Ask the Expert

What's the difference between VPN pass-through and multi-tunneling?

My company is using Cisco VPN client software on a Cisco 3825 router. A trainer was attempting to teach some employees how to connect using the VPN software on his Linksys WRT54G router.

The router has VPN pass-through but not multi-tunneling capabilities. I've tried to explain that his VPN pass-through is not capable of establishing multiple VPN tunnels for 20 users to connect to simultaneously.

Can you explain this for me?

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Companies that do not implement true IPsec often advertise their products as VPN pass-through. Just because the device can pass IPsec does not mean they can fully support it.

Not all products handle IPsec the same way and that is the case with pass-through. Devices that support pass-through break the NAT traversal and usually are limited to only one host behind the firewall.

Multi-tunneling allows the system to discriminate and forward traffic based on destination. Devices that support multi-tunneling can connect VPN users and sort each of them into their own establishment tunnel.

This was first published in October 2008

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