SmoothWall's SmoothTunnel VPN software is an add-in module for its Corporate Server product. Based on a hardened version of the Linux operating system, these products are software offerings, so their performance depends on the hardware used.

Installation is largely automatic once the module has been selected in the server's maintenance section, and requires a reboot to complete the software integration.

The VPN module's management and monitoring displays are available from the main server management screen. From here, it is possible to configure VPN tunnels, manage certificates and control VPN connections.

The system supports two types of VPN tunnel, one for IPsec connections and one for L2TP connections. These are set up to handle remote clients that run either a third-party VPN client such as SafeNet's "SoftRemote" client software, or use the native Windows L2TP VPN client. All these operations can be performed from the management screens without needing to resort to a command line shell, which is a refreshing change. The interface also provides online help that relates to the entire VPN management subsystem. More detailed information is provided in the accompanying CD-Rom. This covers administration and setup in some detail.

The system also includes a command line tool for configuring Windows clients, although this is intended for use in scripts, perhaps as part of a standard configuration procedure, or as part of a tailored user log in process.

Further configuration help is provided by tutorials, beginning with setting up a simple VPN between two systems, and ending with an example of an L2TP Road Warrior connection. This helps to avoid the problems that may arise when trying to persuade Linux and Windows systems to co-operate.

The basic module will support five VPN tunnels, but this can be expanded with additional licenses and disk space.