Re: Feature request: vpn auto-connect

On Sun, 1 Oct 2006, Golam Mortuza Hossain wrote:

On 10/1/06, Matthew Saltzman <mjs ces clemson edu> wrote:
On Sun, 1 Oct 2006, Dan Williams wrote:

> On Fri, 2006-09-29 at 00:17 -0400, Golam Mortuza Hossain wrote:

>> Would it be possible to have an association for a given VPN connection
>> with a given SSID? So if defined by user, nm would also auto-connect to
>> VPN after connecting to the given SSID.
> Good point.  We had considered auto-connecting VPN in the early stages
> of NM but that got dropped for various reasons.  It's now time to
> revisit that.  Your suggestion sounds spot-on.  But let's generalize
> that to associating a VPN connection with an NM Configuration (ie, a
> collection of settings describing a specific network connection).  I'd
> probably want to use a VPN over Bluetooth to my phone which connects to
> Sprint using PPP, if just to access my Red Hat email from the middle of
> Wisconsin, for example.
> Meanwhile, if we really wanted this soon, we could make NM reconnect the
> VPN automatically when the connection drops, but not if you explicitly
> disabled it.  Somewhat harder than it looks because connection drops
> aren't always distinguishable from other circumstances, but certainly
> doable.

Unless I miss something, there are a couple of very different use cases
here:  (1) I'm on my own campus and wireless connections to the campus net
must be made through a VPN because WEP is deemed insecure. (2) I'm away
from my own campus (possibly anywhere) and must connect to the campus net
via VPN to reach firewalled resources.

For the former case, configuring VPN connect-on-start is a reasonable
solution, and it's known that if VPN-on-start is set then VPN-on-reconnect
is the right thing to do.

For the latter case, one really wants some sort of automatic
reconnect-in-last-state.  I connect to lots of WAPs, but I only use my VPN
if I need to get to university-internal stuff behind the firewall.  If I
were connected via VPN and the connection dropped, I'd want to
re-establish the VPN connection automatically, but I don't want to set it
to start or not per access point.  (Some people may want that feature and
that's fine, but I'd leave VPN off by default on all my connections for
which case 1 doesn't apply.)
How would it work to say this:  If the last state when connected was VPN
up and you reconnect to the same SSID within some time period (order of a
few minutes, maybe settable), then restart the VPN on reconnection.

Hi Matthew,

OK! I see your point. In fact, I go through the same situation
everyday :-) I think, what Dan has suggested i.e.

"associating a VPN connection with an NM Configuration (ie, a
collection of settings describing a specific network connection)."

can take care of this also.  I mean for APs within campus
(case 1), one should set


Otherwise (case 2), as you suggested, the default setting should be

       if (connecting-to-last-active-ap AND last-state-had-active-vpn)".

Note, there is no need to check for any time period. Because,
above conditions give identical situation compared to the
situation when there were no drop in wireless connection.

I mean, if there were no drop in connection then you would normally
(1) connect to VPN; (2) access your campus-stuffs;
(3) disconnect vpn.  With above condition for "vpn::connection",
you would have exactly same situation irrespective of whether there
were any drop in wireless connections or not.

This seems reasonable to me. Or you could keep the last state for each connection and delete the connecting-to-last-active-ap. Then the other clause would be last-state-for-this-ap-had-active-vpn. So if I drop a connection, connect to another SSID, and then come back, I get whatever state I left the first one in.


		Matthew Saltzman

Clemson University Math Sciences
mjs AT clemson DOT edu

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