Chapter 6. Implementing the AltaVista Tunnel 98

The AltaVista Tunnel is a product from Digital Equipment Corporation (now Compaq) that supports moderately heavy use over a virtual private network connection.

As virtual private networks mature, the AltaVista Tunnel continues to evolve, increasing security and adding features and functionality. Now reincarnated as the Altavista Tunnel 98, this client-server package is still a solid solution to a company’s VPN needs. In this chapter we introduce some of the advantages, drawbacks, and key concepts to the functionality of the AltaVista solution. Though this is not the only virtual private networking solution, it is one that seems to be taking the lead in this still maturing field.

The AltaVista Tunnel 98 is available in two versions: the Extranet Server and the Telecommuter Client. The Extranet server manages connections on the office side, while remote users dial in using Telecommuter Client. The Extranet server itself can also act as a tunnel client, allowing an entire LAN to access a tunnel to a remote LAN.

The server keeps a file on each user, defining each user with a username, group name, password, and half of a digital key for the purposes of encryption. Each user’s client software is configured to issue this information to the server upon initiating a connection.

The server secures traffic for the tunnel network with a combination of encryption and conventional authorization using usernames and passwords. This authorization scheme ...

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