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S/WAN (Secure WAN)
Note: Many topics at this site are reduced versions of the text in "The Encyclopedia of Networking and Telecommunications." Search results will not be as extensive as a search of the book's CD-ROM.
S/WAN was originally an initiative of RSA Security, in conjunction with leading firewall and TCP/IP stack vendors. S/WAN's goal is to help companies build secure firewall-to-firewall connections over the Internet between their company sites or between business partners. Basically, S/WAN creates secure VPNs (virtual private networks). All data that is transmitted between sites is encrypted to hide it from wiretappers. Connections mimic a private leased line over the Internet.
S/WAN uses the IETF's IPSec specification as the basis for implementing interoperability among different firewall and TCP/IP products. S/WAN devices sit at the edge of a network where it connects with the Internet. An encrypted tunnel is established across the Internet with another S/WAN device. All outgoing packets are encrypted, then encapsulated into a new packet with a new header. The new header is used to route the encrypted packet through the network because the header of the encrypted packet cannot be read by routers.
An open-source version of S/WAN called FreeS/WAN provides VPN services in the Linux environment. The software allows Linux-based systems to provide secure gateway services and VPN connections. FreeS/WAN was envisioned by John Gilmore, cofounder of the EFF (Electronic Frontier Foundation), a group that works on Internet privacy issues. FreeS/WAN encrypts data packets with 168-bit Triple-DES, which is currently considered to be very secure.
Copyright (c) 2001 Tom Sheldon and Big Sur Multimedia.