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    About Network Connect

    The Network Connect access option provides a VPN user experience, serving as an additional remote access mechanism to corporate resources using an SA Series Appliance. This feature supports all Internet-access modes, including dial-up, broadband, and LAN scenarios, from the client machine and works through client-side proxies and firewalls that allow SSL traffic.

    When a user launches Network Connect, Network Connect transmits all traffic to and from the client over the secure Network Connect tunnel. The only exception is for traffic initiated by other SA Series-enabled features, such as Web browsing, file browsing, and telnet/SSH. If you do not want to enable other SA Series features for certain users, create a user role for which only the Network Connect option is enabled and make sure that users mapped to this role are not also mapped to other roles that enable other SA Series features.

    When Network Connect runs, the client’s machine effectively becomes a node on the remote (corporate) LAN and becomes invisible on the user’s local LAN; the SA Series Appliance serves as the Domain Name Service (DNS) gateway for the client and knows nothing about the user’s local LAN. Users may define static routes on their PCs, however, to continue to access the local LAN while simultaneously connecting to the remote LAN. Since PC traffic goes through the Network Connect tunnel to your internal corporate resources, make sure that other hosts within a user’s local network cannot connect to the PC running Network Connect.

    In the event of broken network connectivity, only the Windows and Macintosh versions of Network Connect try (indefinitely) to reconnect.

    You can ensure that other hosts in a remote user’s LAN cannot reach internal corporate resources by denying the user access to the local subnet (configured on the Users > User Roles > Select Role > Network Connect tab). If you do not allow access to a local subnet, then an SA Series Appliance terminates Network Connect sessions initiated by clients on which static routes are defined. You may also require clients to run endpoint security solutions, such as a personal firewall, before launching a network-level remote access session. Host Checker, which performs endpoint security checks on hosts that connect to an SA Series Appliance, can verify that clients use endpoint security software.

    Note: A Hosts file entry is added by Network Connect to support the following case:

    • If, when NC connects, split tunneling is disabled and the original externally resolved hostname (the hostname the user initially connected to prior to the NC launch) resolves to another IP address against the internal DNS, the browser will redirect to a “Server not found” page, because no route is defined within the client system.
    • At a graceful termination (sign-out or timeout) of the NC client connection, the Hosts file is restored. If the Hosts file was not restored in a prior case due to an ungraceful termination, the Hosts file will be restored the next time the user launches Network Connect.

    For Network Connect to communicate, the following ports must be open:

    • UDP port 4242 on loopback address
    • TCP port 443
    • If using ESP mode, the UDP port configured on the SSL VPN ( default is UDP 4500).

    The Network Connect option provides secure, SSL-based network-level remote access to all enterprise application resources using the SA Series Appliance over port 443. Port 4242 is used for IPC communication between the Network Connect service and the Network Connect executable on the client PC. Typically endpoint products do not block this type of IPC communication. However, if you have an endpoint product that does block this communication, you must allow it for Network Connect to work properly.

    Note: If you enable the multiple sessions per user feature, Network Connect clients may not be assigned the same IP address. For example, Network Connect client may be assigned a different Network Connect VIP address each time they connect to an SA Series Appliance when the SA Series Appliance is obtaining the DHCP addresses from a DHCP server.

    Published: 2011-03-14