I am currently working on a development project for our office in München. Accessing their internal servers requires connection via VPN (I’m working from Stockholm). I’m using the very handy built-in Cisco IPSEC VPN client in OSX and have had some annoying problems which until today I have not been able to solve. I am documenting these configuration changes so I remember what I did, and hopefully it can also help others out there!
After being connected via VPN for about 48-54 minutes (seems to vary), OSX will throw up a “please enter password” dialog (I can’t remember the exact wording…). After entering the password, the VPN connection stays active for another 48-54 minutes, at which time another password dialog pops up. Lather, rinse, repeat. Not very fun during a standard work day, especially when my application-in-progress likes to crap out as soon as it loses connectivity to those remote servers (and requires lengthy restarts).
The solution (I thought)
After much googling I found this solution, for which I had high hopes (despite the comments from fellow OSX Lion users who couldn’t get the solution to work). In short, that post goes about showing how to grant
/usr/libexec/configd access to your keychain, in order to squelch the password dialog. Well, unfortunately that solution didn’t work for me as well :(
The working solution (finally!)
After a week or so of still getting that annoying password dialog, I managed to google the correct sequence of terms and I finally found a working solution! Over at the Apple forums, a very clever Mr Geordiadis posts a working solution to the problem. His solution is to modify the
racoon configuration files for the VPN connection by tweaking a few settings and increasing the negotiated password timeout value from 3600 seconds to 24 hours (perfectly fine for my intended use). I’ve been connected now for over 8 hours today, haven’t had a password dialog yet! So excellent! Confirmed that it works on Mountain Lion (10.8) as well.
I hope this information helps you as it helped me!
Connect to the VPN so the configuration file is generated
Create a location for the VPN configuration files
$ sudo mkdir /etc/racoon/vpn
Copy the auto-generated configuration file into the new configuration folder:
$ sudo cp /var/run/racoon/184.108.40.206.conf /etc/racoon/vpn/
$ sudo emacs /etc/racoon/racoon.conf
Comment out the include line at the end of the file and include the new configuration folder:
#include "/var/run/racoon/*.conf" ; include "/etc/racoon/vpn/*.conf" ;
Edit the VPN configuration file:
$ sudo emacs /etc/racoon/vpn/220.127.116.11.conf
Disable dead peer detection:
Change proposal check to claim from obey:
Change the proposed lifetime in each proposal (24 hours instead of 3600 seconds):
lifetime time 24 hours;
Disconnect VPN and reconnect.