Cisco VPN Client for Mac - need help!

Discussion in 'Mac Apps and Mac App Store' started by law guy, May 19, 2004.

  1. law guy macrumors 6502a

    law guy

    Jan 17, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    Our IT dept uses Cisco's VPN client for Windows to allow for off-site access to our Microsoft Outlook mail system. I would like to install the VPN client software on my mac so that I can use it to check email - BUT:

    How does one get the VPN client software? It looks like you have to be a system adminastrator with an account with Cisco - which I'm not, and my IT Dept. doesn't have an interest in spending time on this. Is there some way to just get the client software for Mac?

    Second - once I get it (let's assume it's possible), will it work to access the Outlook mail server? There is no version of Outlook for OSX, so is that a non-starter, or would the MS mail program in OS X Office work, or...

    I'd like to make this work, if possible. Any help is greatly appreciated.

  2. seamuskrat macrumors 6502a


    Feb 17, 2003
    New Jersey USA
    I too use this, and sadly, you are hosed. This is software that Cisco with your IT folks must configure. Its all secure for a reason, and it sucks for us Mac users. So, even if you coul fin a copy of the app, it would not be configurable to your network.

    Beat bet, make a strong, logiczal, but not crazy case to your superiors about how you need to do work from home and send it to the head of IT once your boss approves. Worked for me.

  3. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus


    Oct 8, 2002
    The Bamboo Forest
    I had the same problem actually. They gave me a Windows CD and all I have is my Mac. I tried to get the software from the Cisco website but ran into the same problem. Search google. A lot of schools have them available unprotected for students to download. For instance, here:

    Then I used the config file on the Windows CD that my IT department gave me. Works like a charm!

    I do not have Outlook but I think the newest update to Outlook X (before 2004 which came out today I believe) did work with Exchange. But I also believe that your IT guys will *have* to turn something on on their end. Fortunately for me my company offers e-mail via the web also so i just go that route. It's not as handy of course but it does the trick.
  4. mullmann macrumors member

    Jan 6, 2004
    At least as far as the VPN part goes, I can second this. The Cisco client works great on the Mac (although it is all command line, unlike the Windows version which has a GUI). I did the same thing as silentpanda and just dropped my Windows config file in the application directory once I had it installed and it works really well. You will need to find some way of getting the software, as the others have said, as it is not publicly downloadable from Cisco.

    Incidentally, OS X's (Panther, I think) can connect to Exchange servers. Again, your Exchange admins may need to configure something for that to work, but you've got software that can do it if you're running a recent version of OS X.
  5. belf8st macrumors member

    Feb 10, 2004

    The cisco vpn client is only licensed to be used with their vpn products. the vpn clients generally come packaged with the vpn product when purchased through cisco. this includes the vpn concentrators and any other type of vpn hardware based solution. if the company has a current smartnet contract for their cisco hardware, they can download the mac version from cco. you need a cco account to download almost any type of software or update from cisco.

    Depending on what type of vpn they have configured and how they are doing authentication, you may not need the cisco client. the built in mac client might work if it's just a simple ipsec or pptp vpn tunnel. there are vendors that sell other vpn clients for the mac, but are not guranteed to work for your situation.

    sorry, i just noticed the second part of your question. are they running exchange? the entourage client supposedly will work with exchange version 2000 and 2003. i don't believe it will work with version 5.5. that's also assuming the office is using exchange. if it's just a pop or imap server, any mail client should work for your needs.

    sounds like you might want to look into the company's policy to get answers for some of your questions. don't get caught trying to do something you shouldn't.
  6. SilentPanda Moderator emeritus


    Oct 8, 2002
    The Bamboo Forest
    The Cisco Client I have is total GUI. It's in the link above. Might want to check it out if you're still doing command line stuff.
  7. belf8st macrumors member

    Feb 10, 2004
    The latest version 4.0.3 is gui. prior to that, the config was very similar to linux and solaris. all cmd line.
  8. ZildjianKX macrumors 68000


    May 18, 2003
    I just wanted to thank you guys...

    The stupid VPN at my university uses Cisco, but "we do not support macs"... wtf.

    Anyways, I couldn't download the Cisco mac client from their website... but I found a copy of 4.02 on the web for mac... which wouldn't connect. The 4.03 version that was linked to above works wonderfully. BTW, version 4.02 had a GUI too, so 4.03 wasn't the first. If anyone found a link to 4.05, I would be most grateful.
  9. craigdawg macrumors 6502

    Mar 8, 2004
    I just installed 4.0.5 today. I am only the 2nd person in our enterprise that's tried it and even though IT won't support it, they did set me up with an account and told me it would work. Just don't call us for help. :mad:

    belf8st is correct, your IT people need to get the OS X client from Cisco. I would just nicely ask someone to inquire to Cisco about it. I would be willing to bet that if they set up a "Windows" VPN account for you and you were using the OS X client, you would be able to connect. I can't imagine the work they'd need to do on the back end would be different for a Mac.

    The client was fairly easy to configure, but you will need a (group) name, password, and a host address ( This was totally different than my Windows login. Configuring the client takes less than a minute.

    Once you connect, Connect to server... from the Finder and enter the sever as smb://server/share, replacing "server" and "share" with your respective information.

    Another login screen pops up showing asking for your Windows login. Once you log in, a Finder window pops up with the share. I was able to connect to our shared directory and my personal directory quite easily. My next project is to see if I can configure Entourage (I'm downloading the Office 2004 demo as I type this) to talk to our Exchange server.

    And to think I was getting ready to buy a PC notebook. :D

    Good luck. Hopefully those clowns can get you the client.
  10. cluthz macrumors 68040


    Jun 15, 2004
    I had the same problem.
    My solution was to set up a old PC as router,
    running the vpn-client, and connecting all my macs to the pc.
    Before i did this, i could only have one machine online at once, since
    i was only allowed to have one encrypted tunnel.
  11. law guy thread starter macrumors 6502a

    law guy

    Jan 17, 2003
    Western Massachusetts
    VPN works and Entourage works with Outlook server

    All - many thanks for the help. After quite awhile, I'm all set with VPN on my Mac. Here's the scoop:

    What I did: Contacted my IT dept. They were happy to install the client for me. I ended up using the link to the 4.0.3, provided above, because the client the IT dept. had was 3.7.

    Next step: IT gave me the host IP info and told me what sort of transport. HINT: If it doesn't work for someone reading this thread, hit "Modify" in the VPN window and choose the "Group Authorization" instead of "Certificate Authentication". I tried that early on and it fixed the connection problem for me. It seems like "Certificate Authentication" may be the default.

    IT gave me the mail server name. I launched Entourage and - after I plugged in the information and closed and opened the program, it synched right up.

    Fantastic! Thanks again to all who provided input. :)

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