One Step Back
At my workplace, they’re switching over from standard PPTP VPN to a set-up using Juniper Networks’ Network Connect. To use it, you log into a URL and once your i.d. and password are accepted, the network you’re trying to connect to downloads a utility that establishes the VPN tunnel. If you’re looking at it from the outside, it sounds like a great concept. It’s supposedly platform agnostic and only takes a browser to get into.
That would be great, but it’s not working worth a damn for me. It’s not working on my Intel iMac at all, whether it’s running Mac OS 10.4.6 (Intel) or Windows XP Pro. I had no better luck with the set-up using my dual G5 PowerMac running Mac OS 10.4.6 for PPC. And I was getting two different symptoms. On the XP side, I could get the application downloaded and it would connect up only to immediately disconnect. On the Mac side, the application would start to load but then bomb with an error message. When I started trying to troubleshoot my problems, I discovered there was little information I could get off Juniper Networks’ website since it’s password protected and I wasn’t an enterprise customer. I did contact the IT folks where I work and sent them logs from my XP machine, and they sent me the Mac application for me to install but only a PPC version. Intel Macs are not supported, yet, they said. Well, that’s not unexpected nor their fault, but I was begrudging them turning off PPTP VPN. Luckily, even though the cutoff date has been passed, the PPTP VPN is still working. That’s a good thing. I need to at least have the XP connection up and running under the new system before they shut down the old.
They have their reasons for making this move. But based on some of the comments I’ve seen about it from some networking pro’s, I’m wondering whether they did their homework before signing up for it.