VPNC with Linux

Warning: this is old information and may not work anymore

General information

VPNC is an alternate VPN-Client for the Cisco IPsec servers. In Debian it's available since 3.1 (Sarge) and it should be available in most other modern Linux distributions.

See the end of this HowTo for instructions about manual installation on older Linux distributions such as Debian 3.0 Woody.


Debian and Ubuntu

In recent version of Ubuntu the package "vpnc" is part of the default desktop installation. Choose the menu Applications->Add/Remove... and search for "vpnc". If it is not already installed you can do that directly there.

Alternatively you can install the package "vpnc" as root (or with "sudo" prepended) from the command line apt-get install vpnc


Using the ISG EE Ubuntu AddOns

For all Debian based dsitrbutions (using the .deb package format) such as Debian and Ubuntu (maybe also Xandros), you can use the isgee-vpnc-ethz package which includes a ready-to-use configuration as well as some helpful helper scripts targeted on usage with the ETHZ VPN.

The package's configuration connects to the ETH public VPZ by default. If you want to connect to your own VPZ, you may need to modify the configuration file /etc/vpnc/ethz.conf or create a new configuration file. See manual configuration below.


On Ubuntu you can easily install it adding the ISG EE Ubuntu AddOns Repository to your package manager. See https://linux.ee.ethz.ch/AddTheAddOns for details.


On Debian you can also use the Ubuntu package isgee-vpnc-ethz. For Sarge (3.1) and Etch (4.0) just use the Ubuntu Edgy version of the isgee-vpnc-ethz package.

Non-Debianesk Distributions

Download the source of the isgee-vpnc-ethz package and adjust the scripts to your needs.


(Said to no more work. Try the isgee-vpnc-ethz scripts mentioned above in that case.)

Create configfile /etc/vpnc.conf:

Interface name tun0
IKE DH Group dh2
Perfect Forward Secrecy nopfs
IPSec gateway
IPSec ID Group-Name
IPSec secret Group-Password
Xauth username n.ethz.ch-Login

Get the whole configuration file including Group-Name and Group-Password from https://vpnsoftware.ethz.ch/IPSec VPN Client-all OS/Linux/VPNC/Linux-VPNC-ethz.conf. You will need your n.ethz.ch account and password to access that file.

Starting the client

Manual configuration
vpnc-connect /etc/vpnc.conf
Using the isgee-vpnc-ethz Ubuntu/Debian package
vpnc-connect ethz