to a Cisco VPN Using Snow Leopard or the iPhone OS”